Both teams from Bartow County kept their playoff hopes alive with wins on Friday evening. Adairsville, an 11-point underdog, beat No. 1 seeded Jackson on the road by a score of 34-16 and the No.1 seeded Cartersville Purple Hurricanes beat Liberty County at home by a score of 28-7.
Adairsville Upsets Jackson
Adairsville started their game on fire as they scored a touchdown on their opening drive on a Jason Cantrell run to lead 7-0. The Tigers then attempted an onside kick and recovered the football. They drove 33 yards for the score and that was capped off by a Marquel Lane 5 yard sweep into the endzone to give the Tigers a 14-0 lead with 7:19 remaining in the first quarter.
The second quarter was kind to the Tigers as well. They had two, big runs from Sidnee Johnson and Cantrell that set the Tigers up at the 16 yard line in Jackson territory. They committed a penalty on 4th and 4 and quarterback Roger Redd was sacked at the 29 and Jackson took over. The Red Devils offense continued to stall and the Tigers were able to put another score on the board before the half. Torrey Hale went 35 yards on a sweep play to score the third Adairsville touchdown and pushed the lead to 21 with 4:47 remaining in the half. The Jackson Red Devils were unable to convert a 4th down deep in Adairsville territory at the end of the half and Adairsville took a 21-0 to close out the first half.
The Jackson squad was down, but not out. Quarterback Shedarious Crowder threw a 31 yard touchdown pass to N’yj Smith on the opening drive of the third quarter. The Red Devils went 59 yards and cut into the Adairsville lead 21-7 with 8:00 remaining in the quarter. After the Tigers failed to do anything with the good field position following a Chris Blackston kickoff return, but the Tigers were able to get the ball back. Blackston picked off Crowder and the Tigers took over at their own 47, but, again, had a stalled drive. That’s when things got a little messy. A bad snap forced Adairsville punter Chase Powell to kick the ball through his own endzone for a safety that cut the Adairsville lead to 12. Adairsville then messed up on the free kick and Jackson took over at their own 45. Crowder was able to find Smith again and the Red Devils were only trailing the Tigers by five with 28 seconds remaining in the third quarter.
With momentum shifting, Adairsvill knew they needed to score. Adairsville went 80 yards to push their fourth touchdown of the day and their first of the second half. Cantrell had a big 60 yard reception that put Adairsville on the Jackson 20 and then Redd found Hale in the endzone for a 20 yard touchdown pass. With just over 10 minutes remaining, Adairsville once again extended their lead to 12. After a few offensive stalls, Jackson took over at midfield with 6:36 remaining. On second down, the Red Devils fumbled and Adairsville recovered at the Jackson 47. Sidnee Johnson capped off the drive with a five yard touchdown run. Jackson blocked the extra point, but this one appears to be over as Adairsville leads Jackson 34-16 with 2:02 remaining. Adairsville’s Torrey Hale picked off the pass from Shedarious Crowder with less than two minutes remaining and the Tigers advance to the third round of the playoffs for the first time since 2001. They will host Westminster next Friday, as Westminster beat Callaway 49-28.
Cartersville Rolls Liberty County
For the third, consecutive year, Cartersville will advance to the third round of AAAA State Playoffs following their 28-7 victory over Liberty County. The first half for Cartersville was shaky, as they had three turnovers and two of which occurred in the redzone. Tiamon Pennymon was able to score one touchdown for the Canes in the first half, but the 7-0 score left Cartersville fans with their hearts in their throats.
In the second half, Cartersville appeared to be a different team. Tiamon Pennymon intercepted a pass and set Cartersville up inside Liberty County territory, and then the big back punched in his second touchdown of the day to give Cartersville a 14-0 lead after converting a 4th and 1 earlier in the drive. Continuing his strong work, Pennymon punched in his third touchdown of the game and gave Cartersville momentum and a 21 point lead.
The biggest play of the day might belong to Tyler Reed, who picked off a pass at the Cartersville 2yard line and ran it 95 yards to the Jackson 3. Two plays later, Pennymon scored his fourth touchdown of the evening and Cartersville lead 28-0 in the fourth quarter. Liberty County scored with 4:27 remaining in the game, but it was too little too late. The Canes will play Jonesboro next Friday with the site still to be determined.