Roswell nearly had the stop it needed, but Grayson wasn’t about to give up the ball.
The Rams used big fullback Terry Williams to convert a fourth-and-1 on their 29-yard line, sparking an 8-minute, 53-second drive that ended in a field goal with 1:34 left to secure a 24-14 victory Friday.
The win sets up a matchup for the No. 1 Rams (12-0) with No. 3 Newnan (12-0), with the host being decided by a coin toss.
Going for it on fourth down was a risky move for Grayson coach Mickey Conn, but he said his large back gave him the confidence to plow forward.
“They’ve got an explosive offense; I didn’t want to take a chance,” Conn said. “When you’ve got a 275-pound fullback, you feed him and you run it behind the big offensive front. You ought to be able to get 1 yard.”
They not only got that, but Williams spun off tacklers and ended up with 15 yards, nearly breaking it for a touchdown.
It was the first of 35 yards on the drive for Williams, an East Carolina commit who primarily plays linebacker. His running helped Grayson convert two fourth downs before Austin Clark hit a 27-yard field goal that gave the Rams a two-score lead and basically put Roswell (10-2) away.
While offensive star Ean Pemberton ran for 155 yards for the Rams, it was special teams that made the difference.
The first big special teams play came on the opening kickoff of the second half, which was booted by Roswell’s Martez Sumler, with Grayson eventually falling on the ball at the Roswell 18.
Two plays later, Frank Bebbs ran it in from 13 yards out to give the Rams a 14-7 lead.
At the end of the ensuing Roswell possession, Grayson returner Kori Gaimes took a punt at his own 48 and streaked down the sideline for a touchdown that gave the Rams their first two-score lead.
Those two plays were what helped Grayson get separation and kept the Rams undefeated.
“Special teams were big tonight,” Conn said. “Last week, we gave up a kick return for a touchdown. We went back to the drawing board this week in practice. If you’re going to win games, a lot of it’s going to happen on special teams.”
J.P. Douglas went 12-for-29 for 233 yards and two touchdowns for the Hornets.
This is the third consecutive quarterfinal trip for the Rams.