Grayson's Robert Nkemdiche (1) celebrates his third touchdown of the evening with teammate Korey Anderson (11) during the third quarter of Friday's game against rival South Gwinnett.
HIGHLIGHTS: Grayson vs. South Gwinnett
Highlights from the South Gwinnett vs. Grayson football game in which the Rams defeated the Comets 41-0.
LOGANVILLE -- Robert Nkemdiche missed last week's game with a sore back.
The nation's No. 1 college prospect made his presence felt on Friday night against South Gwinnett.
Nkemdiche scored four touchdowns on offense and applied constant pressure on defense as the Rams rolled to a 41-0 win over the rival Comets.
"Man, I was on fire," said Nkemdiche, a Clemson commitment. "I had to put my foot on the gas and go."
Since losing to Parkview in the region opener, the defending state champions have won five straight games. It was the third shutout for Grayson (7-1, 5-1), which has outscored its opponents 155-0 in the last three games.
"Our defense, they just played great. What can you say?," Grayson head coach Mickey Conn said.
South was on a five-game winning streak and was undefeated in region play. The Comets (5-2, 4-1) now drop into a three-way for second place in the region.
South came into the game averaging nearly 38 points a game and 382 yards of offense. They were shutout for the first time since last year's 40-0 loss to Grayson. The Comets had just 49 yards of total offense and six first downs. Five of the first downs were from defensive penalties by Grayson.
South was aided by a pass interference and two unsportsmanlike penalties by Grayson on its first drive to put the ball on the 17, but couldn't come away with points. That was the only scoring threat of the game by the Comets.
"That's as good a defense as we've ever played out here," Conn said.
The Grayson defensive line of Nkemdiche, Marquis Motley, Zach Barnes and Jack Banda were in South quarterback Jordan Ramey's face all night. Motley had two sacks and Barnes had his team-leading seventh of the season.
"The D-Line was great," Conn said. "I thought our coverage was pretty good, too."
Ramey, the county's third-leading passer, was just 3 of 18 for 15 yards. He came into the game with just one interception, but was picked off twice by Calvin Mapp and Ryan Carter. Carter's INT was returned 34 yards for touchdown in the Rams' 27-point third quarter outburst. The senior also had a 38-yard punt return to set up Nkemdiche's first touchdown.
"I thought Ryan Carter had a great game," Conn said. "That's as good a game he's ever played for us. He was fantastic."
Nkemdiche was bothered by a sore back and didn't play in last week's game. He put on a show for his mother Beverly, who was in-town from Nigeria, and his older brother Denzel, a linebacker for Ole Miss. The senior had just four TDs going into the game, but added scores of 4, 5, 4 and 1 yards.
"This is the best he's played all year. I think the bigger the stage, the better he performs," Conn said. "This is the best he's played all season. I'm really happy for him. While he gets a lot of attention, he gets a lot of criticism, too."
Carter's punt return to the five set up Nkemdiche's four-yard TD run with 3:51 left in the first half.
"Carter kind of ignited things with the punt return," Conn said.
South Gwinnett opened the second half with a sack by Motley and the Comets were forced punt in the shadow of its end zone. A personal foul on the return gave Grayson the ball at the 20. Wayne Gallman's 15-yard run set up Nkemdiche's scored score to give the Rams a 14-0 lead early in the third quarter. Gallman was the game's leading rusher with 112 yards on 15 carries. David Fennell had 77 yards and Aares McCall added 43 yards.
Grayson played with a short field in the third quarter and that allowed them to added two more easy scores by Nkemdiche.
He scored on a four-yard run with 7:49 in third quarter and again nearly four minutes later on a one-yard run.
"We were up 21-0 four minutes into the second half," Conn said. "That momentum, the kid kids just fed off of it."
Carter added his interception return for a TD to force a mercy rule running clock in the fourth quarter. The Rams carried the ball 11 times to chew up 78 yards and David Fennell added a one-yard TD run with 1:30 left in the game.
"We worked all week for this and got after it," Nkemdiche said.