LAWRENCEVILLE – Shiloh’s Christion Barker scored three long touchdowns and Marquis Hepburn provided a touchdown from the defense to lift the Generals to a Region 8-AAAAAA win over host Central Gwinnett on Friday.
Both on the ground and through the air, the Black Knights (1-5, 0-2) had no answer for Barker, a Shiloh junior.
“I’m not sure but it seemed like we took the foot off the pedal after the first quarter,” Shiloh coach Tino Ierulli said. “Give Central credit. They are a well-coached team and their quarterback is terrific. I need to look at the tape. We had a lot of penalties and our defense needs to fix some things.”
Shiloh started the first quarter track meet in blazing fashion. On its second play, Barker took a handoff and raced 89 yards, untouched, around the left end to give Shiloh the lead just 19 seconds into the game. Erick Quiquivix conversion lifter the Generals to a 7-0 advantage.
After holding Central Gwinnett (1-5, 0-2) on downs during the Black Knights’ first possession, Shiloh again struck quickly. Quarterback Sterling Knowles connected with Barker on a 70-yard touchdown. The extra point was good and the score was 14-0 less than three minutes into the first quarter.
Central Gwinnett rallied as it pieced together a quick drive that culminated in a 41-yard scoring strike from the Black Knights’ Justin Johnson, who found Mekhi Mews open down the seam for a 41-yard score. Gabriel Ivanstanin’s point after cut the deficit to 14-7.
Shiloh answered less than a minute later when Antonio Meeks kept the ball on the shotgun snap and ran 65 yards for the touchdown. With less than five minutes elapsed in the game, Shiloh had scored three touchdowns on its first five plays.
Central had a chance to cut into the 21-7 deficit but Ivanstanin’s attempt from 31 yards was no good just before the end of the quarter.
The Black Knights' defense found itself and shut down the Shiloh offense in the second quarter. The Central offense did muster one scoring drive of its own. Driving to the Generals’ 20 it faced a fourth and eight. Johnson kept the ball and scrambled for 11 yards to the nine. Two plays later, Johnson connected with Amir Taylor on a short pass and Taylor raced into the end zone for the score. The extra point brought the score to 21-14 in favor of Shiloh as the teams headed into halftime.
Central’s hopes for a tying touchdown to open the second half were thwarted on the kickoff return as the Black Knights’ Eldrick Mason fumbled and was recovered by Shiloh. On the next play, Meeks took the snap and mirroring his first quarter run, raced around the end and scored untouched from the 39. Shiloh re-established a two touchdown lead 28-14.
Undeterred, Central came back down the field and drove inside the Shiloh 10 where it faced third and five. Johnson completed a pass in the left flat to Mason for the score. The extra point brought the Black Knights within 28-21.
After forcing a Shiloh punt on its next possession Central tied the score with just over two minutes left in the third quarter when Johnson connected with Mews on a short gain in the flat. Mews then broke the first tackle, spun out of a second attempt and lunged into the end zone to complete the 24-yard scoring play.
Shiloh was not to be denied as Barker raced 39 yards for the score on its next possession and then added another touchdown when Hepburn scooped up a Johnson fumble at midfield and scored to put the Generals up 13, 41-28 early in the fourth quarter.
Central scored on a final untimed down after the clock expired following a defensive penalty for pass interference. Johnson connected with Mason on a four yard pass for the touchdown.
SHILOH 41, CENTRAL GWINNETT 34
Shiloh 21 0 7 13 – 41
Central Gwinnett 7 7 14 6 – 34
Shiloh: Christion Barker 89 run (Erick Quiquivix kick) 11:31
Shiloh: Barker 70 pass from Sterling Knowles (Quiquivix kick) 9:28
Central Gwinnett: Mekhi Mews 41 pass from Justin Johnson (Gabriel Ivanstanin kick) 8:05
Shiloh: Antonio Meeks 65 run (Quiquivix kick) 7:12
Central Gwinnett: Amir Taylor 9 pass from Johnson (Ivanstanin kick) 7:46
Shiloh: Meeks 39 run (Quiquivix kick) 11:42
Central Gwinnett: Eldrick Mason 9 pass from Johnson (Ivanstanin kick) 8:15
Central Gwinnett: Mews 24 pass from Johnson (Ivanstanin kick) 2:07
Shiloh: Barker 39 run (Quiquivix kick) 10:30
Shiloh: Marquis Hepburn48 fumble return (kick failed) 8:25
Central Gwinnett: Mason 4 pass from Johnson 0:00