The Kell Longhorns wanted to prove they should be in the conversation as one of the elite teams in Georgia. They had a chance to prove it on Saturday, facing the Grayson Rams in the Kell Classic. It was not a pretty performance for the Longhorns, recording 70 yards on offense in the first half, but they got the job done, as they slid past Grayson 13-10.
The game-changing play came in the third quarter when Grayson quarterback Nick Schuessler pass was intercepted by Kell linebacker Taylor Henkle and returned into Grayson territory. That led to a Kyle Morris field goal to put the Longhorns up 6-3.
Kell was able to capitalize on another Grayson turnover, as running back Brian Randolph ran for a 1-yard score to put the Longhorns up by 10.
Grayson could not get anything going on offense all game until Schuessler was able to get a rhythm going offensively late in the fourth quarter when he found Kevin Gaines down the middle of the field for a 20-yard gain. The play led to a Schuessler 20-yard touchdown pass to Garett Horne to cut the Kell lead to three with less than two minutes left in the game.
The Rams tried an onside kick, but the Longhorns were able to recover and run down the clock.
While the second half had the action, the first half was a defensive struggle with both teams making plays on defense. The Rams got on the board first thanks to Austin Clark’s 41-yard field goal to put the Rams up by three late in the first quarter.
The lead did not last long, as Kell was able to recover a Grayson muffed punt on the ensuing drive that put the Longhorns deep in Rams territory. That led to a Kyle Morris 36-yard field goal to tie the game going into the second quarter. The Rams had a chance to take the lead at halftime, but Clark missed a 52-yard field goal and the game was tied at three going into halftime.
Randolph, who will play college football at Tennessee, finished the day with 44 rushing yards and eight receiving yards. Quarterback Austin Petrik had a workman like game, going 9-of-15 for 100 yards as well as rushing eight times for 57 yards. Wide receiver Hunter Marshall, who made a big catch in the third quarter to set up the Randolph touchdown run, finished the day with six receptions for 76 yards.
For Grayson, wide receiver Garrett Horne led the team in receiving with 66 yards on three receptions. Schuessler, who played sparingly in the first half, finished the day 8-of-14, for 128 yards and one touchdown.
Kell starts off the season 1-0 and their next game will be on September 3 when they face Etowah. Grayson, who is ranked No. 10 in Class 5A drop to 1-0 and will play Spain Park (Ala.) next Friday at North Gwinnett.