The calendar read August, the weather made it feel like late October and the schedule said it was a scrimmage but the crowd and atmosphere was of a late October regular season contest as Grady hosted Mays at Grady Stadium in a scrimmage between Class 5A and 4A teams.
On their second possession Grady went 59 yards scoring on a 2-yard touchdown run by Hakeem Todd for a 7-0 lead. Mays would answer right back, getting a 23-yard run from DJ Langford setting up a 50-yard touchdown pass from Ayiende Russell to Tyshawn Brown two plays later cutting the Grady lead to one, 7-6 in the first.
Grady came right back down the field behind solid quarterback play from Isiah Jenkins and rushing game behind Todd and Martin Fleming. The Grey Knights would cap the 70-yard drive on a Todd 13-yard touchdown run and led 14-6.
Todd, who also plays linebacker, would find the end zone again in the third quarter on a 7-yard touchdown run and Grady would add a junior varsity touchdown in the fourth quarter for the final 27-6 margin.
“Hakeem (Todd) is a special player, a double threat guy on both sides of the football and we expect big things from him this year and moving Isiah (Jenkins) to quarterback gets both of them on the field at the same time and that’s plus for us,” Grady head coach Ronnie Millen said afterwards
Millen has had only one losing season entering his 13th year at Grady and is one win way from his 100th career victory. Although this game didn’t count in the standings, he’ll get that shot in the season opener against Decatur, he and his staff liked what they saw from their team in the scrimmage.
“I saw some good things, our offensive line stepped up tonight we were able to control the ball and play Grady Football. We had some mental breakdowns but for a scrimmage I think they did well. We have some things we still need to iron out but overall I’m pleased with the effort,” Millen said.
Under the direction of former Duluth and ML King head coach Corey Jarvis, Mays is loaded with underclassmen talent that lacks in experience. Jarvis is 61-29 overall including 12-18 in three seasons at Duluth and is entering in his 9th year as a head coach and first at Mays.
Outside of their big-play touchdown, Mays struggled to move the ball and played close to the vest on offense. The Raiders punted twice, turned the ball over on downs twice, threw an interception and had two drives end at the end of the second and third quarters in varsity action. Defensively Mays forced Grady to punt three times and Jerome Smith intercepted a pass in the end zone to halt another productive Grady drive in varsity action.
“We’ve got some guys that just need to play. We are loaded with guys who haven’t played much and we’ll get better as the season goes,” Jarvis said.
Mays graduated 32 players from last season’s squad that went 5-5 playing in one of the toughest regions in Georgia, Region 6-5A with the likes of Stephenson, ML King, Tucker, Southwest Dekalb and improving Miller Grove and Arabia Mountian.