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Woodward Academy rallies late to top Canes

In a GHSA Class AAAA quarterfinal of unbeaten teams at Weinman Stadium, visiting Woodward Academy rallied from eleven points down in the fourth quarter Friday night for a 31-28 win over Cartersville. Down 28-17 heading to the final period, War Eagles’ quarterback Mike Wright found his brother Taco Wright in the back of the end zone for a 14-yard touchdown to narrow the Cartersville lead to 28-24 with 7:33 remaining. Later, after converting a fourth down pass for a first down to tight end Jacorrei Turner at the 13 yard line, Wright connected with D.A. Allen in the back of the end zone again with 1:01 left in the game for the winning score.

Cartersville led 14-0 in the first quarter on a 63-yard touchdown pass from Tee Webb to Devonte Ross and a nine-yard Quante Jennings scoring run.

Following an interception, Woodward Academy struck for a 53-yard touchdown pass from Wright to Turner with 3:29 left in the second quarter but a leaping interception and 35-yard return for a touchdown by Amarai Orr regained the Canes 14-point lead at 21-7 late in the half. Wright capped the opening drive of the second half for Woodward Academy with a 2-yard run to make the score 21-14, but a 35-yard touchdown reception by Sam Phillips from Webb gave the Hurricanes a 28-14 lead with just over seven minutes to go in the third quarter. Woodward’s James Mayfield made a 26-yard field goal with 3:20 left in the third quarter that narrowed the Cartersville lead to 28-17 with 3:20 remaining in the third quarter. Cartersville had 61 seconds at the end to seek one last score. The Canes made it to midfield quickly, but a sack of Webb put the Canes behind the chains and an eventual fourth-down pass was broken up with three seconds remaining.

The Hurricanes finished the season with a 12-1 mark. Cartersville’s seniors, who were freshmen during the 2016 state championship season for the Canes, complete a career that includes a 52-3 record.

Woodward Academy (13-0) advances to the Class AAAA semifinals next Friday to face Blessed Trinity in Roswell. Blessed Trinity beat West Laurens 31-0 in the quarterfinals.

In other Class AAAA quarterfinal action, Sandy Creek defeated Madison County 41-7 and Oconee County topped Marist 16-7.

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