CONYERS - On Wednesday, the Veterans Middle School football squad won its third consecutive NewRock championship after topping General Ray Davis 28-12 at Evans Memorial Stadium.
For Veterans, it was its second undefeated season in three years.
"It's pretty special," Veterans coach Jim Puckett said. "These are a great group of kids and they've worked their tails off. They deserve what they got."
Four big plays - touchdown runs of 60, 66, 53 and 46 yards - helped Veterans defend its title.
"We're proud of our team's effort," Davis coach Steve Brackin said. "We want them to look at it as an accomplishment. Even though they're hurting like you always do when you lose a big game like this, it's definitely an accomplishment. That's what I want them to remember."
In the first quarter, both teams were held scoreless. Veterans had zero yards on just one possession. On the other hand, Davis ripped off 65 yards in the opening stanza.
But the first big play came on Veterans' first possession of the second quarter thanks to a 60-yard run by running back Cornell White.
After a failed two-point conversion, the Generals led 6-0 entering halftime.
White wasted no time getting to work in the second half. On Veterans' first play to start the third quarter, it took just 21 seconds before White had his second score of the game, this time a 66-yard run down the left sideline.
The two-point conversion by White gave Veterans a comfortable 14-0 lead.
"On the 32-trap, all this year we've been waiting to break it, and I told coach I got them this game," White said.
White finished with a game-high 152 yards on eight carries.
"Cornell is just a kid who loves football who will hit you in the mouth and never give up," Puckett said. "He's the captain and the leader of this football team, and I'm so proud of them."
After holding Davis to three-and-out on its next possession, Darius Dean fumbled to Cedric Davenport, giving the ball back to the Golden Eagles.
Six plays later Davis was on the board after a 13-yard touchdown run by Demetrius Odum.
After a failed two-point conversion, the score remained 14-6 entering the final quarter.
Dean atoned for his previous turnover with a 53-yard sprint down the left sideline at the 6:15 mark.
"Well, I just knew I had to make a big a play because it was close in the game," Dean said, who ended with 125 yards on eight carries.
Another failed two-point conversion made it 20-6 in favor of the Generals.
Seven plays later, Odum cut the deficit with his second touchdown of the game, this time a 25-yard run.
For good measure, Dean added another eight points at the 2:17 mark after a 46-yard touchdown and successful two-point conversion.
An interception by Veterans' Joshua Dickerson sealed the victory.
"We work hard at Veterans, and we do things the right way," Puckett said. "I'm just proud of the program we've built. They've bought into that program, and we're just trying to get them ready to be successful at the next level."
Jason Murdock can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.