GAC 43, Hapeville Charter 15

Upstart Hapeville Charter viewed Greater Atlanta Christian as a measuring stick of where its program stood in a notoriously tough Region 6-AA.

Class AA’s No. 3 barreled over the host Hornets 43-15 Friday night at Hapeville Recreation Center behind nine quarterback sacks and special teams that rarely allowed breathing room.

“We've got a team that can compete,” Hapeville Charter coach Winston Gordon said. “I feel like I have some of the best players in the state. We’ve just got to go back in and put in the work. We’ll bounce back.”

The Spartans went ahead 7-0 on their first drive behind a 4-yard touchdown pass from Davis Mills to Harrison Sloan in the right corner of the end zone. Sloan caught a 20-yard pass from Mills to extend the drive three plays after a Hornets’ fake punt attempt fell short.

Hornets quarterback Mack Green lost a fumble at his own 3 on the first play of the second quarter, and Josh Pickens plowed into the end zone on the next play to put GAC ahead 13-0. The lead grew to 20-0 when Mills capped a 13-play, 66-yard drive with a 1-yard run.

Green led an 80-yard drive to pull Hapeville within 20-7 with 3:48 to play before halftime. After an incompletion on his first attempt, he found Chavis Merritt for a 25-yard gain on the first play, then connected with Kawaan Baker for a 16-yard completion and a 20-yard score to cap the drive.

GAC broke the game open in the third quarter with three touchdowns, including a Green fumble picked up by Pickens at the 3. Mills also connected for two of his three touchdown passes - a 60-yard score to Malcolm Cunningham and a 20-yard toss to Sloan.

Mills finished 10-of-16 passing for 157 yards, and added 32 yards on six runs. Sloan caught four of his passes for 59 yards and two scores.

“The nature of our gameplan is to be balanced, and it starts with our quarterback,” GAC coach Tim Hardy said. “A bunch of guys did a bunch of good things for us.”

The Hornets (3-1) had averaged 44 points a game in three season-opening wins over George Walton, Bremen and Riverside Military.

Calvin Coney (9 carries, 37 yards) scored on a 3-yard run with 7:31 left to play, set up by a 67-yard punt return from Jaquez Ezzard. Merritt caught eight passes for 84 yards from Green, who finished 17-of-35 passing for 177 yards.

GAC 43, Hapeville Charter 15

G 7 16 20 0 43

H 0 7 0 8 15

G - Harrison Sloan 4 pass from Davis Mills (Brooks Buce kick)

G - Josh Pickens 3 run (kick blocked)

G - Davis Mills 1 run (Buce kick)

H - Kawaan Baker 20 pass from Mack Green (Alex Barnett kick)

G - Buce 50 FG

G - Malcolm Cunningham 60 pass from Mills (Buce kick)

G - Pickens 4 fum rec (kick failed)

G - Sloan 20 pass from Mills (Buce kick)

H - Calvin Coney 3 run (Baker pass from Green)