It was another chapter of David vs. Goliath on the football field at R. Harold Harrison Stadium on Friday, Oct. 18.
In this matchup it was Goliath, played by Dacula High School, which turned out victorious, defeating David, played by Apalachee High School, 43-0 in GHSA Region 8-AAAAAA action.
Leading 23-0 at halftime, the Falcons took the second-half kick and moved 75 yards in a little more than five minutes before Kyle Efford fought his way into the end zone on fourth-and-goal from the 2.
The top-ranked Falcons improved to 7-0 overall and 2-0 in region play while Apalachee slipped to 2-5 overall and 0-2.
Jarrett Jenkins’ 9-yard pass to Konata Mumpfield with 29 seconds left in the third quarter closed the door on another win for Dacula this season. Jenkins, a senior, was effective directing his team’s offense. Wildcat coach Tony Lotti expressed concern about Jenkins’ ability leading into the game.
Jenkins has committed to play baseball at Georgia Southern University but has been regarded as one of the top quarterbacks in Gwinnett County. He effectively played field general for his team in Friday’s game.
“We fought our tails off and I am proud of our team for that,” Lotti said. “Dacula is just a very talented team. We can’t give up big plays to teams like that. We played from behind the sticks too often.”
Lotti said depth also played a factor in the outcome of the region matchup.
Nate Hodnett, Shaan Cook and Cole Drinkard each made strong individual defensive plays for Apalachee.
After Dacula’s defense forced a three-and-out on the first possession of the game, the Falcons took over at the Wildcat 49-yard line and found the end zone after a 10-play drive. Jenkins found Konata Mumpfield on a 10-yard touchdown hookup on third and goal for the first points of the night.
Colby Sikes had a solid return for AHS on the ensuing kickoff but the play was negated by a Wildcat penalty, moving the football back to the 10-yard line. The AHS offense gained two first downs before being forced into punt formation again.
The Falcons then made a big special teams play, blocking the punt attempt to set them up at the Wildcat 23-yard line. Dacula found pay dirt again on a 4-yard run by Efford on the first play of the second quarter.
AHS would pin the Falcons deep following another punt, but Dacula needed only one play to cover the distance on a pass from Jenkins to Chris Scott covering 87 yards.
The Wildcats did not gain any yardage on their fourth possession of the half, and once again Shaan Cook forced the Falcons to start inside their own 20. Dacula was more methodical on this drive, moving 70 yards on 13 plays, capped by a 28-yard field goal by Zack Gerts with less than a minute remaining in the first half.
With little time to work before halftime, AHS moved into scoring position after a 53-yard run by Jared Clark to the Falcon 27. Apalachee could not get any closer to the end zone, however, leaving the score 23-0 at the break.
The Wildcats gained 104 yards in the first half.
It will be another top-10 foe for AHS on Friday, Oct. 25, when it hosts undefeated Lanier High School.
“We still have a lot to play for,” Lotti said. “It has to start on Monday with a good week of practice. Our coaches will work hard to put our kids in the right position to be successful.”
D 7 16 14 6 — 43
A 0 0 0 0 — 0
D—Konata Mumpfield 10 pass from Jarrett Jenkins (Zach Gerts kick)
D—Kyle Efford 4 run (kick failed)
D—Chris Scott 87 pass from Jenkins (Gerts kick)
D—Gerts 28 FG
D—Efford 2 run (Gerts kick)
D—Mumpfield 9 pass from Jenkins (Gerts kick)
D—E’mond Pittman 3 run (kick failed)