Greater Atlanta Christian broke open a tight game with 28 unanswered points in the second half and cruised to a 42-20 victory against Wesleyan. Led by the arm and legs of quarterback Rafe Chapple (four touchdowns) and a balanced running attack, GAC had too many weapons for its rival Norcross private school. The Spartans (7-2, 3-0 in Region 6-AA) clinched a home playoff game and can claim the region with a victory against Lovett next week.
GAC coach Tim Hardy praised the “grit, toughness and execution” of Chapple and the stingy defense that held the Wolves to 53 total yards rushing. Wesleyan tied the score at 14-14 on its first drive of the second half, but Chapple ran for a 7-yard score to start the scoring spree. Micah Abernathy followed that with an 18-yard touchdown jaunt, Chapple lofted a 43-yard touchdown pass to Peter Whiteneck and Corey Stevenson busted in the end zone for 13-yard score for a 42-14 lead with just four minutes remaining. After Chapple’s run, the defense forced three three-and-outs.
“We put a nice drive together and stabilized some things defensively and we tackled well on defense,” Hardy said. “After their drive, we got the ball back, scored and kind of rolled from there.”
Chapple finished the night an efficient 13 of 16 passes for 191 and two passing and two rushing touchdowns. Whenever he was unable to find a receiver, he bought time with his feet or scrambled for nice yardage, finishing with 43 rushing yards. GAC rushed for 151 yards, led by Kyle Scales (53 yards on five carries). Chris Williams led all receivers with 123 yards on seven catches.
Hardy, in his first year at GAC, already is looking forward to next week’s showdown at Lovett. “Our goal is to win the region championship,” he said. “You’ve got to win four games to do it and we’ve won three. It’s going to be a region championship kind of game and we’re excited about the opportunity next Friday.”
After recovering a short opening kickoff at the Spartans’ 23-yard line, Wesleyan took a 7-0 lead on a five-yard pass from Will Anderson to Charles Mack.
GAC tied the game midway through the second period on a 36-yard reception by Williams who was wide open down the seam. The Spartans grabbed the lead when they drove 70 yards in just six plays. Chapple hooked up twice with both Williams and Darius Slayton on the drive before sneaking in for the 1-yard touchdown run with 14 seconds left in the half. Williams caught five passes for 95 yards in the half. The Spartans held Wesleyan’s offense in the first two quarters to 81 total yards, only 22 rushing.
Wesleyan (4-6, 1-3) scored on the final play of the game, a 9-yard pass from Will Anderson to Christian Stark. The Wolves have qualified for the playoffs but as the fourth seed will have to travel to Calhoun.
GAC – 0 – 14 – 7 – 21 – 42
WESLEYAN – 7 – 0 – 7 – 6 – 20
W – Charles Mack 5 pass from Will Anderson (Rhett Delk kick)
GAC – Chris Williams 36 pass from Rafe Chapple (Brandon Holzgrefe kick)
GAC – Chapple 1 run (Holzgrefe kick)
W – Miles Smith 3 run (Delk kick)
GAC – Chapple 7 run (Holzgrefe kick)
GAC – Micah Abernathy 18 run (Holzgrefe kick)
GAC – Peter Whiteneck 44 pass from Chapple (Holzgrefe kick)
GAC – Corey Stevenson 13 run (Holzgrefe kick)
W – Christian Stark 9 pass from Anderson (no kick)