The East Alabama Predators jumped out on the Georgia Predators from the opening drive going 10 plays and 60 yards capped by a Tony Askew 3-yard touchdown run out of the wildcat for a 7-0 lead. Askew rushed for three touchdowns and scored twice on two-point conversions.
Georgia answered early in the 2nd quarter on a 16-yard touchdown pass from Stephen Williams to Jeremy Parham but a bad snap on the extra-point left the score 7-6 in favor of East Alabama.
East Alabama (4-0) would seize full control of the game moments later. After being forced to punt, East Alabama shanked it 14 yards giving Georgia the ball at the East Alabama 27. On the ensuing play Cartavious Washington intercepted Stephen Williams and raced 74 yards to the Georgia 1. On the next play Askew went in for his second touchdown of the night and scored on the two-point conversion for a 15-6 lead.
After blocking a 43-yard field goal attempt, East Alabama put together another impressive drive going 9 plays and 74 yards capping it on Askew’s third touchdown of the night. Facing third and short Askew took a direct snap and raced around the right side for a 41-yard touchdown giving East Alabama 21-6 lead with 42 seconds remaining in the half.
Georgia showed fight in the second half scoring on their opening possession of the half as Williams and Parham hooked up again on a 26-yard touchdown pass pulling to within 21-12. East Alabama answered 57 seconds later on a 74-yard touchdown run by quarterback Charles Drinkard, Askew ran in the two-point conversion again from the wildcat to make it 29-12 with 11:38 left in the third quarter.
“He’s a good quarterback, a dual-threat quarterback he can do what he wants to, he’s got a good arm and his decision-making is good,” East Alabama head coach Hunter Price said about Drinkard.
Georgia continued to make mistakes, their biggest one came on an East Alabama punt. East Alabama was punting from their own end zone and shanked the punt again as it went only 20 yards and was dying at their East Alabama 25 before a Georgia Predator attempted to pick it up and didn’t. East Alabama recovered it and then went 75 yards for their next score, a 19-yard touchdown pass from Drinkard to Marquel Pressley with 1:23 remaining in the third for a 35-12 lead.
Things would get interesting early in the fourth quarter when the Georgia Predators went to back up quarterback Edward Russ. On his third snap, Russ checked off at the line and tossed a 59-yard touchdown pass to Jharail Rhodes and rushed in the two-point conversion to pull Georgia to within 15 at 35-20. East Alabama would fumble on their next possession but after a nearly six-minute drive filled with penalties on both sides, Georgia was unable to score after having a touchdown called back for offensive pass interference, had another one dropped in the end zone, and turned the ball over on downs at the East Alabama 14.
East Alabama fumbled on next snap giving Georgia the ball at the East Alabama 13. Four plays later Russ scored on 1-yard touchdown pulling Georgia even closer at 35-26 with 5:54 left in the game. Russ played despite battling a stomach bug which caused Georgia to interchange he and Williams in the second half.
Williams passed for two touchdowns while Russ passed for one and rushed one against East Alabama. Williams has three touchdown passes this season while Russ has three touchdown passes and three rushing touchdowns this season. Georgia is 1-1 when Williams starts and 1-0 when Russ starts.
“We had a change of pace,” Georgia Predators head coach Ty Johnson said about putting Russ in the game. “Sometimes things don’t work out like you plan and you gotta go to Plan B. Plan B got us moving and we started interchanging them and we put up some points. It will not be a controversy with the quarterbacks. We know who our leader is and were going to stay behind him and were going to keep working to get to where we need to be.”
That would be as close as they would get as East Alabama keep possession long enough, the next 4 minutes and change sealing the game as Georgia didn’t see the ball again until just over a minute remained and turn it over on downs with 33 seconds left and East Alabama closed the game with one knee.
“We come out trying to play hard football and bring a good team to the GDFL,” Price said. “In the second half we got a little complacent and let them get back in it and it was a different ballgame then. We just had to keep grinding.”
Defensively East Alabama won the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball most of the game recording 5 sacks and held Georgia to a low rushing yard total.
“Our main goal is we want to attack the football, contain gaps and attack the football. If we contain the football we believe we can win. The problem is giving up the big plays, that’s just embarrassing… but were gonna get that fixed,” Price said about his teams defensive effort.
“I think we showed a lot of character. We got in trouble early and made a lot of fundamental mistakes,” Johnson said. “The better team won today but we learned somethings and we can fix them. It’s early and I know we’ll be better the next time we put on our helmets.”
The Georgia Predators will begin a three-game four-week road trip next week when they take on the Georgia Knights (0-4), who fell 37-6 to the Georgia Crush Saturday night. Heart of the South division leader East Alabama will host Marvel City (2-2). Marvel City defeated the Tennessee Lighting Bolts 18-14 Saturday night.