Bulldogs Take Down MacIntosh, Advance in Playoffs

Shae Cotter, Reporter

The Chamblee Bulldogs football team is advancing to the second round of playoffs after their blowout win against the McIntosh Chiefs last Saturday, November 12. Playing at home at North DeKalb Stadium, the Bulldogs scored 61 points, their highest score this season, to McIntosh’s 13 points, in Chamblee’s first playoff football game in 15 years. 

Chamblee opened the scoring early, with what NFHS (National Federation of State High School Associations) Network would eventually name the #4 play in all of US high school football last week. Quarterback Fabian Walker (‘23) faked a handoff, ran, and then pitched the ball sideways to receiver Levi Bradham (‘23), who completed a 29-yard run for the touchdown. Two minutes later, Marquacious Wright (‘24) blocked McIntosh’s punt, setting up Ashton Bolston (‘24) to run it in for another touchdown, putting the Bulldogs ahead 14-0 at the end of the first quarter.

This early positive momentum reflects something Walker finds to be a key part of Chamblee’s game.

“Our strategy is to use our speed, since the way we play the game is generally fast-paced, so we rely on that,” said Walker (‘23).

Walker in particular was a key player in securing the win for Chamblee, passing for 292 of the team’s total of 372 yards and scoring two touchdowns.

“I have never been in a playoff game my entire high school career, this is my very first one, so I [am going to] treat it like it’s my last,” said Walker before the game.

The first of Walker’s touchdowns came two minutes into the second quarter, with him running it in to make it 20-0, but, 3 minutes later, McIntosh would start to pose a threat to the win by scoring a touchdown and converting the subsequent extra point. 

The real action, however, happened with less than two minutes left in the half, after Chamblee had run it in for yet another touchdown. McIntosh quarterback Tate Morris (‘23) threw an interception 22 yards out, which led to Chamblee running back Larry Harris running in a short pass from Walker for the touchdown with 36 seconds left. Then, through awful luck for McIntosh, they lost the ball again, fumbling with 18 seconds left, leading to Walker completing a 37-yard touchdown pass to Bradham, allowing for Chamblee’s 41-7 lead at the half.

Chamblee continued their apparent momentum into the second half, with Bradham catching another beautiful 46-yard pass from Walker to put Chamblee on the four-yard line, setting up Larry Harris to score another. The Bulldogs would go on to score two more rushing touchdowns before McIntosh scored another with two minutes to go, but it was too little too late, and the Bulldogs capped off one of their best games of the season impressively.

Having advanced past the first round, the Bulldogs (ranked number 20 in the GHSA 5A division) will take on the number 1 ranked Ware County in Waycross this Friday the 18th. Still, the team has maintained a winning mentality heading into the tough matchup.

“We can beat them just as easily as any other team we’ve played. We just need to make sure we keep mistakes to a minimum and maintain the same level of focus throughout the game,” said junior Tristian Sizemore.

Senior Noah Habtemariam also feels that another win for the Bulldogs is within reach.

“We understand that Ware County is a formidable opponent and they are not just going to let us waltz in their house and beat them, but we feel as though we have the right group of guys to get the job done… It feels amazing to be a part of this group of guys and honestly, it has been nothing but growth and fun being around them,” said Habtemariam. “The major takeaway from the McIntosh game is… that if we believe that we can accomplish a goal then there is truly nothing stopping us from getting there.”