Taylor Heinicke followed up his outstanding freshman season with a pretty good sophomore debut last weekend.
The Collins Hill grad broke three school records and led Old Dominion to a 57-23 win over Duquesne, earning Colonial Athletic Association and The Sports Network National FCS offensive player of the week honors a few days later.
Heinicke and his teammates struggled in the first half and trailed 20-10 entering the break, but outscored Duquesne 47-3 in the second half.
"The first half was definitely a D," the 6-foot-1, 195-pounder said when grading his record-setting performance. "The second half was more a B plus. You're always looking for improvement."
Despite the slow start, Heinicke completed 41 of 63 passes, both school marks, for a school-record 492 yards. He had four touchdown passes and accounted for 530 of the Monarchs' 723 total yards.
After throwing one interception all of last season (on a half-ending Hail Mary), he threw three picks against Duquesne that head coach Bobby Wilder said were all on the proper reads. On one interception, a receiver fell down, another was a tipped pass and the third was on a screen pass that went awry.
"Fortunately he was able to overcome that stuff," Wilder said. "To throw for close to 500 yards and four touchdowns is a pretty good night."
Heinicke, whose team plays Hampton today, was the runner-up for The Sports Network's Jerry Rice Award for national freshman of the year last season when he completed 211 of 307 passes for 2,385 yards and 25 touchdowns. He also averaged 40.3 rushing yards.
Fellow Collins Hill grad Andrew Everett also had a good game for Old Dominion in his first college game. The true freshman had four tackles, a forced fumble and a sack in his ODU debut.
Nkemiche steps up in start
Grayson grad Denzel Nkemdiche, making his first college start at linebacker, had a big debut Saturday night as Ole Miss defeated Central Arkansas 49-27.
Nkemdiche had eight tackles (three for losses) and a sack.
In his debut for Portland State, Norcross grad D.J. Adams, a transfer from Maryland, had 14 carries for 82 yards and two TDs in a 38-20 win over Carroll (Mont.) last Saturday. ... Norcross' Geremy Davis, a sophomore at Connecticut, had career bests of six catches for 73 yards in a 37-0 victory over Massachusetts. ... Ohio State cornerback and Peachtree Ridge grad Brad Roby had six tackles, two pass breakups and recovered a bad punt snap for a touchdown in a 56-10 rout of Miami (Ohio). He was voted the defensive player of the game by the Buckeye coaches.
Collins Hill grad Jordan Parker nine rushes for 39 yards in his first college game for Middle Tennessee, a narrow loss to McNeese State. ... Shiloh grad Ernst Brun caught a 7-yard TD pass to help Iowa State beat Tulsa 38-23. ... Buford's Dominique Swope rushed 13 times for 104 yards and three TDs in Georgia Southern's 58-0 win over Jacksonville. Teammate Dion DuBose of Norcross had four solo tackles in his first game since 2010 - he missed 2011 with a knee injury. Parkview's Patrick Flowe, an Eagle freshman, had four tackles (three solos, one for a loss) and a sack. Collins Hill's Jake Banta, the team's starting snapper, also added a sack.
Wehr named NECC Rookie of the Week
Collins Hill grad Abigail Wehr, a freshman tennis player at Regis College (Mass.), was named the New England Collegiate Conference Rookie of the Week on Monday.
Wehr won her first college matches the previous week as Regis opened the season with an 8-1 win over Mount Ida. She earned an 8-1 win at No. 1 doubles and followed it up with a 6-4, 6-1 victory at No. 1 singles.
Holderfield named player of the week
Young Harris College senior Haley Holderfield, a Buford grad, was named the Peach Belt Conference's women's soccer player of the week on Tuesday.
Holderfield became the first Mountain Lion to ever earn the league award after scoring two goals in each of her team's first two matches. She scored the first and third goals of a 3-0 win over King College (Tenn.) and then had the first two goals of a 4-2 win over Coker College.
Her four goals and eight points both rank first in the conference.
Bayly leads locals at CSU
Parkview grad Kansas Bayly of Columbus State was named the Peach Belt Conference defensive player of the week on Tuesday.
The league's reigning co-player of the year, Bayly helped the Cougars to a 2-0 start last week with wins over Florida Southern and eighth-ranked Tampa. Her free kick from 50 yards out was the only goal in the victory over Tampa.
The Cougars, who got the opening goal of the Florida Southern match from Greater Atlanta Christian grad Kelsey Pelletier, moved up to 11th in the latest national rankings after the back-to-back wins.
Hammond picked for USA South award
Parkview grad Marjorie Hammond, a goalkeeper at Piedmont College, was named the USA South Athletic Conference defensive player of the week on Wednesday.
The junior earned two wins with two shutouts the previous week. She had three saves in a 2-0 win over Westminster and four stops in a 1-0, double-overtime win over Fontbonne.
Griffin gets GCSU honor
Georgia College and State University forward Erin Griffin, a Grayson grad, was named the Bobcat Athlete of the Week, an award that encompasses all of the school's sports programs.
The sophomore scored the game-winning goal with 16:01 left in a 1-0 victory over Lees-McRae last weekend.
Sayre off to strong start
South Gwinnett grad Mallory Sayre, a freshman goalkeeper at North Georgia is off to a strong start to her first college season.
Sayre went 216 minutes without allowing a goal in her first three college games. Her run was capped by a seven-save effort in a win over Belmont Abbey.
Gwinnett Grads is a column that runs on Saturdays spotlighting achievements of past Gwinnett standouts. Coaches and parents are urged to send suggestions via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.