Canes improve balance, Tigers to face challenge
by Jason Greenberg
Nov 13, 2013 | 1944 views | 0 0 comments | 31 31 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Canes emphasize the run — The Cartersville football team has established itself as a pass-first team over the course of the season. Heading into Friday’s game with Ringgold, the Canes had thrown the ball more than passed in six straight games.

However, against Ringgold, Cartersville ran the ball 34 times compared to just 17 pass attempts, the fewest since week three at Rockmart. The 34 rushing attempts were the most of any game so far this season.

The effort to get the running game going may have had much to do with the playoffs approaching and head coach Frank Barden looking to prepare his team for the kind of football the Canes will need in the state playoffs. It is a common belief that teams that succeed in the playoffs typically have strong defenses and can manufacture yards in the running game.

Barden would just like to see his team remain balanced.

“Our running game is holding up, and that’s important because now we don’t have to be only a passing team,” Barden said. “We can be balanced and basically do what we need to do to win the game.”

Junior running back Kalin Heath, who has already been offered a football scholarship from the University of Chattanooga and Marshall, has seen his role in the offense increase as the season has progressed. Heath had been used primarily as a pass-catching threat out of the backfield before Brandon Long’s season-ending injury.

However, Heath had 14 carries for 143 yards Friday against Ringgold, both season highs for the 6-foot-3 Cane.

Sophomore Tiamon Pennymon is the smaller back in the duo. His carries have been progressively increasing as well. His 11 carries and 100 yards were also season highs.

Tigers can’t catch a break — According to the Associated Press Georgia high school rankings, White County, Adairsville’s first round playoff opponent, is ranked 10th in the state.

As a result, this is the second consecutive year that Adairsville has faced a top team in AAA.

The 2012 version of the Adairsville Tigers lost to Hart County in the first round of the playoffs by a score of 32-11.

Hart County lost to St. Pius in the second round as St. Pius went on to reach the AAA state championship. As a result, Hart County was unable to prove how talented of a team they were in 2012.

However, the Bulldogs came out with something to prove in 2013. They are now 9-1 and ranked seventh in the latest Associated Press rankings thanks to, basically, the same group of players Adairsville saw in 2012.

Therefore, it is apparent that Adairsville’s opponent in the 2012 state tournament was better than many may have realized.

This Friday, there is little question, White County will be the second top AAA team Adairsville has faced in the playoffs.

The Warriors are 8-2 and one of their losses came against No. 1-ranked Buford on Oct. 11.

Most definitely, the Tigers will have a challenge Friday night in Cleveland.