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GAC crushes Westminster in region opener

Greater Atlanta Christian running back Kyle Scales (17) picks up a first down during the first quarter while covered by Westminster's Hayes Meyer (20) during Friday's game.

Greater Atlanta Christian running back Kyle Scales (17) picks up a first down during the first quarter while covered by Westminster's Hayes Meyer (20) during Friday's game.

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Greater Atlanta Christian running back Kyle Scales (17) picks up a first down during the first quarter while covered by Westminster's Hayes Meyer (20) during Friday's game.

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Greater Atlanta Christian wide receiver Micah Abernathy (4) fights for more yardage while tackled by Westminster's Jake Johnson during Friday's game.

NORCROSS -- Greater Atlanta Christian didn't get to play its first game that really counted until the eighth week of the season. The wait was worth it for the Spartans, though.

"I couldn't be prouder with the way we played," coach Tim Hardy said. "It was really a complete game."

The No. 8-ranked GAC rolled to a 30-0 homecoming victory over visiting Westminster on Friday night to establish itself as the team to beat in late-starting Region 6-AA.

"It's just one step, but it was definitely a good first step," Hardy said.

Kyle Scales ran for two touchdowns, and Rafe Chapple passed for one TD and rushed for another as GAC (5-2) dominated from start to finish in all aspects of the game.

Westminster (2-5) mounted just one drive and that ended in an end-zone interception in the second quarter.

"Any time you get a shutout, that's pretty solid," Hardy said. "Tremendous energy. Tremendous intensity."

But the offense was just as much in the spotlight.

"The skill people did a great job," Hardy said. "Rafe was on and Kyle ran very well."

Chapple finished 10-for-16 for 198 yards passing. Scales had 138 yards on 16 rushes and caught three passes for 50 more yards.

GAC will play rival Wesleyan on Nov. 2 at home after the second bye of the season next weekend and a trip to Hapeville Charter on Oct. 26. Westminster plays at Wesleyan on Friday as it tries to bounce back.

With only five teams in Region 6-AA, making the state playoffs isn't really the big issue. Playoff seeding is and it was GAC that got off to the start it wanted.

The Spartans went 96 yards in 10 plays on their second possession, with Scales scoring from a yard out on fourth down with 15 seconds left in the first quarter. Scales' 58-yard run was the key play on the drive.

A penalty wiped out a 35-yard punt return by Scales midway in the second quarter, but the Spartans didn't let it stop them. GAC drove 65 yards in five plays, with Scales staying inbounds on an option pitch from Chapple and going 17 yards for the score.

Westminster mounted its only drive after the second GAC touchdown, but it ended in disaster for the Wildcats. Darius Slayton intercepted a pass and returned it from deep in the end zone to the 40-yard line. Soon it was 20-0.

Chapple hit a wide-open Chris Williams on the first play for a 60-yard scoring strike and the Spartans were in command going into the homecoming ceremonies at halftime, when Spartans wide receiver Peter Whiteneck was named king.

Skales had 163 yards from scrimmage in the first half, rushing for 119 yards on 11 carries and catching two passes for 44 yards. Chapple was 6-for-9 passing for 150 yards in the first two quarters.

With Whiteneck catching a 31-yard pass from Chapple, GAC drove into scoring position on its first possession after halftime and Brandon Holzgrefe kicked a 37-yard field goal with 2:52 left in the third quarter. Holzgrefe, who missed the extra point after GAC's second TD, is 6-for-6 on field-goal attempts this season.

With Scales taking a break, Corey Stevenson was the focal point on GAC's 76-yard drive to go up 30-0 with 8:32 to play. Stevenson had runs of 29 and 22 yards before Chapple ran 5 yards for the TD.