Tigers use dominant 1st half to rout tired Colts

By NICHOLAS SULLIVAN
Posted 10/24/20

The Adairsville football team looked as though it could be in for a battle against Coahulla Creek during the first quarter of Saturday's game at Tiger Stadium. But during the second quarter, the …

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Tigers use dominant 1st half to rout tired Colts

Posted

The Adairsville football team looked as though it could be in for a battle against Coahulla Creek during the first quarter of Saturday's game at Tiger Stadium.

But during the second quarter, the reason for the game's postponement became clear for all to see, as Adairsville piled up 35 points against a Coahulla Creek team that was playing for the third time in eight days.

As it turned out, any concerns the Tigers would have had about playing just six days later against Sonoraville should have mostly been wiped away. Playing on an overcast day, Adairsville stayed as fresh as possible with the starters on both sides of the ball not even needing to finish out the first half of the eventual 42-14 win.

"It's a good one," Tigers head coach Eric Bishop said of the victory. "We have to build on this one, no doubt, and I think this group will. We have a great level of buy-in and some great senior leadership."

Adairsville (4-2, 3-1 Region 6-AAA) led 7-0 late in the first quarter with the ball inside its own 10-yard line following a punt by Coahulla Creek (1-5, 0-4). After a pre-snap penalty on the Colts, a 68-yard run by Eli Agnew completely flipped the field and the script.

Quarterback Conner Crunkelton finished off that drive with a 1-yard keeper on the opening play of the second quarter, and the Tigers never looked back.

The hosts were so dominant in that second period that no snaps took place on the Adairsville side of the field. The Tigers started one drive at the 50-yard line, but every other play during that quarter took place in Colts territory.

"That's possibly one of the most impressive first halves we've seen from a defensive standpoint," Bishop said.

Agnew, who posted 75 yards on four carries, burrowed in from a yard out for a 21-0 lead, and Crunkelton scored on another 1-yard keeper for a 35-0 advantage. In between, Crunkelton connected with Charlie Ray on a 37-yard touchdown pass — for a tidy one-play drive.

Even the reserves got in on the action.

On the final series of the first half, Adairsville sent out freshman quarterback Jonathan Gough, and he promptly led a 25-yard scoring drive. Gough finished it off himself, scoring from 8 yards out less than a minute before halftime.

"It was good to see us execute as well as we did and have as many kids involved as we did," Bishop said. "... It really is a lot of fun when you're executing, and you're not playing behind the chains."

Courtney Slocum capped the game's opening drive with a touchdown, sneaking inside the pylon on an 8-yard run. Overall, the Tigers wound up scoring touchdowns on six of seven first-half possessions, with the lone exception coming on a turnover on downs on their second series.

After halftime, Bishop allowed the reserves to finish out the game.

"We were struggling with bringing out the starters for the first drive of the third quarter," Bishop said. "We talked about it as a staff and felt like the risk of somebody getting hurt wasn't worth it in this ballgame. When they went to the running clock, that kind of sealed the deal."

Coahulla Creek, which lost 15-7 to Murray County Oct. 16 and 28-14 to North Murray Tuesday, kept its starters on the field, and the Colts managed to score once in each of the final two quarters.

Karim Bradley broke off an 8-yard touchdown run in the third quarter, and Manny Dominguez hauled in a 48-yard touchdown pass from Kace Kinnamon in the final stanza.

"Hats off to Coahulla Creek," Bishop said. "The grind that they're having to go through, that's not fair for anybody to have to go through in high school football. Evidently, that has taken a toll on them, because that's not the same team we saw play North Murray on film."

Adairsville isn't the same team it was last time out either, albeit for different reasons. After a tough six-point loss last week at Ringgold, Bishop and Co. took advantage of the perfect get-right opportunity.

"We can't let one loss cause two," Bishop said of the team's mindset. "It was a good day, great homecoming atmosphere and a lot of festivities all week. It's been a really good week at Adairsville."