In a heralded matchup of two of the best teams not just in Georgia but nationwide, No. 12 Grayson (Loganville) left little in doubt. And now, the Rams are headed to the Georgia Dome.
A year after being knocked out in the state semifinals, Grayson sent shock waves through the Peach State by jumping out to a big lead and then holding off No. 14 Mill Creek (Hoschton), 44-26, in a Class AAAAAAA state semifinal.
The Rams sprinted to a 38-14 halftime lead against the previously-unbeaten Hawks and held off a late charge to cruise into the state final. Quarterback Chase Brice, a Clemson commit, threw for 256 yards and four touchdowns in the first half alone as Grayson created enough of an early cushion. He finished with 296 passing yards.
Mill Creek (13-1) mounted a late comeback, cutting the deficit to 41-26, but finished its season in the state semifinals for the second straight year. The defeat ended an illustrious and record-breaking football career for Hawks quarterback Cameron Turley, who is headed to Georgia Tech to play baseball.
To open the scoring, Brice hit Elijah Barnes for a 17-yard TD connection and an early 6-0 lead (the extra point failed). After a 41-yard Will VanPamelen field goal extended Grayson’s early lead to 9-0, Mill Creek struck back as Edmond Graham raced 19 yards for the score and Brenton King’s PAT cut the deficit to 9-7 with 2:40 left in the first quarter.
From there, Grayson (13-1) built its a lead that proved too commanding for the Hawks to overcome.
Brice hit Kurt Taylor for the 10-yard score that made it 16-7 with 8:31 to go in the second quarter. Then, after a Mill Creek punt, Brice hit Evan Sturgill on the 25-yard score to extend the lead to 23-7 with 4:18 to go before the break. Next, it was the Ram defense’s turn to get in on the scoring, namely senior safety Quintin Thames. After a Hawks reception, Thames ripped the ball away, grabbed it and ran in for the TD and a 30-7 lead after the two-point conversion with 3:49 still to go before halftime.
A long touchdown run from South Carolina commit Jamyest Williams closed out the Rams’ scoring before the half, and the lead was 38-7.
VanPamelen hit two second-half field goals to help seal the victory for Grayson, which will head to the Georgia Dome for a Dec. 10 state final against Roswell. The Hornets shut out Westlake to reach their second straight state title game