The Cartersville High football team may have different drummers, but the song remains the same.
The Canes, even with relatively inexperienced players at every position, have started the 2018 season much like it has in past years, by annihilating opponents and removing any doubt over the outcome of the game well before the final buzzer.
The latest example was Friday's 55-3 win over Luella at Weinman Stadium.
Even against an overmatched opponent in Luella, who came into the game 0-1 after a one-win season in 2017, head coach Joey King was pleased with how his Cartersville team performed.
"I thought they did a good job. Games like this, you have to do what you're supposed to do, regardless of the circumstances." King said. "So we talked to our guys about being better than the week before, and I thought we did what we're supposed to do."
The subs started rolling in midway through the second quarter as Cartersville scored on every one of its eight first-half possessions, while the Luella offense only earned one first down late in the second quarter.
The Canes outgained Luella 354 to negative-13 yards in a first half of complete and utter domination that saw Cartersville take a 55-0 lead at halftime.
While Luella earned a 35-yard field goal late in a running-clock third quarter, the Cartersville starting defense pitched a shutout. The Canes' D held standout Lions running back Dejon Conway to negative rushing yardage in the first half, while holding two Luella quarterbacks to a combined 4-of-18 passing for 14 yards in the game, adding three sacks.
"We take a lot of pride in it," senior defensive end Isaiah Chaney, who had 1 1/2 sacks in the game, said of the Canes' defensive performance. "We don't like when anybody scores on us, not even the young guys. Because that's the standard and we have to make sure that everybody achieves that standard."
Meanwhile, offensively, the Canes were nearly perfect. If the season opener two weeks ago was Cartersville quarterback Tee Webb's soft launch, Friday's performance against Luella was the junior's grand opening. Making his second-career regular season start, Webb threw for six touchdowns and ran for one more, finishing his day after two quarters with a line of 12-for-14 passing and 242 yards. He also ran for 49 yards and a touchdown on four carries.
"I think he did a really good job," King said of Webb. "A couple of times even of just knowing protections and making a couple of changes here and there, keeping his eyes downfield and being patient."
"I feel a lot more comfortable out there," Webb said of the difference between Game 1 and Game 2. "Just got used to the feeling, got rid of the first-game jitters and all that stuff."
Not only did Cartersville score on each of its first-half possessions, but the team scored quickly. The Canes scored on the third play from scrimmage when Webb hooked up with senior wideout Kaleb Chatmon for 48 yards. A fake reverse caught the Luella defense out of position, and Chatmon was completely alone down the sideline for the touchdown.
After a Luella three-and-out — the first of seven in a row Cartersville's defense forced to start the game — the Canes struck again on a five-play drive, culminating in a Webb-to-Marcus Gary 10-yard swing pass for a score and a 14-0 lead.
Cartersville would only need one play its next drive, as Webb hit Chatmon on a quick screen, and Chatmon utilized excellent downfield blocking to go 34 yards for the touchdown. After a missed extra point, it was 20-0 Canes less than seven minutes into the game.
Always a big-play threat with his speed, Chatmon finished his day with three catches for 82 yards and two touchdowns. Gary was the other key offensive weapon, scoring twice as a receiver and totaling 56 yards on three catches. He added five carries for 28 yards.
After some big plays in the passing game, Webb then mixed in a rushing touchdown on the next drive. After that, a pass to a wide open Gary in the middle of the field for a 35-yard score on a one-play drive opened up a 34-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.
It was more of the same in the second quarter. Sophomore Harrison Allen had a big 35-yard run to set up a touchdown for a 41-0 lead, and then Webb hit Allen on a screen pass for a 39-yard touchdown on the next Cartersville series.
The final touchdown for the Canes came with 3:16 let to play in the first half when promising sophomore Amari Orr got in on the action with a 28-yard touchdown on a well-placed pass by Webb on a post route.
The pass to Orr was maybe Webb's best of the game, and it was the last offensive play before the entirety of the starting unit received some well-deserved rest in the second half.
The reserves took over in the third quarter, and some Cartersville youngsters made some nice runs before stalling on two drives inside Luella territory.
"We were able to get a lot of guys reps. That's going to pay off down the road for us," King said. "Once we got to some of the 3s, some of those guys got some big eyes, so we have to make sure those guys are ready, too."
Luella got its offense moving a little bit in the second half, going 78 yards over two possessions, but it would do nothing to spoil a thoroughly impressive 2-0 start for the Canes.
Cartersville will take on McNair next week back at Weinman Stadium and try for its 41st consecutive regular-season victory.