The Marietta Daily Journal
Sprayberry’s Rakeem Myricks takes the handoff from Andrew Pereira and looks for running room against Riverwood on Friday. After leading 17-0 at the half, the Yellow Jackets needed double overtime to claim a 31-24 victory.
SANDY SPRINGS — Trailing 17-0 at halftime, Riverwood scored 24 unanswered points to take a seven-point lead in overtime.
But Sprayberry managed to have the last laugh.
Andrew Pereira connected with Shawn Kemp from 10 yards out to send the game to a second overtime, and Rakeem Myricks scored on a 15-yard run to give the Yellow Jackets a thrilling 31-24 victory at Hoskyn Stadium.
“I’m getting too old and too fat for this kind of stuff,” joked Sprayberry coach Billy Shackelford after the win. “These guys played so dang hard tonight though, and I’m so proud of them for it.
“Once we gave up 17 in the second half and then they got the lead, it would have been easy to give up, but we didn’t do that. That’s what this team is all about, there is no quit in this group and we showed it (Friday).”
Pereira’s touchdown pass came on a crucial fourth-and-5 from the 10-yard line. The junior quarterback rolled right and found a wide open Kemp over the middle. Rodrigo Blankenship split the uprights to tie the game at 24-24.
Myricks, who finished the game with 141 yards on 18 carries, scored what would be the game-winning touchdown on the first play of the second overtime. Starting to his right, the senior reversed field and used a block from his quarterback to find the end zone for the third time in the game.
Leading 31-24 in the second overtime, Sprayberry’s defense provided the final heroics when defensive end Redghy Jean pounced on a scrambling Brennen Suttle, dropping the Riverwood quarterback at the 3 yard line on fourth-and-goal.
The win was the fourth straight overall for Sprayberry, and third straight in Region 7AAAAA (B) play — placing them in a tie for first place with Kell at 3-0.
“This was a big, big win and next week becomes an even bigger game,” said Shackelford, whose team returns home next Friday to host Cambridge. “We want to keep riding the momentum we’ve created and we won’t be looking past anybody next week.
Sprayberry built its 17-point halftime lead in dominant fashion. Myricks opened the scoring with a 9-yard run in the first quarter and scored again in the second quarter on a 13-yard pass from Pereira.
The Yellow Jackets’ only other offensive possession resulted in a 33-yard Blankenship field goal.
But the Raiders matched Sprayberry’s first half, with an equally impressive second half. Riding a ball-control option offense, Riverwood methodically worked its way back in the game.
Fullback Reggie Prince scored from 8 yards out in the third quarter and Suttle sprinted in from 4 yards out in the fourth to cut the margin to 17-14. Skyler deGroot’s 43-yard field goal with 30 seconds to play sent the game to overtime.
Suttle scored again from four yards out to give Riverwood the initial lead in overtime.
Prince finished the night with 102 yards rushin. Suttle had 125.
Read more: The Marietta Daily Journal - Sprayberry runs winning streak to four games