Jaden Griffith played a big role for Whitefield Academy on Friday as it matched the best start in program history.
The Wolfpack (7-1) beat Walker 42-7, holding the Wolverines to only 83 yards of total offense. Griffith led the effort with 10 tackles, including three for loss, and made one of the biggest plays of the game in the third quarter to put any hopes of a Walker comeback to rest.
“He’s a three-year starter for us at linebacker,” Whitefield coach Coleman Joiner said. “He’s one of those guys that does a great job of always being in position. He’s definitely one of the leaders on our defense, and most importantly, what we saw on Friday is that he’s one of our most physical football players all around. What he did Friday is really just what he’s been doing for us the last three years that he’s been starting.”
For his efforts, Griffith is the Cobb Football Friday Defensive Player of the Week.
Griffith entered Friday's game with 56 total tackles on the season, while also serving as the Wolfpack’s starting running back and rarely missing a snap. He carried the ball seven times for 73 yards against Walker, including 31 yards on two carries to set up Whitefield’s final touchdown of the first half.
However, Griffith's biggest play came on defense early in the third quarter.
Walker had an opportunity to cut the Whitefield lead to 13 before Griffith intercepted a pass with the Wolverines driving and the score at 27-7. Any chance of Walker making it a two-possession game went out the window as Griffith returned his second interception of the season 73 yards for a touchdown.
“He had done that in practice multiple times during the week,” Joiner said. “We had eight or nine guys leading him into the end zone. We had seen that all week. It was just really cool to watch what we see in practice happen in a key moment on a Friday night.”
After heading into the break with momentum, homecoming celebrations changed the normal halftime routine and the Wolfpack came out slow to start the second 24 minutes. Joiner felt like the players were lacking energy to start the half, but then Griffith stepped up.
“Him making that play deep in our territory and then returning it like he did, that was a big spark that helped us finish the game really well and with the same energy we felt like we started the game with,” Joiner said.
Lassiter linebacker Justin Kurnik also put together a good performance in a loss to Woodstock, registering eight tackles, including two for a loss and a sack. Walton defensive lineman Jonathan Chesser registered six tackles in a loss to Roswell.