Everybody knew who was going to get the ball, but Johns Creek couldn’t stop him.
Chattahoochee quarterback Timmy Byerly either carried or threw the ball 36 times, gaining 251 total yards to lead the Cougars to a 48-14 victory.
The Class AAAA No. 9 Cougars are 5-0 for the first time since 2001.
Byerly was electric with the ball in his hands.
He rushed 175 yards on 22 carries, six of those attempts going for eight yards or more. Most of the runs came out of the shotgun, many following a play-action fake to one of the backs.
His running helped the Cougars continue their early season offensive onslaught, in which they have averaged more than 40 points in five straight wins.
The defense did its job as well, forcing five Gladiators turnovers and scoring touchdowns on two fumble returns.
While Byerly hasn’t carried that much of the load for much of the season, he was ready when his number was called to be the key weapon.
“It’s been our receivers,” Chattahoochee coach Terry Crowder said. “They [Johns Creek] committed to our receivers, so we knew we had numbers with Timmy. Either way, we’ve got really good players, I feel like, at the skill positions. So it’s really hard to defend us.”
Johns Creek found that out in the opening minutes of the second half. The Cougars came out of halftime leading by just 10 after a 13-play, 80-yard Johns Creek drive at the end of the second quarter tightened the score.
Following a Gladiators punt, Byerly ran 48 yards on the second play of the Chattahoochee drive to put the Cougars up 24-7. Two possessions later, his 29-yard run helped set up a 34-yard field goal that pushed the lead to 34-7.
It was the long run that tipped the balance of the game for the Cougars, who scored 24 points in the period to put the game away.
“That was a huge momentum swing,” Byerly said. “We actually ran that play a lot in the first half; I don’t know why it wasn’t there. That was kind of one of our halftime adjustments.”
Byerly’s longest runs came in the second half, but his battering-ram runs helped keep the Cougar offense moving in the first. Twice on Chattahoochee’s second possession, Byerly converted fourth downs, leading a 15-play, 54-yard drive for the game’s first score.