Cartersville’s season was the last to end and did so Friday in a 31-19 loss at home to St. Pius.
The second-round playoff loss may have been heartbreaking to Canes fans, but it did yield some impressive individual performances.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
In the wake of the Brandon Long injury at running back, Cartersville needed someone to step up in the backfield and provide the Canes with balance on offense. Heath was up for the task and provided Cartersville with size and speed at the position. Heath had 812 yards rushing while averaging over 10 yards per carry on the season. The junior ran for 176 yards in the final regular season game against Ringgold and followed it up against St. Pius with 95 yards on 17 carries. Heath’s blend of size and speed was on display in the final game as he made several defenders miss in the open field, but often finished runs using his strength to fight for additional yardage. Heath made his impact felt on defense as well as he made 10 tackles in the game, tied for the most on the team.
BEST OF THE REST
The sophomore running back was the other half of the dynamic duo in the Canes’ backfield this season. Pennymon had 91 yards rushing on nine carries and a touchdown in the game. He also supplied the highlight of the night in the second quarter when he took the handoff and headed to the right side. He then proceeded to stiff-arm a St. Pius defender to the gound, break out of another tackle and reverse field, eluding several would-be tacklers in the process. He continued down the left sideline, breaking several more tackles before going out of bounds after a 20-yard gain. He finished with 652 rushing yards in nine games this season, including playoffs.
The conditions at Weinman Stadium were not conducive to passsing Friday night, so Barden took to the ground and picked up 94 yards on 15 carries. Of those yards, 91 came in the second half. He had a critical run on fourth-and-6 during the third quarter with his team trailing 17-6. Barden bulled his way through St. Pius defenders for a 7-yard gain and a first down. The 6-foot-3, 200-pound Barden was used as a goalline back and converted on three fourth-down rushing attemtps on the drive, including a fourth-and-goal touchdown run to bring Cartersville within 5.
Quattlebaum had a tough night as a receiver and did not get an opportunity to impact the game on special teams. St. Pius came prepared to stop Cartersville’s bubble screen and Quattlebaum was left without anywhere to run on his four receptions. However, the senior was involved in several plays on defense and recorded 10 tackles on the game to wrap up a stellar season for the UNC-Charlotte commit.
Reed was tied for the lead in tackles with 10. His most notable play was the last play of the first quarter when he took on a block by St. Pius’ left tackle, knocked down the lineman with a vicious hit, and then did the same to the St. Pius running back for a 3-yard loss. The play was emblematic of the run-stuffing ability Reed has shown during the second half of the season.