GAC 10, Lovett 3

Sept. 11, 2020 - Norcross, Ga: GAC quarterback Deymon Fleming (8) runs for yards in the first half against Lovett at Greater Atlanta Christian Friday, September 11, 2020 in Norcross, Ga.. JASON GETZ FOR THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION
Sept. 11, 2020 - Norcross, Ga: GAC quarterback Deymon Fleming (8) runs for yards in the first half against Lovett at Greater Atlanta Christian Friday, September 11, 2020 in Norcross, Ga.. JASON GETZ FOR THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION

Credit: Jason Getz

Credit: Jason Getz

Spartans defense has forced 12 turnovers in first two games

For the second week in a row, the GAC Spartans were guided by their defense to beat the Lovett Lions 10-3 on Friday at Spartan Sports Complex.

The Spartans (2-0), ranked No. 6 in 3A, forced four turnovers — a fumble recovery and three interceptions — and held the Lions scoreless until late in the fourth quarter. Last week in a 20-0 win over Denmark, they racked up eight turnovers. The Lions' first 10 possessions resulted in six punts, a lost fumble, two interceptions and a quarterback kneel with 7 seconds left in the first half.

Brannan Rountree’s 33-yard field goal with 15 seconds left in the half opened the game’s scoring to give GAC the lead. Late in the third quarter, lineman Hudson Higgins tipped a Lions pass and his Spartans teammate Isaiah Lane, another lineman, intercepted it and put the Spartans on the Lovett 12 after a short return. On the second play from scrimmage, Gannan Hearst broke three tackles and rushed to the sidelines for the game’s only touchdown, giving the Spartans a 10-0 lead with 1:30 left in the third quarter.

The Lions (0-1), ranked No. 5 in 2A, responded with a 20-play, 70-yard drive that included a 5-yard fourth-down conversion and settled for a 27-yard Lucas Hyman field goal. That made the score 10-3 with 4:30 remaining.

On GAC’s ensuing drive, the Lions defense and special teams gave them a chance to win, forcing a three-and-out and then partially blocking the punt. That gave the Lions the ball on the GAC 48 with 1:32 left and no timeouts. The drive ended on fourth-and-10, when Josh Williamson intercepted the Lions' pass at the GAC 2-yard line with eight seconds remaining.

The Spartans were led by Tre Henry’s 69 yards on 12 carries. Hearst had 50 yards on 15 carries. The Lions were led by Michael Hollingsworth’s 50 yards on 15 carries.

The Spartans are on bye next week and will return to action Sept. 25 to play at Hart County, their second replacement game from their original schedule. Hart County takes the place of Christ Presbyterian Academy (Nashville, Tenn.), and the Spartans were a late addition to last week’s Kell Classic, where they played Denmark. That game replaced a matchup against Christian Brothers (Memphis, Tenn.). The Spartans are searching for an opponent to add to their nine-game schedule, with the hopes of playing Oct. 2.

The Lions will play the rest of their regular season schedule solely against their Region 6 opponents, beginning next week at home against Washington. They have a nine-game schedule after their opener last week against Westminster was canceled due to a confirmed COVID-19 case within that program. Lions coach Mike Muschamp confirmed they won’t look to add a 10th game to their schedule.

To combat COVID-19, GAC is implementing protocols for its home games this season. Attendance will be limited to around 25-percent capacity for Spartans Stadium, which can seat up to 3,600. Spartans coach Tim Hardy, who is also the school’s athletic director, said they’ll allow leeway for that number. For example, for Friday’s game approximately 1,300 tickets were sold — including 300 to Lovett — which came out to just over 27-percent capacity. Fans were assigned to be seated every other row, with each group separated by at least six feet. Face covering were required. Concessions were available in the form of pre-packaged meals, snacks and bottled drinks.

Lovett 0 0 0 3 — 3

GAC 0 3 7 0 — 10

G - Branan Rountree 33 FG

G - Gannan Hearst 12 run (Rountree kick)

L - Lucas Hyman 27 FG

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