The Cartersville Purple Hurricanes continued their playoff run with a 31-19 win over the St. Pius Golden Lions on Friday night.
The first quarter seemed to indicate that both teams would be in a virtual stalemate throughout, as the game’s first 12 minutes did not see a score, but, instead, saw one turnover apiece. The second quarter would be a much different story.
The Golden Lions would draw first blood as they marched down the field for a 97-yard drive that ended with a rushing touchdown by Luke Jacobellis. St. Pius converted two fourth downs on the drive which lasted over seven minutes. Cartersville was able to answer in less than three minutes. Quante Jennings scored on a 4-yard touchdown run to tie up the game with a touchdown for each team. The Golden Lions couldn’t do much with the next possession and were forced to punt. A fumbled snap on the punt gave Cartersville the ball at its own 41-yard line with under two minutes to play in the opening half. Cartersville drove down the field, as Carlos Del Rio-Wilson scored the go-ahead touchdown. The Purple Hurricanes had a 14-7 lead going into the half and were set to receive the ball first in the third quarter.
Cartersville made the most of its opportunity, as it turned the second-half kickoff into a touchdown when Quante Jennings capped off the drive with a 6-yard run. The rest of the third quarter did not see any scoring, but momentum was clearly on Cartersville’s side.
The fourth quarter saw the St. Pius defense stand Cartersville up inside the 5-yard line, but the right leg of Oscar Hernandez resulted in three points. On the Golden Lions’ next drive, Amarai Orr intercepted a pass, and – two plays later – Quante Jennings scored his third rushing touchdown of the evening. A game that appeared to be up for grabs after the first quarter was now clearly in favor of the team that had scored 31 unanswered points.
At 31-7, it appeared that St. Pius would need a miracle to fight back and force overtime or win the football game. The Golden Lions scored with just over six minutes left in the fourth quarter but then failed the 2-point conversion. Not all hope was lost, as St. Pius then recovered an onside kick at the Cartersville 49-yard line. The Golden Lions were able to score a touchdown on the drive, but, once again, the 2-point conversion fell short. A pooch-kick was recovered by the Cartersville and all it had to do was run out the clock to punch their bid into the Elite Eight round of the playoffs. St. Pius used its timeouts and Cartersville prevented the Golden Lions from seeing the end zone for the final minutes of the game.
Cartersville will now look towards Ware County next Friday night, the No. 2 seed from Region 1. Cartersville will be on the road for the quarterfinal matchup. WBHF will broadcast the third round of the GHSA Class 5A playoffs. You can catch all the action by listening to AM 1450 or FM 100.3 on your radio, following along on social media by following @WBHFSports, or by downloading the TuneIn Radio App on your smart device and searching for WBHF in the search bar.