WINDER — Kyle Scales rushed for four touchdowns and 251 yards on 29 carries Friday in Greater Atlanta Christian's 31-21 win at Apalachee.
Scales, a senior running back, was consistent throughout the game with big runs when the Spartans (3-0) needed them. He busted off a 63-yard TD run in the second quarter after Apalachee had taken a seven-point lead earlier in the game.
In the second half, Scales ran for scores of four and nine yards in the third quarter as part of GAC's rush to a 24-7 lead. After the Wildcats (1-1) closed the score to 24-21, Scales delivered the knockout blow with a 20-yard run with 3:20 remaining.
"I was just trying to do my best," Scales said. "I give all the credit to my linemen. They opened up some amazing holes, and it was just perfect."
GAC coach Tim Hardy complimented all of his players for a total team effort against a team with more depth.
"What we've tried to do with our players is just build a mentality," Hardy said. "We've got some guys who don't come off the field on a Friday night. It's sort of old-school, throwback football. But they're well-conditioned, and they're warriors, and we just want to show up and go to battle every night."
Apalachee got the first lead of the game on its first possession. The Wildcats went 71 yards in 2:12, capped off by a 24-yard TD run by Eric Tanner (15 rushes, 137 yards, TD) with 6:08 to play in the quarter.
The teams traded punts until Scales' first TD with 3:43 to go until halftime.
On their first play from scrimmage in the second half, the Wildcats coughed the ball up in what ended up being a turning point in the game. Tanner dropped the ball during a run, and GAC's David Elrod scooped it up at the Wildcat 20. Five plays later, Scales ran in from four yards out with 9:16 remaining in the third quarter. The extra point by Brandon Holzgrefe gave Apalachee a 14-7 advantage, a lead they wouldn't give up.
"Those turnovers, you just can't do that against good teams," Apalachee coach Shane Davis said. "In a close competition like that, it's tough to do."
After a three-and-out by Apalachee, GAC again marched down the field for a score. Scales finished the 58-yard drive with a nine-yard TD run with 5:59 remaining in the third for a 21-7 edge.
GAC stretched its lead to 24-7 after stopping the Wildcats on a fourth-and-inches attempt. The Spartans' drive stalled at the 10, but Holzgrefe split the uprights to give his team a 24-7 lead late in the third quarter.
Apalachee started its comeback on the ensuing possession. The Wildcats started at their own 32, and Zay Henry began the drive with a 26-yard run. Kyle Jackson (18 rushes, 102 yards, TD) ran the ball in from 7 yards out with 11:03 remaining, and Christian Vasquez's kick made the score 24-14.
The Wildcats forced a three-and-out on the next possession, made worse for the Spartans by a high snap on fourth down and just a 12-yard punt. Starting at the GAC 40, Henry scored seven plays later from a yard out, and the extra point brough GAC to within three at 24-21 with 7:28 to play.
But then Scales led his team on an eight-play, 68-yard drive that chewed up 4:08 and ended up with the senior running back in the end zone on a 20-yard run. The kick made the score 31-21.
GAC's Micah Abernathy added 7 carries for 80 yards in the winning effort.