ATLANTA - Playing on a treacherously slippery field that resembled a brown hockey rink, and in a constant drizzle, Greater Atlanta Christian entrusted its running game to sure-footed freshman Kyle Scales to grind out its first win of the season, 48-6, over Cross Keys on Saturday night at Adams Stadium.
It wasn't a pretty evening in DeKalb County, but the results were certainly pleasing to head coach Ken Robinson and his previously winless Spartans.
"We teach our players that there is more to football than the scoreboard," Robinson said. "But it's nice to get a win, that's for sure."
The Spartans turned to Scales and some good blocking by the offensive line to set the tone of the game early. GAC drove 66 yards on its first series with Scales getting good chunks of yardage and capping the eight-play march on a 5-yard plunge with 6:32 still to play in the first quarter.
GAC added to its lead quickly via a safety when Cross Keys quarterback Brandon Hamilton had to fall on a bad snap in his own end zone.
Later in the opening quarter, the Spartans took possession on their own 27 when Scales took a simple handoff from senior quarterback Beaux Hebert and rambled 73 yards for a touchdown. The run exhibited some nice balance by Scales as he shook off a couple of hits and cut back to open field for the longest play of the year for GAC.
"We are definitely a young team," Robinson said. "And I can't say enough about the enthusiasm of our players. It has been a tough year but we see a lot of progress with our young players."
A heads-up play by GAC's Marcus Gibson accounted for another score when he alertly picked up a blocked punt just lying on the wet turf and lumbered 17 yards to the end zone. That score, at the end of the first quarter, gave GAC a 22-0 lead.
With ever worsening field conditions, the second quarter featured only two scores. A dandy 17-yard burst up the middle by GAC's David Harber gave the Spartans a 29-0 lead with 6:18 left in the half.
Cross Keys had its one bright moment when Hamilton popped a pass out to Derious Perry in the flat that was suddenly turned into a 91-yard touchdown.
Scales, by virtue of his long touchdown run, amassed 140 yards rushing in the first half. GAC's ground game in the second half, however, featured solid running from a bevy of backs that included the brotherly duo of David and Stephen Harber and DeSean Daniels.
Daniels accounted for the Spartans' first touchdown of the second half with a one-yard dive that followed his 10-yard effort on the previous play.
On Cross Keys' next possession, GAC's Elie Haynes picked off a Hamilton pass and breezed in from 37 yards out. The Spartan's owned a 42-6 lead with just less than seven minutes remaining in the third quarter.
The fourth quarter featured one long drive by the Spartan reserves with quarterback Dalton Duriez directing the offense. Behind the running of Collin Swinton, GAC methodically marched down the field with Duriez sneaking in from a yard out with 7:36 left to play.