POWDER SPRINGS — Someone forgot to tell the freshmen playing in the Georgia Elite Classic they were playing in an all-star game.
Friday night’s showcase at McEachern High School may have lacked significance but the two teams played to an intense 29-28 shootout, featuring three touchdowns from Gwinnett County products. Parkview defensive back Champ Baker returned an interception for a TD in the first half and North Gwinnett wide receiver Zach Johansen caught two TDs, including the American Team’s last one that led to a go-ahead 2-point conversion.
Johansen was roommates with fellow North Gwinnett wide receiver Cade Funderburk for the week. Funderburk caught a handful of passes on Johansen’s TD drive including a 13-yard catch-and-run that set up first-and-goal for the American Team. Johansen’s three catches totaled 35 yards and Funderburk had three for 30 yards.
Neither had played in the showcase game as middle schoolers, but both are already sought after 2022 targets by college recruiters.
“Getting a chance to come out and compete against the best guys in the state, 10-out-of-10 experience,” Funderburk said.
The tandem teamed up with gun-slinging Walton product Zach Rozsman who completed 16-of-23 passes for 214 yards and two 2-point conversions.
The freshman offenses were dynamic, and both teams were packed with Gwinnett County products. Grayson featured the most with eight players.
Johansen described the Class of 2022 with one word.
“Dangerous,” he said.