The 3rd annual Inner City Classic featured the 6A Lovejoy Wildcats against the 5A Mays Raiders at Lakewood Stadium in Atlanta, Ga. Lovejoy entered ranked tenth in 6A while Mays entered the contest unranked riding a three-game win streak.
Lovejoy got out of the gate quickly going up 14-0 on the strength of an 18-yard touchdown run by Kevin Morris and a 6-yard touchdown run by Rico Tilley.
Mays answered back with 19 unanswered points. The first of those points were set up by an interception returned to the Lovejoy three by Ferlando Jordan. Two plays later AJ Coyeano scored on a 3-yard touchdown run near the end of the first quarter to pull Mays within 14-7.
Mays continued its run in the second quarter thanks to starting quarterback Asahnia Aderhold and Tyshawn Brown leading the charge. Over a span of four plays the duo hooked up twice for touchdowns. Aderhold sat out Mays previous possession as Joe Turner guided the Mays offense on a good drive which ended with a missed field goal. Once Aderhold got back in the game, he made his presence known and never sat out another series. Aderhold hit Brown for a 53-yard pass play setting up their 24-yard touchdown connection two plays later to pull Mays within one at 14-13 after the two-point conversion failed. Lovejoy was flagged for roughing the passer on the touchdown meaning Mays would kick off from the Lovejoy 45. The Raiders attempted and recovered an onside kick. On the next play Aderhold hit Brown for a 34-yard touchdown giving Mays the 19-14 lead with 10:06 remaining in the second quarter.
Rico Tilley added an 18-yard touchdown run with 5:43 left in the half for a 21-19 Lovejoy lead which held until halftime. Tilley finished with two rushing touchdowns on the night.
In the second half Aderhold found a new target as Mays continued to click. The Raiders capped an 8-play 82-yard drive with an Aderhold to Julius Whitehead 19-yard touchdown pass. On their next possession Aderhold and Whitehead hooked up again on a 4-yard touchdown pass capping a 9-play 62-yard drive putting Mays up 34-21 with 2:24 remaining in the third quarter.
Lovejoy’s Malik Route caught an 8-yard touchdown pass from Mays transfer quarterback Quintarius Neely to make it 34-28 with 5:31 left in the fourth. The Raiders came right back with the Aderhold-Whitehead connection again, this time from 18 yards out capping a 7-play 75 yard drive giving Mays the 40-28 lead with 2:21 left.
Lovejoy’s top flight receiver Preston Williams finally got in the scoring column with a 9-yard touchdown reception from Neely to keep Lovejoy alive at 40-35. Mays recovered the onside kick attempt and ran out the clock for the win. Williams-the nations top wide receiver was held to 5 receptions 53 yards and a touchdown. Williams was covered most of the night one-on-one by Mays’ Khalil Brooks, Brooks improved his stock with his performance tonight. It was the second straight week Williams was held under 100 yards receiving.
Aderhold finished with over 300 yards passing with five touchdowns, Brown snagged four balls for 116 yards and two touchdowns while Whitehead grabbed five balls for 87 yards and three touchdowns for Mays.
Defensively Mays was led by Brooks, Natrez Patrick and Marquez Daniels.
Mays (4-1) won its third straight contest and will turn their attention to sub-region for and defending 5A state champion Creekside next week.
Lovejoy (3-2) will attempt to rebound next week when region play begins on the road against Rockdale County.