Edward Russ started at quarterback in the absence of starter Stephen Williams in the Georgia Predators (2-0) home opener. Russ was 11-of-17 131 yards 2 TD and an interception passing as the Predators defeated Marvel City 29-14.
Russ scored the first of his two rushing touchdowns on a 1-yard keeper with 5:02 in the first quarter. Jeremy Parham dropped what should have been a first down completion on a second quarter drive stalling the Predators offense the remainder of the half as it was 7-0 at the break.
Parham kept the momentum going following Damian Dowell’s 56-yard interception return catching a 14-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter for a 15-0 Predators lead after the two-point conversion.
Behind solid offensive line play, Smiley Jones, Kevin Fancher and Russ used the ground game on their next possession., Russ scored on a 1-yard keeper capping a 54-yard drive and led 22-0.
Marvel City (1-2) scored 14 unanswered points in the fourth quarter and trailed 22-14 with 4:54 remaining. David Cash’s 58-yard interception return set up Korey Rhodes’ 2-yard touchdown followed by a 13-yard Jadah Fuller touchdown on a quarterback draw.
The Predators had been winning the line of scrimmage on both sides and the ground game was being effective yet Marvel City was keying in on the run with the game within reach.
“We played our game, the guys really understood the concept of getting after it,” line coach Shawn Patton said. “Defensively we line the best guys up and we used our rotations real quick and it wore them down. Offensively our blocking schemes are not hard we just got after it.”
That line play opened up the playbook leading to Edward Russ hooking up with a streaking Jeremy Parham on the game-clinching 41-yard touchdown pass off playaction with 4 minutes remaining.
“I think for the role that he played stepping in an emergency situation, he doesn’t get all the snaps at practice but he proved that he’s a worthy opponent to go play against and he’s worthy of leading this team,” Johnson said. “We miss Steven but we know we have us a quality backup.”
The Predators defense held Marvel City to minus-33 yards rushing, less than 100 yards of total offense and picked off three balls. Darius Hunt, Greg Edwards, Anthony Barbour, DJ Bowden, Sam Bowman, Brian Daniels, Dowell and a host of others caused numerous disruptions to Marvel City’s offense. Marvel City playmaker Tony Rudolph was a non-factor. Rudolph entered the game with over 300 all-purpose yards through two games. The Predators kicked away from Rudolph for the most part in the kicking game and limited his touches offensively as he finished with less than 70 all-purpose yards an a interception.
“We had a little bit of nervous energy, we couldn’t get it all together but then we bounced back,” Predators head coach Tyrone Johnson said. “We started tackling and we started executing and we started improving on our fundamental things and the result speaks for itself.”
The Georgia Predators will host the East Alabama Predators next Saturday June 14th at Hallford Stadium. East Alabama defeated the Georgia Knights 55-2 last week.