LAWRENCEVILLE — Following a loss to open Region 8-AAAAAA play two weeks ago, Grayson got its second consecutive region win Friday night against Central Gwinnett thanks to a phenomenal performance by running back Cameryn Brent and solid defensive play.
The Rams trailed at halftime before rallying for a 27-19 win.
“I challenged them in the second half and they played with much more emotion,” Grayson head coach Mickey Conn said. “They won the the battle up front and that is how you win football games”
Grayson (3-3, 3-1) found the battle very difficult early as it was forced to punt on each of its first three possessions. However, following a short punt from Central, Grayson found the end zone as Brent broke through the initial line of defense and tallied the opening score of the game on a 28-yard run.
Central (2-3, 2-1) answered when quarterback Eric Forrest hit Adonis Thomas down the left sideline for a huge gain that helped set up a game-tying, 2-yard scoring run by Nigel Adams.
The duo struck again at the end of the half as Forrest found Thomas down the left sideline and he beat out two defenders for the ball before running the rest of the way for a 48-yard score with just four seconds left in the second quarter.
“The big plays in the first half was all Adonis Thomas … you’ve got a playmaker like him you throw it up and let him make a play,” Central head coach Todd Wofford said.
Grayson’s defense adjusted to Thomas as it held the receiver without a catch for the rest of the game.
Grayson regained the lead in the third quarter as Brent, who ran for 214 yards on 40 carries, powered through Central tacklers for a score to put his team up by one.
“Cameryn Brent ran wild tonight… I am extremely proud of his growth,” Conn said.
Brent helped lead the final Grayson scoring drive, which ended with an Aares McCall touchdown run from 27 yards out.
“I give all thanks to the line, our line was amazing,” Brent said
The Grayson line seized control of the second half opening holes for both Brent and McCall, who rushed for 108 yards.
Central fought valiantly and made it a one-score game after Major Bellamy followed a fantastic 26-yard catch and run with a quick 13-yard scoring run midway through the final quarter.
However, Forrest, who threw for 188 yards and a score, was intercepted by Jordan Hayes with less than two minutes left in the game to seal the win for Grayson and bring a smile to Conn’s face.
“ A game like this is won in the offseason, our kids have worked extremely hard in the weight room and I am proud that our guys got to flex their muscle a little bit,” the Grayson coach said.
Despite its prowess on the ground, Grayson did not gain one yard through the air, Adonis Thomas paced Central with 90 receiving yards on two catches.
Grayson 0 7 13 7 — 27
Central 0 13 0 6 — 19
Grayson: Cameryn Brent 28 run (Austin Hoyt kick) 10:45
Central: Nigel Adams 2 run (RIcky Ortiz kick) 3:11
Central: Adonis Thomas 48 pass from Gabe Forrest (PAT blocked) :04
Grayson: Brent 14 run (Hoyt kick) 8:19
Grayson: Mohamed Barry 4 run (PAT failed) 1:53
Grayson: Aares McCall 27 run (Hoyt kick) 8:23
Central: Major Bellamy 13 run (PAT failed) 6:02