Down early, No. 3 GAC rallies for 69-31 win

NORCROSS -- Greater Atlanta Christian's defense obviously still needs some work before the No. 3-ranked Spartans play No. 1-ranked and four-time defending Class AA champion Buford on Oct. 21.

Decatur, bidding for maybe the season's biggest upset, scored on its first four possessions and GAC was down 25-14 after the first play of the second quarter Friday night at Spartans Stadium.

Had unbeaten GAC been left rusty by the bye week it was coming off? Or had the Spartans been lulled to sleep by the fact that Decatur had offered little resistance to Buford in a 66-13 loss a week ago?

No matter the reason for the slow start, the GAC defense finally awoke and the Spartans' offense continued its season-long scoreboard assault for a 69-31 victory in the Region 6-A, Division A opener.

"Just when you think you've seen it all, you realize that you haven't," GAC coach Tim Cokely said of the 100-point game.

GAC (6-0, 1-0) has scored 271 points this season, an average of 45.2. But the Spartans have also allowed 122, an average of 20.3.

"What matters is that we are unbeaten," Cokely said. "I'm proud of this team. Our defense stepped it up in the second half."

Delano Spencer threw for two touchdowns and ran for two more, while his backup at quarterback, David McTier rushed for two TDs and had one of GAC's three interceptions.

GAC finished with 475 yards of total offense to 403 for Decatur. Lavondre Nelson rushed for 147 yards and a touchdown on just seven carries and caught a 65-yard TD pass. He also had an interception.

There were 60 points scored in a wild first half that featured 595 yards of total offense. Decatur (2-5, 0-2) had 337 of the yards and 37 plays to 16 for GAC.

Decatur's Perez Cowan ran the opening kickoff back 46 yards and the Bulldogs quickly had the lead on a 15-yard option keeper by Vito Antinozzi. GAC needed less than a minute to tie this up on a 19-yard run by McTier, but Decatur scored two straight touchdowns to go up 22-7.

Antinozzi hit Alex Fowler from a yard out after a 41-yard flanker pass from Terryon Robinson to Terez Cowan, Perez's identical twin. Then Robinson caught a pass from Antinozzi in the flat and raced down the sideline 86 yards for Decatur's third first-quarter TD.

Spencer hooked up with Nelson's for a 65-yard TD to cut into Decatur's lead, but Jason Barefoot booted a 41-yard field goal on the first play on the second quarter to give the Bulldogs' a 25-14 lead.

GAC quickly scored on a 26-yard run by DaSean Daniels and took its first lead after finally stopping Decatur. Kyle Scales broke a tackle and scored on a 63-yard completion from Spencer on the first play after a fourth-down sack by Tony Jones Jr.

Then GAC took advantage of Decatur's first punting attempt, which followed a sack by Parker Fair, to go ahead for the first time. Jones partially blocked the kick and Jarrod Rickman returned the deflection 23 yards for the TD. GAC, once down 15 points, led 35-25 with 30 seconds left before intermission and Antinozzi was intercepted by Daniels on the final play of the first half.

Scales returned the second-half kickoff 61 yards and Spencer scored from 9 yards out. Then Scales' 29-yard punt return set up a 10-yard score by Spencer to give GAC a 48-25 lead.

Perez Cowan ran the kickoff back 85 yards for a TD that broke GAC's streak of 34 consecutive points. But the Spartans were back in the end zone on the first play after the ensuing kickoff, Nelson racing 54 yards for a TD.

GAC scored twice in the fourth quarter, getting a 15-yard touchdown run by McTier and a 35-yard TD pass from Rafe Chapple to Chris Williams.