Fayette County


Starr’s Mill wins Battle of the Bubble

Cole Gilley provided a spark as Starr’s Mill piled up 460 yards rushing on Friday night. (Staff Photos by Christopher Dunn)

Starr’s Mill claimed the football Battle of the Bubble, topping the McIntosh Chiefs 42-10 Friday night. The victory brings the Panthers to 6-0 on the season.
“They’re growing up. I’m proud of them,” said Starr’s Mill coach Chad Phillips. “They’re developing a work ethic. They’re learning to be selfless. We’re starting to handle adversity in a better way.”
The Panther offense was practically unstoppable on the ground, piling up 460 yards rushing. Rico Frye led the way with 238 yards and four touchdowns, followed by Dion Munerlyn with 141 yards on nine carries and Cole Gilley with 49 yards on five touches.
Gilley provided a spark in his first significant action on offense, stepping in at the A-Back spot with injuries limiting the usual options. His play led Phillips to evoke the name Wally Pipp, the man who took a day off for the Yankees and never got his starting job back from the great Lou Gehrig.
“He’s just got some natural ability,” said Phillips. “That was exciting to see him come in and perform because we had to crash course him in practice this week.”
Starr’s Mill and Rico Frye got started early. Melvin Broomfield returned the opening kickoff just past midfield, and Frye did the rest, rushing for a 39-yard touchdown and a quick 7-0 lead.
The Panthers went to the air on their second drive, chewing up most of the 73 yards in the passing game. The big gain came on a 24-yard connection between Joey DeLuca and Frye. DeLuca then hit a wide open Dion Munerlyn in the end zone for a 17-yard touchdown to make it a two score advantage.
McIntosh responded on their next possession, stringing together some big plays to find paydirt. Zach Sanders converted a third and five, hitting Dane Kinamon for eight yards. Ahmad Ragland moved the chains with a 10-yard run. Sanders finished off the drive, finding Taylor Casterline for a seven-yard touchdown early in the second quarter.
For the Panthers’ next score, Munerlyn set them up and Frye finished it off. Munerlyn burst through the middle of the line for 76 yards. Only a hustle play from Brandon McDowell brought him down just a yard short of scoring. Frye punched it in from there for a 21-7 lead.
The Chief offense moved the ball well on their final series of the half, Jack Dee catching three passes for 26 yards and Sanders adding a 10-yard scramble, but they would not get back on the scoreboard.
Frye scored on the Panthers’ first two drives of the second half to put the game out of reach. His third touchdown came from 11 yards, finishing off a 79-yard drive. Number four was a home run, busting through the defense and throwing off would-be tacklers for 83 yards.
The Chiefs had one more score in them, and it was an impressive one. Parker Romo flashed his big time leg, crushing a 44-yard field goal to cap off the third quarter scoring.
Starr’s Mill’s coach was impressed by Romo, calling him “the best kicker I’ve seen in years.”
Starr’s Mill found the end zone once more, Mitch Prowant punching it in from five yards out to make it 42-10.
McIntosh strung together one more good possession to finish the night. Hunter Best hit Jake Lackey for 21 yards, and Zach Seymour ran for 21 of his own, but another long field goal attempt was just wide.

By Christopher Dunn

Managing Editor Christopher Dunn has been with the Fayette County News since 2011, in addition to running Fayette Victory magazine. He is a graduate of Fayette County schools, as well as a graduate of Georgia State University with a degree in journalism. Follow him on twitter @fayettesports.