DACULA - Grayson defensive tackle Shawn Green made sure he gave teammate Kori Gaines a hard time after Green intercepted a pass in Friday's game.
"When I got mine I started teasing him that I was going to lead the team in interceptions this year," Green said.
Gaines made sure that didn't happen. The Rams' defensive back intercepted three passes of his own as No. 2 Grayson cruised to a 44-0 win over Dacula in the Region 8-AAAAA opener.
"I knew they wanted to test me," said Gaines, a BYU commitment. "This was a big win to start the region. It was a statement game. We wanted to prove we are the power to beat."
Grayson (3-0, 1-0) did just about everything right as Dacula (1-2, 0-1) struggled from the opening kickoff. The Rams started the game with an 88-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, forced six turnovers, rushed for 280 yards and Ean Pemberton scored three touchdowns.
"I'm excited about how we played tonight," Grayson head coach Mickey Conn said. "I don't think we played with enough emotion last week and tonight the enthusiasm was up."
Gaines' three interceptions sparked a defense that held Dacula to 82 yards of total offense and five first downs. The shutout is the second of the season after beating Warner Robins 10-0 last week. The Rams' defense should be tested next Friday against South Gwinnett, which has averaged 49 points through its first three games.
The Rams' Frank Bebbs started the game with an 88-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.
"You can't ask for a better way to start the game than that," Conn said. "I can't draw up that play. Just put him back there and let his athleticism take over."
The 6-foot-1, 275-pound Green, who has committed to Georgia Tech, intercepted a deflected pass to set up Grayson's next score.
"I thought about not diving for the ball and trying to run it back," Green said.
Patrick Santry completed a 29-yard pass to Korey Jones and then Pemberton scored on a 24-yard run to make it 14-0 midway through the first quarter.
Pemberton scored on the Rams' next possession, a 48-yard run to put Grayson ahead 20-0 with 2:58 left in the first quarter after a missed PAT.
Gaines stopped Dacula's offensive threat when he intercepted Dexter Walker on a halfback pass.
Dacula's Skyler Richardson recovered a Grayson fumble at midfield, but on the next play Gaines intercepted his second pass.
That set up a 15-play scoring drive that resulted in a 42-yard field goal by Austin Clark with 32 seconds left in the half. Shayquan Gooding also recovered a fumble just before the half.
Green recovered a fumble on Dacula's first possession of the second half. The Rams needed just six plays before Pemberton scored his third touchdown of the game on a three-yard run to go ahead 30-0. Pemberton finished night with 148 yards on 25 carries in just three quarters of work.
Gaines intercepted his third pass of the game on Dacula's next series.
"We got a team full of good players," Conn said. "If you want to get noticed you have to make plays and he did."
Backup running back Terrius Watson led the Rams to the 10 for then next TD. Devin Gillespie needed two plays before scoring on a two-yard run just before the end of the third quarter. The 37-0 lead prompted the running clock mercy rule the rest of the game.
Grayson's Ryan Braswell added a final TD on an 11-yard run with 1:11 left in the game.