PEACHTREE CORNERS — Christian Heritage School trimmed a 21-point deficit down to seven, but the Lions just couldn't make a play happen at the end of the game to catch up to Wesleyan Saturday night on the road in the first round of the Class A Private playoffs.

Wesleyan took an early 21-0 lead and held off a rally by Christian Heritage to win 21-14. Wesleyan (8-3) moves on to the second round, while the season ends for Christian Heritage (4-7).

"It's the first road playoff game these guys have ever been in, and I think they were a little starry-eyed to begin with," Christian Heritage head coach Jay Poag said. "Once we started believing there in the second quarter on defense, you saw a different ballgame."

After cutting the score to 21-14 on their opening drive of the second half, the Lions had their chances to complete the comeback.

The defense kept making stops, but the offense couldn't convert. A Lion drive stalled in Wesleyan territory, then Christian Heritage was backed up to its own 1-yard line for another drive that it couldn't get going. After Christian Thomas snagged an interception at the goal line in the fourth to save a touchdown and give the Lions new life, Christian Heritage made its best attempt yet at a tying drive, but the Lions were shut down on a fourth down inside the Welseyan 40.

A final, desperate drive ended with an incompletion on a long fourth down, and Wesleyan ran out the remainder of the clock.

"We had three or four different drives where it's just a play here or there and it's a different game," Poag said. "That's the way it goes."

The Lions found themselves down 21 early in the second quarter after the big-play passing offense of Wesleyan got the Wolves started strong.

After the first Wesleyan drive was ended when Sam Wooten jumped on a fumble, Wesleyan wasted no time in scoring on its next possession, when quarterback Jett Miller hit Jamie Tremble for a 50-yard catch-and-run score on the first play of the drive.

While Christian Heritage's offense sputtered early, Miller found more big passing plays down the field, and Andrew Willis put the Lions behind 14-0 on a short rushing touchdown early in the second. Miller found James Hufham for a 25-yard score with 6:11 in the second quarter to grow the lead to its largest at 21-0.

Miller had 215 passing yards in the first half as he spread the ball around to open receivers. After the break, with Christian Heritage locking down, he managed just 32 more yards.

Prior to the half though, Christian Heritage's comeback attempt began.

After the touchdown that put the Lions down 21-0, Solomon Locke fielded the following kickoff at his five and sprinted through a hole and down the sideline all the way to the Wesleyan 11. Locke took it in two plays later to get Christian Heritage on the board.

"If you give him a shot, and we've seen it for four years here, he's usually going to make some good things happen with the ball," Poag said.

On the opening drive of the second half, Locke toted the ball on carries that went longer than 10 yards four times as Christian Heritage chipped down the field to cut the score to 21-14. Eli Thomason ran it in for a 3-yard touchdown.

Playing in his final game for the Lions, Locke carried it 22 times for 117 yards. Thomas, the Lions' starting quarterback for the region championship team of last season, saw some rare action on defense Saturday in his final game, making the big interception that kept the Lions in it.

The Lions finish the season at 4-7, but all 11 of the games were within one possession in the fourth quarter. The Lions lost to region champion Darlington when the Tigers scored a go-ahead touchdown in the game's final 30 seconds.

"That speaks to our talent, but also to our inexperience," Poag said. "The ones that come back, I hope there's a hunger in them to get back and hopefully make it five straight years in the playoffs."

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