GFL-Georgia Advances To Round 2 of FBU National Championship | Youth1

GFL-Georgia Advances To Round 2 of FBU National Championship

On a rainy day in Buford, Georgia; GFL-Georgia was able to advance to Sunday’s round 2 game behind a strong defense and balanced offensive attack.

GFL’s Caelan Johnson set the defensive tone early with a third down sack on South Atlanta’s opening drive to force a punt. South Atlanta’s defense was also up to the task on GFL’s opening stanza, forcing two incomplete passes 


behind a heavy pass rush.

South Atlanta started their 2nd drive with good success, as running back Antoine Davis busted up the middle for a 22 yard gain to their own 49 yard line.  But after allowing South Atlanta across midfield, the GFL defense stood tall as Williams Bivens Jr was able to bring down Antoine Davis just shy of the first down marker on 4th and 3. Forcing the turnover on downs, GFL began to gain confidence heading into their next drive.  GFL quarterback J’Kori Jones was able to roll out and connect with playmaker WR KJ Wallace for a pick-up of 26 yards on the 2nd play of the drive. Now inside the 30 yard line of South Atlanta, penalties began to bring GFL back and kill all momentum for the defending champs.  Facing a 4th and 14 due to penalties, GFL was unable to convert as the South Atlanta defense holds as the first quarter ends scoreless.

GFL’s defense got the best of South Atlanta late in the 2nd quarter with a key fourth down stop, and with momentum shifting all the way towards GFL, they were able to answer the bell offensively with a 56 yard touchdown drive. GFL QB J’Kori Jones started the drive with his second big pass of the night, this time to big J.D. Bertrand for a 26 yard gain.  Running back Steele Chambers showed his speed and elusiveness on the very next play as he took the pitch to the outside 17 yards for the score.  GFL would go up 6-0 after a failed 2PAT with 2:47 in the half.

GFL’s defense got a big 3 and out after their touchdown drive, and was able to get the ball back on their opponents 32 with less than two minutes to go in the half. GFL moved the ball 17 yards on a J’Kori Jones roll out completion to J.D. Bertrand with under 10 seconds to go in the half.  What a big completion that would be, as kicker Bernardo Burgos shows off a strong leg with a 32 yard field 


goal as time expired, bringing the halftime score to 9-0 GFL.

GFL received the second half kickoff and began using standout running back/linebacker Owen Pappoe for big rushing gains, but what looked like a scoring drive was ruined by a stingy South Atlanta defense that stripped the ball loose for a huge turnover at their own 35. GFL’s defense wasn’t breaking, though, as they got their 3rd consecutive 3 and out of the night by forcing a South Atlanta punt yet again.        

In what was a statement drive for GFL-Georgia, J’Kori Jones started off with a 9 yard pass to KJ Wallace to move into South Atlanta territory. Owen Pappoe would take over from there with rushing gains of 13, 21, and 11 yards on the drive to put GFL into the endzone again. South Atlanta’s defense did force a 4th and 2 from the 11 yard line, but Pappoe muscled his way into the endzone at the 1:53 mark in the 3rd quarter.  GFL would miss the XP again and the lead would stand at 15-0.

South Atlanta got some momentum going in the 4th quarter with a successful fake punt run for a first down inside their own territory. That gamble would be cashed in on what could be considered the highlight of the game, a 46 


yard receiving touchdown for RB Antoine Davis.  Davis was able to catch the screen pass, break a tackle, and use his speed the rest of the way to give South Atlanta their first TD in FBU play with 6:15 remaining in the game. The crucial 2PAT was failed for South Atlanta, and that would keep a two score advantage for GFL at 15-6.

GFL would go 3 and out on their next drive, but got the ball back quickly thanks to ball-hawking DB Jalen Alexander who went up in the air and came down with the huge interception. Not being able to do anything with the turnover, GFL was forced to punt, pinning South Atlanta back with little time remaining in the game.  On the following South Atlanta play, GFL defensive back Jalen Alexander was able to grab his 2nd interception of the game by reading the QB’s eyes, which he followed up with a terrific return to the South Atlanta 35 yard line.  With :27 seconds remaining in the game, GFL RB Chris Carter found pay dirt from 37 yards out to put the game completely out of reach, 22-6.

In what was a hard fought game, GFL-Georgia was able to use a balanced offense and stout defense to advance to Sunday’s round 2 against GMSAA, the Georgia Middle School Athletic Association, who defeated South Charlotte in the opening round.

Written by Youth1 Contributor Cody Butler



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