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GMC Prep 7, Harlem 28 FINAL
BHS 14, Jefferson County 28 FINAL
JMA 33, Trinity Sharpsburg 12
BHS, GMC Prep fall in season openers; JMA wins in home opener
By STEVEN CARY
It was a tough night for local high school football programs on Friday night, as Baldwin High, Georgia Military Prep School and John Milledge Academy all played at home against strong opponents.
BHS and GMC Prep came up short in their season openers as the Braves lost to Jefferson County 28-14 and the Bulldogs 28-7 to Harlem; though, JMA snagged its first win of the season with a 33-12 victory over Trinity Christian of Sharpsburg.
“Real proud of the way the guys bounced back. They really came to work this week,” J.T. Wall, head coach, said. “We really needed that in a bad way. It’s good to win that first one at home.”
Colby McCommon led the Trojans offensively with 14 carries for 84 yards and two trips to the end zone against Trinity, followed by fellow running back Chris Williams with eight carries for 95 yards in the contest.
Hunter Harding also managed to earn two touchdowns for JMA at home, while Trae Simmons ignited the Trojan’s defense with two interceptions.
“The defense played well, played lights-out,” Wall said. “Played a real good game against a real strong, physical team in Trinity of Sharpsburg.”
Across town, a young Braves defense faced a difficult task, but head coach Dexter Copeland believes the players grew up in the team’s loss to Jefferson in the squad’s first game of the fall.
“Defense is a process. They’re getting better; they grew up tonight,” Copeland said. “They fought hard to be young kids. Some of them have never played a varsity game before tonight.”
The frustrated head coach believes it was a team effort that lost the game for BHS Friday night, not one side of the ball or the other.
“We turned the ball over four times, three times inside the red zone and two times inside the five-yard line; that’s 21 points. We drove down early in the third quarter and had two busted plays that cost us the drive,” Copeland said. “So, we came away with about 28 points we should have scored.”
Leading the Braves on offense was Kenavious Thomas with 128 yards rushing and two touchdowns; though, Tajhea Chambers also had an impressive showing with 127 yards on the ground and passing for 141 yards.
Chambers connected with BHS receiver Brandon Goodman eight times on Friday for 92 yards and Jerrel Simmons on six occasions for 31 yards.
“I know we got a real good football team, but we’ve got to hang around. This is a non-region game,” Copeland said. “You know, yes, we want to win it all, but these games are going to build for region-time.”
GMC Prep also struggled in their first game against, as the Bulldogs were worn down by Harlem in the second half.
“The conditioning factor kicked in, our guys are playing both ways and they’re only playing one side,” Steven Simpson, head coach, said. “It’s not an excuse, but a reality.”
The wear-and-tear of the Bulldogs led to mistakes and turnovers that helped give their opponent an edge.
“We had a couple turnovers,” Simpson said. “We had a fumble that was returned for a touchdown, we had a fumble on a punt inside the 10-yard line.”
Senior Colby Lawrence led the team with 82 yards rushing and a touchdown, while Rekarche Griffin went 4 for 13 through the air for 39 yards.
The Bulldogs’ leading receiver on the night was Chris Burney with two receptions for 24 yards, while Parker Williams led the defense with five tackles and Nick Bentley snagged an interception in the contest.
While the first outing for GMC Prep was not the one Simpson and his players were expecting, he admits that the Bulldogs fought for four quarters and continue to fight every down.
“The biggest take away is the kids continued to fight to the final horn,” Simpson said. “We mounted a nice drive at the end of the ball game, and people came in and stepped up.”
After a bittersweet week for local high school football, all three teams return home next Friday night, Sep. 6 at 7:30 p.m. with JMA taking on Tattnall Square, GMC Prep against Glascock County and BHS will compete with rival Peach County.