©Dale Zanine 2020_10_3000098.JPG

Grayson’s Jamal Haynes (1) runs against Parkview during Friday night’s game at Grayson High School. Photo: Dale Zanine

Tift County Blue Devils (1-AAAAAAA)

Coach: Ashley Anders

Record: 2-6

Last week: Had a bye

Grayson Rams (4-AAAAAAA)

Coach: Adam Carter

Record: 9-0

Last week: Had a bye

Grayson had last week off to appreciate an unbeaten regular season and a Region 4-AAAAAAA championship, in addition to fine-tuning for Friday’s state playoff opener against two-win Tift County. The Blue Devils also had a week off to prepare for a Grayson team that is ranked fourth nationally and is playing its best late in the season.

The Rams had a tough, three-game span earlier in the season that began with close games against both Collins Hill and Archer. They were tied in the fourth quarter with Collins Hill and never pulled away for a lopsided win against Archer. It got even rougher Oct. 9 when Mill Creek took Grayson to overtime.

Since that game with Mill Creek, the Rams have been on a roll through region play with decisive wins over South Gwinnett (42-7), Parkview (47-7), Brookwood (58-17) and Newton (37-0). They were dominant in all three phases of the win over Newton, which was kick-started by Jamal Haynes, who threw a touchdown pass and returned a punt for another score for a quick 14-0 lead.

Grayson had five first-half TDs against Newton — three on offense, one on defense and one on special teams.

“We scored in all three phases tonight,” Carter said after the game. “When you do that, your winning percentage goes up a lot. That was a good game for us overall. I’m excited. We’ve got a bye week next week for the playoffs. Region champs, 9-0, it’s pretty cool.”

Jake Garcia has added another offensive dimension for the Rams since moving in from Valdosta via California. He threw a 44-yard TD pass to Phil Mafah in the Newton win. Mumu Bin-Wahad returned a fumble for a TD to give the defense a score in that game.

A victory Friday sends Grayson into the second round for another home game against the winner of Newnan and Harrison.

When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Last meeting: First meeting

Location: Grayson High School

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