LAWRENCEVILLE — Logan Daniels came up with the play of the year as the senior linebacker blocked an overtime field goal to send Grayson to a 34-31 win over archrival Archer Friday night.
Grayson head coach Adam Carter changed the rush from going through the 'A' gap to the 'B' gap after calling a timeout, and the rest is history.
"That was just a kid going out and making a play," Carter said. "That had nothing to do with me. It's a great win for our school and for our fans."
For his part, Daniels was just happy to be in the right place at the right time.
"Coach changed up the rush and I came off the ball quick," he said. "I got through the line and was in the right spot to make a play."
That play capped an epic showdown that saw seven touchdowns scored in the second half between the schools that sit just five miles apart.
With the score tied 24-24 late in the fourth quarter, Archer took over on its 24 after forcing a Grayson punt. A 48-yard completion from quarterback Carter Peevy to Trey Messer gave the Tigers the ball on the Rams' 26. Five plays later, Schmari Campbell found the end zone from 12 yards out, giving Archer its first lead of the game, 31-24, with 2:12 left.
From there, the Rams got to work for their last-ditch effort.
A 32-yard completion from quarterback C.J. Dixon to Jamal Haynes moved the ball to the Archer 48. After moving the ball nine yards, Dixon threw an incomplete pass on third down. But a fourth-down rush by LaFayette Gurvin Jr. cleared the first down marker by mere inches to give Grayson a first down on the 38 with less than a minute to go.
Three plays later, Dixon found Jaden Smith for a 19-yard completion down to the 5. Then, on second down, Dixon found Darius Daniels on a slant for a five-yard score, tying the game at 31-31 with 17 seconds left.
In overtime, Grayson got the ball first and got as far as the 11. A 28-yard field goal by Garwood Collins put the Rams up 34-31.
On Archer's possession, it moved the ball down to the 10 for a 3rd-and-5, but Carter Peevy was sacked by Grayson's Victoine Brown for a six-yard loss to set up a 33-yard attempt by Jacob Waters to tie the game.
After Carter called a timeout to ice Waters, he made the change on the rush point, giving Logan Daniels a chance to make the game-winning block.
"Every day we go over special teams and continually work on it," Daniels said. "Last time we were (at Archer), we lost. It feels good to come out with a win."
"This was two good teams battling it out," Carter said. "We just made a play at the end. A lot of respect goes out to Archer. This was a battle all night."
Neither team was able to mount much offense in the first quarter. Grayson did get on the board first early in the second, but had to settle for a 31-yard field goal by Collins after an illegal shift and an offensive-holding call negated two touchdown runs.
Grayson added a touchdown midway through the second quarter when Easton Burgess picked off a Peevy pass and raced 34 yards for the score to give the Rams a 10-0 lead.
Archer added a 29-yard field goal by Waters on its next possession, although a tipped pass by Grayson's A.J. Lopez in the end zone left the Tigers feeling like they could've had seven instead of settling for three.
The second half saw Archer come out firing on all cylinders. Two completions for 35 yards, including a 26-yard strike to Messer, capped off the Tigers' first drive and tied the score, 10-10.
On Grayson's first possession of the second half, the Rams drove all the way down to the 23, but a fourth-down interception by Archer's Tyler Roach gave the ball back to the Tigers.
However, Archer was unable to do anything with the ball and punted it back to the Rams.
On the first play of the drive, Gurvin took the ball to the edge and broke multiple tackles near the sideline before racing to the end zone for a 43-yard score to put the Rams up 17-10 with 5:29 to go in the third quarter.
Archer responded, however, using a game-breaking run by Peevy, which went for 43 yards and tied the score at 17-17.
And just like any heavyweight fight, Grayson responded on its next drive as a returning Phil Mafah burst through the middle, changed his field and stiffed arm a defender for the last 10 yards before hitting the end zone, making the score 24-17 with 45 seconds to go in the third quarter.
Archer responded early in the fourth quarter, going 14 plays and 72 yards before Peevy found Messer for a 17-yard touchdown, tying the game at 24-24, setting up the dramatic ending.
"The second half we didn't make plays like we did in the first half," Carter said. "We've got to go look at the video and clean things up."
Peevy finished the game 15-for-24 for 243 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions, while also having 90 yards on the ground. Messer also had eight catches for 183 yards.
Dixon finished the game 20-for-45 for 204 yards and one touchdown, while Gurvin finished with 120 yards on 23 carries. Jamal Haynes led Grayson's receivers with 66 yards on six catches, while Darius Daniel had six catches for 64 yards.
GRAYSON 34, ARCHER 31 (OT)
Grayson 0 10 14 7 3 - 34
Archer 0 3 14 14 0 - 31
Grayson: Garwood Collins 31 FG 9:15
Grayson: Easton Burgess 34 interception return (Collins kick) 7:08
Archer: Jacob Waters 29 FG 5:19
Archer: Trey Messer 26 pass from Carter Peevy (Waters kick) 10:11
Grayson: LaFayette Gurvin Jr. 43 run (Collins kick) 5:29
Archer: Peevy 43 run (Waters kick) 3:31
Grayson: Phil Mafah 45 run (Collins kick) :45
Archer: Messer 17 pass from Peevy (Waters kick) 10:19
Archer: Schmari Campbell 12 run (Waters kick) 2:12
Grayson: Darius Daniel 5 pass from CJ Dixon (Collins kick) :17
Grayson: Collins 28 FG