ATLANTA — A team can sometimes get away with a few mistakes in September and October.

But November? Not so much.

The Chattooga Indians found that out the hard way Friday night, when they fumbled the ball away on three second-half kickoffs and suffered a 45-7 loss to Lovett in the opening round of the Class AA playoffs.

Lovett, the top seed from 6-AA and the lone team to beat Buford this season, will host East Jackson next week in the second round.

In Friday’s game, Chattooga was facing a seemingly workable 22-7 deficit at the half, before the Indians fumbled the opening kickoff of the second half, and the Lions converted the turnover into a touchdown for a 28-7 lead.

Chattooga fumbled again on the ensuing kickoff, and Lovett again recovered, leading to a Lions’ field goal and a 31-7 lead.

The same scenario occurred again later in the third quarter, with Lovett once more using a miscue by the Chattooga’ special teams to set up another TD.

And with that, it was 38-7 — and the Lions were in command. They added another score in the fourth quarter as the exclamation point to the win.

The night began promisingly for the Indians after they held Lovett to a quick three-and-out. Chattooga (9-2) then scored on its opening possession of the first quarter by piecing together a long drive.

A 10-yard run Jared Nelson moved the ball to the 2-yard line, and he scored on the next play to give the Indians a 7-0 lead.

But Lovett answered with a touchdown to tie it, and then scored two more times in the second quarter — including a TD with two seconds left in the first half — to take a 22-7 lead into the locker room.

Chattooga’s offense had considerable trouble moving the ball in the final two quarters, as the Indians failed to cross midfield in the second half.

Rome News Tribune