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Football: Lambert rally denied by Johns Creek in OT
Longhorns' 28 unanswered points not enough
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Forsyth County News

JOHNS CREEK — Lambert manufactured a remarkable second half comeback — but couldn’t quite make it stick.

After falling behind by three touchdowns, Lambert scored 28 unanswered points only to see the effort fall short in a 35-28 overtime loss to Johns Creek at the Coliseum.

The win gives Johns Creek (6-1, 3-1 Region 6-AAAAAA) a leg up for one of the top two spots in the region standings. Though they suffered their second consecutive loss, the Longhorns (5-2, 2-2) had positives to take from the game after falling 26-7 last week against Centennial.

"We showed a lot of character by coming back," Lambert coach Sid Maxwell said. "We dug ourselves a hole but dug our way out of it. We had our opportunities, just didn’t quite close the deal."

The Longhorns went to work in the third quarter after spotting Johns Creek a 21-0 lead.  A pass from Lambert quarterback Brock Maxwell (7 of 15, 105 passing yards, TD; 19 carries, 57 rushing yards, 2 TD) to T.J. Russell first appeared to be intercepted, but as both receiver and defender battled for the ball, Russell came away with it for a 36-yard score to cut the gap to 21-7 with 8:30 remaining in the period. 

Jordyn Jean-Felix intercepted a pass on the Gladiators’ ensuing and ran ball back to the Johns Creek 9, setting up a  one-yard keeper by Maxwell that cut the deficit to 21-14 with nine seconds remaining before the fourth quarter.

On the ensuing possesion, the Longhorns’ defense stopped the Gladiators on a fourth down conversion attempt, and Lambert took over at its own 43. Wingback Jake Stanford (5 carries, 74 rushing yards) completed a 57-yard drive with a three-yard touchdown run, tying the game 21-21 in the fourth quarter.

The score held until late in the fourth quarter, when Stanford broke tackles on a 59- yard run to the Gladiators’ 1-yard line.  A Maxwell keeper then gave Lambert its first lead, 28-21, with 2:57 remaining.

A good kickoff return gave the Gladiators field position at their own 44, and running back Chase Solomon (18 carries, 99 rushing yards, 2 TD) completed a 56-yard drive with a one-yard that tied the game 28-28 with only 47 seconds remaining.

With no timeouts to work with, Maxwell quickly led his team from its own 27 down to the Gladiators’ 23, but a 40-yard field goal attempt sailed wide left with 10.2 seconds left and the game went to overtime.

Georgia High School Association overtime rules give each team a possession from the opponents 15-yard line. 

Johns Creek got the ball first, and it took five plays for Solomon to punch in a one-yard touchdown run.

Lambert took over from the Gladiators’ 15, but on fourth-and-4 from the 9, Maxwell was pressured into a pass that fell incomplete in the end zone to end the game.

The first quarter saw both teams go three and out, with no first downs for either team until Lambert converted with under seven minutes left in the quarter.  The Gladiators crossed midfield for the first time with under two minutes left, but Solomon  broke the first big play of the game on a sweep for 38 yards to the five yard line.  A pass from quarterback Skye Overton to Bradon Fortin put the Gladiators on top 7-0 with 1:37 remaining in the quarter. 

Johns Creek’s next drive included a 37-yard completion by Overton before he broke off a 23-yard run, setting up a three-yard plunge with only 21 seconds remaining and a 14-0 Gladiator halftime lead.

The somewhat conservative first half gave no indication of the fireworks to come.  Overton called his own number for a 23-yard touchdown run and a 21-0 lead with 10:00 remaining in the third quarter, before Lambert began its comeback.

The Longhorns will try to end their two-game skid as they host Alpharetta on Friday.