Photo Courtesy of Steve Knight/Griffin Daily News
Drew’s Farrean Toney (13) avoids Spalding’s Devontez Carter (52) during a game Thursday night at Memorial Stadium in Griffin.
Behind a three-touchdown performance from junior quarterback Jay Murray, Drew defeated host
Spalding 34-9 in its Region 4-AAA opener Thursday night at Memorial Stadium in Griffin.
Murray ran for two scores and passed for another as the Titans improved to 2-1 overall and 1-0 in the region.
It was the second win in a row for Drew while Spalding’s bid to win two in a row will have to wait another week as the Jags fell to 1-2 overall and 0-1 in the region.
“Jay is the heart and soul of this unit,” Drew coach Jarrett Laws said. “He is not easily shaken. We put the weight of this team on his shoulders, and he is leading us.”
Spalding coach Nick Davis took the blame for the loss.
“I didn’t get the team prepared to win or prepared to play tonight,” Davis said.
On top of that it didn’t take long for the stardust of last week’s 28-21 last-second win at LaGrange to wear off for Spalding as the Jags watched Drew score on its first two possessions. The first, set up on a 27-yard run by Jadarius West down to the Spalding’s 5, ended two plays later on a 2-yard run by Murray. The second came on a 55-yard touchdown run by West — who scored three touchdowns last year against Spalding (two receiving and one on a return) — on the drive’s first play.
Spalding dented the scoreboard on a safety midway through the second quarter when Drew was flagged for holding in its own end zone. However, the highlight of the half for Spalding was a 76-yard run by Quincey Zellner – Spalding’s leading rusher with 84 yards on four carries – to the Drew 10 with :29.3 left to play in the first quarter. The run set up a 10-yard touchdown run by freshman Jabril Reid two plays later with :16.7 seconds left in the half.
Prior to that, Drew went ahead 21-2 on a 1-yard touchdown pass from Murray to Lester Knauls, the game’s leading rusher with 108 yards on 19 carries, with 1:06 left in the half.
Neither team scored in the third quarter.
Jamari Whyms took a pitchout left and scored from 17 yards out with 5:17 left in the game as Drew upped its lead to 28-9 before Murray's 5-yard touchdown run with :56.6 seconds left proved to be the final nail in the coffin for Spalding.