0

PREP FOOTBALL NOTES: Rams' shutout steak reaches record four games

Staff Photo: John Bohn -- Grayson running back Wayne Gallman (4) scores a touchdown as Archer defensive back Trevellous Cheek (1) defends during the first quarter of Thursday's game. Gallman's touchdown and the subsequent extra point set the game score at 14 to 0.

Staff Photo: John Bohn -- Grayson running back Wayne Gallman (4) scores a touchdown as Archer defensive back Trevellous Cheek (1) defends during the first quarter of Thursday's game. Gallman's touchdown and the subsequent extra point set the game score at 14 to 0.

With Thursday's 48-0 win over Archer, Grayson's defense remains on its dominant pace with the regular season winding down.

In holding the Tigers to just 97 yards of total offense and nine first downs and getting interception returns for touchdowns by Ryan Carter and Wayne Gallman, the Rams posted their fourth straight shutout, setting a new school record in the process.

"That's the first time we've done that," Grayson coach Mickey Conn said. "I'm proud of the way our defense (has) played."

The last points scored against Grayson came with 1:04 remaining in the Rams' 45-27 win over Shiloh, running their streak of holding opponents scoreless to 103 minutes and four seconds.

Archer actually could've ended that streak late in the fourth quarter Thursday, but passed up what would've been a chip shot field goal attempt by Zach Wachholz to go for the touchdown at the Grayson 6-yard line, only to turn the ball over on downs with 4:14 remaining.

"You just keep playing," Archer coach Andy Dyer said. "I'm not interested in their records. I just want to keep our kids going and keeping them playing. There are no moral victories."

South defense steps up

After giving up 31 first-half points to Brookwood on Friday, the South Gwinnett defense made key stops in the second half and made a big difference in the Battle of Snellville.

The improved play over the final two quarters allowed South's offense to rally for a 42-38 win, just their fifth ever over the Broncos.

"At halftime, the coaches told us we needed to pick it up," South linebacker Anthony Beck said. "We came together as a team in the second half."

Mason Hart stopped Brookwood's first second-half drive with an interception and the Comets then forced the Broncos to punt without allowing a first down on three of the next four possessions. Then Nicholas Hylton stopped Brookwood's last-gasp effort with a game-clinching interception.

Reggie Carter also had a key sack just before Hylton's interception, contributing to a South defensive line, which also got big games from Weston Simmons and Donnavan Kelly, that played very well in the second half.

Rooting for the Broncos

Moments after his team defeated Brookwood, South head coach John Small and the rest of the Comets became Brookwood fans.

If Brookwood can upset Grayson next Friday and South defeats Parkview, then the Comets can win the Region 8-AAAAAA championship.

"I'm pulling for Brookwood next week, but we've got to take care of our business, too," Small said.

New champ

For 10 years, GAC played in the same region as state power Buford. The Wolves ruled Region 6-AA, but moved up to Class AAA this season. That opened the door for a new region champion. The Region 6-AA winner will be decided next week when Lovett hosts GAC. The Spartans haven't won a region title since 2001, while Lovett claimed a region crown in 2009.

Number switch

Wesleyan running back Miles Smith tore his No. 22 white road jersey a few weeks ago against Hapeville Charter. That meant that Miles had to wear Tucker Cannon's No. 21 jersey for Friday's game against GAC.

Miles gained 51 yards on 12 carries in the alternate number.

Scaled back

GAC running back Kyle Scales was hampered by an injury in Friday's game against Wesleyan.

The standout running back was held to just 58 yards on seven carries. He picked up 33 of those yards on a run in the fourth quarter.

It was Scales' lowest production of the season. The senior went into the game averaging 110 yards and nearly two TDs a game.

Rosy Cheeks

Mill Creek's Michael Cheeks came into the Region 7-AAAAAA game against Habersham Central with eight receptions for 192 yards and two touchdowns.

But the senior wide receiver put together his best game of the season with four catches for 157 yards and TD catches of 35, 40 and 77 from quarterback Daniel David.

That could pay big dividends in the regular-season finale at Collins Hill on Friday and into the Class AAAAAA playoffs a week later.

"We know we've been needing that phase of our passing game of getting the ball down field," said Mill Creek head coach Shannon Jarvis. "And it's been a point of emphasis these last two weeks we've had time to work on it. We needed to get Michael involved, because he's a special player and critical element to go along with our running attack in Jacorey (Lewis) and DeVozea (Felton). Michael had a couple of great weeks of practice and it paid off tonight."

Central QB finds good rhythm with Brownlee

In Friday's 37-20 win over Dacula, Central Gwinnett quarterback Eman Westmoreland spread the ball to six different receivers throughout the game. But time after time he found No. 34, including twice on scoring plays.

About a third of Westmoreland's completions went to fellow senior Justin Brownlee. The final two connections came in the fourth quarter to finally put away a scrappy Falcon team that nearly cut the deficit to three.

The final pass, a 22-yard completion for a touchdown, was a nice piece of skill by both players. Brownlee beat a pair of Dacula defenders on a fly pattern down the right side, and Westmoreland put the right air and touch on the ball for the touchdown.

"I'm pretty sure Brown went over 1,000 yards tonight," Central coach Todd Wofford said. "He's one of the tops in the state. He's been the consistent guy in the receiving game all year. In the last couple of games, (Adam) Riley and a couple of other guys -- Nate Harford -- have stepped it up. But pretty much from the beginning of the season 'til tonight, Brown's been making plays.

"And Westmoreland's a pretty smart quarterback. He knows if somebody's producing, you're going to give them the ball."

Westmoreland finished the game 22 of 30 for 273 yards and four TDs. Brownlee had eight receptions for 152 yards and two TDs.

Longhorns have .500 in sight

Lanier's 24-7 win over Lumpkin County not only broke a four-game losing streak, but brought the Longhorns to within reach of a milestone.

A victory at one-win Walnut Grove next week would give the thirty-year school a .500 record in its first full season of varsity play.

It's a long-term goal that the Longhorns set at the beginning of the season, but one they haven't talked much about -- until now.

"We didn't really talk about that this week," Lanier coach Billy Wells said. "But Monday, that will certainly be part of the goals for this week. This week was about our seniors. They've been with us, most of them, for two and a half years, and we really wanted to show our appreciation to them."

Fashion statement

Aside from the return of Lanier's all-black uniforms, the Longhorns' win over Lumpkin County featured another fashion statement from Taylor Grant.

The Longhorns' quarterback, who threw for 277 yards and a touchdown and ran for another score, had shaved his head into a Mohawk-style haircut along with his fellow seniors earlier in the season.

But while the rest of the seniors allowed their hair to grow back, Grant re cut his hair in the same fashion for Friday's game to fulfill a promise he made to his teammates.

"I said that I'd keep it through the last game," Grant said. "I kept my word."

-- Sports Editor Will Hammock, staff writers Brandon Brigman and David Friedlander and staff correspondents Steve Argo and Michael Buckelew contributed to this report