By Steve Knight
GRIFFIN, Ga. — You could feel something in the air before the game that seemed to serve as an omen that Spalding’s 28-6 win over Griffin Friday night was just something that was in the cards.
And you could also tell that the Griffin Bears and Spalding Jaguars were the epitome of in-county, cross-town rivals.
During warmups Griffin could be see trying to taunt Spalding players — perhaps reminding them of the fact that their cross-county foes had never notched a win over their so-called “big brother,” but the Jags refused to react to it.
Turns out confidence actually is silent.
Right out of the gate the Jags defense was on point, easily handling the Bears’ offense, but the Bears defense was equally up for the challenge initially. Three downs and a punt characterized most of the first quarter action until late in the period, Griffin struck first blood with a touchdown with a drive that started on the Spalding 36 after the Bears’ defense forced a punt from the back of the Jaguars’ end zone.
Griffin quarterback T.O. Morton threw a long pass to set up a touchdown by Isaiah Spruill on a short run one play later. This would be the only score Griffin would put on the board.
Spalding coach Nick Davis apparently found the words needed to fire up his squad, as once Spalding scored its first touchdown at the 5:47 mark in the third quarter, the floodgates opened.
The Jags punched it in again early in the fourth to stretch its lead to 14-6, then quarterback Naricuss Driver broke away for a 94 yard touchdown run, a feat he would repeat shortly afterward from 63 yards away to provide the final margin.
It’s the first time Spalding High has beaten Griffin High since the schools started playing each other in 2008.
After Spalding’s program changing win, Davis provided a little Q&A reflection.
SCBuzz: You guys have won some big games this year, how much bigger is it to win this one against your cross county rival?
DAVIS: “Well it really hasn’t hit me yet. I’m just so happy for these seniors, man. It’s the first time for our seniors, for Spalding High School, for our fans, to be able to hold their heads high in the community, to not walk around with their heads down. That’s what I’m most proud of. These guys just kept fighting and fighting and fighting. What we’ve learned is how to overcome adversity. We’ve won two big games, one against Eagles Landing and now against the Griffin team.”
SCBuzz: What does this do to your teams confidence and how soon do you start looking towards Jonesboro?
DAVIS: “Well, we’re going to enjoy this one for a minute. Sunday we’ll start working on Jonesboro. We’ve got a short turnaround to get ready against another good football team. We’ve got to get some guys healthy that’s banged up a little bit. We’re going to put a game plan together and we’ll be ready to give it a great try.”
SCBuzz: On an overall confidence level, what do you think it’s going to do for the team looking towards the rest of the year?
DAVIS: “Well our kids have confidence, no doubt about that. I want them to enjoy this win, but we can’t let this win overlook into next week. We’ve got a tough task next week, and if we win that one we’ll fell like we control the region. That’s what’s important.”