North Atlanta outclassed Johns Creek in all facets in the first half of the opening game of the Corky Kell + Dave Hunter Classic on the way to a 58-14 victory Wednesday against the Gladiators. It marked The Warriors second consecutive victory in the kickoff event.
“I was just happy to see our guys come out and start fast,” said North Atlanta coach Jamie Aull. “They were just ready to get after it and they came out and competed their tails off.”
The Warriors outgained Johns Creek 208-41 on rushing yards and 163-44 on receiving yards in the opening half, led by quarterback Ian Reynolds, who was 7-of-7 for 163 yards and two touchdowns to Grant Thompson and Xaden Benson.
Running back Demeitrus Barnes rushed for 102 yards and three touchdowns on eight carries to help North Atlanta build its 51-7 halftime lead.
The Warriors scored first on a 5-yard touchdown run from senior Barnes, following his 16-yard run to set up first-and-goal with 9:54 left in the first quarter and forced a safety with 7:43 left in the first quarter to expand the lead.
North Atlanta took little time capitalizing on the safety when Reynolds passed to Thompson for a 50-yard touchdown. Reynolds scored on the 2-point conversion to extend the lead to 17-0 with 7:25 left in the first quarter. The Warriors expanded the margin on a 26-yard touchdown reception from Benson with 4:03 left in the first quarter. Barnes found the end zone with 40 seconds left to push the advantage to 30-0.
Johns Creek forced a turnover and scored on a 29-yard touchdown pass from Mike McClellan to Larry Blumen with 9:09 left in the first half to cut into the lead 31-7.
Darrius Malcom, a star on the Warriors’ track team, broke free on a 92-yard kickoff return with 8:53 left in the first half to extend the lead to 38-7 for North Atlanta. With 3:55 left in the first half, Barnes scored on a 25-yard run, marking his third rushing touchdown of the game, and pushing the lead to 45-7.
Reynolds scored on a 30-yard run with 50 seconds left in the half to extend the lead to 51-7.
“It’s been huge to get our school and community and program in front of the whole state,” Aull said of playing in the Corky Kell + Dave Hunter Classic. “We have won the last two years now and it’s huge for our program.”
Malcom added a 97-yard kickoff return to start the second half and extend the lead to 58-7 for North Atlanta. The second half was played with a running clock.
“Guys like Malcom were on our track and field team,” Aull said. “Our track program is huge at our school and our running backs coach is our head track coach and so we try to get all of our skills players in that program.”
Johns Creek scored on a 7-yard touchdown pass from McClellan to Taz Smith with 11:39 left in the game to cut into the lead 58-14.
Barnes finished with 120 yards and three touchdowns on 10 carries. Reynolds was 7-of-7 passing for 163 yards and two touchdowns with four carries for 85 yards and a touchdown. Thompson finished with two receptions for 62 yards and a touchdown while Benson had two receptions for 45 yards and a touchdown.
McClellan was 5-of-9 passing for 61 yards and two touchdowns for Johns Creek.
Parkview 43, Kell 24
Parkview enjoyed a 36-7 halftime lead before weathering a late charge from Kell in the nightcap game of the Corky Kell + Dave Hunter Classic Wednesday at Kell. After an offensive display in the first half, the Panthers defense sealed the victory and thwarted Kell’s momentum.
Nursing a 36-24 lead, sophomore safety Zelus Hicks forced Kell quarterback Bryce Clavon to fumble after a jarring hit and senior Ira Singleton, a 6-foot-4, 215-pound defensive end grabbed the ball in stride and returned it 37 yards for a touchdown to secure the victory.
The hosting Longhorns opened scoring on a 54-yard pass from Bryce Clavon to Kyle Vaka to take the lead with 4:12 left in the first quarter. Parkview capped a 5-play, 62-yard drive, scoring on a 2-yard run from Khyair Spain with 2:50 left in the first quarter but failed on the 2-point attempt to trail 7-6. Trelain Maddox, a Georgia Tech-commit, intercepted a Clavon pass to give the Panthers the ball back and on the ensuing play, Jaiden Jenkins passed to Carson Wilson for a 48-yard touchdown to give Parkview the 13-7 lead.
With 11:02 left in the second quarter, the Parkview defense forced Kell to punt from its endzone. Antonio White blocked the kick, forcing the Kell kicker to kick the ball out of the endzone to avoid a Parkview touchdown, resulting in a safety to give Parkview a 15-7 lead.
On the ensuing kickoff, White took advantage of flawless blocking by the Panthers’ special teams and returned the kick 69 yards for a touchdown to expand the margin to 22-7. Brian Stokes scored on a 9-yard run with 3:44 left in the half to expand the lead. With seconds left, Jaylyn Crawford caught a 6-yard pass from Jenkins to make it 36-7.
Entering the second half, Kell scored on a 2-yard run from quarterback Bryce Clavon, one of the best baseball players in the country, to cut into the lead 36-14. The Kell defense forced a team safety with 4:18 left in the third quarter to narrow the margin to 36-16. A 4-yard run from Quinterrius Gipson with 11:38 left in the game left Kell trailing 36-24.
Jenkins was 8-of-17 passing for 181 yards and two touchdowns. Spain had 12 carries for 49 yards with a touchdown and stokes had seven carries for 41 yards and a touchdown. Wilson had three receptions for 89 yards and a touchdown.
Clavon was 9-of-12 passing for 151 yards and a touchdown and had 14 carries for 47 yards and a touchdown. Gipson made nine carries for 38 yards and a touchdown. Vaka had three receptions for 92 yards and a touchdown.