Trevor Lawrence rallied Clemson to a thrilling, come-from-behind 29-23 win Saturday night over Ohio State to keep the Tigers’ national championship defense hopes alive. The Clemson victory at the Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Arizona puts them in the College Football National Championship Game January 13 in New Orleans against LSU who routed Oklahoma, 63-28. Sunday, Vic Beasley Jr. and the Atlanta Falcons wrapped up the 2019 season with an overtime win at Tampa Bay. The Falcons’ 2015 first round draft pick is at the end of a one-year extension of his contract and will enter the off-season in contract negotiations along with many other Atlanta teammates. On the basketball hardwoods, a dozen local athletes made their mark with their respective teams over the past couple of weeks and former Adairsville swimmer Rylee Moss competed again for Old Dominion University at an event in Florida.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL TREVOR LAWRENCE — Clemson University (So., QB, Cartersville HS)… was 18-for-33 Saturday night for 259 yards and a pair of passing touchdowns, but he also ran for a career-high 107 yards that included a 67-yard touchdown scamper in the second quarter. Clemson came-from-behind to beat 2nd-ranked Ohio State in the College Football Playoff semifinals at the Fiesta Bowl. The Tigers will now meet LSU (14-0) January 13 in New Orleans for the National Championship. Saturday’s touchdown run by Lawrence was the longest rush of his career. In addition, he threw a touchdown pass in his 24th consecutive game to extend the longest active streak in the nation. Clemson erased a 16-point first half deficit and took their first lead 7:54 remaining in the third quarter when Lawrence connected with Travis Etiene for a 53-yard touchdown and a 21-16 advantage. Ohio State regained the lead early in the fourth quarter before Lawrence engineered a 94-yard game-winning drive that was capped on a 34-yard touchdown pass to Etienne with 1:49 remaining. Although Ohio State came back down the field in the final seconds, Clemson picked off a pass in the end zone to thwart the Buckeyes’ final drive. Clemson (14-0) has now won 29 straight games and will play in the National Championship Game for the fourth time in five seasons. The Tigers lost to Alabama in the 2015 title game, but beat the Crimson Tide in 2017 and last year. Lawrence was the MVP of last year's championship game.
VIC BEASLEY JR. — Atlanta Falcons (5th yr. pro; OLB; Clemson University; Adairsville HS)… had three tackles Sunday as Atlanta finished the 2019 season with a 28-22 overtime win at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Beasley completed the year with a career-high 42 total tackles including a team-leading eight sacks and a pair of forced fumbles. Beasley, a Falcons’ first-round draft pick in 2015 who turns 28 in the off-season, is at the end of a one-year contract extension with the Falcons. Atlanta finished the season with a 7-9 record after winning only one of its first eight games.
COLLEGE BASKETBALL ASHTON HAGANS — Universitiy of Kentucky (So., G, Cartersville, GA, Newton HS)… in a pair of losses in Las Vegas December 18 and 21, Hagans scored 16 and 14 points, respectively, in a 69-66 loss to unranked Utah and a 71-65 loss to No. 2 Ohio State. He also had 17 assists, 7 steals, and 4 rebounds in those two losses. In Saturday’s 78-70 overtime win over 3rd-ranked Louisville, Hagans contributed eight points, eight assists, five rebounds, two steals, and a blocked shot. The 19th-ranked Wildcats (9-3) begin SEC play this Saturday at home against Missouri. WHITNEY HARRIS — Toccoa Falls College (So., G, Woodland HS)… scored three points and had two rebounds in the Screaming Eagles’ 77-63 loss December 17 at Florida College. Toccoa Falls (5-12) returns to action January 13 at Brenau College. CARTER HEDDEN — Hocking CC (So., G, Cass HS)… totaled five points, three assists, and one rebound in a pair of Hawks’ games December 19 and 20. Hocking won at Anne Arundel 89-84 and lost at Prince George’s 84-78. The Hawks (10-3) host Owens CC January 8. KYLA MICHIENZI — Piedmont College (Fr., G, Cass HS)… scored four points and grabbed a pair of rebounds December 17 in a 102-60 loss at University of La Verne (California). She also had one assist and one steal in 28 minutes of court time December 16 in a 54-43 loss at University of Redlands (California). The Lions (6-6) host Birmingham-Southern Monday in Demorest and travel to Maryville College (Tennessee) to begin USA South Athletic Conference play Saturday afternoon. JANA MORNING — Berry College (Jr., G, Cass HS)… scored 14 points with five rebounds, four assists, and three steals December 20 as the Vikings fell 69-57 to Grove City College (Pennsylvania) in the finals of the NYC Shootout in New York City. The night before at the same event, Morning grabbed seven rebounds, scored four points, and added two assists in a 47-45 win over Juniata College (Pennsylvania). Morning had five assists and four steals in a 55-30 home win December 17 over Mississippi University for Women. Berry (6-5, 0-1 Southern Athletic Association) plays at Emory Monday night, hosts Rhodes College Friday night, and entertains Hendrix College Sunday afternoon. JAYLON PUGH — Furman University (So., G, Cartersville HS)… saw seven minutes of floor time and missed his only three-point shot attempt in the Paladins’ 64-62 win at Mercer December 20. It was the Southern Conference opener for both teams. Furman (11-3, 1-0) travels to VMI Wednesday afternoon and East Tennessee State Saturday afternoon for two more conference tilts. JOSIE SUMMERVILLE — North Park University (So., F, Adairsville HS)… scored 11 points, collected eight rebounds, and had one steal December 19 in a 70-55 victory over Finlandia University (Michigan) playing in Orlando. She then grabbed four rebounds and scored two points in a 62-45 loss the next day in Orlando to 4th-ranked Hope College (Michigan). Sunday afternoon, Summerville scored 10 points with nine rebounds, two steals, and one blocked shot in a 97-67 loss at Loras College (Iowa). The Vikings (9-2, 3-0 Collegiate Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin) play again Monday afternoon against Lawrence University at the Loras Holiday Tournament in Dubuque, Iowa. DARIUS THROWER — Truett-McConnell University (Sr., G, Excel Christian Academy)… scored 12 points with two rebounds and two assists December 17 in a 116-77 loss at Webber International University (Florida). Thrower also scored six points and had one rebound December 19 in a 110-51 exhibition loss at NCAA D-II Embry-Riddle University. The Bears (6-8, 2-6 Appalachian Athletic Conference) play at Columbia International University Thursday night and at Montreat College Saturday afternoon. ALEXIS WARE — Piedmont College (Fr., F, Cass HS)… grabbed three rebounds, blocked a shot, and scored two points in the Lions’ loss at University of Redlands (California) December 16. Ware also logged three minutes of court time, but had no stat line in a loss December 17 at University of La Verne (California). NAKIYAH WASHINGTON — Piedmont College (Fr., F, Adairsville HS)… In a pair of losses in California before Christmas, Washington scored 15 points, collected eight rebounds, and added a pair of steals at University of Redlands. She also scored eight points and had two rebounds in a loss at University of La Verne. CARROD WATSON — University of North Georgia (Sr., F, Woodland HS)… scored a total of six points, with four rebounds, three assists, one steal, and one blocked shot in a pair of conference losses December 19 and 21 at Francis Marion University and UNC-Pembroke. The Nighthawsk (5-6, 0-3 Peach Belt Conference) host Flagler College Saturday afternoon in another conference contest. PRO BASKETBALL ELIJAH ROBINSON — Atenas de Cordoba (3rd yr. pro; Argentina La Liga; Emmanuel College; Excel Christian Academy)… averaged more than 15 points, seven boards, and one assist as Atenas de Cordoba went 1-2 December 16-20 by splitting games with Bahia Basket and a loss to Argentino. Atenas (3-7) returns to action January 8 against Instituto Atletico Central Cordoba. SWIMMING
RYLEE MOSS — Old Dominion University (Fr., Adairsville HS)… competing at Florida Atlantic University December 20 against FAU, Wabash College, and North Texas, Moss had a couple of top five finishes with medley relay teams. Her 400-yard medley relay team finished fourth and the 100-yard medley relay team was fifth at the FAU Funtational that included some unique events. She also finished 11th in the 100-yard butterfly (1:01.71); 12th in the 100-yard individual medley reverse (1:05.39), and was 20th in the 50-yard butterfly (28.95). Next for the Monarchs is a home meet against William & Mary Saturday, January 11.