The Grizzlies, however, appeared to be a little late showing up to the party.
Sprayberry gave first-year coach Terry Crowder a dose of the nightmare situation he feared, but Kyle Wilkie, Isaiah Rodgers and Connor Dulmage helped Creekview score five unanswered touchdowns in a 35-13 win that set up the Grizzlies for a home game against East Paulding to kick off the official postseason next week.
“It’s hard to play that game when you know you’ve got to win and you might stall out a little,” Crowder said. “I’m proud of the kids. We beat a good football team. (A) 2-8 (record) doesn’t recognize just how good Sprayberry is.”
Creekview reached the state playoffs for the third time since 2008. It’s still seeking the first postseason win, though.
Sprayberry led for most of the first half, thanks to two Rodrigo Blankenship field goals, and it was poised to take the lead on a third just before time expired in the second quarter. But that was when Creekview’s B.J. Smith came around the edge and blocked a 52-yard attempt — one within Blankenship’s range — to help Creekview (8-2) hold the lead heading into the locker room.
When asked if there was ever a spark or speech that had to be given at the half to prevent the Grizzlies from suffering a demoralizing defeat, Crowder confidently insisted that there was no panic.
“Our guys are really mature,” Crowder said. “They listen, and they did a great job of coming out and taking care of business.”
For Sprayberry coach Billy Shackelford, his team’s first-half performance offered a glimpse of what could come next season.
He talked to his players after the game about finishing. For a team that earned its second win of the season last week, the performance in the first quarter was a positive.
“It doesn’t surprise me that we played them tough, and unfortunately, turnovers and mistakes sunk our ship,” Shackelford said. “But Creekview is a good football team. There’s a reason they’re 8-2, and I wish them the best in the playoffs.”
Creekview might want to ride Rodgers in the postseason. The senior carried the ball 25 times for 166 yards and two touchdowns, including a 33-yarder to put the game out of reach in the fourth. Wilkie also connected with Dulmage for two touchdowns, and he rushed for another.
“I talked to Isaiah all week about how this could be his week,” Crowder said. “On fourth-and-8, we ran it with him for a first down. That shows that I’ve got confidence in him. He’s a really good football player.”
Shane Young was productive for Sprayberry despite twice leaving the game with a leg injury. Young was 13-of-21 for 137 yards, but he also had one of the team’s three interceptions on the night.