Cartersville dominates Ridgeland, advances to quarterfinals
The Hurricanes’ defense forced five turnovers and junior quarterback Tee Webb tossed four touchdown passes as Cartersville dominated Ridgeland 41-7 Friday night at Weinman Stadium.
The victory powered the Purple Hurricanes to a 12-0 record for the fourth time since 2012 and propelled Cartersville to a Class 4A state quarterfinal matchup at Baldwin next Friday night in Milledgeville.
Three of Webb’s scoring strikes were to tight end Jackson Lowe (photo) and Sunni Moorehead’s 42-yard interception return for a third quarter touchdown highlighted the Canes’ defensive barrage.
Two first quarter turnovers by Ridgeland set up short fields for the Cartersville offense and the Canes took advantage for an early two-score lead.
Amarai Orr recovered a Ridgeland fumble on the Panthers’ first possession of the night to set up a 49-yard scoring drive for Cartersville. Marcus Gary capped the drive with a five-yard run and Oscar Hernandez kicked the PAT with 4:21 remaining in the opening quarter.
On the ensuing drive, Marko Dudley intercepted a Ridgeland pass and returned it to the Canes’ 46-yard line.
Four plays later, Webb connected with Dadrian Dennis for a 30-yard touchdown to give the Hurricanes a 13-0 lead with 2:12 left in the first quarter. The PAT kick failed.
A Ridgeland punt set up the next Canes’ scoring drive from 41 yards. A 30-yard touchdown pass from Webb to Jackson Lowe with 8:37 remaining in the second quarter added the points as Cartersville led 20-0.
Cartersville had its next offensive drive reach the red zone, but end with an interception by Ridgeland’s Stephon Walker at the goal line with 5:17 remaining in the half.
The first half ended, however, with a Marquail Coaxum interception and the third Ridgeland turnover of the first half as the Canes took a 20-0 advantage to the intermission.
Webb found Lowe (photo right) for two more touchdown passes in the third quarter. A 23-yard connection put Cartersville up 27-0 with 5:13 left in the period. Then after Evan Slocum intercepted a Ridgeland pass and returned it 60 yards to the Panthers’ 20-yard line, Webb hit Lowe again from four yards and Cartersville held a 41-0 lead with 0:04 left in the third quarter.
In between the two Webb to Lowe touchdown connections, Cartersville linebacker Sunni Moorehead returned a pick-six 42 yards at the 3:11 mark of the third quarter that gave the Canes a 34-0 lead at the time.
The only Ridgeland score of the night came late on a Tanner Hill 22-yard pass to Jordan Hughley. Connor Middleton’s PAT kick made the final score, 41-7.
Ridgeland’s season ends with an 8-4 record.
Webb finished the night 20-of-28 passing for 209 yards and four touchdowns. Gary (photo) was a workhorse for the Canes rushing for 154 yards and finishing with 176 total yards.
Lowe hauled in five receptions for 74 yards and three scores and Dennis contributed five catches for 53 yards and a touchdown.
Cartersville (12-0) advances to the Class 4A state quarterfinals where the Canes will travel to Milledgeville next Friday night to face Baldwin. The Braves (7-5) blanked Columbus Friday night, 21-0.
Game stats courtesy Nicholas Sullivan, The Daily Tribune News