Madison County's J.D. Skelton (14) is tackled by Lanier's Jashbril Jones (14) during Friday's game.
Thoughout its history, Grayson's football program has had a well-earned reputation of a powerful running game out of the wing-T formation.
But with rare exceptions like Ean Pemberton, the wealth of talented running backs have made it difficult for any single individual to run for over 100 yards in a given game.
So, what senior Wayne Gallman and junior Aares McCall accomplished in the Rams' 45-7 win over Dacula on Friday at Grayson Community Stadium was that much more extraordinary.
Gallman, the Clemson-bound running back/linebacker, ran for 116 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries, while McCall also topped the century mark, posted 104 yards on 14 carries, as Grayson posted 332 total yards on the ground on 54 carries as a team.
"Probably never. That may be the first time ever," Grayson coach Mickey Conn said when asked when the last time two Rams running backs had broken 100 yards in a game. "I was really proud of the way Aares and Wayne took charge (Friday) night and ran the football. That's how I expect them to run every week, and I expect them to continue to improve."
Falcons try to take to the air
Boasting one of Gwinnett County's top running backs in Marcus Cox, it may seem strange that Dacula attempted only 14 running plays -- with Cox winding up with just one official carry -- in Friday night's loss at Grayson.
But according to Falcons coach Jared Zito, that was by design.
"No. 1, (Grayson is) a great run defense," Zito said. "They tend to play seven in the box, and they're all really good. They've got a good scheme. And we're short a couple of fullbacks (due to injuries) right now in our offense, and we felt like it gave us the best chance for success to try to throw the football with a senior quarterback (Brandon Goodson) and use Marcus in the passing game a little bit."
Judging from the numbers, that strategy was a sound one -- at least, to an extent.
Boosted by a big game from linemen like Robert Nkemdiche and Marquise Motley, Grayson stuffed the Dacula running game for minus-51 yards on the evening -- though 26 of those lost yards came on two errant shotgun snaps, while the Falcons were able to complete 11 of 22 passes for 157 yards -- including a 10 of 19 night for 148 yards from Goodson.
Parkview relies on Wildcat offense in win
Parkview didn't want to put too much pressure on quarterback Mac Marshall, who made his first start at quarterback on Friday.
The Panthers ran their offense primarily out of the Wildcat formation with running back Chris Carson lined up as QB in the 20-18 win over Archer. It's a formation the Panthers will use in the next few weeks as Marshall settles into his role as quarterback.
"We have a pretty good set," Parkview coach Cecil Flowe said. "We're going to try and get Macky more comfortable throwing the ball and plug him in. It's been good for us for two weeks. You have to make it where they can't key on one guy."
Marshall got the start in place of injured QB Rob Youngblood, who broke his collarbone in last week's win over Grayson.
On Marshall's first pass attempt of the game, he rolled left and threw a 59-yard touchdown pass to Jay Turner. He threw an interception at the goal line at the end of the first half and had two other passes incomplete.
Archer's Alexander leaves game with injury
Archer running back Ernest Alexander was one of the county's top running backs through the first three games of these season. His status is in jeopardy for the rest of the year.
Alexander injured his right knee on his only carry, a two-yard loss, in the first quarter of Friday's 20-18 loss to Parkview.
"He's got a knee injury. We'll see," Archer head coach Andy Dyer said. "He's going to go to the doctor and get it checked out. We'll see."
Alexander, who is also a state champion wrestler, rushed for 100 yards in the first three games of the season. The senior went into the game sixth in the county in rushing with 334 yards and six touchdowns.
David stepping up for Hawks
Though he's just a sophomore, Mill Creek quarterback Daniel David hasn't played like it much this season.
He had another strong game Friday as the Hawks rallied to beat Peachtree Ridge 20-10, completing 12 of 19 passes for 188 yards and two second-half touchdowns.
"As a sophomore to make those throws and those reads, he's got intangibles we're getting to see more of each Friday night," Mill Creek head coach Shannon Jarvis said of David.
Mill Creek didn't have much rushing success against the Lions, so it leaned more heavily on David and the passing game. He delivered some key passes throughout the second half, including two big ones on the first possession of the third quarter.
Facing a third-and-7 from his own 9-yard line, David rolled to his right near his own end zone and hit Matthew Pursell for a 19-yard gain. He closed the drive with a 39-yard scoring strike to Michael Cheeks on a third-down play.
David completed a 10-yard out to Kyle Nichols on fourth-and-7 to keep the Hawks' next scoring drive alive.
"Outside of his touchdowns, his third- and fourth-down throws on sprintouts were great," Jarvis said. "And I have to say, what a catch by Kyle Nichols on the sideline. That was a tremendous effort. That's a senior making a play."
Penalties plague Peachtree Ridge
Late in the first half of a 20-10 loss to Mill Creek, Peachtree Ridge found itself in a fourth-and-47 situation at its own 15-yard line. It was that kind of night for the Lions.
That possession started with a first-and-10 at the 41-yard line, but a terrible run of penalties kept pushing the Lions back. On one play, they were called for holding, personal foul and unsportsmanlike conduct.
Peachtree Ridge finished with 13 penalties for 110 yards.
Maloof takes blame for score
Norcross likes to holler "Goose Egg" after each defensive shutout.
They got that chance in Week 2 after dominating Parkview and head coach Keith Maloof allowed it after Friday's win over Duluth despite a 36-7 final score.
The Wildcats avoided the shutout with a pick-6 by Markael Maxwell late in the fourth quarter on a pass thrown by Norcross' backup quarterback.
"I hate that we didn't get the shutout, that's my fault," Maloof said. "That's our fault for doing silly stuff at the end to try to get first downs at the end and try to keep the young kids in there playing."
Fading to black
While Lanier's stunning 14-7 in the final minutes provided a piece of history for the young program with its first Region 8-AAAA win, the team also provided a bit of intrigue at the beginning of the game.
The school had long been advertising that Friday's game was Military Appreciaton Night, giving the program the opportunity to honor all active and former members of service.
What wasn't well advertised was that Lanier's football players would be sporting a new uniform.
While the normal pre-game workouts were conducted wearing the customary white home jerseys, the Longhorns surprised their home faithful by emerging from the banner donned in all black jersey, helmets and pants.
The only deviant color was the burnt orange used to outline the numbers and the Longhorn logo.
"It was military night and we wanted to honor all those personnel that are serving or have served our country," Lanier head coach Billy Wells said.
While the uniform change was a big secret to most of the public, Wells said that his team had been planning this for months as the uniforms were ordered back in the spring.
Wesleyan welcomes back old friends
Wesleyan's Franklin Pridgen may have to wait until August next year during preseason practice before setting ahomecoming opponent.
Thisyear's opponent -- Brookstone out of Columbus --seemed innocent enough when the schedule was made months earlier.
But no one knew Wesleyan assistant coach Brad Dehem was headed down to Brookstone to take over the head coaching duties this season.
So not only did Wesleyan have to see Dehem as well as another former Wesleyan coach, James McKeel,on the Brookstone sideline, it was homecoming for Wesleyan when emotions were already high.
But,in the end, the game had one of those fantastic finishesas Rhett Delk connected on a 49-yard field goal as time expiredto lift Wesleyan to a 17-14 win over Brookstone.
Whitner makes plays on offense, defense
Mountain View's Kielan Whitner came through Friday when his team was on the verge of going down 7-3 after dominating field position in the first half.
After Habersham Central's Sloan Austin returned an interception to the Bears' 15, Whitner snagged a pick of his own on third down at the goal line.
Five plays later, the sophomore lept up over the Radiers' Jimmy Fordyce and caught a 35-yard touchdown pass from Chris Bartlett, putting Mountain View up 10-0.
"There's a reason that Whit, as a sophomore, is playing and starting in Gwinnett County," Mountain View coach Doug Giacone said. "A lot of people don't realize he got called up at the end of the year last year and started against Norcross as a freshman. He's a special kid, and we're looking forward to having him for the next couple years to help lead our team."
Wolves' defense hangs tough
After openingthe season with a tough 10-9 loss toHolyInnocents', Wesleyan has won three in a row and stillhasn't allowed more than 19 points in any of the four games thus far -- averaging 15.5 ppg scoring defense.
-- Sports editor Will Hammock, staff writers Ben Beitzel, Brandon Brigman and David Friedlander, senior correspondent Scott Smith and staff correspondents Steve Argo and Michael Buckelew contributed to this report.