LOGANVILLE — It was supposed to be a star-studded battle on national television, but in the end, Grayson was too much for Parkview as it picked up a 47-7 win on Friday night at Grayson Community Stadium.
Coming into the football game, the storyline was new quarterback transfer and USC-commit Jake Garcia playing in his first game for the Rams. But there was more to the Rams’ offense as it had three different players throw touchdown passes, and got 143 yards and two touchdowns on the ground by Clemson commit Phil Mafah. In total, the Rams racked up 544 yards of total offense, while holding the Panthers to 248 yards of total offense.
“It’s a great team win for us,” said Grayson head coach Adam Carter. “We challenged our guys to come out and take it to them on national TV and that’s what they did. Defensively, I couldn’t be prouder of my guys.”
Grayson (7-0, 2-0 Region 4-AAAAAAA) got things going on its first possession when quarterback DeYon Cannon found Sebastian Sagar wide open in the middle of the field. Sagar caught the ball and sprinted to the end zone for the 39-yard score to give the Rams an early 7-0 lead.
After a punt by Parkview on its second possession, Mafah showed his Division-I talent as he took a handoff around the left side, patiently waiting for a hole to open up. As soon as one opened, he burst through it and raced 65 yards for the touchdown to make it 13-0 midway through the first quarter.
The Panthers (5-2, 1-1) looked to get things going on their next drive thanks to a 22-yard completion from Colin Houck to Jared Brown. However, an offensive holding call deep in Rams’ territory pushed the ball back to the 43 and the Panthers’ drive stalled, forcing them to punt.
Grayson took advantage on its next drive, which also happened to be Garcia’s first drive behind center for the Rams. Five plays into the drive, Garcia completed his first pass, finding Marcellis Turner wide open in the middle of the field. As Turner raced the 73 yards towards the end zone, the Panthers’ defense caught up with him, but a cutback allowed him to score, making the score 20-0.
Parkview had an answer on its very next play as Colin Houck found Bryce Fleetwood wide open for an 82-yard touchdown pass, bringing the Panthers to within 20-7 with 20 seconds to go in the first quarter.
“I went to our offense and told them that it was a mistake on our part and we needed points right here,” Carter said.
And that’s exactly what the Rams did, using a 56-yard completion for Garcia to Jaden Smith to set up a 31-yard field goal by Jimmy Gonzalez-Sanchez to make the score 23-7 early in the second quarter.
From there, it was all Grayson. Tyler Rowe intercepted a pass by Houck and returned it 28 yards. Two plays later, Mafah again was patient as his blocks developed, finding a hole and sprinting 19 yards for a touchdown to make it 31-7 with 6:41 to go before halftime.
“I saw holes open all day,” Mafah said. “All of the credit goes to the offensive line. They made it easy. (When I’m running), I have to see it before I hit it.”
By the time the third quarter rolled around, the Rams put their foot on the gas, not allowing Parkview a glimmer of hope.
A double-reverse pass from Jamal Haynes to Smith went for 31 yards and a touchdown. For his efforts, Haynes added that he is perfect on high-school passes, having completed all three he’s attempted in career, with all of them going for touchdowns.
After another interception by Rowe, Grayson got to work again with Garcia completing a 46-yard pass to Smith. Although the drive did stall inside the red zone, the Rams were still able to get a 23-yard field goal by Gonzalez-Sanchez to take a 40-7 lead.
Grayson added one last touchdown late in the third quarter, which was set up on a 38-yard completion from Cannon to Haynes. Five plays later, Cannon was able to sneak the ball in from the 1, giving the Rams their final points of the evening.
As a team, the Rams completed 13 of 22 passes for 321 yards. Garcia had 180 of those yards going 4-for-11, while Cannon had 110 yards on an 8-for-10 night. In addition to Mafah’s 143 yards on the ground, Sean Downer had 52 yards on four carries. Smith led all pass catchers with four receptions for 132 yards, while Haynes had five catches for 68 yards.
Parkview was led by Houck through the air, going 12-for-24 for 157 yards, while Cody Brown was limited to 43 yards on 15 carries. Tyler Curtis also had eight carries for 26 yards.
“Our goal coming into this game was to limit the run game,” Carter said. “We didn’t want to give up the big play, so I’m proud that the defense was able to somewhat contain their run game.”
Grayson travels to Brookwood next week where a win will clinch the region title. Parkview, meanwhile, must regroup to face South Gwinnett.
Grayson 47, Parkview 7
Parkview 7 0 0 0 — 7
Grayson 20 11 16 0 — 47
Grayson: Sebastian Sagar 39 pass from DeYon Cannon (Jimmy Gonzalez-Sanchez kick) 8:36
Grayson: Phil Mafah 65 run (conversion failed) 6:23
Grayson: Marcellis Turner 73 pass from Jake Garcia (Gonzalez-Sanchez kick) :41
Parkview: Bryce Fleetwood 82 pass from Colin Houck (Tyler Parnell kick) :20
Grayson: Gonzalez-Sanchez 31 FG 9:42
Grayson: Mafah 19 run (Sagar conversion) 6:41
Grayson: Jaden Smith 31 pass from Jamal Haynes (conversion failed) 8:09
Grayson: Gonzalez-Sanchez 23 FG 6:08
Grayson: Cannon 1 run (Gonzalez-Sanchez kick) :36