Special to the Citizen
McDonough -- If the Henry County had lost Friday, they wouldn't have quarterback Chris Moody to blame. Thanks to his performance, the Warhawks didn't have to worry about blaming anybody for missing the state playoffs with their 34-24 win over Eastside.
The dual-threat quarterback ran and passed his way to 407 total yards and three touchdowns. The victory catapulted Henry County to 6-4 overall and reserved a third seed spot in next week's playoffs; the Eagles ended its season with a 5-5 mark.
Both teams traded offensive jabs in the first quarter, with Henry County missing its opportunity to jump ahead first when Jacob Davis' 23-yard field goal sailed wide right. It took Eastside just four plays to capitalize as Dante' Blackmon caught a 67-yard scoring strike that put the Eagles up 7-0.
Henry County's answer was a 14-play, 80-yard drive that ended when a scrambling Moody found Phillip Staples all alone in the end zone with 1:41 left in the first quarter. Davis' missed extra point kept Eastside with a one-point advantage.
The score remained unchanged going into halftime as both teams missed opportunities to take control of the game. Eastside kicker Cory Sandler had the distance but missed wide left on a 49-yard field goal attempt early in the second quarter and Moody had what would have been a 13-yard touchdown called back on an illegal chop block penalty just before halftime.
On the second half's opening drive, Henry County fumbled away another opportunity to seize control when Eagles defensive back Justin Bates scooped a fumbled option pitch. Sandler capitalized by booting a 26-yard field goal, extending Eastside's lead to 10-6. Despite the lead, the Eagles never seemed to fully have control of the game.
It was Moody's 61-yard quarterback keeper on the second play of the ensuing drive that seemed to swing the momentum back in the Warhawks' favor. Three plays later, Henry County tailback Sedrick Palmer pushed and shoved his way in from three yards out to give Henry its first lead at 13-10.
Henry extended its lead, 20-10, when senior corner Chris Amos stepped in front of an errant pass and returned it 23 yards for the score.
After the teams traded touchdowns early in the fourth quarter, Eastside took advantage of Justin Gates' 82-yard kickoff return, scoring two plays later from six yards out to cut the Warhawks lead to 27-24. Defense gave the Eagles a chance to take the lead late when they forced a Henry County punt, but punt returner Quan Moton muffed the kick allowing Dieonte Bryant to pounce on the ball for the Warhawks.
Moody's 20-yard touchdown run with under a minute remaining in the game provided Henry County with an exclamation point on its fourth straight win.