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Athletes Beyond Bartow: Slocum, Wake Forest win Gator Bowl; Washington leads Piedmont to wins

Trevor Lawrence in Sunday's loss at New England.

When Texas A&M pulled out of the Gator Bowl due to COVID-19 issues, it appeared as though a stellar season for Wake Forest and its Cartersville contingent had come to an unceremonious end.

However, Rutgers stepped up to fill in as a replacement team. The Demon Deacons took advantage of the drop off in caliber of opponent (The Aggies handed top-ranked Alabama its only loss to date, while the Scarlet Knights finished 5-7 on the season.) to cruise to a 38-10 victory.

Only one of the three former Cartersville High standouts on the roster saw action, with freshman Evan Slocum recording one tackle. Despite not playing, redshirt freshman Isaiah Chaney and redshirt sophomore JaCorey Johns will also go down as Gator Bowl champions.

Elsewhere, Adairsville High product Nakiyah Washington stepped up in a pair of games for Piedmont to help the Lions claim a tournament championship last week near Chicago.


Trevor Lawrence (Jacksonville Jaguars; Cartersville) — Lawrence threw his first touchdown pass since Week 12 against Atlanta but also tossed three interceptions in a 50-10 loss Sunday at New England. He completed 17 of 27 pass attempts for 193 yards in a game that saw the Jacksonville offense run just 47 plays. Lawrence and the Jaguars will close out the regular season against the Indianapolis Colts Sunday at home.


Evan Slocum (Wake Forest Fr., Cartersville) — Slocum made one tackle during kickoff team coverage in the fourth quarter, as the Deacons routed Rutgers, 38-10, Friday at the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville. Slocum appeared in 10 games this season, accumulating 20 tackles with one pass break up. Wake Forest finished the year with an 11-3 record.


Jaylon Pugh (Furman Sr., Cartersville) — Pugh saw a total of 17 minutes off the Paladins bench in games last Wednesday and Saturday. In Wednesday’s home win over Samford, 81-49, the guard had two rebounds and a pair of assists. Saturday, during a 76-67 loss at VMI, he had one rebound. Furman (9-6, 1-1 Southern Conference) plays at UNC-Greensboro Wednesday night and hosts Mercer Saturday afternoon.

Nakiyah Washington (Piedmont Jr., Adairsville) — Washington helped lead the Lions to a two-game sweep and tournament championship last Wednesday and Thursday at the Amy Hashbrook Memorial Tournament, just outside of Chicago. Washington scored 20 points, pulled down six rebounds, added five steals, blocked a shot and dished out two assists in an 85-63 win over Franklin College in the semifinals. She then poured in 18 points with four rebounds, one block and one steal as the Lions upset ninth-ranked DePauw University in overtime to take the title game. Piedmont (8-3, 2-1 USA South) returns to action Wednesday afternoon at home against Emory University.


Kyle Gollhofer (Northern Iowa R-Fr., Woodland) — Gollhofer went 1-2 in the 125-pound division bracket of the Matmen Open last Wednesday and Thursday in Hoffman Estates, Illinois. He lost to Blake West of Northern Illinois in the first round. Gollhofer defeated Beau Bayless of Harvard in the wrestlebacks before falling to Brandon Seidman of Bucknell. UNI heads Sunday to Brookings, South Dakota, to face off against South Dakota State and Wyoming.

-- Nicholas Sullivan of The Daily Tribune News contributed to this report.


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