Top performances from Week 11: Cao, Murray make opposing passers pay

Northgate cornerback Chandler Cao intercepted four passes against Hughes last week. That's not a state record, though. It wasn't even the most in a game last week.

While Cao was hawking four picks against Hughes in Fairburn, a JV call-up named Christopher Murray was intercepting five passes in Augusta for Richmond Academy against Cross Creek.

What in the name of Night Train Lane was in the air Friday night?

"We actually talked about the four picks as a staff after the game," Northgate assistant coach Douglas Giacone told GHSF Daily. "We couldn't recall anyone having that many in a single game over the years that we've all been coaching. The average staff experience is just over 20 years per coach. We were really happy for him and for our team."

But later, Giacone talked with defensive coordinator Lavarette Pearson, who recalled from his time at Newnan that Tray Matthews once had four interceptions in a 2011 game. Matthews, who went on to play at Georgia and Auburn, is now employed by the Minnesota Vikings.

Cao and Murray aren't at Matthews' level yet. In fact, Murray is a sophomore who was moved up to the varsity in the fourth game this year. Two weeks later, he had a game-saving interception against Greenbrier as the Musketeers improved to 6-0.

"As a coach, I was amazed yet happy and proud of Chris," said Richmond Academy assistant Kyle Jackson, who works with the cornerbacks. "He never once complained about varsity playing time. He just kept working every day, and when his number was called, he put all of his hard work into action."

The recent efforts of these ball-stealing defensive backs are part of this week's Top Performances.

Top five 

*North Hall RB Daniel Jackson rushed for 144 yards and three touchdowns on four carries, caught a 51-yard TD pass, returned a kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown and recovered a fumble in the end zone in a 76-0 victory over East Hall. Jackson finished with six touchdowns - five in the second quarter - and 280 all-purpose yards on seven touches.

*Northgate DB Chandler Cao intercepted four passes in a 10-7 victory over Hughes. One was at the Northgate 4-yard line just before halftime to preserve the 10-7 lead. The last one came at the Northgate 7 to secure the victory.

*Richmond Academy DB Christopher Murray had five interceptions in a 21-12 victory over Cross Creek. Murray had no return yardage, but two were in Richmond Academy territory, one in the end zone.

*Upson-Lee DE/TE Travon Walker had TD receptions of 15 and 44 yards, a TD run of 1 yard and 11 tackles in a 34-24 victory over West Laurens.

*Valdosta Tate Rodemaker was 29-of-49 passing for 486 yards and three touchdowns in a 46-44 victory over Northside of Warner Robins.

Best of the rest 

*Allatoona LB Calvin Rucker had a team-leading and season-high eight solo tackles with two sacks in a 27-14 victory over Dalton.

*Aquinas ATH Kam Brinson rushed for 140 yards and two touchdowns, caught two passes for 25 yards, returned an interception 91 yards for a touchdown, made five tackles and broke up a pass in a 39-36 victory over Warren County.

*Bainbridge MLB Anthony Brooks had seven solo tackles, two for losses, in a 49-0 victory over Harris County.

*Brookstone RB Rylan Cowart rushed for 180 yards and three touchdowns on 16 carries in a 43-39 loss to Macon County.

*Burke County QB Juanya Dove rushed for 141 yards on 27 carries and was 4-of-7 passing for 93 yards and a touchdown in a 30-28 victory over Thomson.

*Calhoun LB Davis Allen had 22 tackles in a 41-6 victory over Haralson County. His efforts helped hold the state's leading rusher, Treylon Sheppard, to 104 yards on 34 carries. He was averaging 318 yards per game.

*Carver (Atlanta) RB Jo'Quavious Marks rushed for 222 yards and four touchdowns on 18 carries in a 53-7 victory over Lithia Springs.

*Centennial RB Cal Dickie rushed for 253 yards and four touchdowns and had three receptions for 84 yards and a touchdown in a 70-42 victory over North Atlanta. QB Max Brosmer rushed for 204 yards, once scoring on an 80-yard run, and passed for 303 yards and five touchdowns. Centennial had 788 yards of total offense.

*Christian Heritage ATH Zach Gentry had 258 all-purpose yards in a 43-0 victory over Gordon Lee. He lined up at running back, wide receiver, cornerback, punt returner and kickoff returner and returned an interception 92 yards for a touchdown.

*Colquitt County LB Marcus Anderson and NG Brian Merritt were each in on six tackles for losses and two sacks in a 45-7 victory over Colquitt County.

*Creekview RB Cade Radam rushed for 210 yards and two touchdowns, one a 53-yarder on the first play from scrimmage, and had another 53 yards receiving in a 22-11 victory over Sprayberry.

*Crisp County freshman RB Marquise Palmer rushed for 122 yards on eight carries, three that went for touchdowns, in a 28-6 victory over Cook.

*Dacula LB Sean McDaniel had five solo tackles, three for losses, four QB pressures and one pass breakup in a 23-0 victory over Lanier.

*Drew RB Derionte Kemp rushed for 259 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries in a 34-32 victory over M.L. King.

*ELCA RB Keaton Mitchell rushed for 241 yards and three touchdowns on 23 carries in a 42-21 victory over Mount Vernon Presbyterian.

*Emanuel County Institute RB Eric Dixon rushed for 278 yards and four touchdowns in a 49-20 victory over Montgomery County.

*Greene County QB C'Darius Kelly rushed for 156 yards and four touchdowns on 12 carries and passed for 127 yards and a score in a 42-22 victory over Washington-Wilkes.

*Grovetown DE Simeon Barrow had 4.5 sacks and 11 tackles and batted down a pass in a 12-7 victory over Heritage of Conyers.

*Habersham Central QB Tre Luttrell passed for 209 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for 110 yards in a 34-17 victory over Winder-Barrow.

*Hillgrove RB Trevor Smith rushed for 160 yards on 22 carries in a 48-24 region-clinching victory over Marietta.

*Irwin County RB D.J. Lundy rushed for 169 yards and three touchdowns in three quarters of a 63-6 victory over Atkinson County.

*Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe LB James Beddington had three sacks for 15 yards in losses in a 19-9 victory over North Murray.

*Macon County QB Deshawn Cumby rushed for 171 yards and passed for 175 in a 43-39 victory over Brookstone.

*Milton QB Jordan Yates was 9-of-15 passing for 150 yards and two touchdowns, rushed for 170 yards and four touchdowns and caught an 11-yard pass - all in the first half - in a 57-7 victory over Lambert.

*Newton RB Adarius Thomas rushed for 175 yards and a touchdown in a 27-14 victory over Shiloh.

*Norcross DE Keyshaun Williford had six tackles for losses and forced a fumble in a 24-14 victory over Brookwood.

*North Atlanta QB Wiley Hartley was 19-of-36 passing for 333 yards and had 21 rushes for 100 yards in a 70-42 loss to Centennial.

*Northside (Warner Robins) QB Jadin Daniels was 17-of-31 passing for 343 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for 110 yards and three touchdowns in a 46-44 loss to Valdosta.

*Pickens DL Trevon Hawkins had four tackles for losses in a 48-19 victory over LaFayette.

*Prince Avenue Christian LB Davis Ridings had 16 tackles, two for losses, a sack and four QB pressures in a 28-25 victory over George Walton Academy.

*Riverside Military WR/DB Khalid Duke had six receptions for 118 yards and four solo tackles, one for a loss, in a 20-19 victory over Commerce.

*Savannah Christian DB Omar Burroughs had three interceptions and returned one 35 yards for a touchdown in a 48-8 victory over Claxton. Burroughs has eight interceptions on the season.

*Stephens County RB Hudson Spurlock rushed for 117 yards and four touchdowns on 23 carries and returned the second-half kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown in a 42-14 victory over Madison County.

*Telfair County RB Trey Bess rushed for 274 yards and five touchdowns on 23 carries in 2.5 quarters of a 41-6 win over Lanier County.

*Thomson QB Damekus Taylor rushed for 225 yards and four touchdowns and passed for 117 yards in a 30-28 loss to Burke County.

*Trion RB Hagen Willingham rushed for 105 yards and three touchdowns, returned a punt 84 yards for a touchdown and intercepted a pass in a 35-13 victory over Bowdon.

*Union County QB Pierson Allison was 9-of-11 passing for 341 yards and four touchdowns in a 42-7 victory over Social Circle. Kyle Morlock had three receptions for 101 yards and one TD.

*Vidalia WB/LB Chris Gay rushed for 162 yards and had two tackles on defense, one for a loss, in a 20-7 victory over Metter.

*Warren County sophomore RB Lovasea Carroll rushed for 253 yards and four touchdowns on 23 carries in a 39-36 loss to Aquinas.

*Wesleyan DB/WR J.D. Kavel returned a kickoff 65 yards for a touchdown and an interception 49 yards for a touchdown, made four tackles, recovered a fumble and caught three passes for 43 yards in a 52-13 victory over Strong Rock Christian.

Lines of distinction 

*Hawkinsville's offensive line of Trystan Laidler, Chandler Wiggins, Christian Mahogany, Tyler Wheeler, Tucker Johnson, Antonio Sanders and Patrick Simmons paved the way for four backs to rush for more than 100 yards in a 47-22 victory over Central (Talbotton). The Red Devils rushed for 536 yards total.

*Holy Innocents' offensive line of center Conor Swennumsom, guards Charlie Hawk and Blake Dobbs, tackles Richard Johnston and Will Harrell and tight end Graham Collins opened holes for a 377-yard rushing effort on just 25 attempts in a 56-6 victory over Landmark Christian. Michael Cox (163 yards) and Tyquann Alexander (129) each went over 100 yards rushing.

*Tattnall Square's offensive line of tackles Pete Smith and Elmo Daniels, guards Coby Faulk and William Stubbs, center Chan Hill and tight ends Gavin Whitfield and Brant Gibson set the tone for the Trojans' fifth straight victory, a 28-13 decision over First Presbyterian. Mount de Sales had a season-high 374 yards rushing and nearly had three 100-yard rushers - Jamal Marshall (17-144-1), George Vining (15-116-2) and Wes Allen (6-98-0).

*Veterans' offensive line of Austin Williams, Jermaine Roundtree, Reid Wallace, Jackson Williams, Ivy Hickam and Bryce Lewis with tight end Tylon Chambers and H-back Jaylon Shine were the pillars for a 429-yard rushing game in a 31-27 victory over Thomas County Central. Benefiting most was Cyrus Zuell, who rushed for 260 yards and two touchdowns.

*Vidalia's offensive line of tackles Ryion Adams and John Tarver, guards Robert Brown and Caleb Henry, center Tyler Black and tight ends Caitlyn Jordan and Jaylon Clements paved the way for 395 rushing yards - the fifth 350-plus rushing game of the seasons for the Indians - in a 20-7 victory over Metter.

*Westlake’s offensive line of tackles Ian Hover and Darius Meeks, guards Robert Crummie and Jaden Mutua, center Ray Johnson and utility man Aston Beavers helped the Lions set a school record for points in a game and put up 507 rushing yards and nine touchdowns on 44 carries in a 76-35 victory over Wheeler. Markcus Johnson rushed for 226 yards, and Christian Davis ran for 170. They ran for two touchdowns each, as did Jalyn Williams. Jamari Sirmons, Zena Mulba and Caleb Dixon also scored rushing touchdowns in the region-clinching victory.

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