Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan North Gwinnett defensive lineman Preston Green (96) celebrates after making a tackle during high school football action of the Corky Kell Classic against Colquitt County at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Saturday. North Gwinnett defeated Colquitt County 16-14.
Kyle Scales, GAC
Michael D'Angola, North
Ryan Carter, Grayson
Jamaal Cole, Brookwood
2253 total votes.
North Gwinnett's Bob Sphire has been coaching high school football for more than 30 years.
Saturday's last-second win over No. 2 ranked Colquitt County was one of the more exciting wins in the veteran coach's career.
"That was a thrilling end to be in that kind of setting," Sphire said.
Michael D'Angola kicked a 33-yard field goal as time expired as North defeated Colquitt County 16-14 in the Corky Kell Classic at the Georgia Dome.
It was the most exciting finish of the day, which also saw defending state champion Grayson beat McEachern, Peachtree Ridge lose to Camden County and Brookwood fall to last year's state runner-up Walton.
North Gwinnett didn't have much success offensively until the end of the third quarter. North Carolina commit Donnie Miles scored on a 77-yard TD run to give the Bulldogs a 13-8 advantage.
Colquitt took the lead again early in the fourth quarter and appeared to have the game won after stopping North on fourth down and forcing a turnover.
Then with just over a minute to play, quarterback Michael Haynes led North to the game winning drive.
"We caught lightning at the end," Sphire said.
Haynes guided the offense to the 17-yard line where D'Angola kicked the game-winner as time expired.
"If you saw me after the game, you could tell I was excited," Sphire said with a chuckle.
The win was redemption for North, who lost in the final seconds of last year's Corky Kell and fell to Colquitt County in the playoffs.
"They looked like they had just won the Super Bowl," Colquitt County coach Rush Propst said after the game.
After a slow first three quarters, Grayson appeared to be in state championship form in the fourth. The Rams forced two turnovers to set up scores as they defeated McEachern 31-12.
Ryan Carter had a 72-yard interception return to go along with five tackles. Tennessee commitment Zachary Barnes had two tackles and a sack and Clemson commit Wayne Gallman made five tackles and rushed for 64 yards and a TD on offense. The Rams also got 68 yards from David Fennell as they gained 319 yards as a team on the ground. Quarterback David McTier only attempted two passes all game.
Peachtree Ridge fell to Camden County 42-0. It was the most lopsided game in the Corky Kell's 21-year history. Georgia commit Brice Ramsey threw three touchdowns in the win, including one to fellow UGA commit J.J. Green.
Brookwood couldn't contain Walton running back Tyren Jones. The Alabama commit rushed for 308 yards and five touchdowns in the Raiders' 35-24 win.
"We're young and inexperienced on defense," Brookwood coach Mark Crews said after the game. "Playing against a back like that, that's not a very good combination."
Brookwood's Jamaal Cole led the offense with 167 yards rushing and two touchdowns. Receiver Kyrin Prieter caught six passes for 90 yards and a TD.
"I don't think we're ready to cancel our season or anything," Crews said with a laugh. "When you come down here and play against the best competition in the state, it's a measuring stick. ... We've got a long season ahead of us, and ... we're going to get better."