LOGANVILLE -- With all the offensive firepower on the field at Grayson Community Stadium in Saturday's Rivalries of Gwinnett All-Star Game, a shootout was expected.
However, two talented defenses and muddy field conditions combined to keep the score down lower than anyone expected.
Team Kevin Maloof finally was able to generate just enough offense, putting together a long drive before Shiloh's Eugene Glenn scored the game's only touchdown in the fourth quarter to lift his team to a 7-3 victory over Team Cecil Flowe.
"Defense always plays a major role in these (all-star) games," said Dacula coach Kevin Maloof, coach of the all-star team that bore his name. "With the offenses, the kids usually haven't had time to jell as a unit. But our coaches on both sides of the ball did a great job, and ... that last drive was pretty. The kids did a great job and showed a lot of poise."
The offenses struggled to get their footing on the muddy turf most of the day, and even when they did, both defenses were in position to make plays.
Dacula's duo of Elijah Mahaley and Robert Harvey had a huge game for Team Kevin Maloof, combining for four sacks on Team Cecil Flowe quarterback Kalik Barnes of Parkview, while Grayson's Shawn Green and North Gwinnett's David Park also applied plenty of pressure and Collins Hill's Chris Caspari came up with an interception.
"It feels good to get it done," said Harvey, who had a key sack on the final drive of the game, and combined with Mahaley for another.
"It's a great chance (for the defense) to show off their talent by going against the best."
Meanwhile, Team Cecil Flowe also had standouts on defense, particularly Buford's A.J. Cunningham, who had numerous tackles and recovered a fumble, and Peachtree Ridge's Eric Mitchell, who also had a strong game on the pass rush, including a sack.
Still, both offenses occasionally showed flashes of brilliance that befit the talent level on their respective rosters.
However, the defenses made sure it wasn't until the second half before either offense could get on the board.
Team Cecil Flowe was the first to do so in the third quarter, taking possession at its own 34-yard line and driving 40 yards in seven plays, keyed by a 14-yard run on a reverse to GAC's Julian Horton and Barnes' 18-yard pass to South Gwinnett's Jonathan Krause.
The drive eventually stalled, but Mill Creek's Scott Morton got just enough of his 44-yard field goal attempt to put it over the crossbar and put Team Cecil Flowe in front 3-0 with 6:23 left in the quarter.
But Team Kevin Maloof came up with the decisive drive after taking possession at its own 30 with 10:30 left to play.
Grayson quarterback Patrick Santry engineered a 13-play, 70-yard drive in which he ran three times for 14 yards and completed five straight passes for 34 more yards.
And when Glenn barreled in from a yard out with 2:38 remaining, followed by Shiloh teammate Cooper Davis' extra point, Team Maloof had drained 7:52 off the clock and taken a 7-3 lead.
Team Cecil Flowe had one last chance, but was put in a hole by sacks from Harvey and Mahaley. And on fourth-and-25 from its own 33, Barnes scrambled free for a 22-yard gain, but was stopped 3 yards short of the first down with 1:12 left, and Team Kevin Maloof was able to run out the clock.
Barnes finished 15 of 29 passing with an interception and 163 yards, including six completions to Krause for 77 yards.
Brookwood's Julian Suber was the game's leading rusher for Team Kevin Maloof, with 48 yards on six carries, while Santry completed 13 of 19 passes -- including four each to Glenn and Grayson's Ean Pemberton -- for 78 yards.
Notes: Collins Hill running back Charles Perkins gave himself and Georgia Tech fans everywhere a major score when he stayed on the turf with a knee injury late in the first quarter.
The Tech commit did not return, but said afterward the injury did not appear serious, though he did say he was not sure he would participate in the GACA North-South All-Star Game in Columbus on Dec. 29.
"I'll have to talk with my parents about that," said Perkins, who had 22 yards on six carries and a reception for 6 yards before leaving the game. "My knee feels good, but I don't want to risk anything."
Three Norcross seniors playing for Team Cecil Flowe made their college choices known at halftime of Saturday's game.
Receivers Geremy Davis and Arius Wright made public commitments they had made earlier this week to Connecticut and Western Kentucky, respectively, while offensive lineman Max Garcia announced he would attend the University of Maryland.
In addition, Krause reaffirmed a verbal commitment he'd made to Vanderbilt earlier this year.