Week 1 Friday Night Roundups

Graham 'I am not David' David

The top-ranked Grayson Rams kicked off their season with a 51-13 road victory over the Jones County Greyhounds, seizing control early with a strong start on offense and a pair of first-half interceptions by Jibrahn Claude. The senior’s first interception came on the opening drive, and the Rams capitalized on Claude’s return to the Jones County 3-yard line with a touchdown run by Caden High on the following snap. Grayson scored again after a Jones County punt, but the Greyhounds got on the board later in the opening frame with a rushing score by freshman fullback Omarion Tucker. The quarter came to an end with Jamal Haynes’ run to the Jones County 5, and the second began with the senior finding the end zone for the second time for a 21-7 Grayson lead.

Claude’s second interception wasn’t as fruitful for the Rams as his first; the drive ended in a fumble and recovery by the Greyhounds. Jones County was also unable to score off their takeaway, however, and a failed punt attempt from the end zone gave Grayson a safety and a 23-7 lead. The Greyhounds got within 10 on a 78-yard touchdown (the PAT was blocked) shortly after, but the rest of the game belonged to Grayson. The Rams closed out the half with a touchdown and a pick-six for a 37-13 advantage at the break before adding a pair of second-half touchdowns for the 51-13 final. Grayson was without transfer quarterback (and Florida commit) Carlos del Rio, who was ruled ineligible by the GHSA but will be appealing the decision.

Class 7A

Central Gwinnett 21, Discovery 0

Central Gwinnett quarterback Justin Johnson threw a 30-yard touchdown pass to Rhyheem Camel in the first quarter to give the Black Knights a 7-0 lead, and his 30-yard touchdown pass to Mekhi Mews with 9:43 remaining in the third quarter gave his team a 14-0 advantage heading into the final frame. Johnson then ran for a 4-yard touchdown with five minutes remaining for the 21-0 final.

Lambert 34, Campbell 9

The visiting Lambert Longhorns defeated the Campbell Spartans in tonight’s season opener. Campbell had a 6-0 advantage at the end of the first thanks to two field goals by Dzenan Cerimagic. A touchdown by Lambert’s Kojo Antwi put the Longhorns up 7-6, but another field goal from Cerimagic gave Campbell a 9-7 lead at the half. The Longhorns dominated the second half of the game, outscoring the Spartans 27-0. Touchdown rushes from Darren Guy and Robert Riddle made it a 20-9 game headed into the fourth. Guy scored a second touchdown in the final quarter, and quarterback James Tyre took it to the end zone himself for the last points of the evening.

Class 6A

Valdosta 28, Warner Robins 25

A field goal with 25.3 seconds remaining gave Valdosta its first lead of the game—and Rush Propst his first win as head coach of the Wildcats. Also suiting up for Valdosta for the first time was transfer quarterback Jake Garcia, who got off to a rocky start; the home team’s first two possessions ended in turnovers by the USC-commit, bookending an 18-yard touchdown run by Jahlen Rutherford for Warner Robins. Valdosta got on the board near the end of the half with a field goal, but the ensuing kickoff was returned for a touchdown and a 10-3 lead at the break for the Demons. Junior Tahj Sanders returned a Warner Robins punt early in the third to the Demons 6-yard line, then ran it in for the first Valdosta touchdown of the night. Demons quarterback Jalen Addie answered with a 60-yard touchdown pass for a 19-10 advantage (the 2-point conversion attempt was no good) before Sanders took another trip to the end zone midway through the third. Warner Robins expanded its lead (25-17) in the final frame, but Allah Brown’s kickoff return deep into Warner Robins territory set up Sanders’ third touchdown of the night. A successful 2-point conversion by the Wildcats tied the game at 25-25, and the made field goal brought the score to its final tally.

Rome 28, Rockmart 21

Rockmart quarterback Javin Whatley connected with Lanear McCrary on a 16-yard touchdown pass to put the visiting Yellowjackets up 6-0 midway through the first quarter. Rome’s Caleb Ellard threw touchdown passes of 24 and 33 yards to Jay Wise late in the opening frame to put the Wolves up 14-6. Rockmart capitalized on a fake field goal that resulted in a 12-yard Whatley touchdown run with 5:42 left in the half and then reclaimed a 21-14 lead on J.D. Davis’ 9-yard rushing score with just 1:02 left before the break. The lead held after a scoreless third quarter, but Rome tied it up 21-21 in the opening minute of the fourth quarter with a 13-yard touchdown run by Ellard. E.J Burke’s 4-yard touchdown run with 6:07 left in the game provided Rome with the game-winning score.

Lanier 5, Dutchtown 0

Mason Mancilla made a 31-yard field goal with 4:11 remaining in the fourth quarter to give host Lanier a 3-0 lead, and Lanier got a safety on a bad snap from Dutchtown with 2:59 left for a 5-0 final.

Class 5A

Woodland-Stockbridge 50, Forest Park 7

Woodland running back Joshua Weems rushed for touchdowns of 62, 23 and 7 yards to lead the Wolfpack to a home win. Weems gave Woodland a 7-0 lead in the first quarter with a 7-yard touchdown run, and Wolfpack quarterback Evan Jackson found Ali Abdul-Barr with a 33-yard touchdown pass to make it 14-0 Woodland. The Wolfpack led 28-7 at halftime after a 34-yard Elijah Parrish punt-return touchdown for Woodland and a 35-yard touchdown pass from Jackson to Alec Jackson. Weems helped put the game away with touchdown runs of 62 and 23 yards in the third quarter to give Woodland a 42-7 lead. The Wolfpack got a safety and Emanuel Wesay rushed for a 20-yard score for the 50-7 Woodland victory.

Harris County 28, Troup 14

Harris County QB Cooper Corey threw a 30-yard touchdown pass and ran it in for an 18-yard score to give the Tigers a 14-0 lead in the first quarter. Visiting Troup fumbled away a scoring opportunity deep in Harris County territory before halftime but recovered with a 97-yard touchdown run by RB Anthony Ferguson early in the third. Harris County then responded with a 28-yard touchdown run by K.D. Hutchinson to extend its lead to 21-7. Troup capitalized on a key defensive stop with another Ferguson rushing touchdown (29 yards), to make the score 21-14 early in the fourth. Troup then stopped Harris County again, but fumbled the ball just a few plays later, enabling KD Hutchinson to score his second touchdown of the night on a 6-yard run with 7:30 left to play. The Harris County defense forced a turnover on downs for Troup at midfield with five minutes remaining to seal the win.

Clarke Central 10, Cedar Shoals 3

After a scoreless opening frame, host Cedar Shoals took the lead over visiting Clarke Central with a second-quarter field goal. The 3-0 Jaguars advantage stood throughout the third before an early fourth-quarter field goal from Clarke Central’s Walker Bradbury knotted the game at 3-3. Clark Central’s Will Richardson ran for the game’s lone touchdown to seal the victory for the Gladiators.

Class 4A

Luella 28, McIntosh 14

The Chiefs snagged the early lead in their season opener with a 2-yard quarterback sneak from Senior Hayes Herzog, but a failed 2-point conversion kept the game at 6-0. On the following kickoff, the ball went out of bounds, and the Lions decided to force a re-kick. What followed was a kickoff return to the house to give Luella the 7-6 lead with just over three minutes left in the first quarter. The Lions extended their lead in the second when junior quarterback Destin Ingram tossed a 60-yard touchdown pass. Herzog struck again for the Chiefs in the third, rushing in another touchdown to go with a successful 2-point conversion to tie the game at 14-14, but the Lions quickly reclaimed the lead when sophomore Jaden Coleman scored on an 8-yard scamper. Senior James Jones sealed the Luella victory with another rushing touchdown in the fourth.

Class 3A

Benedictine 58, Burke County 26

Benedictine sophomore Za’Quan Bryan took the second snap of the game in for a 66-yard touchdown. The Cadets tacked on a 3-yard touchdown pass from Holden Geriner to Duke-commit Trent Broadnax, then grew the lead to 20-0 heading into the second quarter with a 78-yard punt return touchdown by Broadnax. Burke County got on the board with a 24-yard touchdown run by Charlie Dorsey, but the PAT was blocked and Benedictine maintained its 20-6 edge. Junior Justin Thomas returned the ensuing kickoff 80 yards for a Cadets touchdown before Burke County answered with a 4-yard Davin Bonner touchdown run and successful two-point conversion to cut the lead to 27-14. Benedictine found the end zone just before the end of the half with a 1-yard QB sneak by Geriner to go up 34-14. Burke County’s Dorsey opened the second-half scoring on a 4-yard touchdown run and Benedictine kicker Nick Dillon connected on a 44-yard field goal to bring the score to 37-21. The Cadets forced Burke County to punt on the next Bears possession, and a 26-yard scamper by LeShon Brooks put Benedictine up 44-20. Kameron Edge assumed the quarterback duties in the fourth quarter and found Bryan for a 66-yard touchdown pass to stamp the 58-26 win.

Class 2A

Bremen 38, Landmark Christian 0

Tay Banks rushed for two touchdowns in Bremen’s road win over Landmark Christian. Brooks Hardie and Carter Taylor also rushed for touchdowns for the Blue Devils, and Brody Dereinger hit a 42-yard field goal. Dillon McCoy returned a partially blocked punt 35 yards for a Bremen score.

Class A-Private

Aquinas 52, Harlem 33

The Aquinas Fightin’ Irish came away with a road victory against 2-AA opponent Harlem in a battle between two potent offenses that was much closer than the final score (52-33) would indicate. Aquinas got on the board first with the first of senior quarterback James Schlegel’s three touchdown runs on the night. Harlem took its only lead of the game with a rushing score by Jeremiah Ellis—set up by his own 72-yard run—before back-to-back touchdowns from senior Darius Stone gave Aquinas a 21-7 lead. Harlem answered with a score from senior Cam Garnett and a second by Ellis, and a 22-yard field goal gave Aquinas a 24-20 lead at the break. Schlegel scored again following a Harlem fumble on the opening kick of the second half. Garnett and Stone each added touchdowns in the third, and another from Garnett at the start of the fourth made it a one-score game (38-33). The Bulldogs were unable to score again, however, and Aquinas tacked on two more touchdowns for the 52-33 final.

Prince Avenue Christian 42, Calvary Day 7

Quarterback Brock Vandergriff accounted for six touchdowns to lead the No. 3 ranked Wolverines to a 42-7 victory in their home opener. The five-star UGA-commit accounted for 171 passing yards and 50 rushing yards in the first half—finding the end zone twice through the air and once on the ground to build a 21-0 lead. Vandergriff’s third passing touchdown extended the lead to 28-0 heading into the fourth quarter, and he added his fourth touchdown pass and second rushing touchdown of the night in the final frame to give the Wolverines a 42-0 lead before the Cavaliers got on the board.

Fellowship Christian 43, Christian Heritage 21

Host Fellowship Christian outscored Christian Heritage 41-7 in the second half to erase a 14-2 halftime deficit. After getting on the board with a safety in the first half, Fellowship Christian’s Eli Hidebrandt threw a touchdown pass to Josh Cole and Murphy Reeves broke loose for a 52-yard touchdown run to give the Paladins a 16-14 lead early in the third quarter. Lawson Haigler extended the lead to 23-14 heading into the final frame with his 39-yard touchdown. Christian Heritage brought it within 23-21 with 11:12 left, but Fellowship Christian responded with 20 unanswered points to close out the victory. Reeves returned to the end zone with a 57-yard touchdown run with 9:55 left that put Fellowship up 30-21 and Cole rushed for a 12-yard score with 5:39 left to make it a 37-21 game. Sophomore outside linebacker iced the game minutes later with an interception and 90-yard touchdown return.

Wesleyan 45, Mt. Pisgah 14

Clemson baseball commit Cooper Blauser kicked off his big night for Wesleyan with an interception on Mt. Pisgah’s opening drive, and the Wolves got on the board with a 30-yard touchdown run by Griffin Caldwell early in the second quarter for a 7-0 lead. Blauser made another play—this time on offense—when he connected with Wesleyan quarterback Ryan Rose on an 85-yard touchdown pass late in the first half. The Wolves got another stop and took a commanding 17-0 lead into halftime on the road. Blauser scored again early in the third quarter on a rushing touchdown set up by another long Caldwell run before Mt. Pisgah threw another interception on the following drive—this time to Wesleyan’s Andrew Van Wie. Van Wie then caught a 15-yard touchdown pass from Rose, and Blauser and Rose connected for another touchdown pass later in the quarter to give the visiting Wolves a dominant 38-0 lead before the Patriots finally got on the board. Ryan found Blauser once more for another  touchdown in the final minutes of the third quarter, and the Wolves coasted through the fourth for the 45-14 victory.

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