Will VanPamelen kicked a 25-yard field goal to cap off a frantic finish as top-ranked Grayson took its first lead of the game with 1:04 remaining, gave up that lead on the final play of regulation, and ultimately beat No. 2 Roswell 23-20 in overtime in the Class AAAAAAA championship game Saturday at the Georgia Dome.
VanPamelen’s kick in the Rams’ overtime possession provided the final margin, but the victory wasn’t secure until Roswell’s Turner Barckhoff, who had kicked field goals of 47 and 29 yards during regulation, missed a 32-yarder on the game’s final play.
The victory, in the final high school football game to be played in the Georgia Dome, gave Grayson (14-1) its second state title and first since 2011. Grayson’s Jeff Herron became the first coach to lead three schools to state titles. He previously won championships at Oconee County (1999) and Camden County (2003, 2008 and 2009).
Roswell finished 14-1 after losing in the championship game for the second consecutive season.
“There was so much noise, so many distractions, so much stuff going on outside of trying to build a team,” Herron said of his first season at Grayson. “But our guys just fought through it. We didn’t play great tonight, but they found a way. I couldn’t be prouder of a team. Honestly, in my whole career, this is probably the hardest coaching job I’ve ever had.”
Grayson had just 71 yards of total offense and trailed 13-6 when it took possession at its 3-yard line with 10:15 remaining. The Rams drove 97 yards in 10 plays and scored on a 62-yard pass from Chase Brice to Jaquavius Lane. Roswell’s Jujuan White blocked the extra-point attempt, however, preserving a 13-12 lead for the Hornets with 6:36 left.
Roswell was forced to punt on its next possession, and the Rams took over at their 39 with 3:42 to play. Grayson drove 61 yards in six plays, with Brice throwing a 35-yard touchdown pass to Lane. The two teamed up again for the two-point conversion for a 20-13 lead with 1:04 left.
Roswell answered with a seven-play, 70-yard drive and scored on a 20-yard pass from Malik Willis to Kentrell Barber on the final play of regulation to tie the game 20-20.
Roswell took a 7-0 lead on its second possession on a 26-yard pass from Willis to Corey Reed with 6:10 to play in the first quarter. Roswell also got a 47-yard field goal by Barckhoff on the final play of the half for its four-point halftime lead.
Jamyest Williams gave Grayson its only offensive spark in the first half. His 36-yard punt return to the Roswell 49 midway through the second quarter set up a four-play touchdown drive that ended with Brice’s 34-yard scoring pass to DeAngelo Gibbs. However, Roswell maintained its lead at 7-6 when the Rams missed the extra-point attempt.
Roswell finished with a 261-238 advantage in total offense. Willis was 19-of-30 passing for 261 yards and rushed for a team-leading 40 yards on 11 carries, although the team was held to 68 yards rushing on 34 carries.
Brice was 18-of-27 passing for 238 yards, but the Rams also struggled in the running game, finishing with 8 yards on 23 carries.
“I don’t know what else to say right now, but we found a way to do it,” Brice said. “We trusted our defense. The fans were great all night, and we’re just happy.”
Roswell – 7-3-0-10-0 – 20
Grayson 0-6-0-14-3 – 23
R – Corey Reed 26 pass from Malik Willis (Turner Barckhoff kick)
G – DeAngelo Gibbs 34 pass from Chase Brice (kick failed)
R – Barckhoff 47 field goal
R – Barckhoff 29 field goal
G – Jaquavius Lane 62 pass from Brice (kick blocked)
G – Lane 35 pass from Brice (Lane pass from Brice)
R – Kentrell Barber 20 pass from Willis (Barckhoff kick)
G – Wil VanPamelen 25 field goal
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Good game between roswell and grayson. Both teams had to endure bad officiating. Its part of the game.
They all recruit …some just recruit better. The students recruit..the parents..the athletic directors…the principals…recruiting will not stop…Dont just blame the coaches…
I would like to see you all turn down a better paying job or stop cheating the american system.
We are a naton full of hypocrites…lol lol
Let’s face it. Recruiting is as much common practice in high school football as two-a-days. Want to see it stop? Shut down a “major” school’s football program for a year or two as punishment. Not gonna happen? Then get used to it!
I watched almost every minute of every Championship game this weekend and it is SAD. The quality of officiating in all 8 games was pathetic. The Forearm Shiver delivered to the Head/Jaw of the GAC QB on the 1st series of the game (not a flag insight) changed that whole game. #15 should have been Kicked out of the game and 15 yard personal foul for Targeting. The “Incomplete Pass” for the first down in the Roswell game changed the whole outcome.
Championship Games deserve much better Officiating than the crap we saw in the Dome this weekend.
I watched a few of those HS games . There are a lot of top talent in the State of GA. i would like to see Smart get his butt down to the Savannah area and recruit hard .
Grayson won the game. The scoreboard said so. Are you bitter that the official from the Grayson sideline made that incomplete call? I flew in that official from Ohio. It was the same official that spotted the ball on the 4th down play that allowed my bucks to steal that game from that school up north. Great games that were both tarnished a bit by one bad call.
As for recruiting… Grayson won that game also. I believe that score was Grayson 14, Roswell 3.
Stop complaining. GHSA allows recruiting and officials are human and make mistakes or can be bribed like my man from Ohio.
The officials did make a critical mistake that most likely determined the outcome of the game. There is no reason not to have some sort of replay available when these games are televised and played in a pro stadium.
The fact that these teams competed in the championship is indicative of what high school sports in this state have degenerated to in order to win. Look at Buford, past archer teams and virtually every private school and see the blatant skirting of rules to win at all costs. Their presence really brings down the game and lessens the impact at most schools. Half of these boys don’t even know each other for God’s sake. Mercenary tactics learned at a young age!
At least IMG is upfront and honest about their mission.
@Smilesterr If I am not mistaken, GHSA has now said they will not allow any GA high schools schedule IMG. IF that is true, is that not extremely hypocritical considering what they are allowing in their own state?
@Smilesterr Don’t bring Buford into this. Buford had 1 move-in transfer this year who didn’t start. They stopped allowing transfers in all Schools for the last two years because there is no space for them. Buford moved up because of the multiplier. The multiplier exists solely because the GHSA counted any students in Hall County attending Buford as out of district EVEN though they live INSIDE the Buford City limits. Yes Buford is in both Gwinnett & Hall Counties.
I do agree. At every class in the ghsa we have recruitment in almost every sport. It starts with travel ball in middle school and grows from there. How can we raise our children to be honorable when they learn at a young age that cheating helps you win?
Denial is not a defense b wolf. Everyone knows Buford cheats. Just admit it. Sure you guys don’t have a few rental houses? Check it out. Ghsa should implement a minimum 100 mile radius and a year sit out period for transfers in state. Then, maybe then, some of these agregious offenses will stop. It is supposed to be high school, not collegiate sports.
Roswell Defense was fast and strong. Game could easily have gone to either team.
Congratulations Roswell on a great season
Roswell got robbed with that incompletion call late in the 4th. Grayson didn’t beat Roswell, the officials did.
@finalword No…..your right. Grayson didn’t beat Roswell. A combination of many schools beat Roswell. Best question I have seen all day on another media venue…..Do all the schools in Gwinnett County get a ring since Grayson won?? Nuff said.
It’s hard to applaud a recruited, cherry-picked team.
Until the GHSA gets off their backsides and addresses this practice, it will continue and only get more blatant.
So Roswell didn’t have any transfers? Didn’t their QB come from Westlake?
Thank you, the only difference is Roswell’s players were not tweeted out that they were leaving!!!
@Carver 90@odelljones Roswell set up specail claases that only they offered in order to bring in kids from all around the ciy. This type of thing is suposed to stop next year.
That was a classic. Probably two of the best teams in state history with the misfortune of having existed in the same season.
Two very good football teams. I feel bad for the Roswell players and coaches but someone has to lose.
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