LOGANVILLE - On a night when the offense made more mistakes than Sarah Palin's press secretary, it was the defense that came to the rescue.
Loganville stopped Rockdale County running back David Calloway on fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line on the last play of the game Friday as the Red Devils squeaked past Rockdale County 7-6.
The win lifts Loganville to 8-1 in the region and allows the Red Devils to claim their first league football championship since 1991 and second in school history with a win over Winder-Barrow in Friday's season finale.
Rockdale County, fighting for its playoff life, dropped to 4-5 in 8-AAAA with the loss and is now mathematically eliminated from postseason consideration.
Trailing 7-6, Rockdale County got the football at its own 16-yard line following a Loganville punt with 2 minutes, 23 seconds left in the game. Eleven plays later the Bulldogs found themselves with first-and-goal at the Loganville three with 57 seconds showing on the stadium clock.
On the previous play, quarterback Isaiah Gresham had connected with Ryan Culbreath on a 52-yard pass. Gresham then spiked the ball to stop the clock. Next came an incomplete pass as the clock showed 45 seconds. Javon Lucas carried to the 1 on third down to set up the do-or-die play.
Gresham hurried his team to the line of scrimmage and handed off to Calloway over left guard. Calloway was hit by three Red Devil defenders and stopped for no gain as the horn sounded.
Loganville seemed to play uninspired in the first half, turning the ball over four times. On the night, the Devils coughed it up five times compared to three for Rockdale County.
The mistakes started early for Loganville. After taking the opening kickoff and putting the ball in play at the 21, a motion penalty on the Red Devils gave them first-and-15 from the 16-yard line. Mykel Wyyet took the handoff on the first play from scrimmage and fumbled the football. Rockdale County's Adrian Brown scooped it up and rambled 26 yards for the touchdown. A blocked extra point attempt left Rockdale with a 6-0 lead only 14 seconds into the contest.
Loganville moved the ball up and down the field throughout the first two quarters, but every time the Red Devils threatened to score they seemed to commit a turnover.
Meanwhile, the Loganville defense was busy holding Rockdale to only two first downs in the first half.
The Bulldogs never got closer than the Loganville 39 yard line. That penetration ended when Jacob Johnson intercepted a pass with 7:23 to go in the second period.
Rockdale County went into the dressing room at intermission with a 6-0 lead despite Loganville quarterback A.J. Schmidt's impressive first half performance. Schmidt, a junior, completed 8 of 12 passes for 145 yards and one interception. He finished the night 12-for-22 for 189 yards and two picks.
Rockdale County's Gresham misfired on his first eight attempts, but five passes were dropped.
Loganville finally found the end zone when Wyyet, who ran for 95 yards on 26 carries, capped a 67-yard, 11-play drive with a 1-yard plunge early in the fourth quarter. The scoring march was aided by two Bulldog facemask penalties. The extra point by Connor Lockridge with 9:04 left in the game proved to be the winning margin.