Grayson 32, Marietta 12
Grayson, the 2020 defending 7A champions, displayed a smothering defense and balanced scoring as it defeated Marietta 32-12 in the final game of the Corky Kell Classic at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
The Rams offense, led by quarterback Jeff Davis II, featured many new faces after a large graduating class from 2020’s state championship team.
“We graduated 38 seniors and I think eight starters on defense,” said Grayson head coach Adam Carter. “So we had our bombs tonight. We had some bumps but that’s how it goes. I thought that we left alot out there, to be honest with you.”
Grayson’s junior quarterback was an efficient 13-of-19 passing for 157 yards and one touchdown.
“I’ll never ask you to come out and throw 50 balls,” Carter said. “I need you to be efficient. I need you to take care of the ball. I need you to control the offense. And (Davis) is a very smart kid, a good kid, and that’s what he does.”
After a scoreless first quarter, the Rams took an 8-0 lead on a 7-yard run from Dylan Elder and a two-point conversion run from Myles Wood. A 15-yard pass from Davis II to Mason Humphrey put Grayson up 15-0. Paul Duncan’s 29-yard field goal put the Rams up 18=-0 with 8:29 left in the third quarter.
“We played hard,” Carter said. “We did some good things offensively but we didn’t capitalize. So the whole deal we work out is starting faster, at Grayson. That’s what we talk about. I think we played well in all phases.”
With 3:51 left in the third quarter, Joe Taylor Jr. put Grayson up 25-0 on a 34-yard run. Marietta got on the board with a 1-yard run from Chase McCravy early in the fourth quarter. Grayson’s 36-yard touchdown run from JoJo Stone Jr. thwarted any chance of a Marietta comeback. The Blue Devils scored on a 49-yard pass from McCravy to Christain Mathis with 2:52 left in the game but it was not enough.
Taylor Jr. ran 19 times for 116 yards and a touchdown. Stone had three carries for 42 yards and a touchdown. Elder made six carries for 25 yards and a touchdown. Caden High had four receptions for 63 yards, Stone had three receptions for 39 yards and Humphrey had one catch, the 15-yard touchdown.
McCravy was 19-of-30 passing for 174 yards and a touchdown with one interception and one rushing touchdown. Mathis caught five passes for 88 yards and a touchdown for Marietta.
Mill Creek 44, Walton 41
Mill Creek, for lack of better words, outlasted Walton 44-41 in an offensive war of attrition in the penultimate game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium Saturday and a game-winning touchdown pass from Hayden Clark to Makhail Wood with :19 seconds left was the game-winner.
The teams combined for over 1,000 yards of offense in the onslaught, Walton gaining 585 and Mill Creek managing 478 yards.
“We were working on things all night long,” said Mill Creek head coach Josh Lovelady. “We knew we had certain matchup issues and, you know, those are things you just can’t see on film. You don’t jump in and people don’t do a two minute drill, prevent defense in a scrimmage.”
The back-and-forth nature of the game learned in Mill Creek’s favor first. The Hawks scored on a 46-yard touchdown run from Caleb Downs with 9:07 left in the first quarter. Walton got on the board with 7 minutes left on a 5-yard pass from Jeremy Hecklinski to Ayden Jackson. Mill Creek kicker Jacob Ulrich put the Hawks up 10-6 with a 35-yard field goal.
“The first couple of plays, it was just big plays by big playmakers,” Lovelady said. “Our leadership showed through guy’s experience last year. It showed up there.”
Walton took its first lead of the game 13-10 on an 80-yard pass from Hecklinski to Cameran Lloyd with 3:12 left in the first quarter. But Mill Creek responded with touchdown runs from Cam Robinson (17 yards) and Downs (1 yard) to take a 24-13 lead.
Just before halftime, Hecklinski passed to Lloyd again, this time a 53-yarder, to get the Raiders back into the game 24-20. Early in the third quarter, Ulrich put Mill Creek up a touchdown on a 56-yard field goal 27-20. The two teams traded touchdown runs, Walton on a 6-yard run from Makari Bodiford and Mill Creek on a 6-yard run from Robinson to make it a 34-27 game. Walton tied the game at 34 on a 33-yard touchdown pass from Hecklinski to Jackson with 2:12 left in the third quarter.
Ulrich, who was 4-for-4 on field goals on the night, put Mill Creek up 37-34 early in the fourth quarter. The new addition, who made kicks of 56,, 35 and 24 yards while kicking nine times for 542 yards with seven touchbacks, has been a major asset already.
“Oh he was huge,” Lovelady said. “I mean, talk about the touchbacks. That’s where you look and see our average start is 35 (yardline). He’s got a big leg. I guess we just have the Corky Kell mojo because we had a big field goal last year, too.”
Walton had its chances late and took the lead on a 1-yard touchdown run from Bodiford with 6:11 left but could not keep Mill Creek out of the end zone.
Clark was 20-of-40 passing for 279 yards and one touchdown to lead Mill Creek. Robinson finished with 15 carries for 80 yards and two touchdowns. Downs had five carries for 55 yards and two touchdowns.
Hecklinski was 20-of-33 passing for 425 yards and four touchdowns with one interception. Lloyd had six catches for 196 yards and two touchdowns and Jackson had five catches for 72 yards and two touchdowns. Bodiford made 21 carries for 144 yards and two touchdowns for Walton
Brookwood 28, Norcross 24
Brookwood quarterback Dylan Lonergan is as advertised.
The four-star Alabama-commit was 12-of-22 passing for 186 yards and two touchdowns to lead Brookwood in a come-from-behind victory over Norcross in the second game of the Corky Kell Classic at Mercedes-Benz Stadium Saturday.
Despite a game-winning drive featuring a long run from Lonergan on fourth-and-one and capped by a 24-yard touchdown pass from Lonergan to Lee Niles, the focus of the Brookwood family didn’t solely lay on the football field this week.
“We lost someone very special to us this week,” said head coach Philip Jones. “Isa Washington was a current coach and former player who passed away this week due to a seizure and our hearts were heavy all week. Our guys decided to play for him. Myles (Parker) was the closest to him and decided to wear his old number today. You saw the character and the grit and the fight of our team, especially in the second half today.”
Brookwood trailed 14-0 early on a 6-yard touchdown pass from AJ Watkins to Lawson Luckie and a 17-yard run from Watkins. But the Broncos responded with a 99-yard kickoff return from Bryce Dopson to get into the game.
“Bryce was huge,” Jones said. “There’s a guy that you know has played well for us last year but he was hurt the first third of the season. We knew he was an exciting kid and an extremely great athlete, but he never had a chance to shine like he did today.” e Broncos
Norcross took a 17-7 lead on a 35-yard field goal from Drew Duva but Brookwood responded on a 35-yard touchdown pass from Lonergan to Dopson to trail 17-14. Jonathan Mathis put the Blue Devils up 24-14 on a short run with 3:32 left in the third quarter and then Brookwood took over.
The Broncos scored on a 2-yard run from Lonergan to cut into the lead 24-21 late in the third quarter. On the game-winning drive, the decision to go for it on fourth-and-one deep inside Norcross territory was never really a decision.
“We were always going to go for it,” Jones said. “I just pulled the offensive line and pulled Dylan in and our running backs and said we’re gonna get one yard. This means we are going to win the game. I put it on them. Reminded our offensive line about the January 5:30 a.m. workouts where they were working for a moment like that. And they shined, and Dylan did too.”
Dopson had two catches for 54 yards and a touchdown while Niles made two catches for 32 yards and a touchdown. Lonergan had nine carries for 78 yards and one touchdown. Watkins was 15-of-21 passing for 146 yards and a touchdown while rushing 13 times for 90 yards and a touchdown.
North Gwinnett 32, McEachern 20
North Gwinnett quarterback Ryan Hall passed for two touchdowns and rushed for one to lead the Bulldogs over McEachern in the opening game of the Corky Kell Classic at Mercedes-Benz Stadium Saturday.
Leading 26-20, North Gwinnett pieced together a game-securing drive late in the fourth quarter, capped by a 5-yard pass from Hall to Marek Briley.
“We just wanted to eat up the clock,” said head coach Bill Stewart of the game-deciding drive. “The execution by the offense, that is as good as it gets. Really happy about the way that went. Just to finish the game on that drive, that’s the game winner. You go down and you do that offensively and eat up the clock like that, that’s hard to come back from when you are on the other side of it.”
The Bulldogs went up first on a 57-yard touchdown run from Hall late in the first quarter. North Gwinnett expanded the lead to 13-0 on a short run from Kayden McDonald, however the two-point conversion failed.
“We made a lot of sophomore mistakes,” Stewart said. “There were a lot of young mistakes. We just were trying to play catchup and let the game come to us. I felt like we did a great job finishing the game. We made some big plays down the road, down the stretch. I know that we have to clean up alot, and when we do, I think we will be a pretty good football team.”
McEachern got back into the game on a 32-yard field goal from Lucas Wynn and a 57-yard touchdown run from Jaylon Brown with 2:58 left before halftime. Julian Walters put North Gwinnett up 20-10 on a 6-yard touchdown run with 2:06 before halftime. McEachern kicker Jonathan Rodriguez kicked a 21-yard field goal early in the third quarter which got the Indians within a touchdown 20-13. However, North Gwinnett responded on a 46-yard pass from Hall to Marek Briley to expand the lead.
Brown’s 21-yard touchdown run with 2:25 left in the third quarter pulled the Indians back within one score but McEachern could not muster another scoring drive.
Hall was 12-of-18 passing for 237 yards and two touchdowns with eight carries for 85 yards and one touchdown. Walters had 18 carries for 151 yards and a touchdown. Briley made seven catches for 167 yards and two touchdowns.
Brown made 23 carries for 221 yards and three touchdowns for McEachern. Jaydon Kinney was 14-of-29 passing for 215 yards and one touchdown. RJ Echols caught eight passes for 151 yards for McEachern.