Devils end with win over Gleason

by Charles Choate

The South Fulton Red Devils completed their high school football season last Friday night with a thrilling 24-20 win over Gleason.

The game came down to the final quarter of play, as the Red Devils and Bulldogs combined for 26 total points.

“I was so glad this team, especially these seniors, were able to go out on a winning note,” said coach Eric Knott. “When you have 13 seniors on your team you expect to win more than three games. But this was not really a typical season. With the COVID, we had to adjust to so many different things, and hindsight is always 20-20. But I am proud of the way they responded and won this game at home.”

For the first three quarters of play, the score remained at 8-8.

Will Clapper gave South Fulton the lead with a second quarter one-yard run, which was complimented by a Dalton Morris two-point conversion.

Gleason responded on the defensive side in the second quarter, with Garrett Pinkston intercepting a Bryce McFarland pass and returning it 40-yards for a touchdown.

The Bulldogs also converted their two-point conversion to even the score.

In the final period of play, the Red Devils took the lead 16-8, when Beau Britt crossed the goal line on a 19-yard run followed by Mason Harper’s two-point conversion.

The Bulldogs remained close, as Austin Clark countered with a three-yard touchdown run to make the score 16-14.

Coach Knott’s team extended their lead to 10-points, 24-14, following a Brock Brown five-yard run to the endzone, coupled with a Drew Barclay two-point conversion.

Gleason was able to score in the final minutes of the game, as Pinkston caught a one-yard pass for the final 24-20 score.

Beau Britt led the Red Devils in rushing in the game with 104-yards, followed by Drew Barclay 59, Brock Brown 37, Dalton Morris 31 and Bryce McFarland 12.

On the defensive side of play, Eli Carlisle and Drew Barclay each had nine tackles in the game.

Looking back over a 3-6 season that almost did not happen, coach Knott said there were several positive reflections.

“You know very early on we were practicing and still not knowing if we were going to play. When the Governor (Bill Lee) gave the all clear to start the season, we still did not know from day to day how long it would last. Early on I thought we might play four games. You didn’t know who was going to test positive for the virus on your team, in your classroom or on the other team. I think because of this I may have pushed the guys to hard. It was so much of the unknown. But you know, we played nine games and had some moments.”

Despite the ongoing pandemic, coach Knott expressed his appreciation to the parents and fan who contributed to the season.

“We just have great support. Our team parents are just phenomenal. They do so much to get the team motivated. We are so lucky to have one of the best training facilities around here for Class-A football. Our playing field is great. You look back in the stands and on the sidelines and our people are there. So many times when you don’t win every game, you start having rumblings about the team and the coaches, but I haven’t heard any of that. I think they know we are giving it all we got. It’s still just a ballgame.”