Two marquee matchups in Bartow County action Friday saw the Woodland Wildcats continue to surprise and the Cartersville Purple Hurricanes continue to dominate.
Against county rival Cass, the Wildcats used a strong defense and rushing attack to walk away with a 20-6 win in a game that was close right up until the end.
The game moved Woodland’s record to 2-1 and Cass’ to 0-3. Woodland will host Villa Rica next week, while Cass travels to Hiram as region play opens up.
Meanwhile, facing Class 7A power Westlake on the road, the Canes were up three touchdowns at halftime and ended up taking a 38-5 win back to Cartersville.
The rout ran the Canes’ non-region record to 4-0. They’ll have a week off before hosting Cedartown on Sept. 22.
The last region team, Adairsville, was off Friday. The 2-1 Tigers will start region play by traveling to Ringgold next week.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Rico Frye — Cartersville
Through four games, Frye is already creating a legend at Cartersville with his bruising running style and nose for the end zone.
That continued Friday at Westlake, as Frye scored all three of the Canes’ first-half touchdowns, one receiving and two rushing.
He finished off the first Cartersville drive of the game by taking two plays to score from the 14-yard line, setting the tone for the rest of the game.
Frye, with his low-to-the-ground running style that made him a nightmare to tackle for Westlake defenders, finished with 15 carries for 111 yards and also caught three passes for 37 yards.
A multi-dimensional back like that is an absolute blessing for an offense.
To demonstrate Frye’s value to the Cartersville offense, on the Canes’ three touchdown drives in the first half, he touched the ball a combined 13 times. On the three drives they didn’t score—which, to be fair, included an abbreviated possession right before the half—he touched the ball only twice.
Trevor Lawrence — Cartersville
Lawrence was routinely unbelievable for the Canes Friday night, completing 17-of-24 passes for 281 yards and two touchdowns.
After completing 10-of-17 passes in the first half for 195 yards — nearly 20 yards a completion — he finished with a flourish in the second half, completing all seven of his passes before being pulled at the end of the third quarter.
His two best throws may have gone to the same target, as Lawrence dropped a 42-yarder to a streaking E.J. Turner on the second play of the game and then found Turner again for a 26-yard touchdown in the third quarter on a throw that was deposited perfectly into his receiver’s hands.
JKobe Orr — Cartersville
Orr didn’t have a touchdown or lead the team in catches, but still racked up nearly 100 yards thanks to several big catches, finishing with four grabs for 98 yards.
Three of those catches, including two 32-yarders, came in the first half as the Canes put the game away.
He took a big hit on one of those 32-yard gains on the last play of the half, but didn’t look any worse for wear, converting a third-and-13 in the second half with a 20-yard catch.
Austin Potter — Woodland
Austin Potter put the punctuation mark on this Woodland win.
After the Wildcats failed to convert a fourth-and-goal inside the 5-yard line, Cass took over trailing by eight, needing to drive 99 yards in 90 seconds and convert a 2-point conversion to tie the game.
After a few plays in which it moved the ball sparingly, Cass quarterback Logan Nelson scrambled while pressured, and tossed the ball right into the waiting arms of Potter.
Potter had nothing but empty grass ahead of him, and returned the interception 18 yards for a touchdown.
What little hope Cass had evaporated and the Wildcats sealed their second straight win on the season.
Potter finished the game with nine tackles — five solo and four assisted. He also had two quarterback pressures.
E.J. Turner — Cartersville
Turner was the big play man for Cartersville Wednesday, catching two passes for 68 yards and a touchdown.
He opened the game by hauling in a 42-yard deep ball on the left sideline that might have been a 70-yard score if not for an errant foot that just barely grazed the out-of-bounds line.
He would get his score in the second half on a 26-yard reception, keeping his concentration to grab a beautifully-placed throw with a defender draped all over him.
Despite the big catches, it was another play that put Turner over the top for a standout nod this week.
Late in the third quarter, Lawrence scrambled, but lost the ball at about the 5-yard line. It bounced into the end zone, where Turner dove on top of it for his second score of the game.
Brody Williams — Woodland
Williams has been a bit of a revelation at quarterback for the Wildcats. To run the type of offense Woodland does, to understand all its moving parts, requires aptitude and focus.
Williams carried the ball 14 times for 133 yards and a touchdown in Friday’s 20-6 win over the Cass Colonels.
He gained chunks of yards on most of his carries, helping Woodland do what it wanted to — control the clock and hang on to the ball.
For the most part, Cass had no answer for Williams, and given the Wildcats’ stable of runners, that the Colonels had to account for the quarterback too only made things more difficult.
Williams hit all the right notes Friday, and it’s why he went over 100 yards and why his team walked away with a road win.
Kaison Williams — Woodland
The Wildcats feature a cavalcade of Williamses, all in their backfield. Kaison Williams was the most impressive of all their tailbacks Friday.
He had 85 yards and a touchdown, one of Woodland’s two offensive touchdowns in the game.
He was a workhorse in the second half, running in and out of the trenches for hard-fought yards.
He kept Cass honest, forcing it to account for another back.
His counterpart Demarcus Williams acknowledged that their Woodland team has the ability to confuse teams on defense as to who has the ball on any given snap.
Williams represented an added threat, and his touchdown from six yards out put the Wildcats up two scores and Cass on the ropes.
Woodland has the advantage of employing a running back by committee. Friday was Kaison Williams’ time to lead, and he made the most of it.
Kurtis Feanny, Woodland — Feanny had 13 total tackles — five solo and eight assisted — with two for a loss for the Wildcats. He also had six quarterback pressures from his defensive line position.
T.J. Horton, Cartersville — Horton led the Canes in catches out of the slot, tallying five for 46 yards and helping Cartersville move the chains throughout.