Duluth Loses in Triple-OT, 43-41 at Alpharetta
The Wildcats came back to score 21 points in fourth quarter for a tie, but miss a two-point conversion to give the Raiders a chance to win.
Duluth and Alpharetta traded touchdowns back and forth at the end of regulation and in three overtimes Friday night.
But the Wildcats blinked first, missing the try for two points, as Alpharetta claimed a 43-41 home victory.
The Raiders came back and made good on both a TD and a pass for two points to win the game.
Both teams are 2-1 on the season.
Duluth's coach Corey Jarvis said his quarterback was "running for his life the whole night," but by the end of the second half his players had picked up their assignments. A minor adjustment on blocking by the back helped with pass protection also.
"And then we started making plays. That's what we've been doing, making plays. That's why we were 2 and 0," Jarvis said.
Duluth mounted a big comeback after failing to score for three quarters. After the first half, the Raiders led 7-0. And another TD in the third quarter looked bad for the Wildcats. But a blocked extra point try by Duluth brought them back into the game, and in the fourth quarter they finally scored, making it 13-7 Raiders.
Alpharetta quickly got back on the scoreboard, and the coaching staff made the decision to go for two points after the TD. That proved to be a smart call, because the Wildcats never missed an extra point on any of their three TDs in the fourth quarter.
Duluth tied the score with 16.4 seconds left in regulation at Raiders Stadium. Alpharetta chose to take a knee and let the clock run out after the kickoff, sending the game into overtime.
Georgia High School Athletic Association rules for overtime give each team a chance to score, starting 15 yards out from the end zone. Starting with a third overtime, teams can no longer kick extra points, but have to go for two by pass or run.
Wildcats Coach Jarvis was not happy with officiating on at least one play in overtime. Alpharetta's quarterback Joshua Dobbs was flagged for throwing a pass past the line of scrimmage. Duluth was also penalized for roughing the passer on the play.
"The kid is past the line of scrimmage. If he's past the line of scrimmage, we can hit him. I don't understand how he's roughing the passer," Jarvis said.
Things got started in the first quarter when Jalen Simmons opened up scoring for the Raiders with a short run into the end zone with 9:50 left in the first quarter.
The Wildcats appeared to be ready to tie the game in the second quarter with 6:53 left, but a holding call brought it back. The Raiders stopped the drive, forcing the Wildcats to attempt a field goal. But that kick bounced off the upright, giving Alpharetta the ball.
A key play in the third quarter was when a pass by Dobbs was tipped by the Wildcats' Chris Carleton, who also managed to catch the ball, changing possession.
The Raiders seemed ready to put things away when they added their third touchdown, making a two-point conversion to bring the score to 21-7 with 7:05 left in the game.
The ensuing kickoff might have knocked another opponent out of the game, when Duluth's Nick Whitaker accidentally kicked the ball at least 10 yards, allowing Alpharetta's Kavontre Whitaker to recover the ball.
However, the Wildcats' Darnell Hart came through with a timely interception on the Raiders' next play.
Duluth scored two more touchdowns before time ran out in regulation. They added three more in overtimes, as did Alpharetta. Only a pass that was off the mark kept the Wildcats in the loss column.
Alpharetta hits the road next Friday, Sept. 16, to play Marietta. Duluth heads over to Norcross High that same night.