Sprayberry quarterback Andrew Pereira keeps the ball Friday game against Kennesaw Mountain.
MARIETTA — Behind a game-high 111 rushing yards and two touchdowns from Trey Sermon, along with a late defensive stand, Sprayberry held off Kennesaw Mountain’s fourth-quarter comeback and emerged with a 17-10 victory Friday at Jim Frazier Stadium.
Down seven with 3:24 left to play, the Mustangs (0-1) took the ball from their own 20-yard line and moved down the field, highlighted by two long completions by Kyle Wooten to Ryland Goede for 30 and 21 yards.
Those, however, were the only completions for Kennesaw Mountain in the game.
With 52 seconds left and the ball on Sprayberry’s 28, the Mustangs had one final chance to extend the game on fourth-and-2, but an incomplete pass down the middle sealed the Yellow Jackets’ victory.
“I’m proud of our guys,” Sprayberry coach Billy Shackelford said. “Kennesaw Mountain is a well-coached team that plays hard. Our defense buckled their necks when needed and gave us great opportunities. Its always good to get the win against a local school and have bragging rights.”
Kennesaw Mountain struggled from the start, down 14-0 and outgained 112-12 in total yardage in the first quarter. The Mustangs, however, finished the game with more yards than Sprayberry — 225-191 — and even held the Yellow Jackets to minus-20 yards in the second quarter.
“I made a comment about our seniors not knowing what it’s like to lose to Sprayberry to motivate our team,” Kennesaw Mountain coach Andy Scott said. “I shouldn’t have done that. We tried to play our assignments and continued to play our defense. We had some miscues on offense.”
Sprayberry (1-1) jumped out to an early 14-0 lead on Sermon’s touchdown runs of 20 and 4 yards.
“We’ve let Kennesaw Mountain jump out on us in previous years, and we made a commitment to come out strong to start the game,” Shackelford said.
“It felt good to get the win with us working together as a team,” Sermon said. “The offensive line had a really good game and got movement.”
The Mustangs scored their lone touchdown in the second quarter on a 16-yard touchdown run by Gregory Martinez, cutting the Yellow Jackets’ lead to 14-7 heading into halftime.
Kennesaw Mountain finished the game with 174 rushing yards.
After a scoreless third quarter, each team converted field goals early in the fourth quarter. Jeremy Hall hit a 25-yarder for Sprayberry, while Baylor Cantrell connected from 32 yards out for Kennesaw Mountain.