Coach Joey King says his Cartersville team isn’t trying to make a statement, but it’s hard to ignore the trail of destruction his Canes are leaving through a selection of the top teams in Georgia.
“We’re not trying to make a statement, we’re trying to win ballgames one at a time and that’s all we can do,” King said shortly after Cartersville eviscerated Calhoun 56-0 to add the 2014 3A state champions to a list of victories that already includes last year’s 5A and 3A state champions.
Trey Creamer ran for four touchdowns for Cartersville—three in the first half—while Avery Showell caught two and Trase Fezzia celebrated his return to the field with two of his own, one receiving and one on a 20-yard interception return to cap the scoring.
The Canes started fast, scoring on their second play from scrimmage, and they didn’t slow down, taking a 35-0 lead to the locker room at halftime.
The first blow came on a short pass to Showell not even two minutes into the game. The wide receiver spun off a defender in the middle of the field and outraced everyone else to the left corner of the end zone for a 44-yard score.
They covered 52 yards in six plays on their next drive, capped off when Creamer juked a defender in the hole and then sprinted easily to the corner for a 14-yard score.
“The little juke move I gave him, it was real clean,” Creamer said. “I knew I could keep my balance, I knew I had him. He was leaning and I was just trying to punch it in.”
With Jonathan Cruz pinning the Yellow Jackets with touchbacks on every kickoff and the Canes defense not yielding an inch, Trevor Lawrence and company enjoyed great field position.
Their next drive started on Calhoun’s 38, but stalled out on the 30, leading to Cruz missing a 47-yard field goal wide right.
That would be one of the only mishaps for the Canes offense, as Lawrence completed three out of four passes for 43 yards on their next drive before Creamer waltzed in up the middle from 13 yards out for his second score.
Showell caught up to Creamer by catching a six-yard pass from Lawrence on the next drive to make it 28-0, but with the game getting out of hand, Creamer broke the tie with his teammate just before halftime with a two-yard plunge to cap another short drive.
The Canes outgained Calhoun 319-69 in the first half, with the majority of the yards for the Yellow Jackets coming on just one play, a 39-yard pass.
“I challenged them before the game to play with great effort, because effort is something that you can control,” King said about his defense. “You can’t control the officials, you can’t control who you’re playing, but you can control how hard you play.”
The Canes defense played, if anything, better in the second half, holding Calhoun to just three total yards in that half.
Their offense struggled a little bit in the second half, by their lofty standards, waiting until their third drive of the second half to score on a 37-yard pass from Lawrence to Fezzia.
Lawrence would finish the game 21-for-32 for 348 yards, three touchdowns and one interception, thrown to diving Calhoun cornerback Malik Lawrence in the first half.
Fezzia’s touchdown opened the floodgates for Cartersville, as they would score twice more in the next 1:50.
Calhoun fumbled on the kickoff, and freshman Raschad Dyer recovered on the 20. Two plays later, Creamer was celebrating his fourth touchdown of the game after punching it in from four yards out.
He finished with six carries for 50 yards and the four scores, and added three catches for 29 more yards.
“The offensive line gave me holes to run into,” Creamer said. “I’d just like to give thanks to them for opening holes up and allowing me to do what I do best.”
Cartersville wasn’t done, either.
Four plays after the kickoff following Creamer’s touchdown, Fezzia stepped in front of a short route, made the pick, and had a clear route to the end zone.
That score made it 56-0 once Cruz hit his eighth extra point of the game, and marked the beginning of garbage time.
Tee Webb at quarterback and Dyer and Dominique Williams at running back closed out the game for Cartersville, and ensured that the Canes would be leaving another opponent in their wake.
Big offensive performances came all across the field for Cartersville as Lawrence spread the wealth, completing passes to six different receivers—Showell, Creamer, Fezzia, Antoine Jefferson, TJ Horton and JKobe Orr—while the starters were in.
“Our zone game was really good. Our intermediate pass game was really good. We took a couple shots and hit one, ... so really whatever we wanted to do,” King said.
Showell had five grabs for 71 yards and two scores, while Fezzia had two for 61 and one touchdown. Jefferson added six catches for 80 yards, as everybody contributed to the performance that saw Cartersville outgain the Yellow Jackets 527-72.
It’s still early in the season, but with numbers like that, it’s getting harder and harder to ignore the destruction that these Hurricanes are leaving in their wake.
Their coach, for one, wasn’t expecting it.
“You never really know how it’s going to be, but our guys showed up and they fought hard all night,” King said.