The Nationals defeated the Americans 38-35 in the Georgia Elite Classic Sophomore game. The Nationals jumped out to a quick 21-0 lead in the first quarter to take control of the game early. The Americans stormed back at the end of the first half and early in the second, but the Nationals hung on thanks to second-half touchdowns by Jordan Simmons (Jordan Simmons) and Dexter Williams (Mt. de Sales).
The first quarter was a rough one for the the Americans, as they fumbled on three consecutive possessions to start the game and the Nationals capitalized each time. Kobe Pryor (Cedartown) rushed in from 3 yards and 49 yards in the first frame, and Bryson Irby (Alexander) had a 39-yard TD rush as well.
The American team clawed back into the game to trail by just three points in the third quarter after an 18-yard run by Eli Kohl (Brookwood). But Simmons broke off a 49-yard run to give the Nationals a 31-21 lead at the 4:53 mark of the quarter that they would take into the final period.
The fourth quarter saw Deondre Jackson (Stephenson) score from 4 yards out to bring the Americans to within three points again at 31-28. The Nationals answered with a 1-yard Williams keeper to push the lead back to 10 points with 2:31 left. The Americans made it interesting with 1:16 left with a halfback pass for a score. Jackson took a pitch from Griffin Brewster (Darlington) and threw a strike to Kobe Stewart (Marietta) to once again make it a field-goal deficit. But the Nationals were able to bleed the clock nearly all the way down and the game ended with the Americans in possession of the ball on their end of the field.
Pryor was named the game’s MVP as he rushed for 93 yards on 12 carries. Simmons added 75 yards on seven carries, and Irby had 67 on six attempts. The game was dominated by the run, as the Nationals rushed for 287 yards to the Americans’ 269. Williams also rushed for 50 yards from the QB position and passed for 81 (5-of-8). Brock Travelstead (North Paulding) hit a 39-yard field goal in the second quarter.
For the Americans, Donovan Anthony (Washington-Wilkes) led his team with 49 rushing yards, Zaire Thornton (Grady) rushed for 46 yards and Mecose Todd (Villa Rica) had 39. Jackson had 35 yards to go with three TD runs and scoring pass. Brewster passed for 143 yards on 9-of-17 passing, with a long of 40. DJ Hart (Norcross) had 86 of those receiving yards on four catches.