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Regular Season 2010

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Surging Sprayberry Make Statement with Commanding Win

10/14/2014, 10:45am EDT
By Adam Carrington - The Marietta Daily Journal

Sprayberry rolling with 5 straight victories

Surging Sprayberry makes statement with commanding win

by Adam Carrington
The Marietta Daily Journal

October 11, 2014 02:19 AM

Sprayberry’s Jabari Zuniga (11) sacks Cambridge quarterback Brian Moore during Friday’s game at Jim Frazier Stadium. The upstart Bears, who took Kell to the brink a few weeks ago, had no answer for the Yellow Jackets, who took a half-game lead atop the subregion.
Special photo by Cecil Copeland

MARIETTA — If there were any questions on how legit Sprayberry was this season, the Yellow Jackets answered Friday night.

After winning just two games a year ago, Sprayberry made a serious statement with a 31-7 win over a Cambridge team that had been averaging 38.5 points a game.

The Yellow Jackets (5-2, 4-0) were on a four-game winning streak going into the Region 7AAAAA (B) game at Jim Frazier Stadium, with three of those wins coming against lightly regarded opponents. Last week, they needed two overtimes to beat Riverwood.

Cambridge (4-2, 1-2), meanwhile, came in with just one loss — a last-second defeat at Kell two weeks ago.

With two subregion games to play, Sprayberry has a half-game lead over idle Kell. The Yellow Jackets will face the Longhorns on Halloween, looking to reach the state playoffs for the first time 2011.

“This is one of our biggest wins in Sprayberry history,” said running back Rakeem Myricks, who rushed for 95 yards and two second-half touchdowns. “I’m here to say that Sprayberry is for real.”

Sprayberry came in with a game plan to contain Cambridge quarterback Brian Moore, an elusive scrambler known for keeping plays alive when pressured.

Though Moore eventually threw for 208 yards and rushed for an additional 42, the Yellow Jackets sacked him twice, tackled him five times for loss and linebacker Brandon Woods ended up with two key interceptions in the second half.

“Coach (Billy) Blizzard and our defensive staff did a phenomenal job preparing for a really good Cambridge offense,” Sprayberry coach Billy Shackelford said. “I also want to commend the players for executing. (Moore) is a Johnny Manziel-type player. We did a good job pressuring and being able to defend.”

While Sprayberry limited Cambridge’s offensive production, it couldn’t do much with its own offense in the first half. Both teams punted four times before the break.

Sprayberry had just two first downs in the opening half, with 13 yards rushing and 30 passing.

However, Sprayberry went into the locker room with a 3-0 lead as Rodrigo Blankenship booted a school-record 51-yard field goal with 1:26 left in the half. The opportunity came after Jean Redghy recovered a Moore fumble in Cambridge territory.

In the second half, Sprayberry began creating better running lanes, and quarterback Andrew Pereira started finding his receivers. Myricks had a 14-yard run on Sprayberry’s first drive of the second half, and Pereira hit Jon Palmer twice for 12- and 14-yard passes. The latter pass completion set up a 3-yard scamper by Myricks.

Cambridge scored on a 31-yard pass from Moore to Hunter Smith to cut the Yellow Jacket lead to 10-7. It was indication that both offenses made successful halftime adjustments.

But only Sprayberry’s offense remained hot.

“They adjusted to our tendencies, and we had to go against our tendencies to play offense,” Shackelford said. “We threw when we needed to and our receivers were selfless.”

Sprayberry’s second touchdown came late in the third quarter, when Pereira hit Palmer for a 27-yard touchdown on third-and-10 play, getting separation and the Bears couldn’t answer.

Woods’ first interception led to another touchdown when Myricks ran from 22 yards out, and the Yellow Jackets capitalized on Woods’ second pick early in the fourth quarter, when Trey Sermon rushed 12 yards into the end zone.

Sprayberry Runs Winning Streak to Four Games

10/07/2014, 9:15pm EDT
By Chase Wallace

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.
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

Sprayberry Rolls Over North Atlanta

10/02/2014, 12:15pm EDT
By Chase Wallace

Sprayberry rolls over North Atlanta
by Chase Wallace
MDJ Sports Correspondent
The Marietta Daily Journal
Rakeem Myricks turns upfield against the North Atlanta defense. Myricks went down in the first quarter with an injury, but Sprayberry won 45-7.
Rakeem Myricks turns upfield against the North Atlanta defense. Myricks went down in the first quarter with an injury, but Sprayberry won 45-7.
ATLANTA — Behind three touchdown runs from Trey Sermon and another stout effort on defense, Sprayberry pounced all over North Atlanta, winning 45-7 at Grady Stadium.

The win was Sprayberry’s third straight lopsided victory over a 7AAAAA opponent — topping Woodland 58-0 in a Region 7AAAAA crossover and beating North Springs 44-6 in their subregion opener.

“We didn’t play very well in the first half tonight, but I loved the way we came out and jumped on them in the second half,” Sprayberry coach Billy Shackelford said. “We were focused and physical on offense and really flying to the ball on defense which is great to see.”

“We’ll need to be a little better getting off the bus down the road, but I am excited with the progress we are making as a team,” he continued.

Sprayberry took a 17-0 lead into halftime, but struggled at times on offense after running back Rakeem Myricks went down with a first quarter injury.

Their struggles wouldn’t carry over to the second half though. Andrew Pereira found Jontae Williams for a 58 yard touchdown pass to open the third quarter and Sermon scampered in from 18 and 2 yards out to give the Jackets a 38-0 lead heading to the fourth.

Sermon, just a sophomore, ran for 116 yards in the second half and totaled 122 for the game.

“He’s a kid with amazing potential and we told him at halftime that he would be the bellcow for the second half,” said Shackelford, who didn’t disclose the severity of Myricks’ injury. “When he runs with a sense of urgency and hits the second gear like he did in the second half, he’s a dog-gone good football player.”

Sprayberry opened the scoring on defense when a big hit in the backfield jarred the ball loose from a North Atlanta ball-carrier. An opportunistic Bryan Williams scooped the fumble in the backfield and sprinted 52 yards for a touchdown.

Myricks carried the ball eight times on Sprayberry’s opening drive of the game, tallying 56 yards before suffering an injury inside the 5 yard line. Sermon followed with a 2-yard plunge on the following play to give the Yellow Jackets a 14-0 lead.

Rodrigo Blankenship’s 42 yard field goal in the second quarter sent Sprayberry into halftime with a 17-0 lead.

Periera, who ran for a 6-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter, finished the game 7 of 9 passing for 123 yards and a touchdown.

North Atlanta evaded a shutout when quarterback Jack Ballou connected with Dennis Pegues for a 10-yard touchdown pass with 4:05 to play in the game.

Read more: The Marietta Daily Journal

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