Juniors 28, Seniors 24
When the game was on the line, a trio of Cherokee juniors helped protect the lead and pull the Junior team past the Seniors 28-24 in the second game of the day at the Georgia Elite Classic at Rome’s Barron Stadium.
Trailing 24-21, Roswell quarterback Robbie Roper gave the Juniors the 28-24 lead with a 15-yard touchdown pass to Mount Pisgah receiver Cole Spence. And when the Juniors faced a 3rd-and-9 at their own 15-yard line, Cherokee quarterback AJ Swann passed Cherokee’s junior wide out Adarrius Harshaw to get the first down to the 37-yard line.
Following the 2-minute warning, Cherokee back Keith Adams Jr. sealed the victory with a 21-yard first down run which sealed the victory.
The Seniors led early on a 1-yard touchdown run from Philip Johnson to cap a 5-play 70-yard drive. The Juniors tied the game on a 21-yard touchdown pass from Roper to Walton receiver Rawson MacNeill, capping a 10-play, 60-yard drive. Carrollton running back Christian Lett put the seniors up 14-7 with a 52-yard touchdown run with 14:53 left in the second half. But CJ Washington, a junior defensive end from Cedartown, tied the game with a 2-yard touchdown run with 11:11 before the half.
Cass’ senior kicker Kaleb Speights kicked a 33-yard field goal just before the half. Riverwood’s Jonathan Brown gave the Seniors the 24-21 lead with a 33-yard interception return with 9:49 left in the game but Spence’s game-winning reception proved the difference.
The Juniors amassed 370 yards of offense (220 passing, 150 rushing) and outgained the Seniors (300, 146 passing, 154 rushing) by 70 yards. Roper was an efficient 6-of-7 passing for 71 yards and two touchdowns. Swann was 8-of-10 for 115 yards and one touchdown. MacNeill had five receptions for 113 yards and two touchdowns to lead the junior receivers. Adams had 13 carries for 58 yards and Washington had three carries for 16 yards and a touchdown. Putnam County back Cedrion Brundage had 11 carries for 40 yards. On defense, Hardaway lineman Mykel Williams impressed with five solo tackles and six assists with 3.5 tackles for loss. Marietta linebacker Daniel Martin made four tackles with two assists.
Mountain View quarterback Nathan Payne was 6-of-7 passing for 91 yards and Sonoraville quarterback Brady Lackey was 3-of-6 passing for 55 yards. Lett led the seniors in the backfield with eight carries for 80 yards and a touchdown. Rockmart’s Javin Whatley had eight carries for 58 yards. Central Gwinnett wide out Mekhi Mews had three receptions for 66 yards and Clarke Central’s Justin Hodges had two catches for 52 yards. On defense for the Seniors, South Gwinnett linebacker Dwayne Johnson led with six solo tackle and five assists with three tackles for loss. Lanier linebacker Rylan Serna made four tackles, seven assists and two tackles for a loss. Riverwood lineman Jonathan Brown made three tackles with three assists and 2.5 tackles for loss and an interception. Whitefield Academy Myles Redding made an interception for the Seniors.