Grayson topples No. 9 Hoover in battle of state champions

Photo: Dale Zineen, USA TODAY

Grayson topples No. 9 Hoover in battle of state champions

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Grayson topples No. 9 Hoover in battle of state champions

Ronald Thompkins ran for two touchdowns and D.J. Irons ran for a touchdown and passed for one to lead Grayson (Loganville, Ga.) to a 35-26 defeat of No. 9 Hoover (Ala.) in a battle of defending state champions Friday in Loganville.

Kenyon Jackson also had a key play late in the game. With Hoover (0-1) trailing just 28-26, Irons connected with Jackson on a short route, and Jackson broke it for a 71-yard touchdown reception that gave the Rams (1-0) breathing room with a 3:54 to go in the game.

Grayson scored on its first two series. Following the opening kickoff, the Rams took a 7-0 lead early in the game as Camron Thompson’s 57-yard run was followed by Irons’ 1-yard touchdown run.

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After Hoover went three-and-out, Thompkins’ 12-yard run put Grayson up 14-0 with 7:28 remaining in the first quarter.

Hoover scored just before the end of the quarter on a Barrett Pickering 47-yard field goal. It was set up by a 51-yard pass from Jalen Parker to Shedrick Jackson. Pickering further trimmed Grayson’s lead to 14-6 with 4:08 to go in the half on a 45-yard field goal following a goal-line stand by the Buccaneers.

Thompkins’ second touchdown run, this one of 28 yards, put Grayson up 20-6 with 9:38 to go in the third quarter. Hoover answered two minutes later on a 65-yard run by Larry McCammon to make it 21-13. Grayson linebacker Owen Pappoe gave the Rams some breathing room when he fell on a fumbled snap on a punt in Hoover’s end zone for a touchdown and a 28-13 lead.

McCammon cut the lead back to 28-20 with 10 minutes left on a 1-yard run up the middle, set up by a Parker to George Pickens pass. He scored his third rushing touchdown with 7:07 left when he ran it in from the 4-yard line. A pass interference penalty on the two-point conversion cost Hoover, though and the Bucs trailed 28-26.

Last season, the Rams defeated Hoover 36-14, but Hoover went on to win its state 7A title and Grayson captured the Georgia AAAAAAA championship.

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