When the season began, there wasn't a clear-cut all-state running back in the highest classification. Now, two Gwinnett County backs are beginning to separate themselves.
One is Dante Black of Brookwood. A senior with several mid-major offers, Black rushed for 217 yards last week in a 30-27 victory over Parkview that put the Broncos in sole possession of the Region 7-AAAAAAA lead.
Last month, Black showed up big with 257 yards rushing in a 42-25 victory over Colquitt County. That win put the Broncos back in the Top 10, and they've been rolling ever since. Black now has 1,193 yards rushing for the season.
Another top back in the highest class is Chauncey Williams of Meadowcreek. Brookwood held Williams - the state's leading rusher at the time - in check two weeks ago, limiting him to 56 yards in a 63-0 victory that some assumed spelled the end of Meadowcreek's feel-good story and that of Williams', too.
But Williams re-emerged last week with a career-high 363 yards in a 41-34 victory over Central Gwinnett that clinched Meadowcreek's first playoff berth since 1988. Williams has 1,829 rushing yards, the most in the state, with two regular-season games left. Williams figures to become the first 2,000-yard rusher in Gwinnett County since Alvin Kamara of Norcross and Jacorey Lewis of Mill Creek in 2012.
The efforts of Black and Williams are among GHSF Daily's Top Performances from last week.
*Brookwood RB Dante Black rushed for 229 yards and two touchdowns on 40 carries in a 30-27 victory over Parkview.
*East Hall QB Austin Parker passed for 550 yards and five touchdowns in a 56-48 loss to Dawson County. Parker completed 30 of 51 attempts. He also rushed for 85 yards, giving him 635 total yards. His top receiver was Sedrio Morse, who had 10 catches for 179 yards and two touchdowns.
*Mount Pisgah QB Jacob Cendoya passed for 243 yards, rushed for 244 yards and had a hand in six touchdowns in a 45-37 victory over Fellowship Christian. Cendoya completed 15 of 22 passes for three touchdowns and scored three touchdowns on 15 rushing attempts.
*Meadowcreek RB Chauncey Williams rushed for 363 yards and four touchdowns on 34 carries in a 41-34 victory over Central Gwinnett. The win clinched Meadowcreek's first playoff berth since 1988.
*Mountain View WR Malachi Carter had nine receptions for 220 yards and two touchdowns in a 20-17 victory over Mill Creek.
Best of the rest
*Aquinas LB Ferris Lowry had 14 tackles, one for a loss, intercepted a pass and forced a fumble in a 24-8 victory over Washington-Wilkes.
*Bainbridge RB Dameon Pierce rushed for 226 yards and four touchdowns in a 63-14 victory over Thomas County Central. Pierce went over 6,000 yards in his career (6,196) and is now 12th all-time in career rushing touchdowns (85).
*Banks County RB Terrance Walker rushed for 235 yards and four touchdowns in a 38-6 victory over Social Circle. DB Jacob Lehotsky intercepted three passes.
*Bremen RB Tyran Dobbs had 39 carries for 272 yards and a touchdown in a 31-13 victory over Adairsville.
*Calhoun QB Gavin Gray was 19-of-23 passing for 358 yards and four touchdowns in a 41-3 victory over Sonoraville.
*Calvary Day RB Jalen Leary rushed for 234 yards and three touchdowns on 24 carries in a 21-14 victory over McIntosh County Academy.
*Cedar Grove LB Isaiah Ratcliff had four tackles for losses, two sacks and one forced fumble in a 48-6 victory over Stone Mountain.
*Central Gwinnett WR Khmari Thompson had 13 catches for 207 yards and two touchdowns in a 41-34 loss to Meadowcreek. QB Jarren Williams was 25-of-43 passing for 401 yards. Williams also rushed for 51 yards and two touchdowns.
*Charlton County WR Brykwon Anderson had 10 receptions for 160 yards and returned a punt 67 yards for a touchdown in a 28-13 victory over Telfair County. Anderson has five punt-return touchdowns in his career.
*Clinch County WR Jeremiah Johnson had 193 yards receiving and four TD catches on four receptions covering 66, 75, 31 and 21 yards in a 41-7 victory over Lanier County. Johnson is 6 feet, 7 inches and 190 pounds.
*Crisp County RB/DB Jammie Robinson rushed for 127 yards and three touchdowns on 15 carries on offense and had 15 tackles - three for losses - on defense in a 31-7 victory over Cook.
*Dacula QB Shayne Buckingham rushed for 159 yards and two touchdowns and passed for 122 and one in a 35-28 victory over Habersham Central.
*East Paulding RB Tyrell Robinson rushed for 200 yards and three touchdowns on 30 carries in a 30-27 victory over Hiram.
*Effingham County RB Toot Johnson rushed for 300 yards and three touchdowns on 29 carries in a 49-28 loss to Brunswick.
*Evans RB Corey Watkins rushed for 227 yards and five touchdowns in a 52-20 victory over Greenbrier. Watkins also caught an 18-yard pass.
*Gainesville QB Tre Luttrell rushed for 126 yards and two touchdowns on 28 carries and was 12-of-23 passing for 246 yards and two touchdowns in a 38-16 victory over Winder-Barrow.
*Glenn Hills RB Shahaun Stewart rushed for 232 yards and three touchdowns in a 42-20 victory over Westside of Augusta.
*Grayson QB D.J. Irons rushed for 150 yards and two touchdowns and was 9-of-16 passing for 163 yards and three touchdowns in a 41-16 victory over Newton.
*Haralson County RB Treylan Sheppard had 16 carries for 247 yards and two touchdowns and five catches for 103 yards and a touchdown in a 23-0 victory over East Jackson.
*Hardaway RB Marco Lee rushed for 232 yards and four touchdowns on 32 carries in a 55-41 loss to Americus-Sumter.
*Harrison QB Justin Fields rushed for 205 yards and a touchdown on 25 carries and was 7-of-11 passing for 180 yards and a touchdown in a 28-26 victory over Dalton. A broken right index finger suffered in the second half likely ended his season and high school career. Fields, the No. 1 senior college prospect nationally, finishes the season with 958 yards rushing and 15 touchdowns and 1,683 yards passing and 21 touchdowns.
*Irwin County DE Marlon Jackson had seven tackles, two for losses, and batted a pass in a 52-3 victory over Wilcox County. Irwin held Wilcox to minus-4 yards rushing.
*Jones County QB Teldrick Ross was 10-of-14 passing for 203 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 120 yards and two touchdowns on 18 carries in a 37-7 victory over Ola.
*Kennesaw Mountain RB Keyon Brooks rushed for 261 yards and one touchdown on 29 carries in a 52-27 loss to Hillgrove. Brooks also caught a 41-yard TD pass. Brooks became the first 1,000-yard rusher in school history.
*Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe QB Zach Vaughn was 12-of-15 passing for 241 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 186 yards and three touchdowns in a 54-31 victory over Murray County. RB Nathan Williams rushed for 229 yards and three touchdowns.
*Lovejoy RB Zion Custis rushed for 237 yards and five touchdowns on 21 carries in a 41-21 victory over M.L. King.
*Lowndes QB Michael Barrett passed for 246 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for 140 yards and two touchdowns in a 52-10 victory over Camden County.
*Our Lady of Mercy DB Taj Dodson had four solo tackles, five assists, an interception, 117 rushing yards, one 32-yard reception and two touchdowns in a 32-0 victory over Greenville.
*Peach County PK Mitchell Fineran was 10-for-10 on extra points and 13-of-13 on touchbacks in an 82-0 victory over Kendrick.
*Richmond Hill RB Maurice Smith rushed for 148 yards on 33 carries and scored the winning touchdown on a 24-yard run in the final three minutes in a 12-7 victory over Glynn Academy.
*Ridgeland RB Jalyn Shelton rushed for 209 yards and two touchdowns in a 55-21 victory over Pickens. Markeith Montgomery carried 10 times for 164 yards and three touchdowns.
*Rockmart QB Dylan Bailey passed for 142 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 156 yards on six carries in a 43-20 victory over Coosa.
*South Atlanta QB/CB Jalen Thompson rushed for 100 yards and two touchdowns, passed for 113 yards and one touchdown and intercepted two passes in a 19-0 victory over Washington. It was South Atlanta's first victory over Washington in 23 years.
*Taylor County QB Gunnar Watson was 16-of-24 passing for 377 yards and three touchdowns in a 48-41 loss to Dooly County. Watson has not thrown an interception in eight games.
*Temple RB D.J. "Flea" Winters rushed for 202 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries in a 48-21 loss to Callaway. His TD runs covered 82 and 78 yards.
*Tift County RB Mike Jones rushed for 200 yards and three touchdowns on 34 carries in a 38-35 victory over Colquitt County.
*Turner County QB Tyler Moore threw six TD passes in a 53-13 victory over Atkinson County. Moore was 13-of-25 passing for 270 yards, 160 of it and three touchdowns to Rick Temple.
*Vidalia LB Nyshun Bell (eight solo tackles) and CB Garrett Gillis(seven) led a defense that shut out Swainsboro 14-0. Swainsboro was held to 193 total yards, half of its average of 385.8.
*Walton RB D.J. Soyoye rushed for 150 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries and caught a 46-yard TD pass in a 42-19 win over Lassiter.
Lines of distinction
*Callaway's offensive line of Keiondre Jones, Keshawn Cameron, Lawrence Thompson, John Curtis and Jalen Moss and FB Adrian Porter made possible 459 rushing yards and seven touchdowns on just 24 carries in a 48-21 victory over Temple. Callaway had 23 pancake blocks.
*Campbell's offensive line of Ed Pimental, Antwan Parker, Tomas Salvador, Omar Lewis, Zack Rhodes and Brandon Lewis paved the way for 441 yards of total offense in a 35-23 victory over Wheeler. It was Campbell's first region victory since Oct. 20, 2014. Coby Deprill had 199 yards from scrimmage.
*Darlington's offensive line of Colin Zazzaro, Austin Rogers, Jacob Daniel, Elijah Ball, Tate Ratledge, Jacob Hunt, Dalton Stinson and Tommy Atha led the Tigers to 327 total yards in the first half alone of a 42-14 victory over Christian Heritage. Griffin Brewster passed for 254 yards, all in the first half.
*Dawson County's offensive line of Dawson Dominy, Jake Williams, Ethan Smith, Mathew MacCrackin, Justin Butler and Harley Grizzle helped QB Coey Watson and RB SeVaughn Clark put up big numbers in a 56-48 victory over East Hall. Watson rushed for 155 yards and passed for 110. Clark rushed for 230 yards. Dawson County had 573 total yards.
*Emanuel County Institute's offensive line of Tyler Thompson, Austin Sherrod, Evan Durden, Austin Hendrix, Chandler Shockley, Peter James, Jake Martin, Peyton Mercer, Curtis Fann, Rhett Harper and Logan Tapley opened holes for 529 rushing yards in a 48-28 victory over Johnson County. Eric Dixon (198 yards), Bobby McNear (185) and Ty Carswell (121) each went over 100 yards rushing.
*The Heritage (Conyers) offensive line of Emmanuel Jacoway, Matthew Yaber, Murphy McElligott, Malachi Hunter, Ethan Saunders, Kameron Cornwell and Jalen Kimble helped the Patriots put up 306 passing yards and 230 rushing yards in a 49-7 win over Lakeside of Evans.
*Jeff Davis' offensive line of Austin Lewis, Will Mosely, Ty Padgett, Christian Ray, Harrison Sheeler, Jaylen Grady, John Jackson and Willy Waters opened holes for 436 yards of rushing in a 49-13 win over Bryan County. Alex Sanders, Jashaun Kirby and Jaylene Kirby each had more than 100 yards rushing.
*Lowndes’ all-senior offensive line of Reggie Oxford, Dalton Hall, Derek Esquivel, Palmer Henderson and Jalen Goss and tight ends Marcus Brownrigg and Marcus Gary blocked and protected for 596 yards of total offense in 52-10 victory over Camden County. For the season, Lowndes averages 6.7 yards per rush and 12.3 yards per pass. The line has allowed only three sacks in 127 pass attempts. Lowndes is averaging 379.1 total yards per game and a state-leading 53.9 points.
*Miller County's offensive line of Dalton Gowan, Tucker Spence, Brooks Watson, Joe Hawkins, Briar Johnson, and G.J. Douglass helped the Pirates rush for 403 yards in a 50-0 victory over Randolph-Clay. The line, with help from Z-back Roland Godfrey, fullbacks Kohler Tabb and Austin Dollar and tight end Hayes Cleveland, have helped Pirates backs rush for 2,229 yards in eight games.
*St. Pius' offensive line of tight ends Chris Mitchell and Patrick Kremer, tackles Luke Ver Meulen and Richard Brown, guards Winston Andrews and Connor Brown and center Charlie Albert helped the Golden Lions rush for 393 yards on 58 carries in a 43-29 victory over previous-No. 6 Jefferson. St. Pius had 22 first downs and 494 yards and ran 62 plays.
*Thomasville's offensive line of Larry Williams, Javonte McGriff, Jadiah Diggs, Willie Tillman, Jorium Jones, Grant Conger, and Tevin Rayford led the way for 514 yards of total offense - 298 rushing, 216 passing - in a 49-12 victory over Lawton Chiles of Florida. Thomasville allowed one sack - to Florida State commit Amari Gainer.
*Trion's offensive line of Jake Hayes, Colton Duncan, Jackson Walters, Aiden Brock, Nick McGhee, Rylan Tomlin and Braxden Peace helped their team rush for 377 yards with three 100-yard rushers in a 34-20 victory over previously undefeated Mount Zion.
*White County's offensive line of Jon Burkett, Garrett Herold, Nakia Anthony, David Gregg, Trevor Kidd and DeeJay Fleming laid the ground work for 620 yards of total offense in a 56-27 victory over Chestatee. The group helped the Warriors rush for 375 yards in the game as White County clinched a Class AAAA playoff spot. Kaleb Crane rushed for 207 yards. Bailey Anderson rushed for 162. Freshman QB J. Ben Haynes threw for 245.
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