For Grady head coach Kevin Clark, the seeds for his team’s first win of 2019 were planted back in November 2018.
After losing their final game of the season, a 45-7 drubbing at the hands of Banneker to close out the year 1-9, Clark’s players didn’t sulk. They went right back to work.
“After that last loss, that next week, they were in the weight room wanting to get better,” Clark said. “Nobody outworks these kids.”
That attitude served the Grey Knights (1-3) well in a 19-18 come-from-behind win over fellow Atlanta Public School program, Washington (0-3).
Grady won the game in dramatic fashion, with help from the Bulldogs. Washington appeared to be on the verge of going up two scores early in the fourth quarter, leading 18-12 and driving the ball deep into Grady territory. But the Bulldogs turned the ball over on a fumble at the Grey Knights’ 13-yard line.
Prior to that play, Washington had a touchdown called back for a holding penalty. Grady took advantage of the good fortune and mounted a drive of its own. Once again, they received help from Washington.
With the ball at midfield, Grady senior QB Aquinas Stillwell scrambled down the far sideline for a 10-yard gain. But he was tackled late out of bounds, which resulted in a 15-yard penalty. Additionally, the Bulldogs received another 15-yard penalty for grabbing a Grady player’s face mask.
The 30-yards worth of penalties set Grady up at the Washington 14-yard line with 1:05 left to play. After an incomplete pass into the end zone on first down, Grady found the end zone on the next play as Stillwell found Zach Maggard in the front of the end zone. The senior made a leaping grab, taking the ball away from two Bulldog defenders. Senior K Reid Schratwieser’s extra point kick gave Grady the lead for good.
“Penalties killed us,” Washington head coach Derrick Avery said, just after lighting into his team in the postgame huddle. “We were too undisciplined. The way you practice all week is the way you will play on Friday. I told them, that team is not better than you, but they seized the momentum and took advantage of their opportunities.”
Avery said the silver lining in the loss is that this was a non-region game. The Bulldogs are already 0-1 in Region 6AA, after losing to rival Douglass in the season opener, 24-15. They face Berkmar (2-0) of Gwinnett County next week, a team the Bulldogs defeated 61-0 last year.
“Hopefully we can have a better week of practice and go get a win next week before we start our region schedule,” Avery said.
The win for Grady avenged a 34-0 loss to the Bulldogs last season.
“My hat is off to these kids,” Clark said of his squad. “They kept playing. Kept fighting. Kept believing in the process. This win is huge for our confidence.”
Grady 3 6 3 7 19
Washington 6 0 12 0 18
W – Armani Tookes 20 pass from Monye Jones (pass failed) G – Reid Schratwieser 35 fg
G – Marvin Wiley 20 pass from Aquinas Stillwell (kick failed) W – Tookes 65 pass from Jones (pass failed)
W – Jones 1 run (pass failed)
G – Schratwieser 22 fg
G – Zach Maggard 14 pass from Stillwell (Schratwieser kick)