There was no drama in this one, as the Colonels ran over the Generals on the ground and smothered them defensively.
Cass held a 30-0 lead at the break because of its punishing ground game as four Colonels crossed the goal lone -- three on rushes and the fourth courtesy of an interception — restoring a belief among the Cass faithful they are destined for a successful football season with 17 returning senior starters.
Keylon Woodard, one of those seniors, helped the cause mightily with three big interceptions in the first half. He scored on one of those interceptions and came close to reaching the goal line another time. Freshman quarterback Trevor Lowe also stepped up for Cass, scoring the team’s first touchdown and keeping the Generals off guard with a crafty mixture of running and passing plays.
Head coach Rick Casko noted the Colonels played as a single unit throughout the night, their offense and defense working in tandem.
“It was a total team effort,” he said. “Our two ends did a great job and got a lot of pressure on their quarterback. Defensively we just played so well. Offensively we took advantage of the turnovers and got those things done.”
He agreed the team’s performance helped it put last week’s loss to Cartersville behind it.
“We’re in 7-AAAA now with these crossover games, and they are very very important and this is what’s leading us into our region,” he said.
Casko said the game may set the tone so far as involvement by the entire team in deciding games throughout the season.
“You’re going to hear a lot of different names of the players scoring touchdowns,” the coach said. “Keylon Woodard’s name popped up this week because of a lot of individual effort. Chris Morton had a great game. Our young quarterback threw a good long pass. Colin Rogers got one in there and Keelyn Wilkey got a touchdown. Trevor had a run for a touchdown, too. It was well spread out. They all did a good job.
“Our kicking game did well although we did miss an extra point and we certainly don’t like that. But our kids played hard all night, and I’m just really proud of them. Now we have to move forward and get better.”
Cass’ defense flexed its muscles early on this night as the Colonels held the Generals to three plays their first drive.
Chris Morton then took the Heritage punt near the 28 and faked a handoff to Jordan Reed and took advantage of the confusion it caused to run 58 yards to put his team in business at the visitors’ 14. Keelyn Wilkey tested the Generals line against the run for two plays and Lowe called his own number from the 6-yard line and punched in a touchdown. Pablo Delores added the PAT to give the visitors a 7-0 lead.
The next series, the Cass defense got in the game-controlling business as Heritage ran two plays and lost five yards. Quarterback Dylan Bice tried the aeriel route on the third play and found the waiting arms of Woodard near the Heritage 34 and the defensive back dragged a couple of Generals with him as he advanced to the 18.
Three running plays took the ball to the 5-yard line and Wilkey finished the job, and Cass led 14-0 after the PAT was made with 5:45 still left in the first quarter.
The Colonels scored their third touchdown of the quarter when Woodard intercepted his second pass of the period and carried it 34 yards to claim a 20-0 lead. This time the PAT was blocked.
Cass got back on the scoreboard about a minute later when Heritage fumbled at its own 12. The Colonels moved to the 8-yard line and Delores hit a 25-yard field goal to close out scoring in the period at 23-0.
Early in the second quarter, Morton fielded a punt at the Cass 45 and raced to the end zone only to have the apparent score negated. Cass eventually pushed the ball to the 5-yard line but a play later the Generals intercepted an errant pass and started a short-lived drive of their own.
Heritage took the ball to the 50 but Bice threw his third interception to Woodard, who was waiting at his own 24 and was pushed out of bounds 46-yards later.
Cass continued that drive to the 17-yard line when a Colonel runner rammed off the right side only to fumble the ball, which was scooped up by Rogers and advanced to the 4-yard line. The next play Rogers scored and the Colonels added the PAT and carried a 30-0 lead into the break.
The Colonels scored at the 5:17 mark of the third quarter when Lowe connected with Chaz Rokins for a 78-yard touchdown, taking a 37-0 lead.
The Colonels put their final points on the scoreboard when Jordan Reed scooped up a fumble with 4:02 left in the period. The PAT gave Cass a 44-0 lead.
Heritage scored its touchdown on the game’s final play, when Bice hit Christian King with a prayer that was answered. The PAT was good and the game concluded with a 44-7 victory for the Colonels.
Cass improved to 2-1 with the victory. The Colonels will entertain Northwest Whitfield next week. It will be their second of three games against teams in 7B-AAAA.
The Colonels had lost 42-7 to state power Cartersville the previous week after opening its season with a 23-14 victory over Adairsville.
Heritage, which dropped to 0-3, visits Pickens County on Friday. Both games start at 7:30 p.m.