Big plays lead unbeaten GAC to 48-14 victory

NORCROSS -- Greater Atlanta Christian players no longer have to stifle the urge to look ahead to the Spartans' game at the Georgia Dome against Westminster.

GAC, ranked No. 3 in Class AA in the Associated Press poll, has taken care of business and will go into next Saturday's 5 p.m. game in the Great American Football Classic with a 3-0 record.

Showing off their big-play offensive capability, the Spartans scored five touchdowns in the first half and rolled to a 48-14 victory over visiting Holy Innocents' on Friday night.

Kyle Scales scored on a 69-yard punt return and a 48-yard run from scrimmage, Lavondre Nelson had an 82-yard touchdown run and Delano Spencer passed for two TDs and ran for another as GAC pushed its point total to 111.

Now the Spartans can concentrate on Westminster, one of the two teams to beat them in the regular season last year. The long-anticipated game at the Georgia Dome is a Region 6-AA crossover, with GAC in Division A and Westminster in Division B.

"Soon as we heard about playing at the Dome, we've been building our whole season to it," said senior tackle Chase Roberts, a Georgia Tech recruit. "We can't wait to get there, especially playing Westminster. It will be great to have the rematch on such a big stage."

GAC hasn't played in the Georgia Dome since 2002, when it defeated Early County 21-19 in the Class AA semifinals.

The Spartans had their 14-year run of playoff appearances broken in 2009, but bounced back last year in Tim Cokely's first year as coach. This season they hope to make it past the second round.

"This is a new offense this year," Roberts said. "Last year, we were more smash mouth. This year we're more finesse and spreading out the field. We can score from anywhere. I think our offense is hitting its stride and really started to come into its own tonight."

Spencer, a junior transfer from Parkview, was 8 of 8 passing for 117 yards in the first half as the Spartans took charge.

GAC drove 91 yards the second time it had the ball to go ahead on Spencer's 26-yard TD pass to Kalif Raymond late in the first quarter. Spencer was 4-for-4 for 61 yards on the drive.

After forcing a quick punt, the Spartans went 67 yards sparked by a 33-yard run by Nelson to quickly go up by two touchdowns. Spencer, who had 33 yards rushing, got into the end zone from a yard out less than two minutes into the second quarter.

Four more touchdowns were to come before halftime as the teams combined for 41 points in a wild second quarter.

Holy Innocents' (2-1) countered Scales' 69-yard punt return with a 68-yard halfback pass from Andy Nichols to Howard Joe 17 seconds later midway in the quarter. GAC then scored twice in 29 seconds to go up 34-7.

Scales had a 48-yard TD scamper with 4:43 left in the quarter and then DaSean Daniels recovered a Holy Innocents' fumble to set up a 32-yard pass from Spencer to Jeremy McGriff at the 4:14 mark.

A fumbled quarterback exchange by GAC gave Holy Innocents a short field and the Golden Bears cut the Spartans' lead to 34-14 at halftime on a 29-yard pass from John Galloway to Lee Davis.

Nelson, who had 130 yards rushing on just three carries, broke off his 82-yard TD run 46 seconds into the third quarter and Justis Rosser ran it in from 27 yards out on the first play of the fourth quarter for the Spartans.

Holy Innocents' opens Region 5-A North play next Friday against No. 9-ranked Wesleyan, the subregion favorite. GAC has an even bigger game the next day at the Georgia Dome.