MILESTONE VICTORY — The protege has matched the mentor, as Adairsville head coach Eric Bishop tied Johnny Gulledge — his former boss — for second on the school’s all-time wins list Saturday.
According to the Georgia High School Football Historians Association website, Bishop and Gulledge both have 50 career victories. Each is credited with coaching the Tigers for eight seasons (Bishop from 2013-now, and Gulledge from 1999-2006).
“Wow,” Bishop said upon learning the news. “That’s pretty neat.”
Gulledge, who’s listed with an overall record of 50-37-1, guided the program to consecutive region titles in 2000 and 2001. A former Calhoun head coach, Gulledge led Adairsville to the playoffs four straight seasons, including a state quarterfinal appearance in 2001.
Meanwhile, Bishop (50-43 overall) is still seeking his first region championship but does have the Tigers in position to secure a sixth postseason berth during his tenure. He’s also taken Adairsville to the quarterfinals, doing so in 2015.
T.M. Tucker holds the program record for wins, securing 94 from 1966-79. Tucker also coached six region-title winning teams.
Bishop isn’t one to typically get caught up in milestones, but tying the coach who hired him more than a decade ago clearly meant a lot to him.
“It is mind blowing, knowing what he’s done and what he means to Adairsville,” Bishop said, referring to Gulledge. “The success he’s had, it’s obviously some very proud company to be associated with.”
FRESHMAN CONNECTION — Cass quarterback Devin Henderson has gotten plenty of attention this season for his impressive play as a freshman. But he wasn’t the only Colonels ninth-grader who showed plenty of promise in Friday’s win over Woodland.
Sacovie White returned the opening kickoff to give Cass good field position, and he only got better as the game went along. He finished with four catches for 47 yards and a touchdown, adding an 8-yard run late in the game on his lone carry.
White’s 29-yard touchdown catch helped give the Colonels a 7-6 lead in the second quarter. It was highlight-reel play, as White expertly hauled in a pass from Henderson, turned and extended the ball across the goal line while falling out of bounds.
"He made a catch down there that could go on ESPN tonight," Cass head coach Steve Gates said Friday. "He's a freshman. He doesn't know what he just did. ... I'm worried about him missing a block on the previous play. He doesn't even think about missing the block. He's thinking about scoring the touchdown, and I don't blame him for that.”
While Henderson has started every game, White’s involvement in the Colonels offense had been spotty over the team’s first six contests. Gates said he told his coaching staff that he wanted White on the field for half of the team’s offensive plays.
White might not have been out there quite 50% of the time, but his chemistry with Henderson was undeniable. That’s a scary proposition for Cass’ future opponents — this season and certainly beyond.
“Obviously, Sacovie White is going to be a tremendous football player,” Gates said. “Him and Devin Henderson will have a lot more of those the next four years. I've talked to them about how special those two kids can be over the next four years. That play right there may have started it."
PLAYOFF PICTURE — After bouncing back from a loss to Ringgold with a resounding win over Coahulla Creek, Adairsville remains firmly in the upper half of the Region 6-AAA standings. Given the chaos in the region, it’s a good place to be for the Tigers with half of their league games behind them.
Rockmart remains alone in first place at 4-0. Adairsville, LaFayette and North Murray currently sit at 3-1 in the region. Ringgold, which fell to LaFayette Friday, is fifth with a 3-2 mark.
Having defeated one of the region’s winless teams Saturday, the Tigers will look to send Sonoraville to an 0-5 start in the league next week. Road wins at Sonoraville and Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe, which is 1-3 in the region after losing to Murray County Friday, likely would be enough to push Adairsville into the state playoffs.
But upsets across the region will likely keep several teams alive into the final weeks of the season.
Meanwhile in Region 7-AAAAA, Cartersville took care of business against Hiram to become the first team in the league to reach 2-0. The only other unbeaten team in the region is Blessed Trinity, which rallied past Calhoun by a 35-21 final score Friday in its region opener. The Canes will host the Titans this week at Weinman Stadium.
With the loss to the three-time reigning Class 4A state champions, Calhoun is tied with Cass at 1-1 in the region. The Yellow Jackets will travel to Woodland (0-1 in region) this week, while the Colonels will head to Hiram (0-2) in hopes of taking a huge step towards postseason qualification.