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Corky Kell + Dave Hunter Classic Saturday Updates; Brookwood downs McEachern, Norcross Over Marietta, Mill Creek tops North Gwinnett, Walton upends Grayson

Brookwood 21, McEachern 20

In the year where legendary coach Dave Hunter lent his name to the event he helped create, his former team – Brookwood – defeated rival 21-20 McEachern in the Corky Kell + Dave Hunter Classic for the first time ever at Mercedes-Benz Stadium Saturday.

“Typical first game,” said Brookwood head coach Phillip Jones. “Lots of mistakes. We were down 20-7 and things were looking pretty grim there in the third quarter.”

Trailing 20-7, Brookwood scored on a 48-yard pass from CJ Franklin to Lee Niles with 4:44 left in the third quarter to narrow the margin. A 9-yard touchdown run from Braden Tyson – in his first high school game — with 6:16 left in the game gave Brookwood the lead for good.

“It just means the world to our guys,” Jones said. “Their grit and their mental toughness. They just kept believing something good was going to happen and it’s good to see them hold on for the win. And with Tyson, we see that all day long in practice. We are just returning to old school Brookwood. Running up and running the football well.”

Brookwood led 7-0 after a 22-yard run from Cam French with 11:53 left in the first half but McEachern tied the game on a 9-yard pass from Jaydon Kinney to Kayden Peterson with 5:03 left before halftime. A pair of field goals of 22 and 34 yards from Jon Rodriguez gave the Indians a 13-7 lead. McEachern expanded the margin on a 17-yard pass from Kinney to Terry Wilson with 6:03 left in the third quarter to give the Indians a 20-7 advantage.

The programs first met in the inaugural Corky Kell + Dave Hunter Classic, then known as the Corky Kell Classic, in 1992 where McEachern won 21-14. The Broncos got revenge that season with a 19-8 victory in the playoffs.

In 1998, McEachern won 24-21 in the Corky Kell Classic and in 2002, Brookwood beat the Indians 28-7 in the first round of the playoffs. In 2009, McEachern defeated Brookwood 42-32 to open the season in the Corky Kell, but Brookwood won 20-10 in the playoffs that year. In 2013, McEachern won the Corky contest 31-10 and in 2019, the Indians defeated Brookwood 48-10.

Tyson finished with 16 carries for 93 yards and a touchdown and French added 92 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries. Kinney was 18-of-27 passing for 158 yards and two touchdowns for McEachern.

Walton 49, Grayson 27

Some people would say Walton’s Wake Forest-commit quarterback is pretty good at football. Ok, those people might even declare he’s very good at football.

In the Raiders’ 49-27 victory over Grayson in the nightcap game of the Corky Kell + Dave Hunter Classic at Mercedes-Benz Stadium Saturday, Jeremy Hecklinski proved those statements true. The 6-foot, 180-pound quarterback passed for four touchdowns and 289 yards on 16-of-24 passing to overwhelm a challenging Grayson.

He passed to Cameron Loyd (44 yards), Jordan Bride (27 yards), Hunter Teal (3 yards) and Ashton Woods (2 yards) for touchdowns. Woods, Bride and Teal caught touchdown passes in the first half, helping Walton to a 35-7 lead at the halftime after Hayden Halpaus returned a fumble 21-yards for a score with 48 seconds left. John Cineas returned the ensuing kickoff back 95 yards, marking Grayson’s only points of the first half.

“The best thing we did, was mess up before half,” Brunner said. “So, coming out of halftime, we’d given up that kick return and so we came out of the half and came back with our offense. I’m so proud of these guys.”

Despite the impressive stat Walton’s Wake-bound quarterback, the defense was stifling, led by Jake Thorner, who had 10 tackles, two tackles for a loss and a sack. Wendell Gregory made five tackles, 2.5 tackles for a loss and 1.5 sacks.

“At the beginning of the game we turned the ball over offensively, but we talked all week about weathering the storm,” said Brunner. “We wanted to create turnovers in the red zone and we did it when it mattered most.” The Walton defense forced four fumbles in the victory, recovered by Tuson McCrary, Wyatt Sonderman, Halpus and Justin Krueger.

Mill Creek 49, North Gwinnett 14

Mill Creek led 7-0 after the first quarter and 21-0 at the half in a 41-14 romp of North Gwinnett in the Corky Kell + Dave Hunter Classic Saturday afternoon at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

North Gwinnett narrowed the margin to 21-14 on a 21-yard pass from Ryan Hall to Erik Ronning with 4:33 left in the first half but could not manage an answer to the Mill Creek defense.

“It was huge,” said Mill Creek head coach Josh Lovelady of the turn around at halftime. “There’s some gamesmanship between me and Eric (Godfree) in there as far as calling time outs. But it was great to have that momentum of that stop because we had the ball coming back.”  

Georgia Tech-commit Trajen Greco finished with 75 receiving yards on five receptions. He caught passes of 63 and seven yards for touchdowns, both from junior quarterback Shane Throgmartin. The junior finished 11-of-17 passing for 143 yards and three touchdowns, his other to Justin Cotent with 3:03 left in the third quarter.

On the ground, running back Cam Robinson made 18 carries for 229 yards and two touchdowns on runs of 61 and 32 yards to lead the way.

“He is good to have back,” said Lovelady of Robinson. “He had 2,000 yards last year. He isn’t the biggest thing, but I tell you what, he has such great vision and comes out of the backfield, and he can take an outside play and cut back on the back side. He’s reliable, durable at 190-pounds.”

Daniel Smith scored on an 11-yard run with 5:56 left in the game and with under a minute left, Demarko Lawler returned an interception 26 yards for a touchdown to put the game away for Mill Creek. Hall was 10-of-23 passing for 119 yards with two touchdowns for North Gwinnett, his second to Erik Ronning with 4:33 left in the first quarter. Ronning made three receptions for 40 yards.

Norcross 45, Marietta 23

Marietta led 6-3 with 1:43 left in the first quarter but by halftime, Norcross had built a 24-9 lead which it expanded in the second half to secure a 45-23 victory in the opening game of the Corky Kell + Dave Hunter at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

“You all saw what we see every day in practice,” said Norcross head coach Keith Maloof. “But it all starts with the offensive line. We’ve got a lot of those guys back. Two and three year starters and when you’ve got that in the offensive line, you can play around a bit until you figure out your identity everywhere else.”

Russell Bey scored on an 18-yard run to put Marietta up 6-3 but a 55-yard pass from AJ Watkins to Jamari Harrold with 11:23 left in the first half put Norcross ahead for good. A field goal with 3:49 left in the first half got Marietta behind 10-9 but a five-touchdown stretch from Norcross put the game away.

“It was an overall team effort defensively,” Maloof said. “After the first bit, we had to get off the field on third-and-long downs and stupid penalties. But overall I am as proud of my special teams and offense and defense, overall, the coaches and the whole team.”

Watkins scored on a 73-yard run with 3:31 left in the first half to put Norcross up 17-9 and passed to Harrold just before halftime to expand the margin for Norcross. With 7:35 left in the third quarter, Kevin Winchester secured a loose ball in the end zone for a touchdown to give Norcross a 31-9 lead. Winchester scored a 2 and 1-yard runs to expand the lead to 45-9.

Marietta scored on a 10-yard pass from Chase McCravy to Landon Mannery with 2:06 left in the game and on a 2-yard run from McCravy with 14 seconds left but the game was out of reach.

Watkins was 7-o-f8 passing for 94 yards and two touchdowns and had eight carries for 109 yards and a touchdown. Mohammed had six carries for 24 yards and two touchdowns. Harrold made five catches for 95 yards and two touchdowns.

McCravy was 22-of-37 passing for 293 yards and a touchdown to lead Marietta. Brandon Rosado made nine catches for 123 yards for the Blue Devils.

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