Grayson coach Mickey Conn had an autograph request after the Rams defeated Warner Robins 10-0 on Friday.
The baby-faced coach, who prefers a low profile, and the Rams cannot avoid the spotlight these days: The Gwinnett school is ranked No. 2 in Class AAAAA, with the Rams entering several national polls this week.
“Yeah, signing autographs doesn’t happen every day for a high school coach,” Conn said with a laugh.
Grayson’s Seun Olukoju scored the game’s only touchdown on the 34-yard run after a fake handoff to teammate Ean Pemberton, and Austin Clark connected on one of three field goal attempts.
It was not a vintage performance by Grayson (2-0), but it wasn’t needed because of a dominating effort by the defense. Warner Robins (1-1) was limited to only one first down in the opening half, five for the game, and 40 yards total offense.
“It was a defensive struggle,” Warner Robins coach Bryan Way said. “We were inept on offense and we couldn’t get anything going. But some of that had to do with Grayson’s defense.”
“Our offense didn’t execute … we busted assignments, we fumbled the ball, and we didn’t give ourselves a chance. However, I thought our defense played their hearts out.”
Grayson, which knocked off defending state champion Camden County 14-10 in the opener, and Lowndes both appear in several national polls, including the Rams at No. 28 in the ESPN Rise Fab 50.
What does Conn think of national rankings? “Right now, we’re trying to go 1-0 each week. We’re grateful for it, that our program gets that type of recognition.
“When you have a defense that plays that well, then you give yourself a chance to get ranked. When you can play defense well at any level, you’ve got a chance to win. We’ve got a strong defense [this year].”
Grayson, boosted by a strong kicking game that controlled field position, had three prime scoring opportunities in the first half, but only led 3-0 at intermission. Clark booted a 34-yard field goal but missed wide left on attempts from 44 and 37 yards.
The Rams finally got into the end zone when quarterback Patrick Santry faked a handoff to Pemberton and gave it to the speedy Olukoju, who beat the defensive pursuit around the corner. The 5-foot-4 Pemberton finished with 79 yards on 20 carries.
“They had been keying on Pemberton all night,” Conn said. “Seun made a big play and took it the house.
“Warner Robins had a defensive line that was in our backfield the whole night. We couldn’t run at them, and that’s what we like to do. They were really good up front.”
Grayson opens Region 8-AAAAA competion at Dacula next week.
GRAYSON 10, WARNER ROBINS 0
WR 0 0 0 0 – 0
G 0 3 0 7 – 10
G – Austin Clark 34 FG
G – Seun Olukoju 34 run (Clark kick)