The score cut Griffin’s deficit to 17-7, but Starr’s Mill recovered the ensuing on-side kick and Laskey — who scored a drive earlier on a 21 yard TD run around the right side and ended the night with a game-high 132 yards on 13 carries — broke off a 59-yard TD run around the right side on the drive’s first play to account for the game’s final margin as the Panthers wore down the Bears.
It was the first loss of the season for No. 6-state ranked Griffin (9-1), which will open the Class AAAA state playoffs Friday at home against Lee County (7-3).
Starr’s Mill (10-0), meanwhile, finished the regular season undefeated to capture its first region championship since 2005. They will host Hardaway (5-4) next week in the opening round of the playoffs.
Griffin ended the night with 176 yards of offense (50 rushing and 126 passing) from scrimmage.
Wontavious Washington led the Bears rushing 15 times for 53 yards, while Hamm completed 8-of-18 for 114 yards.
Starr’s Mill ended the night with 231 yards from scrimmage (159 rushing and 72 passing), Laskey being their most potent threat.
SM quarterback Adam Holley threw an 11-yard TDpass to Jeff Greene with :04.6 left in the first half to put Starr’s Mill up 10-0 at the half. The 11-play, 77-yard clock-eating drive was aided by a personal four call and an encroachment call against Griffin.
Holley completed passes of 14 and 12 yards to Greene, the game’s leading receiver with six catches for 49 yards, to march the Panthers down the field on a drive that chewed up 4:04.
Griffin failed to cross into Starr’s Mill territory in the first half, its best field position being the Griffin 46 on two occasions in the second quarter.
By half’s end, Griffin had 48 yards of offense (39 yards rushing and 9 passing) to 112 yards (49 rushing and 64 passing) for the Panthers. The Bears’ leading rusher was Corey Moore who filled in at quarterback on a few plays and had a team-leading 18 yards on four carries at the half.
Washington, Griffin’s season-leading rusher, who was questionable for tonight’s game because of a hamstring injury, had 15 yards on six carries at the half.
Starr’s Mill took a 3-0 lead on a 35-yard field goal by Ryan Nowicki two plays into the second quarter. A fumble recovery by Dylan Autera at the Griffin 28 set up the 10-yard, 7-play drive which was hurt by an offensive pass interference call and helped by an encroachment call against Griffin.
At the end of the first quarter there was no score. Starr’s Mill missed a 47-yard field goal attempt short with 6:20 to play in the quarter. Griffin never went beyond its own 26 yard line in the quarter.
The second half was a different story as the Bears reached the Starr’s Mill 13 on its first two drives, but lost the ball on downs the first time after a snap sailed over Bears kicker Eddie Glanton's head on a 30-yard field goal attempt. The next time was on an interception of Hamm by Panthers defensive back Eric Armagost to set up Laskey's first TD run in the fourth quarter.
Griffin's two leading receivers on the night were Xzavier Dickson with 41 yards on 3 receptions and Jahmad Clemons with 46 yards on 2 receptions. Griffin was penalized 10 times for 90 yards while Starr's Mill was flagged 3 times for 35 yards.