Despite amassing 12 penalties for a total of 127 yards and giving up nearly 300 yards on defense, The Yellow Jackets still had an opportunity to steal a road win.
Trailing 24-12 with 8 minutes to play, and starting from its own 35-yard line, Sprayberry (0-1) drove the length of the field for a touchdown on a 15-yard touchdown pass to the left corner of the end zone from Andrew Pereira to Jon Palmer. Pereira finished the contest with a team-high 73 yards passing.
After forcing a South Paulding (1-0) punt, the Yellow Jackets regained possession and attempted a game-winning drive from their own 31-yard line with 3:30 left in the game. Sprayberry got the ball into Spartans’ territory but turned the ball over on downs.
“The game of football is real easy,” Sprayberry coach Billy Shackelford said. “You can’t have a lot of mistakes and make penalties. That hurt us on both sides of the ball.”
The Spartans took the opening drive of the game for a touchdown, scoring on a 1-yard quarterback sneak by Jake Oglesby.
The Yellow Jackets scored their first points of the game with 4:01 left in the first half when Rodrigo Blankenship converted a 31-yard field goal attempt.
Sprayberry took a 10-7 lead with 2:45 left in the first half when defensive lineman Jabari Zuniga intercepted his own tipped pass at the line of scrimmage and returned it 68 yards for a touchdown.
The Yellow Jackets weren’t able to hold their lead as an 8-yard touchdown run by South Paulding’s Kameron Watts with 17 seconds to go in the first half, made the score 14-10 Spartans.
South Paulding scored its final points of the game with 8:17 left in the contest when Oglesby completed a 26-yard touchdown pass to Anthony Brown. Oglesby finished the game with a game-high 229 yards passing.
Rakeem Myricks had a team-high 97 yards rushing for Sprayberry.
“I have faith in this football team and I think we’re going to be good this year,” Shackelford said. “We’ll get back to practice and fix our mistakes.”