Junior back Keith Adams Jr led the Cherokee Warriors to a gritty 14-12 victory over Cartersville, snapping the Purple Hurricanes’ record 62-game regular-season win streak that began back on Sept 5, 2014. Cartersville got on the board first with a 21-yard field goal by Jesus Gutierrez at the 7:58 mark of the second quarter after the drive was extended by a roughing-the-kicker penalty on the Warriors. Ryan O’Keefe and Amarai Orr had interceptions for Cherokee and Cartersville, respectively, to keep the score at 3-0 heading into the second half. Adams Jr had several big carries on a third-quarter Cherokee drive to set himself up for a touchdown run and a 7-3 Cherokee lead. Riley Lyons’ 3rd-down stop forced Cartersville to punt on its next drive, and the ensuing Warriors possession ended in a safety when quarterback AJ Swann fell on an errant snap in the end zone. Cartersville’s fourth-quarter field goal attempt sailed wide left before Adams Jr pitched the ball to junior Adarrius Harshaw on Cherokee’s next drive for the reverse and a fresh set of downs. He added his second touchdown of the night (31 yards) for a 14-5 lead with 2:05 remaining, then Devonte Ross answered with a 94-yard kickoff return to bring Cartersville within two (14-12). The Purple Hurricanes got the ball back in the final minute of the game, but a 40-yard completion was fumbled and recovered by the Warriors to seal the Cherokee win.
Brookwood 45, North Paulding 28
After a series of first-quarter miscues left them trailing host North Paulding, the No. 4 ranked Brookwood Broncos surged to a 31-7 halftime lead with stellar performances on both sides of the ball en route to a 45-28 victory―and the program’s first 4-0 start since 2005. Brookwood’s first two drives ended in a missed field goal attempt and a fumble recovered and returned for North Paulding’s lone first-half points before sophomore Jumal Prothro tied it up with a 4-yard rushing score. The Broncos then capitalized on the friendly field position afforded by Princeton Brown’s sack of North Paulding’s quarterback with a 15-yard touchdown by Tad Logan to take the lead. The Wolfpack returned the favor on Brookwood’s next drive, sacking sophomore quarterback Dylan Lonergan and forcing the Broncos to settle for a field goal from Dan Le-Hernandez. UGA-commit Marquis Groves-Killebrew returned a blocked punt on the following North Paulding drive for a touchdown, however, and Lonergan’s 56-yard strike to Samuel M’Bake ballooned the Brookwood lead to 31-7 in the final moments of the half.
After trading punts to start the second half, Brookwood stormed down the field for another Longergan-to-M’Bake touchdown. Sophomore Javon Thorton intercepted Lonergan on the next Brookwood drive for a 76-yard pick-six to cut the lead to 38-14, but the Broncos recovered the Wolfpack’s onside kick attempt and Lonergan scored on the keeper on the first snap of the final frame. The Wolfpack offense added two late scores—their only of the night—for the 45-28 final.
Archer 14, North Gwinnett 13
Visiting Archer scored all of its points in the first 13 minutes of the game and hung on to win after North Gwinnett made it a 14-13 game with a field goal late in the third quarter. Archer’s first score came on a long interception return for a touchdown by cornerback Edwin Mangual with 1:05 remaining in the opening frame. The Tigers then got a 43-yard touchdown run from Renoldo Spivey Jr. to pull ahead 14-3 just a minute into the second quarter. North Gwinnett’s lone touchdown came on a 42-yard Marcus McFarlane run with 6:11 remaining in the third. Cody Leach hit a 51-yard field goal in the first quarter to put North Gwinnett up 3-0 and made a 39-yard field goal, set up by a Grant Godfrey interception, in the third quarter for the game’s final points.
McEachern 8, Newton 7
Despite trailing 7-0 for the majority of the night, the McEachern Indians came back late in the fourth to beat the visiting Newton Rams. Newton’s Jevarra Martin connected with Nyland Green in the second quarter to give the Rams a 7-0 lead. With just 4:31 left in the game, Newton shanked a punt, and McEachern quarterback Reece Kingeter took it to the end zone on the ensuing possession. A successful two-point conversion attempt put the Indians up by one. The Rams came within striking distance in the game’s final moments, but the potential go-ahead field goal attempt from 31 yards out was no good. Newton’s junior running back Rontravious Perry injured his leg in the second quarter and was carted off the field.
Denmark 20, North Forsyth 10
After a rocky start, the Denmark Danes seized control of their matchup with visiting North Forsyth for their first 7A region win. The Raiders built a 10-0 advantage by the 5:16 mark of the opening frame, and Denmark turned the ball over at the North Forsyth 38 early in the second quarter. The Danes defense forced a three-and-out on the Raiders ensuing drive, however, and quarterback Aaron McLaughlin found Azari Brown for a touchdown with 3:42 remaining in the half to cut North Forsyth’s lead to 10-7. The two connected again for a score late in the third quarter, again following a big defensive stop, and McLaughlin threw another touchdown pass to Casey Gunn before the quarter ended for a 20-10 lead heading into the final frame. Dee Crayton and Kaden Henley each added fourth-quarter interceptions for the Denmark defense that held North Forsyth scoreless for the last 41:16 of the game.
Hillgrove 42, Westlake 21
The Hillgrove Hawks trailed by a touchdown at the start of the fourth quarter before putting up 28 unanswered points against the Westlake Lions to win the game. Westlake built its 21-14 lead with a touchdown from Clayton Lee and two touchdowns by Decari Collins. Zach Parker’s interception for Hillgrove was followed by a touchdown from Cayden Lee off a pass from Chase McCravey to knot the game at 21-21 and begin the fourth-quarter scoring onslaught. Hillgrove’s Jordan Brock, Theo Tatum and TJ Thomas also contributed to the scoring run. McCravey finished 14-0f-19 for 283 yards.
North Cobb 28, Etowah 10
Head coach Shane Queen earned his 100th win at North Cobb as the Warriors got a home victory over visiting Etowah. Quarterback Malachi Singleton led the way for North Cobb with a rushing touchdown and two passing touchdowns. North Cobb led 21-3 at halftime and 28-3 in the second half before Etowah scored its only touchdown. Singleton threw touchdown passes to Trevor Lovett and Xavier Clark, and Benjamin Hall rushed for a touchdown for the Warriors. Cobe Singleton had an interception in the end zone for North Cobb.
Carrollton 34, Dalton 24
Carrollton held a 20-3 lead at halftime thanks to touchdowns by Ace Williams, Donovan Brundidge and Keshawn Ridley. Dalton’s only points of the half came off a field goal by JJ Robledo in the first quarter. Ridley’s second touchdown of the night came in the third quarter, and Ashton Blackwell scored for Dalton on the next possession to cut Carrollton’s lead to 27-10 heading into the fourth. Dalton outscored Carrolton 14-7 in the final frame but fell short of a comeback. Christian Lett scored for Carrolton, while Blackwell and Karim Page scored for Dalton.
Dacula 49, Mountain View 27
Dacula’s Kaleb Edwards scored three touchdowns in a convincing road win for the Falcons on Friday night. Dacula went down 6-0 early but entered the second half with a narrow 14-13 lead. Touchdown runs of 78 and 42 yards from Edwards in the third quarter helped push the Falcons lead to 28-13 heading into the final frame. Kyle Efford, E’mond Pittman, and dual-threat athlete Blaine Jenkins all scored fourth-quarter touchdowns to give the Falcons their first win of the season.
Warner Robins 44, Houston County 10
Warner Robins exploded in the second and third quarters, scoring 42 of its 44 points during that stretch, to defeat visiting Houston County. Following a scoreless opening frame, the Demons produced a 27-point effort in the second quarter alone that included two defensive touchdowns by Deuce Petty—a 30-yard fumble return and a 55-yard interception return. Houston County got a 25-yard touchdown pass from Christian Lawhorn to Jack Honrath late in the third quarter before Warner Robins tacked on a safety in the fourth quarter for the game’s final points. Demons quarterback Jalen Addie had an 84-yard scoring scamper and a 3-yard touchdown pass to Kaleb Howard.
Jackson County 20, Walnut Grove 0
Jackson County opened up Region 8 play with an impressive shutout win over visiting Walnut Grove. Tra Ransom put the Panthers ahead with a 4-yard touchdown run early in the second quarter. The 7-0 score stood until midway through the fourth quarter when Isaiah Maxey found Anthony Finley for a 24-yard touchdown. Maxey iced the game with 2:24 left with an 11-yard rushing score to provide the final margin.
Woodward Academy 45, Mundy’s Mill 13
Mundy’s Mill struck first with a 71-yard touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback Dajuan Springer to Antoine Greene before host Woodward Academy roared back to score a key Region 3 victory over the Tigers. Mundy’s Mill’s offense was kept scoreless after the explosive passing score and got its other touchdown on an 80-yard punt return by Antoine Greene in the third quarter that cut the lead to 28-13. Woodward Academy evened the game on a 21-yard Banks Snellings pass to Chase Marshall and then the War Eagles were able to grab the lead on a 19-yard fumble recovery touchdown by Erring Truesdale on the ensuing kickoff. Truesdale found the end zone again on a 58-yard interception return touchdown in the third quarter that pushed the lead to 21-7 and teammate Damari Alston added a 10-yard rushing score before the half to give Woodward a 28-7 edge. Following Greene’s punt return touchdown, Alston added touchdown runs of five and 13 yards before Lee Johnson iced the game with a 43-yard field goal in the fourth quarter. Alston finished with a game-high 126 rushing yards off of 25 carries to go with his three touchdowns.
Calhoun 35, Woodstock 14
Christian Lewis threw three touchdown passes as Calhoun rolled to a win over visiting Woodstock. The Yellow Jackets led 7-0 after one quarter and 14-0 at halftime before pulling away. They extended their advantage to 35-0 early in the fourth quarter before Woodstock managed to put a pair of scores on the board in the final eight minutes of the game. Lewis connected with Quin Smith from eight yards out in the first quarter and tossed his next two touchdowns to William Seamons. Jerrian Hames added two touchdown runs for Calhoun, including one from 31 yards out. Jarae Foster had two interceptions for the Wolverines, while the Yellow Jackets got an interception from Cole Speer among their four forced turnovers.
Cass 42, Ridgeland 14
Visiting Cass opened up a whopping 35-0 lead in the first quarter and closed out Ridgeland to improve to 5-0 for the first time since the 2004 season. CJ Pipken put the Colonels on the board with a touchdown run on the opening drive, and teammate Max Perdue recovered a fumble for a Cass touchdown to make it 14-0. Zay Jackson rushed for a touchdown with 4:20 left in the first quarter and Tino Jones hauled in an interception to set up a Devin Henderson touchdown pass to Conner Ray to make it 28-0. Jones notched his second interception of the game and returned it for a 35-yard score to give Cass a 35-0 lead heading into the second quarter. Ridgeland capped a 12-play, 76-yard touchdown drive with a 13-yard touchdown pass from Judd Anderson to Kesean Eubanks to make it 35-7, but Jones intercepted Ridgeland for the third time of the first half and took it 45 yards for his second defensive touchdown. Neither team scored in the third quarter and Ridgeland’s final touchdown came on a 59-yard run by Tanner Hill with 10:32 left in the fourth.
Jefferson 26, Hart County 19
Jefferson quarterback Malaki Starks found Spencer Neese for a 33-yard touchdown pass with 26 seconds remaining to lift Jefferson to a road win. Starks threw for three touchdowns; his first was a 34-yard pass to Dawson Crawley in the second quarter and he completed a 47-yard strike to Neese in the third. The Dragons scored first when Jordan Perry forced Hart County quarterback Tanner Ayers to fumble and Kaden Bailey recovered and returned it 20 yards for the touchdown.
Benedictine 41, Wayne County 29
No. 3 ranked Benedictine trailed 23-20 at halftime, despite Cadets quarterback Holden Geriner and wide receiver Trent Broadnax connecting for a pair of touchdowns and Justin Thomas adding a 12-yard score on the ground. Benedictine capitalized on a fumble recovery with a 7-yard rushing touchdown early in the second half to take a 27-23 lead. Both Justin Thomas’ interception early in the fourth and a fumble recovery on the following Wayne County possession led to touchdowns by the Cadets. Wayne County scored on a 45-yard touchdown pass but the two-point conversion attempt and onside kick were both unsuccessful, sealing the comeback victory for Benedictine.
Islands 26, Jenkins 8
Islands stormed to a 20-0 lead and held off No. 6 ranked Jenkins in the long-awaited season opener between the Region 3 opponents. Quarterback Jadon Adams ran for two touchdowns and threw touchdown passes to Langston Lewis and John Dickerson to pace the Sharks’ offense. Jenkins scored with just 33 seconds left in the first half with an 8-yard touchdown pass from Patrick Blake to Khalil Marshall to make it a 20-8 margin at the break. The teams went scoreless in the third quarter, and Adams iced the game with his 47-yard touchdown pass to Dickerson with 7:45 left.
Troup 42, Spencer 0
The Troup Tigers (1-3, 1-1) scored a dominant 42-0 win over Region 2 opponent Spencer to notch their first victory of the season. Anthony Ferguson and Taeo Todd each rushed for two touchdowns and AJ Tucker and Navontae Moss both ran in 2-yard scores in the second quarter to give the Tigers a 21-0 halftime lead.
Cedar Grove 14, Milton 7
With the ball on the Cedar Grove 10-yard line, defensive back Kayin Lee broke up a fade pass from Milton’s Devin Farrell to the corner of the end zone on the last play of the game to preserve the win for the visiting Saints. Cedar Grove quarterback Austin Smith was 13-of-20 passing for 113 yards, but he won the game on the ground for the Saints with eight carries for 104 yards and his team’s only two touchdowns. Smith scored his first touchdown at the 5:26 mark of the third quarter on 3rd-and-goal from the 10, bursting up the middle on a quarterback draw. The Saints’ PAT failed and Milton still led 7-6, but Smith put Cedar Grove on top with a 22-yard TD rush with 11:06 to play in the fourth quarter. Antonio Taylor rushed for the two-point conversion to put Cedar Grove up 14-7. Milton got its touchdown with 2:38 remaining in the first half, when Farrell found star running back Jordan McDonald for a 19-yard score on a screen pass. McDonald left the game in the third quarter with an injury and did not return.
Westminster 27, St. Pius X 24
John Collier threw three touchdown passes to lead visiting Westminster past St. Pius X. The Wildcats led 24-14 at halftime and held off a late charge by St. Pius X after Alex Bacchetta kicked a field goal early in the fourth quarter to break a 24-24 tie. Defensive end Kiran Gadde set up the field goal with a fumble recovery, and he also came up with the game-clinching sack in the final minute. Collier threw touchdown passes of 33 and 27 yards to Holden Staes, while also connecting with Jacob Fleming on a 31-yard scoring strike. The Golden Lions got two rushing touchdowns from Mason Benefield and a 50-yard field goal by Ryan Kirschner.
Temple 35, Pepperell 21
Temple trailed 21-14 entering the final quarter, but outscored the Dragons 21-0 in the final frame to close out the home victory. Pepperell’s DJ Rogers ran in all three of his team’s scores, while Temple was led by Phillip Johnson’s three rushing touchdowns and his 54-yard touchdown pass to Malachi Ackles. In addition to his touchdown reception, Ackles had an 80-yard interception returned for a touchdown with eight minutes left in the game to make it 28-21.
Athens Academy 55, Providence Christian 12
It only took three offensive plays for Athens Academy to score its first touchdown of the evening, and seven more followed throughout the game. Spartans quarterback Palmer Bush threw three touchdowns to three different receivers (Deion Colzie, Ethan Connelly, Austin McGee), and Charlie Chisolm, Wally Terrell (two TDs), Tre Hawkins, Sam Bush scored on the ground. The Spartans stayed undefeated at 4-0 after Friday night’s dominant road win.
Holy Innocents’ 42, Loganville Christian 6
No. 8 ranked Holy Innocents’ picked up its first victory of the season in convincing fashion over visiting Loganville Christian. The Golden Bears forced a three-and-out on Loganville Christian’s first possession and quarterback Marshall Nichols capped a 5-play, 44-yard scoring drive with a 3-yard touchdown run to give Holy Innocents’ the early 7-0 lead. Drew Bomar scored a 13-yard run, TyQuann Alexander tacked on a 9-yard touchdown run and Nichols found Zach Jackson through the air on a 22-yard touchdown before the half to push the lead to 28-0. Holy Innocents’ opened the second half with an 86-yard touchdown drive—capped by a 7-yard Nichols touchdown run—that ate up 6:27 of clock. Loganville Christian answered with a 60-yard touchdown pass, but Charlie Mallady and Alexander blocked the PAT and the score remained 35-6. Holy Innoncents’ added its final score near the end of the third quarter with a 9-yard touchdown run by Wyatt Lybrook. Golden Bears kicker Chris Carrillo finished a perfect 6-of-6 on his PATs.
Prince Avenue Christian 52, Wesleyan 26
Brock Vandagriff rushed for four touchdowns to help Prince Avenue come away with a convincing road win over Wesleyan. The Wolverines trailed 14-7 midway through the first quarter before reeling off 45 of the game’s next 57 points. They were in control by halftime and extended their 31-20 advantage to a 45-26 margin going into the fourth quarter. Special teams were outstanding for Prince Avenue Christian; Landon Owens returned a kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown and Bailey Stockton returned a blocked punt to the end zone. Owens also contributed a 7-yard touchdown run. Wesleyan got two touchdowns on the ground by Griffin Caldwell and a 68-yard scoring strike from Ryan Rose to William Bruehl.
St. Francis 35, Lumpkin County 7
St. Francis led 14-0 after the first quarter following an 80-yard touchdown pass from Jaiden Jenkins to Jackson Westmoreland and a Marcellus Hazleton touchdown that was set up by Jordan Hancock’s forced fumble. Lumpkin County found the end zone on a 4th-and-goal handoff to Drew Allison from the 2-yard line with 4:02 left in the half. Jenkins connected with Camden Lusk and Hazelton on touchdown throws after the break and Gianni Dorsey capped the scoring with a 20-yard touchdown run with 6:55 left to play.
Irwin County 35, Tift County 20
Irwin County had five interceptions as it thwarted the higher-class Tift County on Friday. Gabe Benyard had two catches for 104 yards and a touchdown, and one interception returned for a touchdown. Garland Benyard had three catches for 76 yards and a touchdown with one blocked PAT and three sacks. Kam Ward had three interceptions returned for 89 yards and one touhcdowns with five rushed for 44 yards and a touchdown. Nemo McCoy grabbed the other interception for the Irwin County defense. Tift County scored on a 10-yard run from Zach Carter and two touchdown runs from Tyler Parker.
Stratford Academy 20, Mt. Paran 0
Stratford Academy posted a shutout victory over visiting Mt. Paran to give head coach Mark Farriba his 200th career win with the Eagles. Keondre Glover rushed for a 4-yard touchdown on the first snap of the second quarter to put Stratford up 7-0 and Lane Cole pushed the lead to 13-0 on a 2-yard quarterback sneak before the half. After a scoreless third quarter, Glover found the end zone for the second time on a 3-yard carry with 10:33 left.