Atlanta completes, 34-28, comeback at Tatum
Atlanta finished a back-to-back road trip with back-to-back wins as they made an amazing comeback against Tatum last Friday night and left town with a, 34-28, victory.
As of the record books this was the 12th meeting between the two schools.
The Eagles took 6-of-7 from 1995 to 2011 with the Rabbs’ lone win in that span coming in 2009, but since 2014 Atlanta has won five straight against Tatum to even the series at 6-6.
That includes beating them in district and in the regional round in 2014.
Tatum won the toss but elected to defer to the second half.
Atlanta’s first drive began with an incomplete pass followed by a 7-yard pass completion from QB Andy Samples to halfback Jawan King, but a penalty and a sack ended the drive with a punt at the 10:38 mark.
Tatum moved the ball well from the Atlanta 49 to the 16 in a few plays, but a run play for negative yardage and three incomplete passes gave the Rabbs possession of the ball with 8:00 left to play in the first quarter.
Samples began the drive with a 9-yard run, but the Rabbs were looking at fourth-down-and-1 a few plays later.
King gained a yard over what was needed to give Atlanta a fresh set of downs, but a short pass, an incomplete pass and a sack put Atlanta back in punt formation with 5:15 left in the opening frame.
Tatum opened its drive with an incomplete pass from the 35-yard line before the running back bolted across the goal line from 65 yards out at the 4:50 mark.
The successful PAT was good and the Eagles were up, 7-0.
Atlanta began its next drive from the 49 but crossed over into Eagle territory after a 7-yard scramble by Samples.
Samples connected with Kade Wood on passes of 11 and nine yards followed by runs totaling 17 yards from Samples, King and Dra Nelson.
The final run put the Rabbs at the 5-yard line where King rumbled in for a score a play later.
The PAT by Fernando Campos was good and the score was tied, 7-7, with 1:54 left in the first quarter.
Tatum had trouble moving the ball on its next drive after being harassed by the Rabbs’ defense, and fumbled the ball away to Atlanta with 36 seconds left in the quarter.
Samples found receiver Josh Edwards open for a 4-yard gain followed by a 4-yard run by King to close out the first quarter.
Samples took three carries as far as the 5-yard line but another sack brought up fourth down.
Campos attempted the 28-yard field goal but it was blocked on a big rush by the Eagles at the 9:46 mark.
Tatum moved the ball minimally before a pair of penalties put the Eagles at the Atlanta 27.
A few plays later on fourth down, Atlanta was called on a pass interference call which put Tatum at the 10.
In one play the Eagles scored from 10 yards out with 6:35 left in the second stanza.
The PAT put Tatum ahead, 14-7.
Neither team had success on their next drives, but the Rabbs eventually received the ball and set up shop at the Eagle 42 with just under three minutes left in the first half.
Samples connected with Nelson on two pass plays totaling 21 yards, and Nelson gained 17 yards on the ground to move the Rabbs to the Tatum 4-yard line.
A penalty against the Eagles moved the Rabbs a few inches closer, and on the next snap Nelson crossed the goal line with 1:02 left in the first half.
Campos’ PAT evened the score at 14-all.
Tatum answered quickly as the tailback scored on a 1-play, 75-yard touchdown gallop from the line of scrimmage.
The PAT put the Eagles up, 21-14, with just seconds left on the clock.
King took two carries for 10 yards total on the next drive, but just before the clock ran out on the quarter, Tatum was flagged and Atlanta received one last play from the 35.
Samples hit Austin Brown for 13 yards but the clock hit zero, and the teams entered halftime with the Eagles up by seven.
Tatum opened the new half with the ball and opened the new drive with a 10-yard penalty.
The Eagles gained that back with an 11-yard run on the next play which was followed up with a 74-yard touchdown pass at the 11:01 mark.
The PAT gave Tatum a, 28-14, lead.
The next couple of series led to punts by both squads, but on Atlanta’s next received punt Brown cut through plenty of defenders into Eagle territory.
That huge run plus a penalty assessed against Tatum put the Rabbs at the Eagle 9.
King took the ball down to the 4-yard line before Brown took the ball into the endzone on a sweep play.
The PAT cut the score to, 28-21, with 7:22 left in the third quarter.
Tatum couldn’t get things going on its next drive and punted the ball away with 4:58 left in the third frame.
Nelson made a few nice runs on the next drive along with passes from Samples to Edwards, Nelson and Cade Rosser, but the Rabbs fell 1-yard short on fourth down and turned the ball over at the 2:13 mark.
Atlanta’s defense continued to cause chaos as they forced a fumble, a 4-yard loss on a run play and two incomplete passes with a 12-yard pass play in the mix.
Facing fourth-and-14 the Eagles punted the ball with 54 seconds left in the third.
The quarter ended with King carrying the ball on three consecutive plays totaling 17 yards, and putting the Rabbits at the Eagle 34.
The Rabbs faced fourth down twice on the drive and both times broke through.
Positive runs by King, Nelson, Brown and Samples plus a 12-yard connection from Samples to Wood eventually set up the Rabbs at the Eagle 2.
On fourth-and-goal Samples slipped into the endzone from two yards out, and Campos’ PAT evened the score at, 28-28, with 8:06 left in the game.
From here the game was intense for both sides.
Tatum moved the ball from the 39 to the Rabbit 30 in eight plays, but it was the final play which turned the tide.
It was semi-reminiscent of the Texas-USC game in 2005.
Facing fourth-and-1 the Eagles tailback was stuffed by the tenacious Atlanta defense, and Atlanta took over with 3:40 left in the contest.
There was no Vince Young magic here on fourth down.
After a short run by Nelson, Samples completed his pass to Brown who took off and outran the Tatum defense enroute to a 71-yard touchdown.
The PAT was missed however but the Rabbs were up, 34-28, with just over two minutes left in the game.
Tatum, out of timeouts, turned the ball over on a quick four-and-out with 1:39 on the clock, and the Rabbs ran out the time with three kneels to seal the win.
Samples went 13-of-20 passing for 168 yards and a touchdown, and also scored a rushing TD.
King, Nelson and Brown all scored touchdowns on the ground.
King added seven yards receiving, Wood 35, Edwards, nine, Nelson 24, Rosser nine and Brown 84 with a touchdown.
Atlanta (3-2) had 125 rushing yards with 168 passing yards for a total of 293.
The Rabbs host Pittsburg this upcoming Friday night for the first district game.
Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.