The Cartersville Purple Hurricanes (13-0) met their toughest opponent yet in the GHSA AAAA football playoffs when they traveled to College Park to take on the Woodward Academy War Eagles (11-2). While the contest would be tough, the Canes once again proved they were up for the challenge with a 26-15 victory Friday night.

Cartersville put momentum on its side early with a special teams play. Woodward Academy was forced to punt on its opening possession, but a botched punt attempt put the ball in the end zone and kicked out for a safety. Just like that the Canes were up 2-0.

On Cartersville’s ensuing drive, Trevor Lawrence would hit pay dirt with a rushing touchdown to give Cartersville an early 9-0 lead with 7:27 left in the first quarter. Before the quarter would end, Lawrence would find TJ Horton for a touchdown to give Cartersville a 16-0 lead at the conclusion of quarter one.

Woodward Academy proved that it still had some fight left, however.

The War Eagles would score a rushing touchdown and kick a field goal with time expiring in the first half to cut into the Cartersville lead 16-9.

Cartersville would milk about six minutes off the clock in the third quarter on its opening drive, but it would ultimately end with a Jonathan Cruz field goal. Cartersville had a chance to add some extra points on the board following a Woodward Academy interception, but Cruz’s attempt would be wide left.

The fourth quarters was a struggle for both teams, which couldn’t keep their offense on the field long enough and were plagued by constant penalties. Antione Jefferson would add the finishing touch on Woodward Academy with about three minutes left in the game, with a rushing score to give Cartersville a three-score lead. Woodward Academy would add another touchdown with seconds left in the game, but it wouldn’t matter as the Canes would advance to the fourth round of the playoffs.

Cartersville will certainly look to fix its issues with penalties this week in practice, in preparation of next Friday’s game.

Cartersville will play Mary Persons next Friday night at 7:30 with the home team to be decided by a coin flip Friday night.