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ECI advances to state title game
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Emanuel County Institute's Washaun Ealey tries to break free of Clinch County's Taylor Denmark during Friday’s GHSA semifinal Class AA game at the Georgia Dome. Ealey rushed for 280 yards and four scores as the Bulldogs set up a meeting with Wilcox County next week for the state championship. - photo by RICH ADDICKS/Atlanta Journal-Constitution
  ATLANTA — Washaun Ealey ran for 280 yards and four touchdowns to lead Emanuel County Institute to a 35-14 win over Clinch County in the Class A state semifinals on Friday.
    The Bulldogs (14-0) will play for the state title next week against Wilcox County, which beat Athens Academy 32-14 earlier on Friday.
    The last time both teams met was in the 2004 first round of the state playoffs, when Clinch County won 31-9. The Panthers went on to claim the Class A championship.
    But Emanuel County Institute prevailed this time, holding off an attempted rally in the second half. Clinch County (11-3) cut the lead to 21-14 in the third quarter when Ronnie Hill scored on a 2-yard run a few plays after a blocked punt.
    After the Panthers regained the ball off a turnover, they turned over the ball right back on a fumble by Dominique Ellis, who had three interceptions. That’s all the Bulldogs needed as Ealey then scored on a 57- and 80-yard run to put the game away.
    Ealey, who finished with 17 carries, scored on runs of 3 and 47 yards in the first half for the Bulldogs, who has scored at least 28 points in the every game this season.
    Clinch County quarterback Vintavious Cooper threw for 156 yards and gained 68 yards on the ground. Cooper had a 37-yard touchdown in the first quarter.

Wilcox County 32, Athens Academy 14
    ATLANTA — Lorenzo Dennard threw for 233 yards and three touchdowns, while his twin brother Alfonzo had 134 yards receiving and a score to help Wilcox County cruise to a 32-14 win over Athens Academy in the Class A state semifinals on Friday.
    The Patriots (13-1), attempting for the school’s first Class A title, will face the winner of the Clinch County-Emanuel County Institute contest.
    Wilcox County took a 26-7 lead in the third quarter on a 2-yard touchdown by Antonio Marshall, who finished with 81 yards on 15 carries and another touchdown in the first half. Before the scoring run, Wilcox County tight end Joe James had a 53-yard reception after the football bounced off a Spartan defender.
    Lorenzo Dennard, who completed 9-of-13 passes and an interception, threw a 76-yard touchdown to Willie Gibson in the fourth. In the first half, Lorenzo and Alfonzo connected for a 30-yard score.
    Athens Academy (12-2), which lost its second straight semifinals game, was led by Will Callaway who ran for 70 yards on 15 carries.

Carver-Columbus 26, Chamblee 24
    ATLANTA — Deron Furr scored on a 3-yard game-winning touchdown run to cap a fourth-quarter comeback that lifted Carver-Columbus to a 26-24 victory over Chamblee in the Class AAA state semifinals on Friday.
    The Tigers (14-0) will play in next week’s title game against the winner of today’s matchup between Cairo and North Hall.
    Chamblee controlled much of the game, until Carver-Columbus surged in the fourth quarter. The Bulldogs took a 24-6 lead in the third quarter when Malcolm Beyah scored on a 15-yard run.
    But Furr and receiver Jarmon Fortson hooked up on several passing plays to get Carver-Columbus back into the game. Furr scored on a 3-yard touchdown run and connected with Fortson on a 10-yard touchdown with a two-point conversion to cut the lead to 24-20 in the fourth quarter.
    After the Tigers’ defense held Chamblee, Furr threw a 33-yard pass to Fortson to put them on the 9-yard line with 23 seconds left in the game. On the next play, Furr got a five-yard gain, then scrambled for the game-winning touchdown.
    Furr, who completed 13-of-19 passes, threw for 311 yards and accounted for four scores — two passing and two on the ground. Fortson caught eight passes for 223 yards and two touchdowns.
    Warren Norman led Chamblee with 86 yards on 13 carries and a touchdown. Darius Jones added 78 yards rushing, which included a 64-yard touchdown in the first quarter.