Class 7A blog: Grayson ranks among Georgia’s best all-time

Dec. 30, 2020 - Atlanta, Ga: Grayson running back Phil Mafah kisses the trophy after their 38-14 win against Collins Hill during the Class 7A  football final at Center Parc Stadium. Mafah who has signed with Clemson, didn't play in the playoffs, but Grayson still dominated, winning each game by 24 points or more. JASON GETZ FOR THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION
Dec. 30, 2020 - Atlanta, Ga: Grayson running back Phil Mafah kisses the trophy after their 38-14 win against Collins Hill during the Class 7A football final at Center Parc Stadium. Mafah who has signed with Clemson, didn't play in the playoffs, but Grayson still dominated, winning each game by 24 points or more. JASON GETZ FOR THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION

Credit: Jason Getz

Credit: Jason Getz

Grayson was the clear-cut team of the year in Class 7A this season, and it was decided by halftime of the championship game, which the Rams led 35-0 before closing it out 38-14 over Collins Hill.

How good were these Rams? Here are some accolades:

*Grayson will be the first Georgia team to finish in the top five of MaxPreps’ national rankings since Grayson’s 2016 team, which lost only to IMG Academy in the opener. Grayson will finish in the top five of three national polls overall, including USA Today, which placed Grayson at No. 4 in its final rankings Tuesday.

*Grayson is the first Georgia team to finish unbeaten in the highest classification since Colquitt County in 2015.

*Grayson is the first Georgia team in the highest classification to beat all five of its playoff opponents by an average of 30 points since Lowndes in 2005.

*Grayson is the first Georgia team in the highest classification to beat all five of its playoff opponents by at least 20 points since Warner Robins in 1976. Grayson didn’t have a playoff game closer than 24 points.

The Rams were Georgia’s most talented team, even after running back Phil Mafah, a Clemson signee, was sidelined with an injury before the playoffs. He rushed for more than 1,000 yards in the regular season and probably was the team’s best player. The Rams also played without Daejon Reynolds, a Florida signee who was lost to injury in preseason.

A couple of teams, such as Marietta’s 2019 champion, might’ve had more absolute blue-chip talent, but perhaps none had so much depth of talent. In addition to Mafah and Reynolds, Grayson’s senior class was blessed with QB Jake Garcia (signed with Miami), DE Victoine Brown (Louisville), DE Noah Collins (Georgia Tech), WR Jamal Haynes (Georgia Tech), LB Sebastian Sagar (Georgia Tech), DB Jibrahn Claude (Buffalo) and LB Fernando Sanchez (Central Michigan).

That list doesn’t do justice to the wealth of really good players that aren’t necessarily blue-chip prospects – like LB Grady Bryant, who had a team-leading11 tackles for losses this season; DB/RB Jayvian Allen, the team’s leading tackler who scored three touchdowns in the championship game when given wildcat duty near the goal line; and WR Jaden Smith, who had 11 TD receptions.

And don’t forget Deyon Cannon, the junior quarterback who led the team to a 9-0 start before giving way to Garcia, a mid-season transfer. The smooth handoff between mature team players ensured nothing would stand in the way of a historic team that started and finished the season No. 1.

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