North Atlanta Knocks off Grady in Football for Third Straight Year


Mady Mertens

Caretaker: Wide receiver, Trey Harris, leads the way with a strong block for quarterback, Wiley Hartley, on a first down run.

For the third consecutive season, the North Atlanta Warriors have defeated arch-rivals Grady Knights in blowout fashion, ensuring a year’s worth of bragging rights over their cross-town counterparts. While last Friday’s game didn’t look like a runaway win at the start, with the Warriors trailing 13 to 12 at halftime, North Atlanta went full-throttle in the second half, outscoring Grady 28 to 6. On defense, the explosive playmaking of middle linebacker Davis “Diesel” Bell helped completely shut down Grady’s offensive attack in the second half, with the exception of one touchdown run from Grady quarterback Aquinas Stillwell. Bell, who finished the game with an interception and fumble recovery, was crucial in swinging the momentum and energy in North Atlanta’s direction, and after his key interception, chants of “DIE-SEL! DIE-SEL! DIE-SEL!” from the Warriors’ student section filled the air. 

The North Atlanta offensive attack on Friday was defined by the legs of both quarterback Wiley Hartley and running back T.K. Mack. Mack finished the game with 298 yards and a whopping four touchdowns on 30 carries. Dual-threat quarterback Wiley Hartley also gashed the Grady defense with 214 yards and two touchdowns. The Warriors would often elect to run the ball on third and long, a risky decision where most of the time it would be commonplace to throw it. However, time after time the Warriors converted and rewarded the faith that the coaching staff had invested in the ground game. Hartley and Mack combined for a read-option threat that, play after play, Grady had no way of stopping. Their combined 512 yards and six touchdowns carried the Warriors down the field and to victory. Other contributors on offense included junior wideout Tre’ Mason, who ripped off a 32 yard run off of a gadget play and caught a 36-yard pass, the Warriors’ longest of the day. The first half was marked by struggles on special teams by North Atlanta, as one extra point attempt was blocked by Grady and a second was very close to it, but holder Jack O’Kelley was forced to pull the ball at the last second and run, and ended up being swallowed up by Grady. North Atlanta gave up a fluky touchdown pass when their safeties collided into each other. Another missed field goal before halftime meant North Atlanta had left a handful of points on the table, and they trailed at halftime because of it. 

The second half was a totally different story. The ground game ascended to the next level, the defense began to lock up Grady’s air attack, and the special teams unit began to play smoother, converting on their extra points and keeping Grady’s return game at bay. Once the Warriors took a multi-score lead in the third quarter, they never looked back. The Warriors have reigned victorious over their biggest foe for the third straight year, and it’s safe to say we’ve come a long way from the days of them beating us 58 to 0.