GAC improves to 2-0 with rout of Savannah

NORCROSS -- Greater Atlanta Christian got off to a fast start against Stone Mountain last week and then held on for the eight-point win.

GAC reversed the trend Friday night by getting off to a slow start and then rattled off 31 straight points en route to a 31-8 win over Savannah.

The win vaulted the Spartans to a 2-0 start in the 2012 season with a road trip to Apalachee up next on Friday.

"It's still early in the season and we want that complete 48-minute game where we're sharp on both sides of the ball," said GAC head coach Tim Hardy. "We didn't come out of the gate fast tonight, but I do think we played solid defense all night and got a lot of hats to the ball. Then we got it going on offense later in the first half and into the second half."

Savannah (0-1) actually had the first scoring opportunity of the night after GAC fumbled a punt following the Blue Jackets' opening offensive series of the night.

But the GAC defense buckled down and kept Savannah off the scoreboard after quarterback Jovante Spivey's fourth-down run came up short at the Spartans' 18.

GAC finally got the offense going in the second quarter, but it was the Spartans' defense that set the table when Ross Wood picked off Spivey's pass and returned it 46 yards to the Savannah 22.

Three plays later, Kyle Scales got loose from 17 yards out for the first score of the game.

Brandon Holzgrefe added the PAT and GAC was ahead 7-0 with 11:52 to go in the second period.

GAC took advantage of a bad snap by the Savannah punt team on the next possession and set up shop at the Blue Jackets' 28.

From there, quarterback Rafe Chapple and wide receiver Darius Slayton hooked up on a 13-yard scoring pass to increase the GAC lead to 14-0 with 5:49 to go in the first half.

Holzgrefe finished the first-half scoring with a 31-yard field goal with 55 seconds remaining to push the Spartans' lead to 17-0.

GAC took the opening kickoff of the second half and marched 75 yards in 10 plays, capped off by Scales' second TD of the night on a 2-yard sweep to make it 24-0.

Scales finished with 73 rushing yards on just 14 carries, good enough for a 5.2 average to go along with his two TDs.

"Scales ran the ball well for us tonight," said Hardy. "We probably want to find more balance and get some more guys involved. But we found a rhythm with Kyle tonight and kept giving him the ball."

GAC continued to click on offense as the Spartans went on a quick four-play, 61-yard drive and hit pay dirt when Corey Stevenson sprinted in from 10 yards out and a 31-0 advantage.

Savannah, with only 26 players dressed out, finally got on the scoreboard in the final minute of the contest as Spivey scooted in on a 3-yard run and added a two-point run to complete the scoring.

Chapple finished the game 8-for-14 with no interceptions and 120 yards through the air.

Peter Whiteneck was Chapple's primary target as the senior wide receiver caught five passes for 97 yards.

"It was a great night for us because we got everybody in the game," said Hardy. "Peter made some big catches for us and Rafe made his second start this season and continued to show improvement.

"There is a lot of enjoyment about getting all our players in the game. Both of us play a lot of guys both ways, so I'm pleased we could more guys into the game in the second half."