Sandy Creek won the Georgia Class 3A high school football championship over Cedar Grove on Saturday after the referees made what appeared to be an egregiously poor ruling, as Sandy Creek scored a go-ahead touchdown in the final minute of the game despite the ball carrier being well short of the goal line. Sandy Creek prevailed 21-17, giving them their fourth state title in the past 15 years and their first since 2012.
On a third and goal from the two-yard line with 59 seconds left to play, Sandy Creek quarterback Travis Franklin took a direct snap and ran to his right with a convoy of blockers, only to be met by Cedar Grove's defense at the one-yard line. Despite Franklin clearly being stood up at the one -- well short of the plane -- the referees officiating the game ruled that Sandy Creek had scored a touchdown, giving them a lead they would never relinquish.
This was ruled a TD in the final minute of the Georgia state championship and Sandy Creek (Red) won 21-17.— MaxPreps (@MaxPreps) December 10, 2022
Do you agree with the call? 🤷♂️
(🎥 @GPBsports ) pic.twitter.com/hdNq9i8YEU
At the heart of the blown call is the lack of an instant replay system in Georgia high school football -- even at the state championship level -- a problem that has altered the outcome of state championships before. In 2017, Peach County lost to Calhoun after a late go-ahead touchdown on 4th and 9 was ruled an incomplete pass despite wide receiver Noah Whittington clearly crossing the plane with the ball in his hands.
The blown call tainted what had been a championship battle between two state football heavyweights, as Sandy Creek had entered the game with a 12-2 record while Cedar Grove came in 11-2.