STEPPING UP INSIDE — Between last week's preseason scrimmage and Friday's season opener, the Cartersville football team has played all but one defensive snap without its first-choice inside linebackers.
An uneducated observer wouldn't know that's the case based on the level of play seen out of senior Rashad Hurst and junior Gavin Geros. The duo made several impact plays in a 14-13 win over Allatoona.
Cartersville's leading tackler last season, Harrison Allen sat out the scrimmage and Allatoona game. Meanwhile, junior Jaylon Akins suffered a shoulder injury on the first play of the scrimmage and missed all of Friday's game.
Despite having senior safety Marko Dudley out injured, as well, the Canes defense turned in a stellar performance against the Bucs. Even when faced with a severe disadvantage in the field position battle, Cartersville managed to hold Allatoona to four field-goal tries and one touchdown.
Along with the impressive duo at inside linebacker, there were several Canes who stood out defensively.
Senior noseguard La'Kwayme Jupiter plugged up the middle every snap he was on the field. He even got in a few tackles himself. Omari Bailey also stepped up at defensive end and looks capable of being a menace. Per usual, Amarai Orr made several plays in the backfield, taking down athletic Allatoona quarterback Dante Marshall a couple of times for a loss.
In a lot of regards, Cartersville can't wait to get Allen, Dudley and Akins healthy and back on the field. But until then, the Canes won't mind building depth and getting wins at the same time.
BRIGHT STRIPES — The Adairsville High football team was crippled by injuries a season ago, and the Tigers are already playing shorthanded to start the 2019 season.
Junior center Dave Adams — listed at 6-foot-4, 315 pounds and the team’s best offensive lineman — is out with a broken collarbone. J.T. Jolly, who’s about four inches shorter and 100 pounds lighter, filled in admirably Friday night, and besides one high snap, got the ball to the quarterback reliably.
Having Adams out takes Jolly away from his usual starting position elsewhere on the offensive line and eats at the Tigers’ already thin depth up front. Still, head coach Eric Bishop said Jolly’s play at center was one of the bright spots in an otherwise disappointing 20-0 loss Friday night at Chattooga.
"Our snap issues were definitely better tonight,” Bishop said. "We did have one snap that kind of put us off timing and busted the play, but other than that, we didn’t have any snap issues and J.T. Jolly did a great job of making improvement on that this week."
Another bright spot, according to Bishop, was how his team responded to the limited game film available. Being the first game of the season, Bishop said Chattooga presented some surprises the Tigers had not seen on the film of the Indians’ scrimmage. His team was able to make the in-game adjustments the coaching staff asked.
“We played really good defense for the most part of the game. So one of the bright spots was — not having that much scouting, we’re used to going on three games [of film] and we only had like 49 plays of film on them from Cedartown — we knew we would need to make some in-game adjustments,” Bishop said. “Chattooga kind of threw the book at our defense anyway, and we had to make some adjustments. And I was very proud of the kids and coaches for those adjustments and getting those adjustments down to the field and the kids executing those."