Grayson Uses Final Regulation Minutes and OT to Win Inaugural GHSA Football Class 7A Title
The Georgia High School Association Football Championship play continued on Saturday at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Georgia. Day two began with Macon County solidifying their season by defeating McIntosh County Academy for the Class A Public State Title. The Class 2A State Championship was claimed by Benedictine after they completed ty, heir perfect season with a 49-26 victory of Fitzgerald. Game three featured Cartersville (14-0) and Thomson (14-0) battling for the Class 4A title, but it was Cartersville who dominated the entire game to get the 58-7 win over Thomson for the State Championship. The final game of the night and of the GHSA Football State Championship weekend had the Grayson Rams taking on the Roswell Hornets in the inaugural Class 7A Championship game. The Hornets, playing in their second consecutive state title game (lost to Colquitt County 30-13 in last year’s championship game) received the opening kickoff and after a few positive yardage plays turned the ball over when Sr. running back #1 Sheldon Evans fumbled the ball as Grayson took over from the Roswell 43 yard line. The Rams offense, led by Sr. quarterback #2 Chase Brice, would fail to produce much on their first possession as the Hornets’ defense, which was swarming Brice and the Rams offense all night, forced a three and out by Grayson as the Rams punted the ball away to Roswell. With the Hornets offense once again taking the field, Sr. quarterback #7 Malik Willis would hit Jr. wide receiver #3 Christian Ford for a big gain to the Grayson 30 yard line.
On the same drive Willis would later connect with Sr. wide receiver #2 Corey Reed Jr for a 25 yard touchdown pass as the Hornets would go on to take a 7-0 lead with 6:40 left in the first quarter. Over the remainder of the opening quarter and up until the midway point of the second quarter, both defenses were playing stingy ball not allowing either offense to find the end zone. Grayson did get a few sparks on special teams curtesy of Sr. corner back #1 Jaymest Williams however the Rams had a few of Williams big returns called back do to penalties. On Grayson’s fourth possession of the game Williams returned a punt 38 yards to the Hornets 49 yard line helping set-up a 39 yard touchdown pass from Brice to Sr. wide receiver 38 Deangelo Gibbs. The Rams would miss the extra point and Roswell would maintain a 7-6 lead with 6:09 left in the first half. After neither offense could score on their next possessions, it would be the Hornets that would manage to tack on 3 points when they hit a 35 yard field goal as time ran off the clock allowing Roswell to lead 10-6 at the half. With the third quarter underway, Grayson would have the first possession of the half and looked to be getting things going right away when Brice completed a 27 yard pass from the Rams 20 setting up a 1st and 10 from the Grayson 47 yard line. Brice would once again go to the air on the drive but would be intercepted by Roswell’s Sr. corner back #15 Xavier McKinney however the Hornets were unable to take advantage of the turnover as Grayson would force a three and out by the Hornets.
The remainder of the third quarter would continue to see strong defensive play by both Grayson and Roswell, with the Hornets defense applying a lot of pressure on Grayson’s Brice. In the fourth quarter, Roswell would tack on another field goal to take a 13-6 lead with 10:00 remaining in the contest. On the ensuing drive the Rams offense appeared to find their groove as Grayson began to move the ball effectively and later found the end zone on the drive when Brice hit Jr. wide receiver #11 Jaquavius Lane for a 62 yard touchdown. The Rams would once again fail to make the extra point and Roswell would remain in the lead 13-12 with 6:36 left in the game. Roswell would eventually be forced to punt on their next possession and Brice and the Grayson offense would once again take the field with 3 minutes left in the game.
Despite some big tackles for loss of yards by the Roswell defense, Brice and the Rams kept their composer and would move the ball into Roswell territory and with 1:04 left in the fourth, would get their first lead of the game when Brice threw a 35 yard touchdown pass to Lane. The Rams would complete the 2 point conversion and would lead the Hornets 20-13 with under a minute to go but Roswell would answer when Willis would hit Sr. wide receiver #10 Kentrell Barber for a 20 yard touchdown sending the game into overtime. Grayson would get the ball first in the extra period and would complete the drive with a field goal to take a 23-20 lead. Roswell would then get their shot to tie the game but would come up short when they missed the tying field goal as Grayson would go onto win their second state title and the inaugural Class 7A State Championship game.