Senior Deon Jackson rushed for 149 yards in the Sept. 2 game against Hapeville Charter.
Senior Deon Jackson rushed for 149 yards in the Sept. 2 game against Hapeville Charter. Photo: Fred Assaf

Class AA defending state champs Pace Academy took the neutral Banneker High School field against former Region 2-AA opponent Hapeville Charter and pulled out a gutsy 21-7 victory last Friday night to seal their second win of the season. The Knights came in with two key players injured, sophomore kicker Patrick Markwalter and senior cornerback/wide receiver Mark Sommerville, as the Hapeville Hornets sought to avenge their close 17-16 loss to Pace a season ago. Despite these setbacks, the Pace team shone, resulting in a definite and solid triumph for the favored Knights.

It was a huge game for the recent Duke commit Deon Jackson. The senior rushed for a solid 149 yards and an average of 7.8 yards per touch, drastically helping to increase the rushing performance of the previous week’s win. The other two backs, senior Realus “Booman” George and sophomore Keyshawn Perryman, both exploded in the win, gaining a combined 103 yards. George tallied up two rushing touchdowns while Jackson followed suit with the third.

Passing the ball proved difficult for the Academy, as the junior quarterback Gunnor Faulk only went 5 for 13 for 44 yards, yet still added 8 carries for 18 yards on the ground, despite a dominant performance by the QB the week before.

By far the greatest unit on the field was the Knights defense. Limiting the Hornets to 22 yards, the rushing defense was at its best. Senior Andrew Thomas, UGA commit and 4-star offensive tackle, plays this season as a nose tackle, racking up five tackles and a tackle-for-loss in the game. Juniors Scott Leven and Gavin Guest each nabbed a pick to stifle any more Hornet momentum along with a skillful fumble recovery by Ryan Mazur, his first game of the year after missing Week 1 due to injury.

Pace Academy came out to dominate last Friday, and continues to improve their running game, arguably their greatest asset this season. Starting 2-0, Pace will have excellent momentum heading into regional games. The Knights open their home schedule and region play against Thomson High School at 7:30 p.m. at Walsh Field on Sept. 9 in what should be the tightest home game of the season.