It was an inauspicious start for the Cartersville Purple Hurricanes, who found themselves down early in the second quarter to Stephens County 7-0, but Cartersville scored 34 unanswered points to win its opening-round matchup and advance to the round of 16.

Sloppy play mixed with sloppy atmospheric conditions no doubt played a part with both teams’ lack of success early as the first quarter ended without a point on the scoreboard. It was Stephens County that struck first with a 16-yard touchdown pass from Kenny Colwell to Kamon Tayler with 9:17 left until the half to give the Indians a 7-0 lead. After that score, a different Cartersville team took the field.

On the following drive, Cartersville scored on a 14-yard touchdown pass from Tee Webb to Dadrian Dennis in a drive that took under three minutes to complete. After Cartersville’s defense proved to be stingy once again the offense took the field and found itself with a 4th and 20 with 28 seconds left until the half. Coach Joey King elected to avoid the 52-yard field goal and instead put the ball in Webb’s hands. The junior delivered by throwing a 26-yard touchdown pass to Marquail Coaxum in the end zone to give the Canes a 13-7 lead at the half following a missed PAT.

The second half belonged to Cartersville. The only blemish was a tipped interception in the red zone, but it never led to points. In the third quarter, Marcus Gary had two rushing touchdowns, while Webb hit Devonte Ross on a 26-yard screen pass to complete its 34-7 victory.

Cartersville will host the next round of the state playoffs at Weinman Stadium next week as it welcomes the Ridgeland Panthers at 7:30 PM. You can hear the action on WBHF with pregame coverage beginning Friday at 6:00 PM.