Georgia Southern's football team rallied for a victory in its season opener, with the help of two Gwinnett grads.
Quarterback Lee Chapple, a Greater Atlanta Christian grad, was the main cog. He led a perfect game-winning drive that set up a field goal as the Eagles defeated Albany (N.Y.) 29-26.
Chapple was 12-for-12 passing in the fourth quarter, completing his last 15 passes overall. He finished 30-for-43 for 259 yards and two touchdowns.
Two of his passes on the game-winning march were to Mitchell Williford, a true freshman from Peachtree Ridge. Williford caught a big 13-yarder on a third-and-five play, then added an 11-yard grab later in the drive. They were his only two receptions of the game.
Buford grad Garryon Taylor also was one of Chapple's favorite targets, catching six passes for 55 yards.
Linebacker Dion DuBose, a Norcross grad, led the Georgia Southern defense with a career-high 15 tackles. He made 11 of his stops in the first half.
The Gwinnett grads' impact in the Georgia Southern game was a small part of a strong opening weekend for former local players. Here's a look at some other highlights:
n Norcross' Darius Hanks was a bright spot for Alabama's offense, with three catches for a team-high 55 yards, in the Crimson Tide's 34-24 win over Virginia Tech at the Georgia Dome.
n Liberty hung tough with West Virginia in a 33-20 loss, getting a team-high eight tackles (five solos) from Dacula grad Wesley Cheek.
n Duluth grad Kennard Reeves, a junior, rushed seven times for 62 yards and his first career touchdown as Vanderbilt routed Western Carolina 45-0. Teammate T.J. Greenstone, a Collins Hill grad, made five tackles (one for a loss), had a sack and recovered a fumble.
n Army broke a 12-game losing streak in season openers with a 27-14 win over Eastern Michigan, getting a turnover from freshman and Brookwood grad Josh Jackson, who intercepted his first career pass. He returned the pick 26 yards and also had a solo tackle in the victory.
n Buford's Cody Getz made his Air Force debut last Saturday with three rushes for 18 yards. Teammate Asher Clark, a sophomore from Peachtree Ridge, had six rushes for 66 yards.
n Norcross grad Brice Butler made his first college catch, an 11-yarder, as his Southern California team routed San Jose State.
n Buford's David Hendrix caught five passes for a team-high 99 yards, helping Furman to a season-opening 45-21 win over Presbyterian. Three Gwinnett grads stood out in a losing effort for Presbyterian - Grayson's Sean Adegbola (three catches for 21 yards, TD), Peachtree Ridge's Connor Norman (two tackles, fumble recovery) and Wesleyan's Darren Evans (four tackles, one for loss, one sack).
Adeshigbin earns national award
Central Gwinnett grad Taiwo Adeshigbin, a freshman forward for Georgia Perimeter College, was named the National Junior College Athletic Association Division I player of the week earlier this week.
Adeshigbin had a hat trick in her first college game, scoring three GPC goals in a 4-1 win over Spartanburg Methodist. She also assisted the fourth goal.
She then scored two goals against Oxford, a nationally ranked NCAA Division III school, in a 3-0 win and had the only goal in a 2-1 loss to nationally ranked Polk.
Adeshigbin is ranked seventh nationally with 17 points (eight goals, one assist) through four games.
Lisle makes all-tourney
Collins Hill grad Megan Lisle was named to the Merideth Matchup all-tournament team after helping her Salem College (N.C.) team to the tournament title. Lisle, a freshman, has made three starts this season.
Mellard ranked high among keepers
Brookwood grad Caroline Mellard, a freshman goalkeeper at Montreat College (N.C.), has an 87 percent save rate, which is 13th nationally among NAIA goalies. Mellard has 20 saves this season, including 13 in her most recent game against King College.
Gwinnett Grads is a column that runs on Saturdays spotlighting the achievements of past Gwinnett standouts. Coaches and parents are urged to send suggestions via e-mail to email@example.com or via fax to 770-339-8081.
SideBar: In front of the cameras
A quick look at where to watch former Gwinnett standouts in today's college football action:
· Noon - Stanford at Wake Forest, WUPA
For Wake Forest, Collins Hill's Barrett McMillan (No. 61) plays offensive line, GAC's Ben Wooster (No. 85) plays tight end, Meadowcreek's Cyhl Quarles (No. 5) plays safety, Brookwood's Terence Davis (No. 81) plays wide receiver and GAC's Chris Langley (No. 17) plays wide receiver.
· 12:30 p.m. - Troy at Florida, WPCH
Buford's Omar Hunter (No. 99) plays defensive line and Buford's T.J. Pridemore (No. 45) plays fullback and tight end for Florida.
· 3:30 p.m. - BYU at Tulane, ESPN2
Norcross' Brooks Cunningham (No. 91) plays defensive end and Peachtree Ridge's Phillip Davis (No. 13) plays cornerback for Tulane.
· 3:30 p.m. - Houston at Oklahoma State, FSS
Dacula's Ari Tatum (No. 66) is an offensive lineman for Houston and Central Gwinnett's Beau Johnson (No. 2) plays running back for Oklahoma State.
· 3:30 p.m. - Richmond at Delaware, CSS
Parkview's Tremayne Graham is a defensive back (No. 23) and Collins Hill's Pierre Turner (No. 34) is a defensive lineman for Richmond.
· 7 p.m. - South Carolina at Georgia, ESPN2
Brookwood's Kenny Miles (No. 31) plays running back and Buford's Steven Singleton (No. 75) plays offensive line for South Carolina. For UGA, Norcross' Fred Munzenmaier (No. 48) plays fullback, GAC's Caleb King (No. 4) plays running back, Brookwood's Rennie Curran (No. 35) plays linebacker, GAC's Christian Robinson (No. 45) plays linebacker, Peachtree Ridge's Drew Butler (No. 13) is a punter, Buford's Dallas Lee (No. 64) is a center, Dacula's Jeremy Sulek (No. 11) is a wide receiver, Parkview's Jason Veal (No. 49) is a linebacker, Wesleyan's Josh Parrish (No. 55) is an offensive lineman, Parkview's Jordan Stowe (No. 92) is a kicker, Buford's Billy Johnson (No. 94) is a snapper and Brookwood's Andrew Jensen (No. 96) is a kicker.
· 7 p.m. - Vanderbilt at LSU, ESPNU
For Vandy, Duluth's Kennard Reeves (No. 28) plays running back, Parkview's Greg Billinger (No. 56) plays defensive line, Collins Hill's T.J. Greenstone (No. 74) plays defensive line, Grayson's Tristan Strong (No. 24) plays linebacker and GAC's Blake Southerland (No. 35) plays linebacker. For LSU, GAC's T-Bob Hebert (No. 53) plays offensive line, Peachtree Ridge's Derrick Bryant (No. 36) plays cornerback and Peachtree Ridge's Kevin Minter (No. 46) plays linebacker.
· 8 p.m. - USC at Ohio State, ESPN
Norcross' Brice Butler (No. 83) plays wide receiver for USC. Peachtree Ridge's Cameron Heyward (No. 97) plays defensive line for Ohio State.