LOGANVILLE – Two things were confirmed Friday at Britt-Moody Field with the North Gwinnett Falcons’ 35-0 victory over the Grayson Rams. First, North Gwinnett – ranked No. 3 in AAAAAA – is a legit contender for a state title. Second, Grayson has fallen from the ranks of elite status, a luxury it has enjoyed the past six seasons.
The Bulldogs (2-0) jumped out to an early 16-0 lead thanks to three scores in a 1-minute span in the first quarter, highlighted by an Avery Elford safety, a 28-yard touchdown pass by Hayden Sphire to Nate Brown and a 52-yard interception return by Jaye Stackhouse.
The Bulldogs led 19-0 at halftime and 35-0 after three quarters, which led to a running clock in the fourth quarter.
Sphire, a first-year starting senior, completed 12 of his 26 passes for 115 yards and his main target, Brown, caught 6 passes for 72 yards. The Bulldogs relied almost solely on the passing game, gaining just 8 yards on three carries though the first three quarters. Starters were benched in the fourth quarter.
North Gwinnett appears poised for a deep run in the state playoffs after its 34-14 victory last week against then-No. 5 Camden County. The Bulldogs reached the state quarterfinals last year.
For the Rams (0-2), it was another tough opponent to start the season. They faced AAAAAA’s No. 1-ranked Colquitt County last week and lost 21-6.
Grayson never seemed to find its rhythm on offense, committing four turnovers – including two safeties.
The Rams now find themselves in unfamiliar territory after entering the season owning a 70-11 record since 2007, including an undefeated 2011 season that saw them win a state title.
The Bulldogs will seek to further validate themselves as a contender when they begin their 7-AAAAAA schedule next week at No. 6 Norcross. The defending state-champion Blue Devils are looking to rebound from its embarrassing 55-0 season-opening loss to Booker T. Washington (Fla.), which was televised on ESPN.
The Rams will host Parkview to open their 8-AAAAAA schedule.
North Gwinnett 16 3 16 – 35
Grayson 0 0 0 0 – 0
N – Avery Elford Safety
N – Nate Brown 28 pass from Hayden Sphire (Michael D’Angola kick)
N – Jaye Stackhouse 52 INT (D’Angola kick)
N – D’Angola 37 FG
N – Wesley Edwards 1 run (D’Angola kick)
N – Noah Lyman Safety
N – Jacob McCoy 7 Fumble Recover (D’Angola kick)
Follow Adam Krohn @AdamKrohnAJC.