By: Kenneth Harrison
TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services
Grayson has been one of the best programs in the state over the last decade.
They won state championships in 2011 and 2016. They won another state championship in 2020, going 14 – 0. They only had one game decided by single digits.
The Rams lost a ton of talent from 2020 but they were 10 – 4 in 2021. They made it to the state semifinal where they lost to the eventual champion, Collins Hill.
They play in the highest classification and one of the toughest regions, 4 AAAAAAA. I still think they will compete for a state championship this season.
Senior safety Michael Daugherty is the No. 18 recruit in the state and a four-star player. He’s 6’1, 180 pounds and very physical. He’s committed to LSU.
Linebacker Jalen Smith is a three-star recruit and a Tennessee commit. Defensive end Ravon Johnson is also a three-star player. He’s 6’4 and 220 pounds so he has great size for the position.
The Rams also have talented players in the class of 2024. Guard Waltclaire Flynn Jr. is the No. 11 player in Georgia for the class of 2024. At 6’1 and 290 pounds he’s almost the size of a college offensive lineman.
Joseph JoJo Stone is a four-star player and an LSU commit. He’s listed as an athlete, but he contributes on both sides of the ball.
Grayson also has three-star corner back Zion Ferguson in the secondary.
They start the season Saturday, August 20th at Marietta. The Blue Devils won the state championship in 2019 and they still have some talented players. Senior corner back Jace Arnold is a four-star recruit and he’s committed to Wisconsin. Grayson should win this, but it will be close.
The next week is the home opener against Eagle’s Landing. The Golden Eagles are a 5A team and they were 3 – 7 last season. Grayson will blow them out.
They start September with a neutral site game against Fort Dorchester (North Charleston, SC). The Patriots were 12 – 1 last year so they are pretty good. I think Grayson will win a close game.
They play another South Carolina team the following week, Spartanburg. The Vikings were 9 – 4 in 2021 so they are pretty good but I give the edge to Grayson.
After a bye week the last non-region game is at Lowndes. This is going to be on the road in a hostile environment against a very good team. I think the Vikings will win a close game.
They travel to Newton for the first region game and they will beat them handily.
After another bye week the Rams travel to South Gwinnett. This will be another easy win.
Things get much harder against Brookwood. The Broncos should be a top five team and are led by senior quarterback Dylan Lonergan. He recently committed to Alabama. Last year Brookwood won the game 35-14. This game is a toss-up.
The final two games are at home against Archer and Parkview. Both teams are normally pretty good but they struggled in 2021. They hope to bounce back this year but Grayson will be favored to win.
The best-case scenario for the Rams is 9 – 1, worst case is 7 – 3 with a couple of non-region loses. I think they will advance deep in the playoffs.
By: Kenneth Harrison
TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services
Last season Grayson won the 7A Georgia state championship in dominating fashion.
The Rams finished 14 – 0 and only had one game decided by single digits.
That was their third championship, all of them have come since 2011. They are one of the newer powerhouse programs.
Grayson ended 2020 ranked second nationally. They will go into the 2021 season ranked 8th in the nation.
Head coach Adam Carter is entering his third season as head coach. He has a 25 – 2 record since taking over as the head ball coach in Loganville.
The Rams were at the center of some controversy last season. They had four-star quarterback Jake Garcia from California. He transferred to Valdosta over the summer for his senior year and played one game for the Wildcats. Then he transferred to Grayson. Garcia committed to Miami.
Last season senior running back Phil Mafah committed to Clemson. He suffered a season ending injury late in the season and his replacements filled in nicely.
In the state championship game against Collins Hill, sophomore Joseph Taylor (15 carries, 121 yards and junior Sean Downer (16, 92) played well.
Freshman Joseph Stone also played. The Rams will probably use the committee approach again this season.
They do not have as much talent as they had last season. The highest ranked recruit on the team is three-star safety Mumu Bin-Wahad. He’s ranked as the 90th best prospect in the state for the Class of 2022 and he’s expected to commit to West Virginia.
Senior guard Griffin Scroggs is 6’5, 295 pounds and he committed to Georgia Tech. Defensive backs Michael Daugherty and A.J. Lopez are currently uncommitted, but both should attend Power 5 schools.
The season kicks off August 20th against Creekside. Creekside is a 5A school, so this is a game against an opponent from a lower classification. The Indians were 7 – 3 in 2020 and won a region title but they cannot compete with an elite 7A team.
Week 2 is on the road at McEachern. They are normally one of the best programs in the state, but the Indians were 4 – 8 last season. This game may be close early, but Grayson will win by double digits.
After a bye week the first game in September is home against Archer. The teams played in 2020 and Grayson won, 26-7. The Tigers won a playoff game last year, so they have some talent. I think they can hang around for three quarters before the score gets out of hand.
The Rams travel to Kennesaw to face Harrison 9/17. This is Justin Fields alma mater. Harrison is a very good program. They were undefeated and won the 6A state championship in 2019. 2020 was the first season in 7A for the Hoyas and it was tough. They finished 4 – 8, including a 30-6 loss to Grayson in the playoffs. This will be an easy win.
The next week is the beginning of region play, at Mill Creek. The Hawks were the only team to challenge Grayson last year, losing 20-13 in double overtime. I think they will get the W in 2021.
October 1st is home against South Gwinnett, an easy win.
After another bye week the Rams travel to Parkview. The Panthers have returned to be a contender over the last couple of years. They lost some talented seniors though.
The final two games are home versus Brookwood and at Newton. Brookwood might be a tough win, but Newton doesn’t stand a chance.
Grayson should return to the state title game in 2021.