Josh Dobbs’ right arm dealt a big blow to Lambert’s playoff hopes.
Dobbs, an Arizona State commitment, completed 16 of 21 passes for 411 yards and five touchdowns on Friday, leading Alpharetta to a 35-7 victory over Lambert at The Horn.
Lambert’s loss, coupled with wins by Chattahoochee (5-3, 3-2 Region 6-AAAAAA) and Centennial (3-5, 3-2), leaves the Longhorns (5-3, 2-3) trailing both teams for the fourth and final playoff spot in the region. Lambert now faces a must-win against Chattahoochee on Friday.
Dobbs and the Raiders (5-3, 4-1) improved their own playoff positioning by scoring 28 unanswered points, after being tied with Lambert 7-7 midway through the second quarter.
"It’s a double-edged sword with [Dobbs]," Lambert head coach Sid Maxwell said. "If you try to cover [receivers], he’ll run on you. We had some shots [to tackle him] and when he did scramble, we had people on him, but he broke through and hit his receivers."
Leading 14-7 late in the second quarter, the Raiders forced a Lambert three-and-out and fielded the punt at the Longhorns’ 43-yard line with under a minute left until halftime.
Dobbs scrambled 26 yards and ran out of bounds to stop the clock at 17 seconds. On the next play, Dobbs moved out of the pocket and found Andre Harton for a 31-yard touchdown pass with only 1.5 seconds left in the quarter, as the Raiders took a 21-7 lead at the half.
"[That score] didn’t help us," Maxwell said. "We would’ve gone in [at halftime] 14-7. They moved the football and with a few seconds left and we gave up a couple of big plays. It comes down to big plays and you got to make the big play."
Big plays torched the Longhorns’ defense all night, as they gave up eight plays of 20 yards or more and allowed 553 yards of offense. Alpharetta held Lambert to just 269 yards of offense.
Lambert drove the ball 53 yards on 10 plays to the Alpharetta 27-yard line to start the third quarter and threatened to score, but a 41-yard field goal fell short.
On the ensuing possession, it only took the Raiders one play before Dobbs connected with Carlos Burse across the middle of the field for an 80-yard touchdown pass to extend the lead to 28-7.
The Longhorns later moved the ball to Alpharetta’s 38-yard line, but the Raiders’ defense didn’t break and forced Lambert to punt for the fifth time.
"We battled and had one or two breakdowns," Maxwell said. "We were in good positions, [but] they’re just athletes."
The Raiders marched down to the Lambert 1 midway through the third quarter, but this time the Lambert defense stood tall as Danny Edgeworth stripped the ball and Jordyn Jean-Felix recovered it in the end zone for a touchback.
The Longhorns couldn’t capitalize on the turnover and punted it back to Alpharetta. The Raiders only needed one play to score, as Dobbs hooked up with Rodney Morris on an 80-yard scoring strike with 10:10 left in the fourth quarter.
Dobbs’ first two touchdown passes came in the second quarter with a two-yard fade pass in the corner of the end zone to Burse and an 85-yard strike to Daniel Clements.
Lambert tailback Daniel Myers led the team with 84 rushing yards on 19 carries, while quarterback Brock Maxwell, who left the game midway through the third quarter, was 4-for-4 for 47 passing yards and added 41 rushing yards.
Lambert’s only score came when James Little dove into the end zone for an eight-yard touchdown run with 6:08 left in the second quarter.
The Longhorns will travel to Chattahoochee on Friday.