LOGANVILLE — Grayson's football team, led by its running game, overcame a slow start Friday night to beat the Westlake Lions 35-21.
Class AAAAAAA's new No. 1 team trailed 14-7 at halftime, but reeled over 21 third-quarter points to seize control.
"I just told them (going into the second half) that that wasn't us," Grayson head coach Adam Carter said. "That wasn't Grayson football and I told them we needed to fix it. We challenged them and they met the challenge. It's a good win for us and we'll go in on Monday and fix some stuff, and get ready for Moultrie (Colquitt County)."
After three consecutive punts, Grayson (4-0) started its second drive with excellent field position on the Westlake 42. Just four plays later, though, quarterback C.J. Dixon was intercepted by cornerback Micah Robinson off of the hands of his intended receiver.
This was exactly the change that Westlake (2-2) needed as quarterback R.J. Johnson marched the Lions right down the field, connecting with Dereck Britt in the corner of the end zone for an early 7-yard touchdown pass.
Two plays later, Grayson gave the ball to Westlake again on a fumbled hand-off.
Johnson threw two 20-yard passes to put the Lions inside the Grayson five-yard line, where running back Zina Mulbah pushed his way through the Rams defensive line on a four yard touchdown run.
Nearing the end of the second quarter, the Rams defense had once again awarded their offense with good field position. This time, the Rams capitalized as Dixon found speedy receiver Jamal Haynes along the sideline and Haynes won the race to the pylon on a 40-yard touchdown pass with 12 seconds remaining in the half.
Grayson finished the half with 97 yards through the air and only 30 yards on the ground.
This Grayson offense needed a jumpstart. Running back Lafayette Gurvin Jr. was exactly that in the second half.
Grayson brought back the same magic it ended the half with on their first drive when Dixon found Gurvin at the Grayson five yard line and after an acrobatic catch, Gurvin walked into the end zone to tie the game.
Gurvin struck once again the following drive, beating the Lions defense to the sideline and then winning the race to the pylons on a 33-yard touchdown run.
Two scoreless possessions later, Westlake began to move the ball before facing a fourth down. The Lions attempted to fake a punt, but were stopped by defensive end Noah Collins, giving the offense the ball on the 30-yard line.
The Rams offensive line provided the push Gurvin needed as Gurvin scored again after only three carries, this time bursting through the defensive line and pushing his way into the end zone.
"My offenisve line... they're physical, they're fast, they opened holes, and I scored," Gurvin said.
Despite a late 91-yard Westlake touchdown throw, the Lions weren't able to catch the Rams as Gurvin scored one more time on the ground, finishing with 200 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns and 45 receiving yards and a receiving touchdown as well.
In the second half alone, Grayson had 192 rushing yards on the ground, a drastic change from the first half.
GRAYSON 35, WESTLAKE 21
Westlake 7 7 0 7 - 21
Grayson 0 7 21 7 - 35
Westlake: Dereck Britt 3 pass from RJ Johnson (Aaron Ganus kick) 0:45
Westlake: Zina Mulbah 4 run (Ganus kick) 3:10
Grayson: Jamal Haynes 40 pass from CJ Dixon (Garwood Collins kick) 0:12
Grayson: Lafayette Gurvin Jr. 26 pass from Dixon (Collins kick) 9:30
Grayson: Gurvin 33 run (Collins kick) 5:46
Grayson: Gurvin 10 run (Collins kick) 1:31
Westlake: Chase Lloyd 91 pass from Johnson (Ganus kick) 7:06
Grayson: Gurvin 16 run (Collins kick) 1:29