Grayson 25, Lowndes 17

By S. Thomas Coleman
For the AJC

To the dismay of most everyone in Grayson Nation, head coach Mickey Conn doesn’t like to make Robert Nkemdiche the feature running back in the Rams’ offense.

But Friday night against Lowndes, Conn decided to let the big dog eat. Nkemdiche, considered by some to be the nation’s best high school junior, carried 16 times for 61 yards and three touchdowns, to go along with three sacks, to lead Grayson (12-0) to a 25-17 win over the Vikings (8-4) in the second round of the state playoffs.

The Rams will be at home again next week for Round Three when they host West Forsyth, which pulled perhaps the biggest upset of the season in knocking off previously unbeaten Hillgrove, 40-28.

“Well, when you’ve got a kid who’s 270 pounds and runs a 4.6 [40 yard dash], I guess you better give him the ball,” Conn said afterward. “Robert’s been getting better and better every week as a running back.”

Nkemdiche has said since the first time he touched the ball last season that he wouldn’t mind carrying more of the load, shared mostly by senior Devin Gilespie and junior Wayne Gallman. Friday night was the busiest he has been as a running back.

“That was the game plan all week, so I was ready for it,” Nkemdiche said. “I’m in great shape because my coaches keep me that way, so I’m not tired at all. I’m good.”

Grayson drew first blood on its opening drive when senior quarterback Nick Schuessler hit senior Marcus Lindquis behind the Lowndes secondary for a 43-yard touchdown pass. But the Rams missed the extra point, a precursor to several mistakes that kept the game tight for most of the first half.

Grayson fumbled on its next possession but the Ram defense forced Lowndes to settle for a 27-yard field goal by Sean Smith. On the ensuing kickoff, Grayson fumbled again and Lowndes recovered at the Ram 21 yard line. Three plays later, Viking quarterback Lance Jarriel hit Josh Clemons with a 17-yard strike over the middle for a touchdown that put Lowndes up 10-6 at the end of the first quarter.

After a Lowndes punt to begin the second quarter, the Rams went on one of their patented physical, run-between-the-tackles drives that covered 47 yards and just over six minutes. Nkemdiche stomped in over the left side from two yards out to make the score 12-10 Rams, but Grayson missed the extra point again.

But the Ram defense, which held Lowndes’ vaunted running game in check most of the night, forced a turnover on the Vikings’ next offensive series when Jarriel was stripped by Gallman. Junior linebacker Jack Banda recovered at the Lowndes’13 yard line. Nkemdiche did the rest, rushing for seven and six yards, consecutively, to push the Ram lead to 19-10.

“We love playing South Georgia teams,” Nkemdiche said. “I’m so proud of our team. This was a total team effort, and we’ll be ready for whoever we play next week.”

Lowndes 10 0 0 7 17

Grayson 6 13 0 6 25

G – Marcus Lindquis 43 pass from Nick Schuessler (kick failed)

L – Sean Smith 27 fg

L – Josh Clemons 17 pass from Lance Jarriel (Smith kick)

G – Robert Nkemdiche 2 run (kick failed)

G – Nkemdiche 6 run (Callen Rhodes kick)

G – Nkemdiche 2 run (run failed)

L – Mike Moore 1 run (Smith kick)

30 comments Add your comment

Plowboy-Viking

November 18th, 2011
11:04 pm

Congratulations Grayson …..u beat Lowndes again…..u think a State Title will come your way?

GHS # 22

November 18th, 2011
11:11 pm

How long did it take lowndes to wins it’s first regional championship

GHS # 22

November 18th, 2011
11:14 pm

Sore loser…..I mean plowboy…………..Grayson has only been a 5A school for less than 5 years.

only been around for 10………..and in the 10 years, count the accolades!

GHS # 22

November 18th, 2011
11:16 pm

Just think if Grayson pulled from the entire Gwinnett Co…….

RAM NATION!

November 18th, 2011
11:16 pm

I was on the team that beat Lowndes in 08 feels good to beat them AGAIN!!!!

Plowboy-Viking

November 18th, 2011
11:28 pm

Answer the question….are ya’ll gonna win state?…..that is all i asked…

Plowboy-Viking

November 18th, 2011
11:29 pm

Congratulations Grayson!!!!

Plowboy-Viking

November 18th, 2011
11:32 pm

Who does Grayson match up good with? I say Camden….I think a good spread team will give u fits…

nukieie

November 18th, 2011
11:36 pm

“GHS #22″ It took 14 years for Lowndes to get their first state title…..NO one is a sore looser …..”plowboy-viking” simply ask if you think a title will come you way… there is no need to get nasty….good game to the Rams and good luck with the rest of your season.

Plowboy-Viking

November 18th, 2011
11:37 pm

GHS #22 it took lowndes 14 yrs to win its first state…..

RamFAN

November 19th, 2011
12:14 am

It was a great game and it lived up to the hype. Lowndes will be a force in Reg 1. next year. Great fans that came to the game and good band.

Plowboy I think we match up with Camden. They run the wing-T. But if we do play Colquitt, I think it would be just about the same type of game. Both teams are good. But we need to get by W. Forsyth who pulled the upset of the 2nd round beating Hillgrove.

Great season Lowndes!

Colquitt County Fan

November 19th, 2011
12:38 am

Talk that smack colquitt going get eat ASS soon, lowndes
Don’t worry our south Georgia brother!!!

PACKER '82

November 19th, 2011
12:59 am

Good job LOWNDES, Let them talk their mess. I have not heard ESPN calling their names as TITLETOWN USA.

E.SIDESEAN

November 19th, 2011
4:08 am

Thank GOD that the MLK Lions players fight to the finish…….. tonight, truly felt like a civil rights struggle from the 60’s against the good ole boys of Georgia.Instead of using dogs in AL. they used zebras in Ga against the black kids. There has to be a law or rule to protect the kids from the heartless Zebra’s(referees). Tell me????? Tell me, are they (the dixe boyz) making the kids suffer because the school is named after the great MLK, or could it be that we are beneath the I-2O LINE and they (GHSA) don’t think we (black people) can’t see whats going on????? no matter where you live, a Safety is a Safety and a HOLD IS A HOLD and those REFS where horrible . OUTRIGHT CHEATING….. THERE HAS TO BE A BETTER WAY!!!!

Big tub

November 19th, 2011
5:25 am

Thank God I’m not a butthurt Blackman. Guess who’s keeping them down this week, the referees, Jesus you couldn’tbe more of a caricature.

Thesaint41

November 19th, 2011
5:39 am

And lowndes was a brand new program when it took them 14 years Grayson has been playing, and obviously recruiting in high school football. You don’t just find someone 6′5 270 .Lets be real. Know your history and what your school does dumbass

Jim B

November 19th, 2011
7:11 am

Thesaint41 Robert started playing for Grayson in the 7th grade dumbass,you be real crybaby.

Plowboy-Viking

November 19th, 2011
7:35 am

Jim B……didn’t think Gwinnett County had middle school teams……was he part of the feeder system?

reggaeman

November 19th, 2011
8:46 am

I think mlk would beat Grayson becuz they have the size to match them plus a good spread offense with a mobile qb… Our south ga teams are to small to stop a 270lb kid running the ball..

blowfish

November 19th, 2011
9:03 am

@thesaint41 – You have that all wrong.We don’t recruit. I coach 8th grade grayson and most of the kids on that roster have played Grayson youth since they were 8 years old. Robert (#1) was not recruited. He was a skinny 8th grader who had “potential”. Since he got his reps in youth sports, he stayed interested in football. NO ONE could have predicted what he would become, but that’s the beauty of coaching the youth in Grayson – you have a head coach (Conn) who is totally sold on the feeder system, and he gives the six year olds to the 8th graders the love and attention that they need to bleed green and gold. The is no recruiting in Grayson – just good kids and good coaching at all levels throughout the system.

jmo72

November 19th, 2011
9:27 am

Congrats Grayson on a good WIN! Lowndes…excellent showing against a very good team…proud of you!! I still contend this game could have gone either way.
Seniors…I know you have some good memories to take with you…and to the rest of the Vikings…God willing I’ll see you next year!

K

November 19th, 2011
9:31 am

Jim B……Robert also lives directly across the street from Archer High School!!!!

blowfish

November 19th, 2011
9:42 am

@K It’s called a permissive transfer, and and several Juniors AND Sophomores got them. Those kids wore green and gold all their lives before the Archer / Grayson split. It’s total above board and each case is studied beforehand by both administrations. Archer and Grayson has to agree on each case. Obviously there are fewer cases as the years go by and Archer establishes themselves as a respectable program.

Boom

November 19th, 2011
10:11 am

I think we can all agree that this was a completely fair game. Let’s not blame sides on made-up things like recruiting and nonsense. There’s no need for that. There was good refereeing that called penalties on both side accurately, and the players definitely played their hardest. Eventually, Grayson came out on top because they played the defense that deserved to win the football game. Lowndes was definitely the best team I’ve seen Grayson play all year, and I’m glad they put up a fight. Good game Lowndes! Hope you do well in the future, but for now…let’s see our Grayson Rams win State!

GA Fan

November 19th, 2011
10:43 am

@BKSmith14 and @battlaxkid

It’s ashame that you can bash teams when you win within 2 hours of a victory but disappear when you lose. I’m sure you are on the long road back to Lowndes but so was last week but you found a way to post!!! Congratulate this team for whooping your teams butt and move on to supporting the rest of the teams in the playoffs!!! My ride home was shorter after Lassiter beat us. Mc coaches got out coached. But that was because of a good job by Lassiter’s coaching staff. Football is a game of adjustments. Grayson and Lassiter made all the right ones!!!!

RamFan

November 19th, 2011
11:07 am

Plowboy-Viking

K

Yes, Gwinnett County does have middle school AND elementary school teams. Its called GFL, look it up. And when you look it up, you will see that ROBERTS 7th grade Grayson Rams Football team won their age division region.. He had not played football before then so why would we recruit an unexperienced 12 year old? And yes, he does live near Archer, however, he was in the Grayson district before Archer was built and in Gwinnett, if you are a Varsity athlete, you can be granted a permissive transfer. Lets not forget that while Robert is a great addition to the Grayson Ram football team, he is not the entire roster. They all work TOGETHER to win and most have been doing so since they were 6 years old. Anyways, Congrats Lowndes, and to the players, you gave us a run for our money, so hold your heads high!
Good luck to the rest of the teams in the playoffs!

Fred

November 19th, 2011
12:01 pm

By the way, Robert may live across from Archer but he is STILL closer to Grayson that we are. It is just the way Gwinnett does new school districts. Gwinnett is also god about recognizing that when a new school opens, it is very hard for some kids to make that adjustment. You have to provide your own transportation but they will generally let you finish out where you start. This leads to some interesting situations though. I know 1 varsity cheerleader at Grayson whose little sister goes to Archer and I think is involved in cheering there. Talk about parents with conflicting loyalties!

As others have said, all well known and documented and in line with Gwinnett policies applied to ALL students, not just athletes.

Plowboy-Viking

November 19th, 2011
1:09 pm

Ram Fan….I wasn’t implying that Grayson recruited him….grayson has a good PROGRAM….someone else made those accusations …….buford is the one that RECRUITS all of ya’lls good players

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