Westminster outlasted St. Pius 20-12 in the season opener for both teams. The visiting Wildcats jumped out to a 17-0 first-half lead on the way to an upset of the No. 4 Golden Lions. Ralph David Abernathy IV ran for touchdowns of one and 15 and totaled 90 yards on 13 carries on the night.
St. Pius got on the board in the second quarter when Cleve Kellogg scored from eight yards out. However, kicker Blair Stewart missed the extra point and the Wildcats led 17-6 at the break. In the third, St. Pius narrowed the margin with a Logan Rosborough four-yard run, but the Wildcats would strike again on another Godsell field goal early in the fourth. St. Pius drove deep inside Wildcat territory in the final minute and had a first-and-goal from the five but three Trey White pass attempts fluttered harmlessly to the turf.
Wildcat quarterback William Linginfelter finished with 153 yards on 11-16 passing, while the team as a whole totaled 316 yards of offense.
Centennial 36, Campbell 0: The Centennial Knights impressed their fans in their home opener, as their stout defense shut out the visiting Campbell Spartans. Senior quarterback Sean Gilrain threw an 18-yard touchdown to Tony Bradley and ran in a 10-yard score. Bradley also returned a punt 60 yards for a touchdown. Carlson Carty and Dietrick Smith rounded out the scoring, as Carty rushed for a 31-yard touchdown and Smith found the end zone after a 24-yard run.
Milton 41, Cherokee 19: Thanks to three touchdown passes from Colin McElroy before halftime, the Milton Eagles defeated the Cherokee Warriors in their first home game. McElroy found A.J. Canera with a 35-yard touchdown pass to open the scoring, and Brandon Thompson had a 78-yard touchdown run. The teams were neck-and-neck throughout much of the first half, but Wesley Gaston’s two second-half touchdown runs helped the Eagles build an insurmountable lead. The result marked Milton’s fifth season-opening victory in six years.
Blessed Trinity 44, Benedictine 0: Blessed Trinity picked up its first win of the season by shutting out host Benedictine. The running games dominated throughout, tallying 383 of the Titans’ 473 total yards on offense. Kevin Schulz led the way with 79 yards and two touchdowns, and Wes Fujihira added two rushing scores of his own. The Titans also benefited from a 47-yard touchdown scamper from Matthew Kinney. Blessed Trinity has now won six consecutive season-opening matchups.
Alpharetta 42, North Cobb 19: Alpharetta quarterback Mikal Abdul-Saboor torched the North Cobb defense for 190 yards on the ground and 173 more through the air as the host Raiders cruised to a season-opening win. Abdul-Saboor ran for three scores and tossed a pair of touchdowns to Carlos Burse and Nevin Harton. Gregory Jester made a pair of touchdown-saving tackles on defense for the Raiders and also had an interception.
Allatoona 24, Kennesaw Mountain 22: Kennesaw Mountain scored with eight seconds remaining in the game as Will Campbell found Ryan Clay in the end zone to bring the Mustangs within two points, but a pass attempt on the two-point conversion failed to tie the game. The visiting Buccaneers capitalized on four Kennesaw Mountain turnovers to get the win despite Diamond Stewart’s 215 all-purpose yards for the Mustangs. Allatoona started the second half with a kickoff return for a touchdown.
North Clayton 28, Riverdale 0: LaDarrius Mathis led the way with 127 yards on the ground and a score for visiting North Clayton. Michael Ross also chipped in with 106 all-purpose yards, and helped set up a 1-yard Mathis rushing score in the first quarter with a 40-yard gain on the ground. Ross also had a 1-yard score of his own in the second half. Brente Hawkins had an interception for a touchdown, and linebacker Amarlo Herrera had 17 tackles on the evening.
Starr’s Mill 41, Coosa 0: Starr’s Mill jumped on Coosa quickly, scoring early and often to take a 34-0 lead into the break. Zack Laskey ran for 78 yards and three scores of 3-, 3-, and 1-yards in the first half alone for the home team. Jeff Green also ran for 64 yards and a score, while quarterback Adam Holley was 9-12 for 131 yards, threw for two touchdowns, and ran for another. Coosa struggled offensively, as they finished with just 79 total yards.
Druid Hills 33, Avondale 0: A strong second half paced the visiting Red Devils to victory. Druid Hills lead 13-0 at the break, but they took the game over in the third quarter as senior star running back Foulke Gordon-Lamar sparked several long drives to extend the lead. It was the run game that allowed freshman quarterback John Henry Carey to relax in his first high school game. The win avenged a 28-0 defeat to Avondale last year for Kip Hall’s team.
Sandy Creek 20, Whitewater 14: Sandy Creek raced to a 20-0 lead and held on to defeat host Whitewater behind 142 receiving yards for Alex Chisum. Patriots quarterback Ronnie Bell hit Chisum for a 78-yard touchdown on Sandy Creek’s first play from scrimmage before running backs Derrick Alexander and Mike Hilton tacked on scoring runs. Whitewater had a first-and-goal opportunity in the final seconds trailing by six, but the Patriots came up with a game-saving goal-line stand.
Washington 33, Westlake 26: Washington quarterback Renard Battle scored twice for the Class 3A Bulldogs to help them past their 5A Atlanta counterparts. The Bulldog defense had two interceptions on the night ─ one was returned for a touchdown ─ while Adonis Love had a 21-yard touchdown run. Justin Taylor was Washington’s leading rusher, racking up 207 yards. The visiting Bulldogs held on for the win in the fourth quarter after breaking a 21-21 tie.
Creekview 17, Sequoyah 13: The visiting Grizzlies came back from a 13-3 first-half deficit. Jay El-Amin scored in the third for Creekview on a five-yard run before Malik Anderson tallied the game-winning touchdown run midway through the fourth. The Chiefs had taken the early lead on a one-yard Ben Rogers quarterback sneak and a Rogers touchdown pass to A.J. Howard. A late Chiefs’ drive to midfield was thwarted when a Rogers fumble was recovered by Creekview.
Contributors: Alex Ewalt, Tad Arapoglou, Ricky Dimon, Josh Bagriansky