Cartersville’s undefeated season almost ended unexpectedly, but West Hall’s potential game-winning 41-yard field goal sailed wide left during the final seconds at Weinman Stadium to give the Canes a 28-26 victory over West hall and a second life against St. Pius on Friday.
However, Adairsville lost to a talented White County team by a score of 52-28, to send the Tigers home with a first-round exit but a 7-3 regular season record and the program’s third consecutive playoff appearance.
Each team scored 28 points against strong defenses and provided several impressive individual performances.
CO-PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Austin Harris — Adairsville
Harris came up with several big plays for the Tigers against White County. Adairsville’s two biggest highlights of the game came on his 80-yard touchdown run and 63-yard touchdown reception. Harris accounted for 186 yards of offense on the night, including 115 yards rushing and 71 yards receiving. His 115 rushing yards came on just eight carries.
“His last two games have been his best,” Adairsville head coach Eric Bishop. “He’s a senior and he’s been solid for us.”
Tiamon Pennymon — Cartersville
Sophomore running back Tiamon Pennymon was Cartersville’s most productive offensive weapon Friday night and, without his performance, the Canes may have been upset in the first round. Pennymon had 160 yards and two touchdowns on nine carries. He ran for 139 yards on five carries in the first half, but battled an injury in the second half.
Pennymon continued to play through the pain in the final minutes of the game, despite an apparent limp after several plays. He still managed to play on both sides, accumulating seven tackles on defense as well.
BEST OF THE REST
Tristin Smith — Adairsville
The senior running back was once again the workhorse for the Tigers. He ran for 90 yards on 11 carries, including a 44-yard touchdown run.
“When Tristin has the ball, he’s not going to look to shake or make a move on someone. He’s a downhill runner who just keeps moving ahead,” Bishop said. “When he has to, he can be as physical as anyone. He’s going to lower his head and shoulders and get all he can get.”
Marcus Childers — Adairsville
The junior quarterback had seven carries for 25 yards, including an 8-yard touchdown run to get the Tigers on the board in the first half. He was 10-for-22 passing for 130 yards, including the 63-yard touchdown pass to Harris.
“Marcus had a good night throwing and he did some things while scrambling when he was under pressure to keep us out of long and distance plays,” Bishop said. “We want to run our offense about 50-50 in rushing and passing yards. Last night was our closest to that.”
Kalin Heath — Cartersville
The junior running back was solid in the running game as he rushed for 48 yards and a touchdown on six carries. He also helped spark the passing game as Cartersville got him involved on two screen plays that accounted for 21 yards.
Heath’s highlight of the night, however, came on the defensive side of the ball. With the Canes trailing 20-14 and West Hall driving near the end of the first half, Heath intercepted a pass at Cartersville’s own 20-yard line and ran it all the way back to West Hall’s 4-yard line. He was knocked out just before diving into the end zone for what would have been the go-ahead score. Nonetheless, the play was effective in preventing the Spartans from scoring and taking a two-possession lead on the Canes at halftime.
Mark Quattlebaum — Cartersville
Quattlebaum has been a force on offense, defense and special teams all season. He continued his high level of play in the playoffs as he made several impressive plays. His 31-yard punt return in the third quarter put the Canes in excellent field position at the West Hall 17-yard line. Three plays later, he caught a 16-yard pass from Brooks Barden in the middle fo the end zone for the score on third-and-nine. He had two receptions in the game for 26 yards. He also had three tackles on defense.
Tyler Reed — Cartersville
Reed was the leading tackler for the Purple Hurricanes with nine. He also recovered a fumble in the second quarter near midfield and has been one of Cartersville’s leading tacklers since the midseason injury to Jahir Camps.