An interesting battle for the Region 5-AAAA title could be shaping up just four weeks into the season. Cartersville hasn’t lost a region game since the 2011 season and its 160-3 scoring advantage three games into 2018 is a strong indication that the Purple Hurricanes haven’t skipped a beat. Last year, they clinched the region title with a 52-13 win over Troup in the season finale and they streamrolled the Tigers 68-0 when they faced off in 2016.
Despite all this, I believe Troup is playing some of the best football in the classification so far this season. Defensively, the Tigers have given up just 6.6 ppg and their dynamic offense has scored 44 ppg. The teams will not meet this year until the season finale on Nov. 2 at Cartersville, but if they both maintain the current paces they are on, it could be one of the best matchups seen in AAAA this year-and way more competitive of a game than the last two meetings.
Cartersville’s latest rout came last night in a 70-0 win over McNair. The Purple Hurricanes outgained McNair 377-to-8 in first half yardage and built a 56-0 lead. Starting quarterback Tee Webb completed 16-of-25 pass attempts in the first half for 339 yards and five touchdowns to five different receivers (Jackson Lowe, Trendon Horton, Devonte Ross, Marko Dudley and Marquial Coaxum). Running back Marcus Gary picked up 33 yards on five carries and added two rushing touchdowns in the first half action. Cartersville sophomores Evan Slocum and Quante Jennings each rushed for third quarter touchdowns to extend the lead to 70-0.
Troup quarterback Kobe Hudson rushed for an 11-yard touchdown and threw touchdown passes to Ja’Rell Smith (52 yards), Mark-Anthony Dixon (31 yards), Jamari Thrash (31 yards) and Luke Purnell in a 56-6 win over Harris County last night. Tre Williams and Tyree Carlisle each rushed for touchdowns in the second quarter to build a 39-0 lead and Troup’s Ja’Rell Smith returned the opening kickoff of the second half 80 yards for a touchdown.
Elsewhere in the classification, first-year program Demark used clutch goal line stands and well-executed clock management to hold off Class AAAAAAA Forsyth Central 7-3. Host Forsyth Central was first on the board with a 30-yard field goal with 7:31 left in the first quarter. Denmark responded with a 10-play, 79-yard touchdown drive that proved to be the game-winner. Quarterback Ben Whitlock capped the drive with a 3-yard touchdown pass to Adonnis Tolbert. Forsyth Central was stopped on a 4th and goal inside the 5-yard line with 15 seconds left in the half and then drove all the way down to the 1-yard line, only to come up short again on its first possession of the second half. Hard running by Devin Ducille limited Forsyth Central’s chances down the stretch until one last fourth down stop gave Denmark the ball back with 41 seconds left to kneel out the win.
Marist dominated in all three phases of the game to take care of host Westminster 24-7. The War Eagles scored one touchdown in each of the first three quarters and added a field goal by Brendan Farrell for a 24-0 lead in the fourth before the Wildcats got on the scoreboard with 2:48 remaining on a five-yard touchdown run by Will Hallmark. Lincoln Parker rushed from short yardage for Marist's first two scores and Connor Cigelske found the endzone on a 17-yard quarterback keeper in the third quarter. Notre Dame commit Kyle Hamilton had five receptions that went for double-digit yards and he also blocked a Westminster field-goal attempt. Joshua Moore picked off two passes for the War Eagles.
Mary Persons jumped all over visiting Lovett en route to a 31-point first quarter and 58-21 victory. Quen Wilson led the Mary Persons' attack, rushing for four touchdowns--including a 75-yarder to begin the scoring early in the first quarter. The Bulldogs also got touchdown runs by Rico Harden and Trentavious Morgan plus a 33-yard scoring strike from J.T. Hartage to Andre Jackson. Blaine McAllister found the endzone twice on the ground for Lovett, cutting the deficit to 17-7 in the first quarter and 38-14 in the second. K.J. Wallace also had a touchdown run for the Lions before Mary Persons scored the final 13 points.
Richmond Academy built a 24-0 cushion early in the third quarter and held off host Grovetown 24-14 to improve to 4-0 for the first time since the 1998 season. Tadarious Davis blocked a Grovetown punt and recovered it for a Musketeers touchdown to put Richmond Academy ahead 7-0 heading into the second quarter. Quarterback Mason Cobb connected with Clydell White for an 18-yard touchdown and Judson Pickett nailed a 32-yard field goal to push the lead to 17-0 at the half. Cobb opened the second half with an 8-yard touchdown pass to Davis to make it 24-0 before Latrell Walker (25 yards) and Jeremiah Williams (5 yards) put Grovetown on the board with rushing scores.
Luella rallied back from a 23-0 deficit and stunned McIntosh 44-37 in an overtime thriller to celebrate its first victory of the season. McIntosh’s Ryan Cate ran in a 22-yard touchdown in the first quarter and Hayes Herzog increased the lead to 14-0 with a 20-yard touchdown pass to Dane Kinamon. McIntosh opened the second quarter with the first of Kinamon’s three rushing touchdowns in the game, and an Adrien Richez 38-yard field goal pushed the lead to 23-0. Luella’s Dejon Conway got the Lions going with a 58-yard touchdown before the half and opened the second half rally with a 6-yard touchdown run and successful 2-point conversion to cut the deficit to 23-15. Kinamon answered from 44 yards out to push it to 30-15, but Conway found the endzone again from 61 yards on the next Luella possession to cut the deficit to 30-22 with 7:57 left. After a McIntosh fumble, Luella quarterback Jalen Doby found Lamer Overton for a 74-yard touchdown and successful 2-point conversion to tie it 30-30 with 5:49 to play. Kinamon gave McIntosh a 37-30 lead with a 6-yard touchdown run with just 30 seconds left, but that was enough time for Luella to drive down the field and for Conway to score his fourth touchdown of the game on a 5-yard handoff with just .9 seconds left on the clock. Tied 37-37, Luella got the ball first in overtime and took its first and only lead of the game on a 2-yard quarterback sneak by Doby. McIntosh took a costly sack on third down and the Chiefs’ desperation 4th-and-12 attempt from the 17-yard line landed incomplete.