North Gwinnett defeated visiting Parkview 21-0 behind a stifling, six-sack performance by the Bulldog defense and two touchdowns from junior back Brinston Williams, the lone offensive spark for either team who — despite a mere 20-mile drive between their stadiums — faced off for the first time since the first round of the 2005 GHSA State Playoffs.
The tone of the gritty match-up was established early on, with both of North Gwinnett’s first two drives ending in missed field goals and both of Parkview’s in sacks. It was clear scoring would be hard to come by, but Williams managed to get the Bulldogs on the board before the end of the opening frame with a 9-yard touchdown. The teams traded punts to start the second, and senior Cody Brown crossed into North Gwinnett territory on the following Parkview possession, which sophomore Grant Godfrey snuffed out with a sack that forced a turnover on downs. Parkview’s Quincy Bryant returned the favor moments later, however, sacking North Gwinnett quarterback Ashton Woods on 3rd down.
After another pair of punts, North Gwinnett took over at midfield near the end of the first half. The Bulldogs saw a touchdown called back before lining up at the Parkview 5-yard line, and Woods’ fumble after the snap was recovered and taken to the end zone by teammate Seth Anderson for a 14-0 North Gwinnett lead at the break.
The second half brought more of the same, with another promising run by Brown on Parkview’s first drive answered with a sack by the North Gwinnett defense. Senior Aaron Brebner broke up Parkview’s 4th-down pass on the following play for another turnover on downs by the Panthers. Neither team found success again on offense until Williams ran 21 yards into Parkview territory at the end of the third quarter, then took a 30-yard trip to the end zone on the first play of the fourth. A sack by senior Chris Choi and 4th-down pressure from Godfrey forced another Parkview punt, and the Panthers’ final two possessions were quashed by one last North Gwinnett sack — this time by senior Jayson Gilliom — and another stop by Godfrey.
Mill Creek 20, Dacula 14
Host Mill Creek led 10-0 heading into the second quarter after a short touchdown pass from quarterback M.J. Patterson to Brendan Jenkins and a 42-yard field goal from Brock Pellegrino. The Hawks took a 17-0 lead into halftime as Patterson threw a 49-yard touchdown pass to Tim Page in the second quarter. Kyle Efford scored Dacula’s first points of the game on a 3-yard touchdown run with 2:07 remaining in the third quarter to cut Mill Creek’s lead to 17-7. The Hawks pushed it to 20-7 on a 40-yard Pellegrino field goal with 1:39 left to play, and Efford caught a touchdown pass for Dacula with three seconds remaining for the 20-14 final.
Newnan 28, Sandy Creek 6
Bryson Moss accounted for two touchdowns in the first quarter to help visiting Newnan jump out to a 14-0 lead before Sandy Creek scored a touchdown to make it 14-6 heading into the second. Moss found Joshua Harris for a 66-yard halfback pass for a score and then rushed for a 9-yard first-quarter touchdown. The score remained the same until early in the fourth quarter, when Newnan quarterback Michael Maginnis hit Reid Brass for a 79-yard touchdown pass to put the Cougars up 21-6 with 11:44 remaining. Newnan put the game out of reach with a 70-yard touchdown run from Aubrey Carter to make it 28-6 and moved to 2-0 with the win.
Newton 21, Eastside 7
Newton took a 7-0 lead over Eastside with a 66-yard rushing touchdown by Quincy Cullins in the second quarter, and Jevarra Martin connected with Nyland Green for a fourth-quarter touchdown to make it a 14-0 game. Eastside was able to cut the lead in half with a rushing score by Dallas Johnson, but Justin Benton’s recovery of an Eastside fumble set up another Newton touchdown to seal the win.
Roswell 42, Centennial 13
Roswell quarterback Robbie Roper accounted for three first-half touchdowns — two through the air and one on the ground — in the Hornets rout of Centennial on Friday night. Roper found Michael Fitzgerald on a 19-yard touchdown pass, and his second was a 29-yarder to senior receiver Marquis Willis. Roper’s 7-yard touchdown run and a 4-yard rushing score from Ryan Stephens gave Roswell a commanding 28-7 lead at halftime. Junior Ryan Hill scored on runs of 5 and 30 yards in the third quarter to help Roswell cruise to its seventh consecutive win against Centennial.
Norcross 28, East Coweta 14
Norcross opened the game with a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown (the PAT was no good) before Trey Bowles put Gainesville ahead 7-6 near the end of the first with a rushing score. Zion Alexander scored a 30-yard touchdown for Norcross midway through the second, set up by a 40-yard completion from quarterback Mason Kaplan to Trey Goodman. Kaplan and Goodman also connected on the ensuing two-point conversion attempt for a 14-7 lead at the break, and again for a 46-yard score in the third. East Coweta responded with an 80-yard kickoff return by Willie Rice, however, and capitalized on the field position with a touchdown pass from quarterback Daniel Schoch to Bowles. Norcross later recovered an East Coweta fumble, and Kaplan capped the following 71-yard drive with a 1-yard rushing score on the keeper. Shoch connected with Mason Holmes for a 53-yard touchdown that would have made it a one-score game, but the play was called back and the drive ultimately ended in a sack and an interception on the 3rd and 4th downs.
Evans 35, Harlem 0
Evans closed out a shutout win over the visiting Bulldogs and boosted its total margin of victory to 131-13 over the span of its 3-0 start to the season. Jofranstar Graham rushed for three touchdowns, including a 95-yard run in the fourth quarter that gave the Knights a 35-0 lead. Quarterback Kaleb Jackson threw a touchdown pass to Reid Adkins for a 14-0 halftime lead and also found Lleyton Lackey on an 18-yard touchdown pass on a 4th-and-15 call in the third quarter.
River Ridge 38, Etowah 7
River Ridge jumped out to a 24-0 lead midway through the second quarter and grew a 38-7 lead before a scoreless fourth quarter. Knights quarterback Carson Lanthem tossed two touchdown passes to Jackson Head and also connected with Riley Caines and Preston Cox during his four-touchdown performance. Scotty Rutherford’s 32-yard field goal came with 5:57 left in the first half and gave host River Ridge its 24-0 lead. Etowah’s lone touchdown came on a Colin Sherrer fumble recovery touchdown before the half, and River Ridge’s final points came on a 25-yard touchdown run from Amehre Morrison with 4:57 left in the third quarter.
Allatoona 21, Kennesaw Mountain 6
Allatoona led 15-0 at the half and 21-0 at the start of the fourth quarter before holding off host Kennesaw Mountain to earn its first region victory of the season. Jayden Ponder rushed for a 5-yard touchdown in the first quarter, and Alex Stanford’s field goal and a 42-yard touchdown pass from Elan Hill to Zach Jackson put Allatoona up 15-0 at the break. Dequori Garrett ran in a 2-yard score midway through the third quarter and the Bucs third failed two-point conversion attempt of the game left the lead at 21-0 heading into the final frame. Kennesaw Mountain avoided the shutout with a touchdown late in the fourth quarter, but Allatoona’s Brett Blomquist blocked the PAT for a 21-6 final.
Richmond Hill 24, Wayne Academy 21
The Richmond Hill Wildcats held on through a comeback attempt by visiting Wayne Academy to come away with a 24-21 victory over the Yellow Jackets. Richmond Hill held a 17-0 lead at the half, with first-quarter touchdowns from Isaiah Allen and Kenyan Hunter and a field goal from Britton Williams in the second. Wayne County got on the board in the third with a touchdown from Trevin Wallace, cutting the Wildcats lead to ten. A touchdown from Ashaud Roberson put Richmond Hill back up by 17 before Jah Ross made it a 24-13 game with a score for the Yellow Jackets. A touchdown by B.J. Wright and a successful two-point conversion by Kaliz Hadley brought Wayne Academy within three, but a potential game-tying field goal for the Yellow Jackets was unsuccessful.
Kell 47, Pope 13
Both Kell and Pope came into this region matchup 0-1 after losing to Walton, but it was the Longhorns that found the winning formula in the 47-13 win. Six different Longhorns found paydirt; David Mbadinga scored first on a short run, then Savion Riley collected a pass from quarterback Corbin LaFrance. Once Tyler Barrett plunged into the end zone from a yard out, the rout was on. This was the region opener for both teams, and their first time facing each other since 2013. Kell now enjoys a two-week break before their next contest with Kennesaw Mountain, and Pope will play Lassiter in Week 4.
Buford 39, Carver-Atlanta 6
Victor Venn rushed for two touchdowns, including a 43-yard run in the third, to power Buford to a home win. Gabe Ervin put Buford ahead 7-0 in the first quarter, and Venn’s second-quarter rush and a Malik Spencer two-point-conversion run on a faked extra point gave the Wolves a 15-0 lead. A 1-yard touchdown run from Christian Butler and a 40-yard field goal from Alex Mata as time expired in the first half gave Buford a 25-0 lead at the break. Carver got a 93-yard interception return for a touchdown for the first points of the second half (and the Panthers’ only points of the game) before Venn’s second touchdown rush and a 3-yard fumble return for a score by Mason McCranie capped the scoring in the third quarter. Venn rushed eight times for 89 yards, and Buford held Carver to 33 total yards.
Cartersville 35, Alexander 3
Cartersville defended home field in a dominating win over the Alexander Cougars behind a monster performance from Quante’ Jennings. The Purple Hurricanes ended the first quarter with a 21-0 lead after two touchdowns from Jennings and another from Amari White. Jennings added a third touchdown in the second quarter for a 28-0 Cartersville advantage at the break and a fourth in the third. Alexander’s lone points of the night came on a third-quarter field goal from Jacob Tucker.
Cass 15, Sequoyah 10
Cass overcame a 10-6 deficit with three made field goals by Kaleb Speights for a 15-10 road win and its first 3-0 start since the 2007 season. Devin Henderson got Cass on the board with a 3-yard touchdown run in the first quarter, but a missed PAT left the score at 6-0. Sequoyah answered with a 45-yard field goal from Steven Zurita, then grabbed the lead with a 4-yard touchdown run by Jaden Mitchell. Speights booted a 30-yard field goal with just seven seconds left in the half to bring Cass within 10-9 at the break, connected on a 43-yard field goal attempt in the third quarter that put the Colonels back in front 12-10, and iced the game with a 45-yard field goal with 2:07 left on the clock.
Starr’s Mill 19, Union Grove 14
Starr’s Mill jumped out to an early 5-0 lead, but an 80-yard rushing touchdown from Dechavion Williams Jr. to end the opening frame and a rushing touchdown from Drew Smith at the end of a long second-quarter drive put Union Grove ahead 14-5. Starr’s Mill responded with a touchdown before halftime for a 14-12 score at the break and another late in the third quarter to reclaim the lead before a defensive battle ultimately ended the game.
Benedictine 21, Brunswick 16
Benedictine jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter and held off host Brunswick’s comeback attempt to improve to 3-0. LeShon Brooks put the Cadets on the board with a 7-yard touchdown run early in the first quarter and then Justin Thomas scored on a 14-yard carry on 4th-and-4 to push the lead to 14-0. Brunswick brought it within 14-7 on the first play of the second quarter with a 3-yard touchdown run, but Thomas added his second rushing score of the first half to build the lead to 21-7. Brunswick shrunk the deficit to 21-10 before the half with a 38-yard field goal. The score held until the final minute of the third quarter when Brunswick’s KJ Lee found Xavier Bean for a 6-yard touchdown to make it 21-16. Brunswick had an opportunity to take the lead late in the fourth quarter, but fumbled at the Benedictine 18-yard-line and the Cadets ran out the clock.
Flowery Branch 29, Gainesville 22
Flowery Branch quarterback David Renard connected with Sal Sengson for the game-winning touchdown and two-point conversion in the final minute of the Falcons’ home game against Hall County rival Gainesville. The Red Elephants took a 22-21 lead with a touchdown and two-point conversion — both from quarterback Gionni Williams to Samaj Brown — with 2:20 left to play, but Flowery Branch drove quickly to set up the go-ahead score. It was Renard’s third touchdown pass of the night; the first (23 yards) went to Baxley O’Brien to make it 7-0 in the first quarter and the second (21 yards) was hauled in by Connor Larson for a 14-7 lead at halftime. Myles Ivey rushed for a 5-yard score to give Flowery Branch a 21-7 lead in the third quarter before Gainesville scored back-to-back touchdowns to take the lead. In addition to his touchdown pass, Gainesville’s Williams rushed for the 20-yard touchdown in the second quarter.
Fayette County 27, McIntosh 14
The Fayette County Tigers trailed McIntosh 7-0 at the break before a dominant second-half performance in which they outscored the Chiefs 27-7. The lone touchdown of the first half came from McIntosh’s Dominick Casper in the opening frame. A 13-0 Fayette County run with touchdowns from Andre Wright and Canaan Johnson gave the Tigers a 13-7 lead heading into the final quarter. McIntosh regained a one-point lead after a rushing touchdown from Hayes Herzog, but Wright responded with back-to-back scores to give the Tigers the 27-14 win.
Marist 23, Woodward 3
Hayden Richardson threw two touchdown passes as Marist rolled to a road win over Woodward. Richardson connected with Chandler Heath on an 8-yard scoring strike in the first quarter before throwing a 59-yard touchdown to Josh Moore in the second. Woodward got on the board late in the second quarter with a 25-yard field goal by Lee Johnson, but the visitors took control prior to halftime when Andrew Mannelly ran for a 60-yard score. On the defensive side of the ball, Marist benefited from interceptions by Moore and Grey Taylor before tacking on a fourth-quarter safety.
Oconee County 24, Clarke Central 7
Oconee County’s CJ Jones put the host Warriors up 7-0 with an 8-yard rushing touchdown in the first quarter, and quarterback Jacob Wright ran in a 44-yard score on the final play of the half to push the lead to 14-0. Clarke Central converted a fake punt and then cashed in on a William Richardson touchdown run with 8:58 left in the game to cut the lead to 14-7, but Oconee County responded with a 19-yard field goal before Jones iced the game in the final minute with his second rushing touchdown.
Union County 39, Chestatee 19
Union County’s Eli Pugh intercepted Chestatee on the first play from scrimmage and returned it for a Panthers touchdown. Chestatee evened it up 7-7 later in the quarter, but Carson Walker ran in two touchdowns for the home team to give Union County a 24-13 lead at the half. Walker opened up the second half with a kickoff return touchdown to extend the lead to 32-13, and quarterback Logan Helcher iced the game with a 17-yard touchdown pass to Noah Underwood near the end of the fourth quarter to put the Panthers up 39-19.
Lovett 31, Washington 6
Preston Lusink threw three touchdown passes to lead Lovett to a victory over visiting Washington. The Lions trailed 6-0 after the opening frame before a dominant second quarter in which Collin Goldberg contributed an 8-yard touchdown run and a 15-yard touchdown reception to Lovett’s 24-0 run for a 24-6 lead at the break. Lusink also connected with Michael Hollingsworth on a 20-yard screen pass in the second quarter before capping off the night’s scoring with a 21-yard TD pass to Alan Pope in the third. Washington’s touchdown came courtesy of a one-yard quarterback sneak by Monye’ Jones.
Callaway 17, Hardaway 6
Charlie Dixon’s 9-yard rushing touchdown put the Callaway Cavaliers up 7-0 in the first quarter of their match-up with Hardaway, and Blake Eubanks grew the lead to 10-0 with a 35-yard field goal. Quarterback Demetrius Coleman threw an 87-yard touchdown pass to Jalin Shephard with 4:22 left in the first half to put Callaway ahead 17-0 before the Hawks avoided the shutout with a 5-yard DJ Lucas touchdown run in the final frame.
Class A Private
Aquinas 28, Jenkins County 6
Aquinas jumped to a 28-0 halftime lead and held off visiting Jenkins County to improve to 3-0. The Irish scored on a 30-yard Joseph Welch touchdown run in the first quarter before a three-touchdown effort in the second frame blew the game open. Clark Jackson scored on a 35-yard punt return touchdown and James Schlegel ran in a 55-yard touchdown with 5:09 left in the half. Welsh intercepted Jenkins County and returned it for a touchdown on the next possession to make it a 28-0 game. Jenkins County’s touchdown came with 2:11 left in the fourth.
Mount Pisgah 52, Walker 12
Mount Pisgah exploded to a 28-6 lead in the first quarter before rolling to a 52-12 win over the Walker Wolverines. Coleman Smith scored twice on the ground, Brad Spence picked off a Charlie Condon pass and brought it back, and Happy Chane added another first-quarter pick-six. Smith scored a total of four times in the game, and Owen Lindsay contributed a pair of field goals. Keon Smart had both touchdowns for Walker, including an 89-yard run. Mount Pisgah goes to 2-1 on the season heading into next week’s contest at Hebron Christian.
Darlington 41, St. Francis 9
The Darlington Tigers protected their No. 9 ranking with a 41-9 victory over the St. Francis Knights in which they dominated from the start. Quarterback Patrick Shelley got the defense to bite on a play fake, then tucked it and ran for an early 50-yard score, and DJ Johnson recovered a bad St. Francis snap in the end zone for a 14-0 lead. Darlington got the backbreaker early in the second half when Harrison Allen busted through the line for a 26-yard touchdown and a 24-0 lead. St. Francis picked up some late points for the Knights’ highest point total of the season, but remains winless at 0-3.
Wesleyan 19, Douglass 7
Wesleyan emerged victorious from a defensive battle with visiting Douglass. The Wolves trailed 7-6 in the third quarter before Ryan Rose threw a touchdown pass to Wyatt Hodges — who finished with four receptions for 74 yards — that gave them the lead for good. Wesleyan was mostly content to keep the ball on the ground and run the clock, and the Wolves turned to Griffin Caldwell often in that pursuit; the junior accrued 90 yards on 27 carries. Caldwell also added eight tackles on defense, as did Tanner Bivins, and JD Chipman finished with 16 tackles.