The Cartersville Purple Hurricanes advanced to the third round of the GHSA football playoffs Friday night with a 28-9 victory over the Eastside Eagles.
While all things ended well for the Canes, things started off rocky. While Cartersville was forced to a three-and-out on its first possession and Eastside appeared ready to take advantage. The Eagles marched down the field and scored on a Jayden Barr touchdown run. The PAT was blocked by Keylan Mccarty but the damage was done. Cartersville marched down the field but fumbled in Eastside territory. After the Eagles couldn’t take advantage of the field position, they punted. Once again, the Cartersville offense appeared stagnant.
When the Canes punted, the ball was fumbled by the Eagle return man. Cartersville’s Turner Abernathy jumped on the football to give Cartersville possession at midfield. Still, the offense couldn’t find its footing and punted the ball away. Luckily for Cartersville, Eastside continued to make mistakes. On fourth down, the ball was snapped over the punter’s head as Tayshaun Carter jumped on it at the Eagle 19-yard line. A few plays later, Khristian Lando scored on a 4-yard touchdown run to take a 7-6 lead.
The Canes offense appeared to be hitting its stride as Lando scored once again on the following drive to extend the lead. Eastside marched inside the Cartersville 1-yard line, but the Canes defense didn’t allow the Eagles to find the end zone. Cartersville took over on its 1-yard line, but on third down fumbled the ball and gave Eastside the ball with one yard to gain and four plays to do so. Once again, the Eastside offense made mistakes. The ball was snapped over the quarterback’s head and Eastside ended up moving 20 yards backwards instead of one yard forward. The Eagles settled for a field goal to cut into the lead.
Cartersville had a chance to kick a field goal to gain some breathing room, but the 48-yard attempt missed the mark and the Canes were forced to settle for a 5-point lead heading into the half.
In the second half, Cartersville’s offense struck first after the defense forced an Eastside punt. Lando scored his third touchdown of the day to extend the lead. Meanwhile, the Eagles continued to struggle snapping the football. Several times – and sometimes more than once in the same drive – quarterback Payton Shaw had to retreat to fall on top of a football that continually forced the Eagles into bad situations.
With the Eagles offense sputtering, the Cartersville offense continued to roll. After a big punt return from Logan Shrewsbury, the offense took over at the Eagles 30-yard line. Richard Houston scored on a 16-yard screen pass from Nate Russell to effectively put the game away in the fourth quarter.
Cartersville will play next Friday night at 7:30 PM and will host the winner of Jenkins, which defeated Dutchtown 28-27 Friday night. You can hear the action on WBHF with pregame coverage beginning at 6:00 PM live from Scott’s Walk-Up BBQ.