Gordon Central came into the game averaging eight points per game while giving up 29, and the Canes were averaging 50 points but allowing only seven.
Sitting at 6-0 on the season, Cartersville took to the road for Friday’s region 5-AAA matchup, racking up 63 points to the Warriors’ 16. Cartersville won the coin toss and deferred to the second half, and the Canes’ defense looked to set the tone for the game. They held Gordon Central to 15 yards on their first two drives.
Brooks Barden and the high-powered Cartersville offense started with the ball in the red zone, easily scoring to go up 7-0 in the first quarter. Cartersville’s second drive stalled, and after a missed field and another TD from the offense, Gordon Central had a little hope going into the second quarter only down 14-0.
At the start of the second quarter, however, Cartersville decided to turn it on.
Wide receiver Mark Quattlebaum would add another touchdown reception in the second for 19 yards, following a 53-yard reception for a touchdown in the first. He would also have more than 150 punt return yards by the end of the half.
Barden went 7-for-12 passing with six touchdowns in the first half. Kalin Heath accounted for three touchdowns — a 2-yard reception, a 20-yard fumble recovery and a 61-yard run. Devin Henderson had a 9-yard scoring reception and a blocked punt he recovered in the end zone for a touchdown. Gordon Gray would also get in on the action, tacking on 2-yard and 56-yard receptions for touchdowns.
Gordon Central would not give up though. Quarterback Cody Jones completed a 71-yard pass to Nate Mays for the score and then converted the 2-point conversion to make it 56-8 at the half.
Cartersville’s defense pressured Jones all night, with the QB avoiding the rush until late in the second half when Cartersville recorded their only sack on the night.
Gordon Central reached pay dirt in the third quarter on a 86-yard connection from Jones to Mays, but the Warriors wouldn’t see the end zone again.
The Purple Hurricanes brought in their backups for the second half. Sophmore Miller Forristall came behind center, completing a pass to Parker Tidwell for 27 yards and rushing several times on quarterback keepers. In the fourth quarter, Forristall connected with Tony Dean on a 7-yard toss for the touchdown.
Several times in the second half, the Canes coughed up the ball — Antoine Jefferson fumbled in the third and fourth quarters, but accounted for a 48-yard run.
The Canes’ defense would add an interception after Dean picked off a pass from Jones in the fourth quarter.
When the dust settled, the Canes kept their perfect season in tact at 7-0 overall and 4-0 in region play. The Warriors fall to 1-6 overall, 1-3 in the region.
Next week, Cartersville takes on in-county rival Adairsville at Tiger Stadium in another 5-AAA matchup. Gordon Central will travel to Sonoraville.