Greater Atlanta Christian 33, Eagle's Landing Christian Academy 3

Last season, Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy and Greater Atlanta Christian battled down to the wire, with GAC squeezing out a 23-16 win on a last second touchdown pass.

But in this year’s meeting Friday in Norcross, injuries and youth hampered ELCA (1-2), the top ranked team in Class A, and GAC eventually took full advantage. The Spartans (2-1), ranked No. 3 in Class AA, smothered ELCA’s power run game and pulled away in the second half to a 33-3 win at Charles Reynolds Field at Spartan Stadium.

In a game that was delayed by an hour due to lightning and heavy rains, ELCA came in shorthanded. The Chargers were missing several starters due to nagging injuries, including senior quarterback DJ Hammond.  That forced freshman Brayden Rush to take over as the starter, which limited ELCA on offense as GAC crowded the line of scrimmage. The Chargers rolled up over 250 yards rushing last week on Class AAAAA Stockbridge, but the Spartans held them to just 151 Friday night.

Additionally, Rush was only able to complete one of five pass attempts for eight yards.

For GAC, senior quarterback Davis Mills let the way, completing eight of 16 passes for 101 yards, including a 12-yard touchdown to junior Harrison Sloan, which gave the Spartans a 30-0 lead early in the fourth quarter. Mills was also GAC’s leading rusher with 83 yards on seven carries and a touchdown.

Neither team could mount much of a scoring threat in the first quarter, although the Spartan defense kept ELCA on its side of the 50 yard line during the period. But GAC’s offense finally took advantage of a third consecutive poor punt by the Chargers to jump on top early in the second quarter.

The Spartans took over on their own 49 yard line and needed just four plays before Alex Rowe darted around the right side for a 17-yard touchdown that put GAC up 7-0 after Brooks Buce’s converted the point after kick.

Following punts by both offenses, the Chargers got their power running game going while penned deep in their own end. Midway through the second quarter, ELCA took possession on its 13 yard line and drove to the GAC 29 on the strength of tough runs by running backs Trevor Gear and Josh Mays. But penalties – a false start and an unsportsmanlike call – and blown assignments ended the threat as ELCA punted the ball away with just under three minutes left in the half.

The Spartans took over on their own 25 yard line and quickly added to their lead. A pass interference penalty and 35-yard pass play from Mills to Liam Sullivan helped GAC move to the Charger 13 yard line. From there, Mills took a quarterback draw over the left side into the end zone to push the Spartan lead to 14-0 at halftime.

GAC was able to put the game away in the third quarter on back to back possessions. First, the Spartans capped a 50-yard drive with a 52-yard field goal by Buce that would have been good from 60. Then, on ELCA’s next possession, GAC blocked a punt and recovered at the Chargers’ 7 yard line. Two plays later, Josh Pickens bulled in from five yards out to give GAC a 24-0 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

GAC – Alex Rowe 17 run (Brooks Buce kick)

GAC – Davis Mills 13 run (Buce kick)

GAC – Buce 52 fg

GAC – Josh Pickens 5 run

GAC – Harrison Sloan 12 pass from Mills (kick failed)

GAC – Sean Henderson 32 fg

ELCA – Trey Douglas 32 fg

ELCA             0          0          0          3          3

GAC               0          14        10        9          33

Week 3 Game Recaps and Scores