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County team wins 2016 alumni game, 22-8

For the third year in a row, the County Alumni football team came away with a victory Saturday night over the City Alumni team.

The game originated in 2014 as a Cass vs. Cartersville alumni game, but the format was altered somewhat this year to include some other participants with both teams.

The County team, consisting mostly of former Cass alumni sprinkled with players from Adairsville and other Bartow County connections, won the game 22-8. The two previous alumni matches were won by Cass. Players from as far back as the Class of 1988 participated in the third annual game played this year at Earl Cunningham Stadium on the Grassdale Road campus of the former Cass High School (now the Bartow County College and Careers campus).

The two defenses were stingy in the opening half, but County quarterback Alex Tucker tore off a 30-yard scamper to set up a field goal by former Adairsville kicker, Blake Scoggins. The kick gave the County team a 3-0 lead at the intermission.

The lead might have been larger, but a pair of touchdown passes by the County team’s other quarterback, Daniel Barrett to Josh Christian were nullified by penalty.

Early in the second half, the City team took its first-ever lead in the three-year series on a Dylan Hale fumble recovery in the end zone. A botched shotgun snap went off the hands of County QB Barrett. A City two-point conversion gave them an 8-3 lead early in the third period.

From that point, however, the County team added three touchdowns to eventually seal the contest.

Former Cass player Brian Owens scored on a 12-yard run off tackle behind former Colonel offensive tackle David Rizer for the County’s first touchdown. Rashaad Hill, another former Cass player scored on another run, and former Colonel Justin Owens, who also transferred and played at Gainesville, added a third touchdown.

It was the County’s defense that continued to control the game throughout.

The City team’s offense only managed one trip into plus territory in the game.

For the County defense, Drew Fury was the defensive MVP with 17 total tackles. He was followed closely by strong safety Nick Roberts with 14 tackles, and “Big Dave” Owens with 12 tackles — all former Cass players.

Other former Colonels, Shad Mize and Deonta Christian, contributed big plays for the special teams. Mize, a 1995 graduate, blocked a punt, while Christian contributed a long punt return.

The two County quarterbacks led their team’s offense in different manners. Barrett was 7 of 9 passing for 135 yards and Tucker had six rushes for 75 yards.

Barrett was awarded the game’s Offensive MVP, Tucker was named MVP of the Game, and Derek McFarland received an award as the oldest player.

“We had a good crowd and there was plenty of game-day atmosphere,” said game organizer and County quarterback Alex Tucker.

The event included individual player introductions in the pregame including their high school and college. Sheriff Clark Millsap conducted the game coin toss. Military recruiters recognized local military service and supplied color guards. There were food trucks, vendors, alumni cheerleaders, cheerleaders from Cass and Adairsville middle and high schools, plus spirit lines formed by county recreation youth players.

“The rain sent a few people home early, but a lot of people stayed and took in the whole game. We all had a great time and that’s what it’s really all about,” added Tucker.

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