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PREP FOOTBALL NOTES: GAC sets school record in 69-31 victory

NORCROSS -- Greater Atlanta Christian coach Tim Cokely took a glance back at the scoreboard and shook his head.

"I'm almost sure I've never been in a game like this before," said Cokely, who came to GAC last season after successful stints coaching in Florida and Georgia. "I think it would have stuck in my mind if I had."

The Spartans, unbeaten and ranked No. 3 in Class AA, set a school scoring record Friday night in a 69-31 victory over Decatur that featured 36 points in the first quarter alone.

Surprisingly, GAC has been in a 100-point game before. The Spartans lost 60-40 to Baylor Prep in Chattanooga during the 2009 season, Ken Robinson's last as coach.

Cokely took over after that 1-9 season and has turned GAC into one of the challengers to Buford's domination in Class AA.

GAC (6-0) is averaging 45.2 points per game, but surprisingly trailed Decatur 22-7 in the first quarter and 25-14 after the first play of the second. But then the Spartans' offense took charge against the Bulldogs (2-5).

GAC, which began playing football in 1991, had scored at least 60 points three times previously. The Spartans defeated Cross Keys 66-7 in 2008. In 2006, Decatur fell 62-0 and Cross Keys 61-0.

GAC had 475 net yards from scrimmage Friday night and Decatur finished with 403. There was also 280 yards in kickoff and punt returns in the game. Decatur had 193 of those, including an 85-yard kickoff runback for a TD.

GAC's Delano Spencer was just 4-for-10 passing, but he had scoring plays of 65 and 63 yards. Lavondre Nelson caught the 65-yarder and also rushed for a 54-yard TD.

There were 60 points scored in a first half that featured 595 yards of total offense. Decatur had 337 of the yards and 37 plays to 16 for GAC.

"Just when you think you've seen it all, you realize that you haven't," Cokely said.

Penalties a game-changer

With 142 yards in penalties, Central Gwinnett can't blame just one or even a couple as the reason Parkview slipped out of the Black Knights' upset grip.

But one sure stands out.

With time running down in the second quarter, Central's offense was in its rhythm. They got down to the 8-yard line with eyes to go up two touchdowns headed into halftime. But on a fade to the end zone, a flag flew. Offensive pass interference was called and the Knights were suddenly back on the 23-yard line and out of field goal range. They eventually came up a yard short of scoring.

"We should have scored right before halftime," Central coach Todd Wofford said.

Panthers' D steps up

After allowing 285 yards of offense, two touchdowns and 15 first-half first downs, Parkview's defense spent the half adjusting to the Black Knights' tempo and game plan.

After the break, it all changed.

"Our defense stepped up," Parkview head coach Cecil Flowe said.

They stopped allowing yards after catches and got more pressure on Central quarterback Eman Westmoreland, breaking his rhythm.

It all led to a scoreless Central second half where the Black Knights managed just five first downs, turned the ball over on downs two times and totaled only 118 yards.

Duluth's Delorenzo improves in second start

Duluth junior quarterback Will Delorenzo got his second start of the season against Mountain View and was steady leading the Wildcats' offense. Delorenzo took over after Anfornee Stewart was injured against Norcross three weeks ago and threw for 118 yards against Collins Hill in his first start. Delorenzo got two weeks of practice surrounding the bye week and led the Wildcats to a big region win over Mountain View -- hitting on 7 of 15 passing for 88 yards and finding Michael Randle on three of those passes for 59 yards.

Duluth is now 3-3 overall and one win shy of matching last year's four-win total.

Rams' Banda makes impact on defense, special teams

Jack Banda, filling in for Austin Meadows as Grayson's punter, had a big first-half Friday night.

His punting kept the Rams, who beat Dacula 34-14, in charge of field position for the first two quarters. He hit punts of 43, 40 and 49 yards in what was a scoreless game until the closing four minutes of the first half. Meadows, Grayson's regular punter, is out with mononucleosis.

On defense, Banda intercepted a screen pass to set up the Rams' second touchdown.

"Banda, what a great job punting, and on the defensive line, and in the heavy set at tight end," Grayson head coach Mickey Conn said.

Jersey change for Nkemdiche

Grayson's heavily recruited junior, Robert Nkemdiche, was No. 90 his first two high school seasons. He also wore the No. 90 jersey in this year's opener, but switched to No. 1 the next week.

"I've always wanted to be a single digit (number)," the 6-foot-4, 270-pound defensive end/running back said. "I wanted to be it last year but a senior had No. 1. I love this number. I love that it's a single digit."

-- Sports Editor Will Hammock, staff writer Ben Beitzel and correspondents Guy Curtright and Steve Argo contributed to this report.