In the team’s first home game in more than a month, the Cartersville Purple Hurricanes scored on six straight offensive possessions and cruised to a 51-26 victory over region foe Hiram.
During Cartersville’s (6-1) first six offensive possessions, the Canes scored five touchdowns and one field goal. Also, each of those six scoring drives for the Canes lasted just over three minutes, with the longest one consuming three minutes and six seconds and the shortest one being about 43 seconds long.
“We played hard. We had some new people step up. I was really proud of them for stepping in and playing up to the standard and executing at a high level, just really proud of our team. It was a total team effort tonight,” Cartersville football head coach Conor Foster said.
The Canes put up the first points of the game when Quante Jennings reached the end zone off a 4-yard run within less than two minutes of game time. After a successful extra point by Oscar Hernandez, the Canes led 7-0.
Three minutes later, the Hornets managed to put together a 10-play, 50-yard drive that culminated in a 39-yard field goal by Dalton Moyse.
But less than a minute later, Cartersville quarterback Stratton Tripp found Sam Phillips for a 47-yard touchdown pass. After the extra point by Hernandez, the Canes led 14-7 with 6:43 left in the first quarter.
Afterwards, Hiram (0-7) put together another long drive, this time on a 12-play, 88-yard drive that lasted just over five minutes. The drive ended in six points for the Hornets, as Jirah Douglas ran into the end zone on a 2-yard scoring play. With Moyse getting the extra point blocked, Cartersville held a 14-9 lead over Hiram.
On Cartersville’s next offensive drive, which lasted about 50 seconds, Carlos Del Rio-Wilson found Phillips for another long touchdown pass, this time on a 43-yard reception. On the two previous plays, Del Rio-Wilson found Kyler Johnson for an 11-yard completion and then rushed for 13 yards. A successful extra point by Hernandez gave Cartersville a 21-9 lead.
In the Hornets' next offensive drive, the team had to settle for another field goal, despite advancing 60 yards down the field on a six-minute drive. Moyse successfully kicked a 25-yard field goal through the uprights to shorten the Canes’ lead to 21-12 with 7:44 left in the second quarter.
During Cartersville’s next drive, Del Rio-Wilson went 6-for-6 to four different receivers for 55 yards. But it was on the ground where Del Rio-Wilson reached the end zone, as he muscled his way for a 3-yard rushing touchdown. On the next play, Hernandez missed the extra point and Cartersville led 27-12 with 4:43 left in the second quarter.
During the Hornets' next offensive drive, the team committed its first turnover when Qamar Grant’s pass was intercepted by Cartersville’s Brittan Walker, and he returned it for a 40-yard pick-6. With the defensive score, the Canes led 34-12.
Cartersville would be on offense one more time before halftime, and the team did not go into the locker room empty handed, as Hernandez successfully kicked a 43-yard field goal to make it a 37-12 score.
Later, in the third quarter, Jennings would go on to score his second touchdown of the night after a 4-yard run. The score by Jennings capped off a 10-play, 65-yard drive for the Canes, which led 44-12 at the time.
Moments later, Cartersville fumbled, and Hiram recovered. The turnover by the Canes would end in six points for the Hornets, as Grant reached the end zone on a 1-yard quarterback sneak. After the extra point by Moyse, Hiram cut Cartersville’s lead to 44-19.
The Canes would score its final points of the game on the next drive when Del Rio-Wilson threw a 22-yard touchdown pass to Collin Fletcher. Hernandez would then successfully kick the extra point and extend Cartersville’s lead to 51-19 with 47 seconds left in the third quarter.
But before the ballgame reached its conclusion, the Hornets would score once more halfway through the fourth quarter after Cartersville fumbled the ball and the Hiram defense recovered the ball inside the end zone. The Hornets would then make the score 51-26, but the score was too little, too late for a comeback.
Cartersville’s quarterback Tripp went 10-for-14 for 156 yards and one touchdown, while Del Rio-Wilson completed 11 of 14 passes for 164 yards and two touchdowns. Tripp also rushed for five yards on three attempts, and Del Rio-Wilson rushed for 32 yards and one touchdown on three attempts.
“It’s just like any other position, those two make each other better and they’re working hard, competing with each other and they’re excited for each other. I’m really proud how they are working together and have been great teammates,” Foster said of the relationship between Tripp and Del Rio-Wilson, who are now sharing quarterback duties.
Meanwhile, Phillips finished the night with seven receptions for 143 yards and two touchdowns, Johnson caught three passes for 59 yards and Fletcher had three grabs for 39 yards and one score. Jaylon Benham finished with 33 yards on two catches, and Kolbe Benham and Brynen Wilkins also had 25 and 21 receiving yards, respectively.
“It’s great to be back at Weinman Stadium, especially on homecoming tonight. Thankful for the community to come out and very excited for one of our players, Garyton Davis, to be named homecoming king. He’s a great representative of our school and our football program,” Foster said.
Cartersville will be back in action next week, when it will host Blessed Trinity.