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Pierce County wins first state title in school history

Scoreless entering the fourth quarter, the Bears hold off Oconee County in overtime for their first state championship
Credit: GPB Sports
Knox Bennett embraces Bryce Mulkey after Pierce County's dramatic, 13-7 win in the AAA State Championship game.

Pierce County head coach Ryan Herring told First Coast News on Monday night that his team's State Championship showdown with Oconee County would "probably come down to the last play."

He wasn't kidding.

The Bears (13-1) defeated Oconee County (12-1) 13-6 in overtime of the AAA Georgia High School State Championship Wednesday afternoon, as DJ Bell scampered 15 yards into the end-zone on Pierce County's first offensive play of overtime. 

This was the defensive battle it was billed to be: both teams were held scoreless entering the fourth quarter. Pierce County didn't enter Oconee County territory until the third quarter. The Warriors would open the scoring in the fourth quarter with a Jake Johnson, highlight reel touchdown grab. But the Bears marched right down field on the ensuing drive, scoring three minutes later via a Bell, 10-yard touchdown out of the wildcat. The score came on Pierce County's first trip to the red-zone the entire game.

The Bears defense -- which scored two touchdowns in the final minutes of their semifinal game -- came up clutch again. Daytin Baker had two interceptions, including one on the first play of overtime for Oconee County. 

This is the first, football state title for Pierce County High School in their first title game appearance. The Warriors came up a field goal shy in last year's final; this was also their first loss of the 2020 season.