HAPPY BIRTHDAY — On the same day he became old enough to vote, Trevor Lawrence made his voice heard.
Lawrence’s 18th birthday was punctuated by six first-half touchdowns in a 56-0 rout of LaGrange. He threw for over 200 yards in two quarters of play.
Lawrence received well wishes on Twitter and after the game, when running back Rico Frye wished Lawrence a happy birthday.
He said the team was planning on celebrating with Lawrence.
Add that to the win, and that makes for a pretty good birthday.
Lawrence shares his birthday with, among others, architect Le Corbusier, football coach Tony Dungy, basketball icon Rebecca Lobo, and LeBron James Jr.
SPREADING THE WEALTH — For as remarkable as Lawrence is, it shouldn’t go overlooked that he has a ton of talented targets to throw to.
Lawrence threw touchdown passes to five different receivers Friday night, all of which were double-digit yardage throws.
He found E.J. Turner — who recently re-opened his recruitment — twice, and tossed scores to Rico Frye, J’Kobe Orr, Jackson Lowe, and T.J. Horton.
The depth the Canes have at receiver is staggering. Each week brings a new standout at the position, and this week it was Turner’s turn.
The Canes receivers have a knack for getting behind the defense.
Lawrence has floated a ball into their outstretched hands with no defender within three yards countless times this season, as the unit has time and again displayed its ability to get separation.
Lawrence is outstanding, yes. But that he has as many toys to play with as he does is the reason this offense is and remains so prolific.
BEASLEY BACK IN TOWN — For most high school football teams, having an NFL player standing on your sideline is a once-in-a-lifetime event.
For Adairsville players, it’s become just another Friday night. That’s because Atlanta Falcons outside linebacker Vic Beasley has made returning to his alma mater a common thing.
“We never know when he’s coming,” Tigers coach Eric Bishop said on Friday. “He just shows up, walks over on the sideline and you turn around and there he is. It's not really a big thing to us. We’re so blessed to have him. The fact that he gives back and contributes to this community is just unbelievable.”
Beasley didn’t get to see his former team pull out a win on Friday, as Adairsville fell to visiting Calhoun by a 42-16 margin.
The Tigers hung around in the first half, trailing just 21-16 entering halftime.
Bishop said Beasley’s presence doesn’t really give his team an energy boost — largely because his appearances are commonplace.
“Obviously, the kids love it when he’s high-fiving them and they make a big play,” Bishop said. “... Sure, they love that and they eat that up, but there’s not a shock-and-awe impression when he comes in the stadium.”
Although, Bishop was quick to point out that Beasley does have a major impact on Adairsville — the school and the community.
“Everybody looks at him like this big NFL star,” Bishop said, “and he’s just our Vic. When he’s here, he’s part of us and it’s no big deal. We love him for what he brings back to this community.”
MIRROR IMAGE — A non-football fan could have been forgiven for thinking that Woodland and Paulding County were playing two completely different sports Friday night.
The Wildcats and Patriots were running offenses that couldn’t have been further from each other, with Woodland lining up three backs behind quarterback Brody Williams in its triple-option scheme and Paulding putting Brantley Mauldin in the shotgun, often with an empty backfield, and airing it out.
The numbers might be a little skewed because, for most of the game, Woodland was protecting a lead and Paulding was trying to come back.
Regardless, Paulding ran the ball just 16 times — and some of those were sacks or scrambles on designed passing plays — against 48 passes, while Woodland was even more lopsided, running a whopping 55 times and throwing just nine.
The clash of styles was a little jarring to watch, but it made for some fun football.
KICK TRICKS — Woodland kicker Michael Campuzano pulled out his entire bag of tricks Friday on Wildcat kickoffs.
He started the game with a traditional squibbed onside kick that barely went the required 10 yards before Demarcus Williams fell on it for the Wildcats.
After another squib that was recovered by Paulding, Campuzano switched to the pooch kick on his third kickoff of the game, popping the ball up perfectly behind Paulding’s blockers for Titus Jones to run under and recover.
A couple drives later, with Paulding’s kickoff unit having no idea what was coming at them, Campuzano drilled a deep kickoff beyond the Patriots’ return team, which had been creeping up in anticipation of another onside.
The kick died perfectly just before the goal line, and Jones swept in to down the return man at his own 3-yard line.
That was just in the first half, and Campuzano nearly created another huge momentum shift after Woodland’s last touchdown in the third quarter.
His kick was another pooch into no-man’s-land behind the first line of Paulding blockers.
The Patriot closest to the ball hesitated as a Woodland player bore down on the ball, but it agonizedly rolled just a half-rotation over the sideline, going out of bounds and preventing Woodland from possibly recovering again.