Team Swarm, consisting mostly of Georgia Tech starting players, topped Team Wreck ‘Em 27-24 on Saturday in the annual White and Gold game in front of an estimated crowd of 12,000 at Bobby Dodd Stadium.

“We have a long way to go before we kick off in August in Dublin, Ireland, but I think we’re on the right track. I think we have a chance to be a good football team this year,” Tech coach Brent Key said. “That’s not saying we are right now, but that’s why this is spring and that’s why we have spring practice. It was good to get out there today. Really appreciate the fans that came out. That was outstanding.”

Swarm started the day on offense and put together an eight-play, 75-yard drive capped by Jamal Haynes’ 11-yard touchdown over right guard. Malik Rutherford highlighted the series with a one-handed catch across the middle on third down.

Aidan Birr put Team Wreck ‘Em on the board with a 62-yard field goal, a kick coming after Swarm lined up to punt and Key called timeout to bring out the field-goal unit instead.

Wreck ‘Em got the game’s first turnover when Taye Seymore tipped a Haynes King pass that landed in the arms of Kace Adams. Wreck ‘Em couldn’t cash in, however, as Gavin Stewart missed a 41-yard field-goal attempt wide right.

Team Swarm went up 14-3 after a 13-yard play that ended with King’s third-down pass to Rutherford in the right flat. Rutherford avoided a tackle and the sideline before scoring from eight yards out. The scoring drive took up more than nine minutes of clock.

Wreck ‘Em finally found the end zone just before halftime when freshman quarterback Aaron Philo found wide receiver Abdul Janneh slanting left to right on a 9-yard touchdown pass. That scoring drive featured Bailey Stockton making a 31-yard reception to get his squad into scoring position.

Swarm, leaving only 17 seconds on the clock, answered with Zach Pyron’s 54-yard touchdown pass to Chris Elko. Elko caught the ball at the 3 on the sideline, turned and reached for the pylon to score (the freshman from Roswell originally was ruled out of bounds, but after the replay was shown on the stadium’s big screen, Elko was given the touchdown).

King finished the day with 99 yards passing with a touchdown and an interception in limited action. Rutherford made five grabs for 50 yards and a score, and Haynes had 42 yards rushing and his TD as Swarm led 21-10 lead at halftime.

“It’s always fun, especially in the spring, getting to showcase what you’ve done, what you’ve been working on, especially with out offense with coming off from that season we had last year, like, what have we improved on?” King said. “After they took me out (in the first half) I was a little mad. I wanted to keep playing. I was like, ‘Screw this, I’m gonna try to go signal or something.’ I wanted to do something.

“Ended up messing up once, got one of ‘em screwed up, messed (receiver) Leo (Blackburn) up on one of ‘em. Other than that I feel like it went pretty good, pretty smooth and a lot of our guys had fun.”

Pyron, who was 8-of-14 passing for 162 yards, led a touchdown drive early in the third quarter. His 7-yard touchdown pass to Blackburn in the right corner of the end zone put Team Swarm ahead 27-10. Blackburn has missed the majority of the past three seasons with injuries.

“It’s a blessing,” Blackburn said. “I’ve been patient all this time, a lot of prayers. Just waiting my turn. Just felt good.”

Philo cut Wreck ‘Em’s deficit to 27-17 by finding Zion Taylor on a 22-yard touchdown throw early in the fourth period. The state of Georgia’s all-time high school passing yards record holder, Philo completed six passes for 120 yards and two touchdowns.

Quarterback Ben Guthrie completed the day by tossing a 7-yard scoring pass to Elko in the left corner of the end zone providing the final score. Elko finished with four catches for 136 yards and two touchdowns.

Tech’s defense, under the direction of new defensive coordinator Tyler Santucci, gave up 6.9 yards per play. That unit was credited with 10 pass breakups, six tackles for loss and two sacks.

“We’re definitely starting to get much more comfortable with the (defensive) staff,” Tech linebacker Kyle Efford said. “They’re definitely a good combination of player and football coaches. It’s rubbing off on us good. They’re good men for us.”