NORCROSS — In a matchup that pitted two teams from neighboring counties, it was Greater Atlanta Christian (3-0) that dominated Apalachee (0-2) on Friday night at Spartan Stadium 56-14.
Spartans senior duel-threat quarterback Rafe Chapple was on top of his game, tossing for two scores and rushing for one as he went 9 of 11 for 196 yards from the air, while rushing for 62 on three carries.
“He’s the leader of the football team,” GAC head coach Tim Hardy said. “Not only by position, but by character. He makes really good decisions, he is great under pressure and gets the ball to the open guys.”
GAC relied on his great decision-making ability, getting off to a hot start behind the arm of Chapple. The quarterback connected on his first three passes of the night. On third-and-11, he hit a streaking Darius Slayton on the right sideline for a 54-yard touchdown, giving GAC an early 7-0 lead.
Apalachee answered with an eight-play, 75-yard drive.
Jody Mathis capitalized on a pass interference penalty, breaking away for a 44-yard rushing touchdown up the middle two plays later and bringing the Wildcats within one.
After the failed two-point conversion, GAC scored 21 unanswered points to take a commanding first-quarter lead.
Michael Abernathy scored the first TD on a 94-yard kick return. Ross Wood added the next score with a 1-yard rush up the middle, while Chaffle scampered for an 18-yard TD on a quarterback keeper, making it 28-6 at the end of the first quarter.
“Everything just came together,” Chapple said. “We had a really great week of practice and it’s really easy to get the ball to our guys when you have playmakers like Abernathy, Slayton and Williams.”
Apalachee got right back in the game, scoring on Chance Rodriguez’s 16-yard TD pass to Kent Knowles, making it 28-14 after the two-point conversation.
However, GAC answered with three scores within a two-minute span.
Apalachee continued to be its own worst enemy as it turned the ball over on downs and fumbled, allowing GAC to score 21 unanswered points before the end of the half.
Apalachee had one final chance to get back in the game, receiving the opening kickoff in the second half, but its drive stalled inside the 5-yard line. Mathis did all he could, rushing for 108 yards on 16 carries with one TD.
“Jody is a great player,” Apalachee head coach Shane Davis said. “He works hard from the film room to the weight room. He’s the leader of this team.”
Unfortunately for the Wildcats, they didn’t have an answer for the Spartans as they dropped their second straight game.
GREATER ATLANTA CHRISTIAN 56, APALACHEE 14
Apalachee 6 8 0 0 — 14
Greater Atlanta Christian 28 21 7 0 — 56
GAC- Darius Slayton 54 pass from Rafe Chapple (Brandon Holzgrefe kick) 11:17
Apalachee- Jody Mathis 44 run (conversion failed) 6:45
GAC- Michael Abernathy 94 yard kick return (Holzgrefe) 6:29
GAC- Ross Wood 1 run (Holzgrefe kick) 3:02
GAC- Chapple 18 run (Holzgrefe kick) :37
Apalachee- Kent Knowles 16 pass from Chance Rodriguez (conversion good) 4:45
GAC- Justin Venable 1 run (Holzgrefe kick) 2:58
GAC- Abernathy 16 run (Holzgrefe kick) 1:25
GAC- Kris Williams 24 pass from Chaffle (Holzgrefe kick) 1:08
GAC- Parker Stevens 7 pass from Berkley Boglin (Will Kenworthy kick) :18
AP — GAC
RUSHING- GAC: Abernathy 5-118-1, Slayton 1-0, Wood 3-13-1, Chapple 3-54-1, Venable 3-8-1, Boglin 4-49, Rowe 2-1, Kahn 1-(-1); Apalachee: Mathis 16-108-1, Jackson 9-28, Rodriguez 9-18, Orellana 4-1, Skinner 6-18
PASSING- CAG: Chapple 9-11-2, 196, Boglin1-1-1, 7; APALACHEE Rodriguez 3-6-1, 64
RECEIVING- GAC: Slayton 3-80-1, Williams 5-for-107-1, Stevens 1-7, Polhill 1-9; APALACHEE: Mathis 1-35, Knowles 1-16-1, Jackson 1-14