Canes, Tigers, Wildcats collect region wins
Cartersville and Adairsville took huge strides toward earning a home, first round state playoff game with wins Friday night while Woodland kept its playoff hopes alive.
ADAIRSVILLE HOLDS OFF LATE CHARGE TO TOP MOUNTAINEERS, 42-35 The Adairsville Tigers raced to a 28-0 lead in the first quarter Friday night and held off a late threat from visiting North Murray for a 42-35 Region 6-AAA win.
With a victory next week at Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe, Adairsville will earn the region’s No. 2-seed in the Class AAA state playoffs.
The Tigers’ first quarter scoring included a 28-yard touchdown pass from Conner Crunkelton to Evan Sanders on a fake field goal. Adairsville then recovered an onside kickoff to set up their next touchdown. Ja’Maury Johnson ran for a 21-yard touchdown on the third play of the possession to give Adairsville a 14-0 lead as Emanuel Lopez made the second of his six PAT kicks in the contest.
After stopping the Mountaineers on their next possession, the Adairsville offense drove 59-yards in four plays to take a 21-0 lead. Courtney Slocum hit paydirt on a 25-yard run. On their next possession, the Tigers grabbed a 28-0 lead on a 29-yard pass from Crunkelton to Dylan Matthews. North Murray narrowed the Adairsville lead to 28-14 late in the second quarter. Mountaineers’ quarterback Seth Griffin capped an 80-yard drive with a one-yard sneak with 6:46 remaining in the half and Dante Tidwell-Edwards scored on a 46-yard run with 1:51 left in the second quarter. But the Tigers regained a 21-point advantage before the intermission.
Adairsville’s Eli Agnew broke free on a 75-yard touchdown run following the ensuing kickoff and the Tigers took a 35-14 lead to the locker room. Griffin capped a 49-yard scoring drive for North Murray with a one-yard keeper midway through the third quarter. The PAT by Owen Hannah, one of five on the night, cut the Tigers’ lead to 35-21.
Adairsville answered with a 70-yard, 12 play scoring drive. Johnson reached the end zone with a one-yard run and a 42-21 lead. The Mountaineers were not finished, however. Griffin added a 45-yard touchdown pass to Cade Petty and a 34-yard scoring toss to Michael McDade to make it a one-score game at 42-35 with 7:23 left in the game. Adairsville’s offense responded well again to secure the game. The Tigers ran a 13-play drive in the game’s final possession to run out the clock for a 7-point win. Crunkelton finished 8-for-13 passing for 122 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed for 16 yards.
Johnson had 20 carries for 132 yards and two touchdowns. Agnew contributed 144 yards rushing on 11 attempts with one touchdown, and Courtney Slocum totaled 75 yards and a score on six attempts. Matthews had two catches for 45 yards and a touchdown. Sanders had 42 yards on three receptions that included a touchdown, and Slocum finished with two catches for 16 yards. With the loss, North Murray slips to 6-3 overall and 5-2 in Region 6-AAA. Adairsville (6-3, 5-2) travels to Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe next Friday and will host a Class AAA state playoff game if the Tigers can defeat the Warriors.
WILDCATS EDGE HORNETS, 14-13
After a scoreless first half, Woodland took a 14-0 lead in the third quarter Friday night and held on late with a blocked PAT kick, 14-13. Hiram lost three fumbles near the Woodland goal line in the contest and one of those turnovers resulted in a 98-yard scoop and score by Christian Vera of the Wildcats to give the hosts a 14-0 lead in 7:54 left in the third quarter. Vera added an interception late in the third quarter to halt another Hiram drive. Less than three minutes earlier, Asa James caught a deflected pass from freshman quarterback Brelace Williams and raced 72 yards for the game’s first score. Williams threw a pick-six early in the fourth quarter that enabled Hiram to cut the Wildcats’ lead in half. Julius Dixon returned the interception 82 yards for a 14-7 score. With 2:27 remaining in the game, Hiram put a second touchdown on the scoreboard. Chris Brown connected with Alvin Dixon for the 42-yard throw, catch, and run. The ensuing PAT kick was tipped and banged off the crossbar keeping Woodland on top, 14-13. Hiram would have one last chance at a win with 0:05 remaining. The Hornets rushed out their field goal unit for a 42-yard attempt, but the play was ill-fated for Hiram. Not only was there movement on the line, but the snap was botched and the kick was never made. The Hornets (1-9, 1-4) were missing several key players on offense including quarterback Qamar Grant and leading rusher Jirah Douglas. Receivers Nicorey Williams, Tyler Claffy, and Dijon McKissack were also out of the Hiram lineup. Woodland quarterback Johnathan Thomas, who has been day-to-day and limited in action since the second half of the Cass game, was unable to go for the Wildcats. Although the task at hand is great, the Wildcats remain in contention for a state playoff berth heading into their final game of the regular season next week. Woodland (4-3, 1-3) must defeat top-ranked Blessed Trinity to make the playoffs. Hiram, who is idle next week, will qualify for the state playoffs with a Woodland loss.
The Hornets would get in due to a point differential tie-breaker created by Region 7-AAAAA officials prior to the season.
A Woodland loss at Blessed Trinity would create a three-way tie for the final playoff spot between Hiram, Woodland, and Cass. The point-differential tiebreaker includes a 12-point maximum per game. Since Cass defeated Woodland by more than 12 and Hiram defeated Cass by more than 12, the one-point Hiram loss to Woodland would give the Hornets the final playoff spot.
CANES STING JACKETS, 31-14
The Cartersville Purple Hurricanes locked up a home game to start the 2020 Class AAAAA playoffs in two weeks with a 31-14 win Friday night at Calhoun. The Canes led 17-7 at halftime by virtue of a 23-yard field goal by Oscar Hernandez; a two-yard run by Quante Jennings; and a 26-yard touchdown pass from Carlos Del Rio-Wilson to Devonte Ross. Calhoun quarterback Christian Lewis scored the Yellow-Jackets’ first half touchdown on a one-yard keeper. Running back Jerrian Hames narrowed the Canes’ lead to 17-14 in the third quarter with a one-yard touchdown run, but Cartersville would finish off the game with 14-unanswered points. Jennings scored on a 12-yard screen pass from Del Rio-Wilson and the Hurricanes would recover an onside kick. After Cartersville reached the red zone, Del Rio-Wilson punched home the game’s final score with a 12-yard run with 2:29 left in the game.
Calhoun (7-3, 3-2) will be the No. 3-seed from Region 7-AAAAA. Cartersville (8-1, 4-0) will host a state playoff game November 27 against the No. 3-seed from Region 6-AAAAA.
BLESSED TRINITY 48, CASS 0
The Class AAAAA top-ranked Blessed Trinity Titans led 21-0 after one quarter and 35-0 by halftime on their way to a 48-0 defeat of visiting Cass Friday night in Roswell. Blessed Trinity improved to 5-0 overall and 3-0 in Region 7-AAAAA. The Titans will host Woodland next Friday. Cass finishes the 2020 campaign with a 6-4 record overall. The Colonels were 1-4 in region play.