In Home Opener, Hornets Beat Central Gwinnett, 31-6
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by Ty Simons
Roswell Takes Three TD Lead in First Quarter, Black Knights Never Catch Up
ROSWELL—The Hornets put another notch in the win column Friday as they comfortably defeated Central Gwinnett in the first home game of the regular season.
As it turns out, this matchup was decided in the opening minutes of scrimmage as Roswell built a three-score lead over Central Gwinnett. An air-tight Roswell defense that held the Black Knights to negative yardage in the first quarter preserved Roswell’s efforts on offense, which were led by senior quarterback Malik Willis and senior running back Sheldon Evans. Willis started things off with a 67-yard carry on Roswell’s first drive of the game. Building off of that play, Evans took the ball in from 3 yards out for the first touchdown of the game and a 7-0 lead. On the Hornets’ next possession, he followed it up with another rushing touchdown, this time from 8 yards out to make the score 14-0.
Senior wide receiver Corey Reed caught his first touchdown pass of the season, a 27-yarder from Willis, to round out Roswell’s 21-0 domination of the first quarter. A scoreless second quarter saw a dramatic slow-down in the action, but Central Gwinnett appeared to be building some offensive momentum heading into the final half of the game.
The Black Knights did open the third quarter with a steady march up the field, but senior linebacker Sam DiRoberto managed to stop Central Gwinnett short at 4th and inches, forcing a punt on what could well have been a scoring drive. Meanwhile, the Roswell offense added some padding to their healthy lead over Central Gwinnett, with senior Turner Barckhoff connecting on a 39 yard field goal to bring the score to 24-0.
To end the game, the Hornets and Central Gwinnett each put a touchdown on the board in the fourth quarter. Roswell’s scoring drive was again commanded by Evans and Willis, with Evans bringing the line of scrimmage to the 9-yard line and Willis scrambling into the endzone to finish the job.
Looking forward, all eyes will be on the Hornets as they face off against Colquitt County on Sept. 9 in a rematch of last year’s State Championship game at the Georgia Dome. Roswell takes to the road after that on Sept. 24 as the Hornets meet Archer High School in Lawrenceville.