Following a scoreless opening quarter, the American team got on the board with an 11-yard touchdown pass from Jeremy Hecklinski to Jordan Bride (GAC). The connection capped an 8-play 52-yard drive and gave the Americans a 6-0 lead with 4:25 left in the half. The Nationals answered with a 9-play, 70-yard drive that ended on a 1-yard touchdown run by Caden Williams (Calhoun) with just 8 seconds left in the half. Williams also added the 2-point conversion to give the Nationals an 8-6 lead to open the second half.
Omarion Tucker–who led the Nationals on the defensive side of the ball in the first half with six solo tackles and a sack–switched to the offensive side of the ball in the third quarter and ran in a 17-yard touchdown to increase the Nationals’ lead to 14-6. The Americans’ turned it over on downs on its following possession and then Williams finished off a 4-play, 35-yard drive with a 14-yard touchdown run and his second successful 2-point conversion of the game to make it a 22-6 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Hecklinski found Bride for the duo’s second touchdown connection of the game just five seconds into the final frame with a beautiful 24-yard pass to the corner of the end zone, but the 2-point attempt failed and the Americans still trailed 24-12. The Nationals tacked on a 7-play, 70-yard scoring drive on its following possession and Jones County athlete Zion Ragins found the endzone on an explosive 37-yard touchdown.
The Nationals found the endzone again on a Maverick Shippman (Lakeside) 12-yard rushing touchdown and Shippman 2-point conversion to pad the lead to 36-12 with 5:27 left in the game. Williams finished the game with a game-high 144 rushing yards off of 18 carries and was named MVP. He also 3 tackles on the defensive side of the ball.
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The National Team scored a touchdown in each quarter of its 28-0 victory and limited the American team to just 82 yards of total offense–a statistic that helped them win the battle of field position throughout the contest. The Nationals received the ball to open the game and were forced to punt, but on the Americans’ first possession, Stephens County athlete Javin Gordon jumped a Landon Walker pass attempt and returned it 46 yards for a touchdown to get the Nationals on the board. The Nationals added to their lead in the opening minute of the second quarter–capping a 7-play, 45-yard drive with a 15-yard touchdown pass from Reginald Johnson (Blessed Trinity) to Bryce Lewis (Holy Redeemer). Brayden Lewis (Mount Vernon) ran in the successful 2-point attempt to make it 14-0 heading into the half.
The Americans opened the second half with their best drive of the game, but the 11-play, 63-yard drive reached the National 1-yard line and eventually stalled at 7-yard line following two negative rushing plays and a pair of incompletions. The scoreless drive took up the first 7:51 of the third quarter. The Nationals took over at its 7-yard line and advanced with a big 26-yard completion from Johnson to Lewis. Gordon added a 10-yard run and then capped off the 93-yard scoring drive with a 58-yard touchdown run with 1:09 left in the period. Johnson found Lewis on the 2-point conversion attempt to make it a 22-0 lead.
The Americans turned it over on downs to open the fourth quarter and then the Nationals capped off a 4-play scoring drive with a Lewis 3-yard touchdown run to make it a 28-0 lead with 8:59 left.
Gordon was named the game’s MVP after finishing with a game-high 96 rushing yards, including his 58-yard score. Defensively, Gordon had his 46-yard interception return touchdown in the first quarter and finished with 2.5 tackles.
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The Sixth Grade American Team denied a potential game-tying 2-point conversion at the buzzer and held off a late Nationals’ rally for a 14-12 victory in Saturday’s opening game of the 2019 Georgia Elite Classic’s Middle School lineup. The Americans got on the board with 8:55 left in the opening quarter on a 19-yard touchdown pass from Grayson Stafford (Prince Avenue Christian) to Brady Marchese (McClure Middle), but a failed 2-point attempt kept the lead at 6-0. The margin held until just before the half when Christopher Miller (Connections Academy) connected with Marchese for a 74-yard touchdown pass with just 1:15 left in the half. Grayson Villar (McClure Middle) rumbled his way into the endzone on the ensuing 2-point conversion and the Americans took a 14-0 lead into the half.
The Nationals did not cut into the margin until late in the fourth quarter. Quarterback Caden Dawson (Blessed Trinity) capped off a 4-play drive with a 14-yard touchdown pass to John Durden (Whitefield Academy) with just 1:04 left in the game, but the 2-point try failed and the Americans’ continued to lead 14-6. The Americans got the ball back and running back Tylil Jones (Tapp) was in the midst of picking up a first down, but Kolton Driskell (King’s Ridge) forced and recovered a fumble to give the Nationals the ball back near midfield with just 16 seconds left.
Hayes Griffin got the Nationals into scoring range with a 24-yard completion to Durden and the clock stopped as the Americans misused a challenge flag to question an unchallengable call. The Americans quickly got up to the line of scrimmage and then Griffin tossed it into a crowd of jerseys in the middle of the end zone. Multiple players got their hands on the football and it was first ruled as an interception, but then a challenge flag from the American sideline brought it under review and it was overruled–crediting Luke Gibbons (King’s Ridge) with a 16-yard touchdown catch. The Americans went for the potential game-tying 2-point conversion, but the pass went incomplete.
Marcheses finished with a game-high 93 receiving yards to go with his two touchdowns, while also adding four solo tackles and a tackle for loss defensively and was named the game’s MVP.
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The Seventh Annual Georgia Elite Classic will feature the biggest lineup of games in the event’s history, starting on Saturday, Dec. 21 with a triple-header and closing on Sunday, Dec. 21 with a five-game lineup at McEachern’s Cantrell Stadium. The amplified schedule of this year’s Classic stems from the addition of a Sixth Grade All-Star game for the first time. The Sixth-Grade All-Stars will be kicking things off on Saturday at 1:30 p.m., followed by the Seventh-Grade All-Stars at 4 p.m. and the Eighth-Grade All-Stars at 6:30 p.m. On Sunday, the Senior All-Star Game starts things off at 10 a.m., followed by the Brain Bowl at 12:30 p.m., Junior All-Stars at 3 p.m., Freshman All-Stars at 5:30 p.m. and Sophomore All-Stars 8 p.m.
The 2019 Classic’s expansion comes just one year after a series of new additions were made to last year’s edition. In 2018, a Seventh and Eighth-Grade game were brought back after a one-year absence, in addition to the inaugural Brain Bowl, which formed its rosters based off athletes with impressive academic achievements.
The sheer size of this year’s event will allow more than 700 participants from more than 200 different Georgia High Schools appear in a competitive all-star environment with talented prospects from throughout the state. Former Georgia Elite Classic participants that have already gone on to the NFL includes Mitch Hyatt (North Gwinnett- Dallas Cowboys), Darius Slayton (Greater Atlanta Christian- New York Giants), TJ Rahming (McEachern- Miami Dolphins) and Chuma Edoga (McEachern- New York Jets) and high school All-Americans like Arik Gilbert (Marietta-committed to LSU), Owen Pappoe (Grayson-Auburn), Jadon Haselwood (Cedar Grove-Oklahoma) and Dominick Blaylock (Walton-Georgia) have also appeared in the games.
In addition to attracting Georgia’s most talented players, the Classic also brings in some of the state’s most accomplished coaches to lead the sidelines. This year’s Senior All-Star Game will have McEachern Offensive Coordinator Derrick Cook and Tucker Head Coach Bryan Lamar squaring off. The Junior Game will have Cedartown assistant Mike Worthington and Peach County assistant Todd Cooper serving as head coach. North Forsyth’s Todd Faulkner and Lithia Springs head coach Corey Jarvis will be coaching the Brain Bowl. The sophomore game will have Walton Offensive Coordinator Chris Hirschfield going against Calhoun Offensive Coordinator Mike Davis and the Freshman game will be led by Kell Assistant Head Coach Steve Gates and Rome Defensive Coordinator Wayne Groves.
McEachern quarterback Carlos Del Rio threw touchdown passes in each of the first three quarters and rushed for a 38-yard touchdown in the fourth to lead the Americans. Kell kicker Colby Kerns provided the game’s first points with a made 36-yard field goal and Del Rio found Indians teammate Jahmanuel Arnold later in the opening frame for a 38-yard score to make it a 10-0 game.
The Nationals capped a 9-play scoring drive with a 32-yard Braden Ralston field goal, and quarterback Trevor Lovett (North Cobb) later found Jaquez Smith (Hapeville Charters) for a 7-yard touchdown pass to even the game 10-10 with 1:53 left in the half.
Del Rio answered with an 8-play, 70-yard drive that ended with a 38-yard touchdown pass to Arnold with just 13 seconds on the clock. This was the start of the Americans’ 27 unanswered points to close out the victory. Early in the third quarter, Del Rio found Camden County receiver Shawn Hardy for a 66-yard touchdown that increased the Nationals lead to 23-10.
Del Rio added a 34-yard rushing score with 9:06 left and Damozzio Harris rushed for a 9-yard touchdown 1:20 left for the final tally. The Americans outgained the Nationals 379-to-176 and averaged 8.81 yards per play.
Walton quarterback Zak Rozsman threw an 8-yard touchdown pass to Zach Johansen (North Gwinnett) with 4:40 left in the game, and found his Raiders teammate Cade Thompson on the ensuing game-winning 2-point attempt to lift the Americans past the Nationals 29-28.
Rozsman shook off a pair of first half interceptions and finished the game 16-of-23 passing for 214 yards and three touchdowns—earning himself MVP honors. The Nationals opened up a 7-0 lead in the first quarter after a 2-yard run by Jamie Felix (Camden County) and would not trail until Rozsman’s 2-point attempt in the final minutes. LaShawn Lester put the Americans on the board with a 3-yard touchdown run with 7:24 left in the first half, but Parkview’s Champ Baker intercepted Rozsman and returned it 24 yards for a Nationals touchdown minutes later.
Rozsman answered with a 6-play, 70-yard scoring drive that was capped with a 26-yard touchdown pass to Malachi Kelley (Hart County) on the final play of the half, but a missed PAT kept the Americans down 14-13 at the break.
Felix took the first play of the second half 70 yards for a touchdown to increase the Nationals’ lead to 21-13, but Rozsman found Johansen with 2:01 left in the third for a 20-yard touchdown pass, and hit Thompson for the first of their two critical post-touchdown conversions to even it up 21-21.
Houston County running back Simeon Askew capped a scoring drive with a 1-yard touchdown run on the final play of the third quarter to put the Nationals up 28-21.
The Nationals outgained the Americans 384-327 in total yardage and accounted for 261 rushing yards to the Americans’ 113. Askew led all rushers with 132 yards off his six carries, and Felix turned in an efficient 97 yards and two touchdowns off his nine carries.
Defensively, McEachern’s Latrell Bullard posted a game-high six solo tackles, five tackles for loss and two sacks. Vito Perry (Alpharetta) hauled in Rozsman’s other interception, and Nathan Vail (Harrison) recovered a fumble that was returned 52 yards to set up Lester’s first half touchdown run.
The Nationals built a 24-7 halftime lead and held off the Americans to take the sixth annual Junior Elite game. North Atlanta quarterback Wiley Hartley was named MVP and got the Nationals on the board with a 70-yard touchdown pass to Ricky White (Wheeler) on the second play from scrimmage.
The Americans answered with an 8-yard touchdown pass from Donovan Anthony (Washington-Wilkes) to tight end Beau DeBerry (Grayson) to even it 7-7, and cap off an 11-play, 70-yard drive. The Nationals regained the lead with 1:11 to go in the first quarter with a 4-yard touchdown run by Nnamdi Orjioke (Lassiter).
Denmark quarterback Ben Whitlock stepped in and tossed a 24-yard touchdown pass to Jamontae Jean (Therrell) that grew the Nationals’ lead to 21-7,and Evan Fuller (Bremen) tacked on a 23-yard field goal before the half. Fuller also won the halftime’s kicking competition with a 45-yarder.
American kicker Ezra King (Eastside) booted a 25-yard field goal to cap a 9-play, 62-yard scoring drive early in the third quarter, but Hartley struck again with a 31-yard touchdown pass to Devin Ellison (Cherokee) to put the Nationals ahead 31-10 heading into the final frame.
Stockbridge quarterback Jevon McDonald scrambled in the game’s final points from 20 yards out to make it 31-17. The Americans outgained the Nationals 342-to-317 in total yards. McDonald finished 11-of-25 passing for 123 yards and an interception, and took four carries for 41 yards to go with his rushing score.
Hartley finished 7-of-12 passing for 161 yards and his two touchdowns. There were a combined 19 different players that registered at least one reception in the game. Brookwood offensive lineman Sean Hill also picked up 15 receiving yards for the Nationals after taking a hook and ladder following a reception by North Cobb’s Kendall Drake on a designed call.
Defensively, Michaiah Bell (Harrison) posted 3.0 tackles for loss and four solo tackles. Roland Jackson (Norcross), Patrick Dahlen (Cherokee) and KD Johnson (Thomasville) each had interceptions. Brookwood linebacker Tony Ward had a game-high six solo tackles to lead the Nationals and Peach County safety Talique Allen led the Americans with five.
The Nationals jumped out to a 24-7 halftime lead and held off the Americans to win the Georgia Elite Classic’s first-ever Brain Bowl. Junior Alexander Wilson (Allatoona) ran in a 16-yard touchdown to give the Nationals a 7-0 lead and sophomore Tre Henry (Greater Atlanta Christian) capped off a 6-play drive with a 16-yard touchdown run later in the quarter. Jack Breedlove added a 31-yard field goal in the opening minutes of the second quarter to increase the Nationals’ lead to 17-0.
The Americans answered with a 54-yard touchdown run by senior Isaiah Jackson (Frederica Academy), but Wilson rushed in his second score of the half to give the Nationals their 24-7 halftime edge.
The teams went scoreless in the third quarter until its explosive final seconds. American quarterback Robert Matthew Peters (Cairo) tossed a 28-yard touchdown pass to Matthew Register (Riverwood) with four seconds left. The Nationals took over at their own 30-yard line following the kickoff, and Henry took a screen pass from Matthew McCravy (Hillgrove) down the sideline for a 70-yard touchdown to close the quarter. Henry finished with 109 yards from scrimmage to go with his two touchdowns and was named the MVP following the game.
In the fourth quarter, Peters completed a 70-yard touchdown pass to Konata Mumpfield (Dacula) for the game’s final points. The American team outgained the Nationals 348-to-297 in total yardage, but lost three of four fumbles and the turnover margin 6-2. Westminster sophomore Connor Weselman won the halftime kicking competition with a 47-yarder. Blessed Trinity defensive lineman Grayson Gilder led all tacklers with seven and included three tackles for loss.
The National Team racked up 202 of its 241 yards of offense on the ground and limited the Americans to just 86 total yards in a thorough 26-0 victory. Quarterback CJ Ogbonna (Wheeler) started the scoring in the opening minute of the second quarter with a 37-yard touchdown pass to Jalen Dallas (Bremen).
The American team answered with a solid drive that took them into National territory, but defensive end Justin Talley (Kell) sacked Garrison Hand (Villa Rica) on fourth down to stall the drive. Talley finished the game with 3.5 sacks and four solo tackles.
The third quarter saw the American running game take off as the trio of Marcuis Fulks (Hiram), Tavion Jackson (Campbell) and Daimar Ivey (Temple) accounted for 100 yards off a combined 12 carries in the frame. Fulks found the end zone on a 38-yard touchdown run with 1:38 left in the quarter to grow the lead to 13-0.
In the fourth quarter, Jackson added 17-yard touchdown run and Ivey capped the scoring with a 2-yard touchdown with 1:04 left. Fulks finished with 82 yards off 8 carries and was named Co-MVP with Jackson, who took his 13 carries for 78 yards.
American team running back Joshua Baker capped off an 11-play drive with a 2-yard touchdown run to grow a 6-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.
The score held until a pivotal play in the second quarter that was eventually overturned by the first successful coach’s challenge in event history. National team quarterback Abe Stowe was sacked by Nick Persiano and was originally ruled down. American head coach Rusty Reed threw the challenge flag, however, and video review offered conclusively that the ball had come out. William Reed came up with the recovered fumble and the American team took over at the National 8-yard line. Ben Guthrie punched in a 1-yard touchdown run three plays later and the lead grew to 12-0 with 3:25 left in the half.
Future Walton quarterback Jeremy Hecklinski found Raiders teammate Hunter Teal for a 26-yard National touchdown less than two minutes later, but the failed PAT kept the deficit at 12-6. The American team took over at their own 30-yard line and closed the half with a 6-play, 70-yard drive capped off with a 21-yard touchdown pass from Guthrie to Kaleb Cost as time expired.
Defense dominated the second half as neither team threatened to score. The American team picked up just 2 yards off three total plays in the entire third quarter, but their own defensive prowess kept the National team from gaining momentum. The Nationals finished the game with just 77 total yards of offense to the American team’s 140.