South Gwinnett 17, Lanier 0
For the second week in a row, the South Gwinnett Comets have taken on, and beaten, a formidable opponent. This time it was the Lanier Longhorns, whom they hosted and shut out 17-0 on Friday at Richard Snell Community Stadium.
The Comets (2-0) of AAAAAAA followed up an impressive 54-21 win over Central Gwinnett last week to shut down the Longhorns (1-1) of AAAAAA, a team that finished a combined 21-2 the last two seasons. Both teams endured a 1 hour, 20-minute rain delay that began with 9:03 left in the first half.
“It’s a great start and it beats some of the starts we’ve had the last couple of years,” said Comets coach John Small, whose team has already matched its win total from last season. “But this is a different bunch of kids. It’s the same kids that have been with us that stuck with it, that didn’t run from a challenge. These kids deserve everything they’re getting right now.”
Comets quarterback Seth Johnston scored the game’s only offensive touchdown on South Gwinnett’s first drive of the game. It came on a 4-yard run and capped a 68-yard drive. Dawson Newman nailed a 26-yard field goal on the Comets’ next possession to give them a 10-0 first quarter lead.
The Comets’ scores came in large part to their early effectiveness in the option run game, which they ran with little resistance from the Longhorns’ defense. However, Lanier adjusted after South Gwinnett’s first two possessions and went on to force five punts and an interception and didn’t allow the Comets offense to score again.
Unfortunately for the Longhorns, they could never get their offense going. They struggled in the passing game, mustering just 17 yards, and their leading rusher netted just 31 yards. They never made it to the red zone.
Small credits the Comets defense for taking Lanier out of its game.
“Our kids got into position,” Small said. “They weren’t misaligned. We preach all the time to do your job. Our kids have bought into that. They play unselfish. They know they don’t have to be the hero ever play. Just do what you’re supposed to do, play your technique, play your gap and let’s rally to the football and play extremely hard.”
After Lanier went three-and-out to open the third quarter, South Gwinnett’s Terrell Smith – also a track star for the Comets – turned on the jets and bolted 66 yards on a punt returned for a touchdown to bring the score to its final margin. Whatever small hopes the Longhorns had for mounting a comeback were quashed with five minutes remaining when they muffed a punt that South Gwinnett recovered on the Lanier 11.
The Comets host Brookwood next week and the Longhorns face another stiff challenge when they travel to play AAAAAA’s No. 2-ranked Northside-Warner Robins.
Lanier 0 0 0 0 – 0
South Gwinnett 10 0 7 0 – 17
S – Seth Johnston 6 run (Dawson Newman kick)
S – Newman 26 FG
S – Terrell Smith 66 punt return (Newman kick)