After falling behind 21-7 to the Freshman team with 7:01 left in the second quarter, the Sophomores rallied and outscored the youngsters 42-14 in the remaining time to win the nightcap game of the Georgia Elite Classic at Rome’s Barron Stadium.
The Sophomores rushed for six touchdowns on the night and South Paulding running back Jamarion Wilcox led with 16 carries for 124 yards and three touchdowns. He scored on runs of 11, three and one yard. Pepperell running back DJ Rogers had seven carries for 63 yards and three touchdowns. Rogers scored on runs of 36, 14 and four yards.
The Freshman controlled the pace early, taking the lead on a 2-yard touchdown run by Dougherty running back Kam Davis with 6:36 left in the first quarter. Following Roger’s 36-yard touchdown run, the Freshman responded with 21-yard touchdown pass from Walton quarterback Jeremy Hecklinski to Campbell receiver Terrence Kiel with 11:41 left before half. Commerce running back Sammy Brown gave the Freshman the 21-7 lead on a 7-yard run but touchdowns by Wilcox and Rogers would tie the game just before halftime.
Cass quarterback Devin Henderson passed to Wilcox’s BJ Gibson for a 13-yard touchdown with 6:29 left in the third, but the Sophomores seized momentum with three touchdowns in a row. The Sophomores started with a Rogers run with 3:54 left in the third quarter, a Wilcox run right at the end of the third quarter and a 40-yard touchdown pass from Mill Creek quarterback Hayden Clark to River Ridge tight end Jackson Head.
The Freshman defense forced a fumble and Bradwell offensive tackle Elyjah Thurmon recovered it in the endzone for a touchdown to cut into the lead 42-35. But Wilcox’s 3-yard run with 2:28 left put the game away.
The Sophomores totaled 389 yards of offense and 228 rushing yards on 33 carries. The Freshman gained 358 yards of offense, 258 passing and 100 rushing yards.
South Paulding sophomore quarterback Kasen Weisman was 4-of-8 passing for 104 yards while rushing for 30 yards on four carries. Mill Creek quarterback Hayden Clark was 4-of-8 passing for 55 yards and a touchdown for the sophomores. Head had six receptions for 48 yards and a touchdown. Putnam County’s Darrell Bland had two receptions for 56 yards.
On defense, Whitefield Academy linebacker Caleb Lavelle led with seven solo tackles, five assists and 2.5 tackles for a loss. St. Pius X defensive back Jack Tchienchou had six tackles and two assists.
The Freshman quarterbacks were extremely efficient and were a combined 23-of-32 passing for 258 yards and two touchdowns with just one interception. Henderson was 8-of-9 passing for 107 yards and a touchdown. Hecklinski was 8-of-14 passing for 93 yards and a touchdown and Rome’s Reece Fountain was 7-of-9 passing for 58 yards.
Gibson and Kiel each had three receptions and one touchdown to lead the receiving corps. On the ground, Davis led with 18 carries for 84 yards and a touchdown. Brown had 19 carries for 55 yards and a touchdown. On defense, Roswell defensive lineman Chase Morrison led with four tackles and one tackle for a loss while Parkview defensive back Zion Ferguson made three tackles.