Former Christian Heritage School standout Lester scores first collegiate touchdown for Georgia Southern | Local Sports

Former Christian Heritage School pre-eminent Evan Lester finds success at the next level.

Lester, in his second season as a tight end at Georgia Southern University, scored his first collegiate touchdown Saturday as Georgia defeated Southern Appalachian State 51-48 in overtime to earn bowl eligibility with a sixth win.

Lester, a redshirt freshman, caught his first touchdown pass from quarterback Kyle Vantrease late in the third quarter to help the Eagles tie the game at 31.

Lester got behind the left tackle, shot to the touchline, caught the short pass and dove into the end zone for a 1-yard touchdown.

Lester set a career high in the game with three receptions and a total of 11 reception yards. Lester made his first college reception in a game against Louisiana earlier this month but hadn’t caught more than one pass in a game.

Lester was a two-way star at Christian Heritage, competing as a receiver, was a part-time running back and safe. Recruited by a few schools for both his offensive and defensive skills, Lester eventually settled on Georgia Southern, a Division I Football Bowl Subdivision program in Statesboro that plays in the Sun Belt Conference.

Lester caught 51 passes for 1,100 yards and seven touchdowns on his way to Dalton Daily Citizen All-Area Player of the Year in 2020 as a senior at Christian Heritage. Lester saw minimal action during a 2021 redshirt season at Georgia Southern.

Lester was one of the few local products to have an impact on her college on Saturday.

Gibbs scores a late touchdown in Iron Bowl debut

Dalton High grad Jahmyr Gibbs got his first taste of the Iron Bowl on Saturday when he led Alabama in rushing and got into the end zone for a late touchdown in Alabama’s 49-27 win over rival Auburn.

Gibbs, who moved to Alabama before this season after two years at Georgia Tech, rushed 17 times for 83 yards and the touchdown, a 23-yard sprint with a 1:48 in the fourth quarter that crowned the game’s extra point goal .

Gibbs also caught two passes for eight yards and returned three kickoffs for 59 yards.

Gregg extends his school rushing and touchdown records in the final game for Georgia State

Murray County High graduate Tucker Gregg improved his high school marks for career rushing yards and rushing touchdowns in his final game as a running back for Georgia State.

In the season-ending 28-23 loss to Marshall, Gregg notched his 28th career rushing touchdown and totaled 2,266 career rushing yards, extending his career rushing records set earlier this season.

Gregg’s touchdown, a 3-yard jump in the first quarter, also helped the senior tie a school record for quick touchdowns in a season at 12. He shares that record with Tra Barnett, who had 12 touchdowns in 2019.

Gregg, who joined Georgia State as a walk-on from Murray County High in 2018 and received a scholarship in 2019, finished his fifth-year senior campaign with 725 rushing yards and 12 points.

McConkey shines with special teams in Georgia’s win over Tech

North Murray high graduate and Georgia wide receiver Ladd McConkey didn’t make a reception in Georgia’s 37-14 win over rival Georgia Tech on Saturday, but he made a big impression in the game on the special teams.

McConkey had a punt return for 39 yards late in the second quarter, from Georgia’s 16 into Georgia Tech territory at 45. When that drive stalled for Georgia, McConkey was in the field for Georgia’s Brett Thorson’s punt.

With Thorson’s punt appearing to jump into the end zone for a touchback, McConkey jumped to put the ball back in play before jumping again to grab it and knocked it down at the Georgia Tech 2.

McConkey totaled 53 punt return yards on two returns and also had a rush for 14 yards.