As the regular season nears, plenty of high school football teams were in action this week in the form of preseason scrimmages. Every scrimmage is set up differently and usually are the first time high school teams get to hit someone other than themselves.
Here are some scores and notes from scrimmages around the state of Georgia this past week.
North Gwinnett won the overall scrimmage against Langston Hughes 28-21. Langston Hughes pulled its varsity late in the third quarter while North Gwinnett played their varsity through the entire third quarter. At the end of the third it was 21-all. North Gwinnett added a JV touchdown in the fourth quarter.
North Gwinnett entered the scrimmage with questions on their offensive line.
“I thought they took it to us pretty good,” North Gwinnett head coach Bob Sphire said about the offensive line. “We have a long way to go upfront. We really struggled in our pass protection and didn’t have time to do a whole lot. We struggled early running the football. I thought we got better as the game went along and they are a really good football team. We got a lot of work ahead us right now.
Langston Hughes went 10-2 last season and has posted back-to-back 10-wins seasons for the first time in the schools six-year history. Hughes scored 14 unanswered points after North Gwinnett scored on a pick six in the first quarter. DeFunda McCrary’s 11-yard touchdown run was followed up three plays later by Deonte Jackson’s pick six for a Panthers 14-7 lead.
“I was proud of the way we flew around, they had a chance to go against a team in a different color jersey,” Langston Hughes head coach Willie Cannon said. Cannon, a Miami native, is the only head coach in Langston Hughes history. “We made a lot of mistakes but I liked our effort. We showed that we are an up-and-coming team and we’ll continue to get better.
The Mays Raiders are filled with talent and top recruits up and down the roster yet are unranked in some local preseason polls. The Grady Grey Knights are looking to rebound after offseason turmoil resulted in the removal of head coach Ronnie Millen. Millen compiled a 107-42 record with three region titles in 13 seasons at Grady. In steps former Super Bowl champion Earthwind Moreland to lead the Knights. The Knights did not disappoint in the first game against another opponent with Moreland in charge.
Grady’s Marlon Character scooped up a fumble and returned it 75 yards for a touchdown with 2:26 left in the third quarter giving Grady their first and only lead of the three-quarter varsity scrimmage 21-20. Mays was unable to score on their next possession and Grady won the varsity scrimmage 21-20.
Mays scored on their first possession of the scrimmage on a 42-yard touchdown pass from Asahnia Aderhold to Tyshawn Brown for a 6-0 lead, the extra point was no good. Aderhold had outstanding pass protection when he and Brown hooked up again early in the second quarter on a 50-yard touchdown pass making it 13-0 after a successful extra point. Brown finished with 2 receptions for 92 yards and a pair of touchdowns unofficially.
Grady answered back on their next possession with a 3-play 70-yard scoring drive. Caylin Newton hit Amyr Smith for a 44-yard touchdown pass for Grady’s first points making it 13-7 with 9:58 left in the half.
Aderhold added a 21-yard touchdown run late in the half as Mays led 20-7 at halftime. Aderhold unofficially finished 5-of-11 128 yards 2 TD 1 INT passing and rushed four times for 46 yards with a touchdown.
Grady was in business again in the third quarter after Jaheem Moorer recovered a Joe Turner fumble on Mays’ opening possession of the third quarter. Newton hit Character for a 27-yard gain to the Mays 13- his third straight completion to open the drive. Newton was 11-of-20 192 yards with a touchdown and an interception unofficially. Two plays later Jacquez Sloan scored on a 5-yard run pulling Grady within 20-14 with 6:09 left. Mays fumbled on the eighth play of their next drive with Character returning it for the game-clinching touchdown.
Moreland was unavailable for comment after the scrimmage.
“I felt like we played well at times but still made some mental errors but that’s to be expected in the first game,” Mays head coach Corey Jarvis said. “We were more physical than Grady and I felt like we played well enough to win the game if we played four quarters. Our (second string) didn’t come through, just boneheaded stuff that we have to fix and will get fixed.
Camden County defeated Richmond Hill 35-0 when the varsity was pulled after the 3rd quarter. Richmond Hill is a team with 6A enrollment numbers but were placed in 5A due to a territorial provision. Camden passed for touchdowns of 65 and 18 yards in the scrimmage. Ryan Johnson scored on a 6-yard touchdown run set up by a long run by quarterback Antonio Hamilton for the final varsity points. The overall final was 42-10 Camden County.
Lassiter defeated North Cobb 26-17 during varsity portion of scrimmage. Each varsity was pulled mid-way in the third quarter. The theme for the night for North Cobb was dropped passes. Unofficially North Cobb receiver dropped 15-plus passes.
Ware County knocked of Valdosta 21-0. The varsity was pulled after the third quarter. Ware County is in its first season under head coach Franklin Stephens. Stephens led Tucker to the 2008 and 2011 state championship and was a state runner-up with Lamar County last season.
Mill Creek had a 6-3 lead over Archer in a field goal affair when each varsity was pulled after the first quarter. Archer returns household-name talent from last season’s school record-setting 11-1 team that lost to North Gwinnett in the second round of the state playoffs. The Tigers are ranked No.1 in some local polls and as high as No.31 in some national polls but do not crack the top 25 of any national polls that only rank 25 teams.
Dacula bested Lanier 28-21. When the varsity was pulled after the first quarter it was 7-all. The squads swapped pick sixes late in the game and Dacula added a passing touchdown in non-varsity action for the final margin.
McEachern defeated Hiram 50-0. McEachern is nationally ranked in the top 25 by multiple polls and are the highest ranked team from Georgia nationally.
Lovejoy defeated Drew 35-14 in two quarters of varsity action. Lovejoy quarterback Quint Neely passed for nearly 300 yards with five touchdowns and an interception. Preston Williams, Tremaine Dillard, Malik Route, Josh Varner and Brandon Knight each caught touchdowns. Lovejoy added JV and 9th grade touchdowns in the second half for the overall 47-14 final. Lovejoy is in its first season under head coach Edgar Carson replacing Al Hughes. Hughes was 47-6 the last four seasons with two state runner-ups in 2011 (lost to Tucker) and 2012 (lost to Norcross). Hughes is Clayton County’s all-time wins leader with 119 wins. 104 of those wins came at Lovejoy during his 13 seasons prior to being forced out this past offseason.
Buford defeated South Gwinnett 35-0 when the varsity were pulled. Buford is considered the second best team in Georgia and crack multiple national rankings. Buford will be competing in Georgia’s class 4A. it will be the highest classification Buford has competed in in their history. Buford has won 10 state titles in the 3A class or lower.
Stephenson defeated Tucker 12-0. Stephenson led 6-0 when the varsity was pulled at the end of the third quarter. Stephenson is known for churning out multiple college talent since it opened in 1996 (its only losing season) yet are still seeking a state championship. Tucker moved up to Georgia’s highest classification (6A) for the first time since winning the 2011 state champion in class 5A (the highest classification at that time).
Other Scrimmage Scores: Note these are final scores that do not necessarily reflect varsity competition only.
Oconee County 24 Cedar Shoals 7
Berrien 48 Lanier Co 6
Mundy’s Mill 21 Tri-Cities 18
Callaway 39 Greenville 0
Peachtree Ridge 24 Northview 7
Carrollton 35 West Forsyth 10
Grayson 26 Lambert 0
Winder Barrow 29 South Forsyth 28
Alpharetta 30 ML King 6
Woodstock 37 Sequoyah 35
Cartersville 36 Woodland 0
Washington Co. 26 Dublin 12
Kell 28 Marietta 24
Central Gwinnett 27 Union Grove 10
Thomasville 33 Mitchell Co 14
Fitzgerald 37 Hawkinsville 0
Weselyan 24 Pinecrest Academy 21
Brookwood 28 Heritage-Conyers 0
Calhoun 42 Rome 17
Hart Co. 41 Washington-Wilkes 24
Cass 22 Adairsville 21
Cook 17 Brooks Co. 6
Lowndes 24 Norcross 20
The regular season officially starts Friday August 22nd in Georgia.