The Junior Americans took the third game of the day with a 31-19 win over the Nationals, as quarterback Bryson Williams (Arabia Mountain) led his team to victory with touchdown passes to Buchi Nwaubi (Lassiter) and Lawrence Shadd (Harrison) on his way to MVP honors.
The American team took a 10-0 lead in the first quarter after a 54-yard field goal by Hayden Hairston (Milton) and a 12-yard interception return for a touchdown by Jacob Camp.
The Nationals got on the board with a 35-yard Jack Breedlove (Maynard Jackson) field goal, his first of two in the game. But with 4:08 left in the half, Williams hit Nwaubi for a 10-yard touchdown pass to take a commanding 17-3 lead at halftime.
The Nationals made it a 17-10 game in the third quarter after a highlight-reel, juggling catch by Christian Sims (Norcross) on a Bo Lawson pass (Dooly County). Sims (Norcross) was wide open over the middle and tipped the ball into the air several times while still on the run before hauling it in and striding to the end zone. But Williams hit Shadd for a 9-yard touchdown to push the American lead to 24-10.
A 37-yard field goal by Breedlove gave the Nationals 13 points with 4:52 left in the third quarter, and the Nationals would mount a comeback try in the fourth quarter. Keyon Brooks’ (Kennesaw Mountain) touchdown drew the Nationals to within five points, after a failed 2-point conversion, with 7:54 left in the game. But the American team mounted a drive to answer that score, and Nate Hope (Johns Creek) rushed for a 39-yard touchdown to make it 31-19 with 4:04 to play.
The Nationals final drive took them inside the 10 on a first-and-goal with just over a minute to play, but a Zach Calzada (Lanier) touchdown pass was negated after he was penalized for an illegal forward pass beyond the line of scrimmage. A Calzada scramble on fourth down with 48 seconds left came up short of the end zone, and the Americans took over on downs and ran out the clock for the 12-point win.
Williams finished 10-of-16 for 167 yards and two touchdowns to go with 27 yards rushing. Calzada finished with 229 yards passing on 23 completions in 33 attempts. Sims had a game-high 115 yards receiving on four receptions, and the Nationals’ Ridge Polk (Cambridge) had 10 receptions for 73 yards. Shadd led the Americans with 68 yards receiving. Justin Talley (Kell) had two sacks for the Nationals.