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Jackets continue their strong start

By Zac Diodati, 09/27/15, 11:45AM EDT


Sprayberry knocks off North Atlanta 37-7

Jackets continue their strong start
by Zac Diodati
MDJ Sports Correspondent
September 26, 2015 01:33 AM 
Pressed into duty after an injury to starter Andrew Pereira, backup QB London Roberson (7) prospered for Sprayberry, rushing for three touchdowns.
<BR>Special photo by Cecil Copeland
Pressed into duty after an injury to starter Andrew Pereira, backup QB London Roberson (7) prospered for Sprayberry, rushing for three touchdowns. 
Special photo by Cecil Copeland
MARIETTA — Sprayberry held North Atlanta to just 9 yards rushing in the first half, took a 20-0 lead into halftime and cruised to a 37-7 victory Friday night at Jim Frazier Stadium. 

With the win, the Yellow Jackets improved to 4-1 — their best five-game start since 1989, when current coach Billy Shackelford was a senior under his late mentor, John Paty.

On the field after the game, Shackelford warned his players that the team’s schedule will continue to get tougher, beginning with next week’s homecoming game against Riverwood

“The first time you settle down and relax as a player or as a coach, you set yourself up for a big uppercut,” Shackelford said. “We’re going to enjoy this success, because it’s hard to come by, but we’ve got to focus on the next game, and what we can improve.”

Sprayberry needed no improvement in turnover margin Friday. The Yellow Jackets didn’t turn the ball over, and their defense recorded one interception and two recovered fumbles.

One of those fumbles was recovered in the end zone after North Atlanta quarterback Jack Ferguson was sacked while trying to hide the ball on an extended play fake. Sprayberry’s Brandon Felix pounced on the loose ball in the end zone, extending his team’s lead to 27-0. 

Sprayberry quarterback London Roberson, in place of injured starter Andrew Pereira, led the Yellow Jackets in rushing with 95 yards and three touchdowns on 12 carries. The junior also was 3-of-5 passing for 26 yards. 

Roberson opened the scoring when he dove across the goal line on a 1-yard keeper to finish a 13-play, 79-yard drive, putting the Yellow Jackets ahead 7-0 with 6 seconds left in the first quarter. 

Tailback Trey Sermon struck next, running in from 3 yards out to extend the lead to 13-0 with 9:55 left until halftime. The score was part of a 20-carry, 71-yard night for Sermon.

Jake Pickett added a 39-yard field goal for a 37-0 Sprayberry lead in the fourth quarter, but the shutout was spoiled by a 4-yard touchdown run from North Atlanta’s Julious Washington with just 1:52 left to play.

Washington’s trip across the goal line was part of his 13 carries for 48 yards. 

“(The win) was a blend of team effort,” Shackelford said. “Our defense played physical, our special teams gave us a short field all night and our offense did enough. We’ve got some issues we need to work on, and we’ve got to eliminate some of those negative plays that give us some long situations.”