After a rather listless beginning to the rare Saturday morning game, the Spencer Greenwave found the end zone late in the first quarter and once each in the next three quarters en route to a 28-14 win over the Dougherty Trojans at Kinnett Stadium.
The game was postponed from its regularly scheduled Thursday night time after the Dougherty County athletic director intervened, citing a rule that schools could not travel more than an hour from Albany for any contest on a school night. With Albany and Columbus separated by a 90-minute drive on Highway 520, the decision was made to move the game to a 10 a.m. start Saturday morning.
Spencer head coach Pierre Coffey found challenges in getting his Greenwave motivated to play an early game on a non-traditional day.
“It’s tough with the kids in school all week and then getting up and playing football Saturday morning,” Coffey said. “It’s great for the kids who are going to be playing college football; this is what they’re going to be doing.
“It’s out of the ordinary for us, but we got the ‘W,’ so I guess I can’t complain about the time.”
The Spencer defense came up huge play after play with three interceptions, one of which Giovannia Moore returned for a touchdown late in the third quarter. They didn’t allow a Dougherty touchdown until midway through the fourth quarter with some of the Greenwave second string defense on the field.
“I was pleased with the defensive effort,” Coffey said. “I thought we dominated all game long defensively. Those guys were physical and they brought their hats to the ball.”
Jaleel Grimes led the offensive effort for Spencer, scoring both a rushing and receiving touchdown in the game.
“Jaleel Grimes makes plays for us week in and week out,” Coffey said. “He shows up, and I’m so proud of that guy.”
Senior Khalil Thomas also commanded the Spencer offense, going 14 of 21 passing for 217 yards and a pair of scores.
“Khalil played a solid game as well throwing the football,” Coffey said. “There were a couple of mistakes here and there, but he polished it up and made it work throughout the game.”
Key play: The Trojans were driving into Spencer territory late in the third quarter when Giovannia Moore picked off a Anphernee Jordan pass and ran it back 75 yards for the Greenwave touchdown, giving Spencer a commanding 20-0 lead at the time.
Individual stats: Spencer – Jaleel Grimes, RB, 11 rushes, 18 yards, TD, 4 catches, 23 yards, TD; Khalil Thomas, QB, 14-21, 217 yards, 2 TD; Tavis Thirkield, WR, 1 catch, 31 yards, TD; Cory Calhoun, WR, 1 rush, 22 yards, 3 catches, 57 yards.
Coach quote: “I would love to be 4-0, but 3-1, I guess we can’t complain. We’ve gotta get better. There’s some things I see where we need to get better,” said Spencer coach Pierre Coffey.
Player quote: “I felt good. My O-line blocked, that was a big thing. They kept pushing forward,” said Jaleel Grimes, who scored twice on Saturday.
Saturday at Kinnett Stadium
S – Jaleel Grimes 6 run (Jalen Taylor kick), 2:13.
S – Grimes 14 pass from Khalil Thomas (Taylor kick), 2:53.
S – Giovannia Moore 75 interception return (Taylor kick), 3:18.
S – Tavis Thirkield 31 pass from Thomas (Taylor kick), 6:29.
D – C.J. Henderson 4 pass from Jaylon Joiner (Que Shedrick pass from Joiner), 4:45.
D – Henderson 30 pass from Joiner (pass failed), 3:06.
Records: Dougherty 0-3, Spencer 3-1. Next: Dougherty, home vs. Albany, Sat., Sep. 24; Spencer, home vs. Crisp County at Memorial Stadium, 7:30 p.m. Friday.