KING OF THE HILL — On Thursday, Cartersville fifth-year head coach Joey King added to his ever-expanding resume.
The Canes' headman was named as one of the top 10 high school football head coaches with less than 10 years experience by MaxPreps.
It seems like an offbeat list, but considering the company King keeps on that list, it's quite a prestigious honor. The rest of the top 10 includes two-time national champion Kenny Sanchez of Bishop Gorman.
The article posted by MaxPreps reads: "Since taking over for 18-year veteran Frank Bearden[sic], King has taken Cartersville to back-to-back state championships and a pair of 15-0 seasons. He coached the No. 1 prospect in the Class of 2017 in quarterback Trevor Lawrence and he has a record of 55-4 two games into his fifth year with the Hurricanes."
Last year, King became the fastest coach to reach 50 wins in Georgia high school football history.
However, King does't want to let all the success go to his head.
"It's good, but I haven't played a down," King said of the MaxPreps honor. "I have some great assistants and these players deserve all that. That ain't nothing for me."
HISTORY LESSON — The last seven years have been historic in almost every way for the Cartersville High football program.
To identify a few: Most points in a season (695 in 2016), most consecutive wins (41 from 2015-2017), most consecutive region championships (6, still active), most consecutive regular-season wins (41, still active), most consecutive region wins (42, still active), the state's all-time leading passer (Trevor Lawrence — both in yards and touchdowns) and two state championships (2015, 2016).
While not the best ever in program history, Friday's performance puts the 2018 Canes (3-0) on another short list.
The 70-point victory over McNair at Weinman Stadium was the third-highest margin of victory in the 105-season history of Cartersville football.
The last time the Canes beat a team by 70 points or more was on Oct. 25, 1929, a 76-0 victory over Covington. Before that, you'd have to go back to 1923 to find another time the Canes' margin of victory reached 70 points.
It was just one of several impressive numbers from Friday's demolition of McNair:
• Cartersville outgained McNair with the starters in 377-8 in the first half.
• Eight different receivers caught a pass of 10 yards or more in the first half, and quarterback Tee Webb's five touchdown passes were to five different wideouts.
• Cartersville's first three possessions took a combined 1:06 in game clock and all seven plays on those drives were for either a first down or a touchdown.
• McNair ran 27 plays in the first half and only 12 were for positive yardage. Five of McNair's eight first-half drives ended farther back than where they began.
• McNair didn't earn a first down until the 4:14 mark of the second quarter, and Cartersville had 18 first downs to McNair's two in the first half.
• Cartersville's average starting field position in the first half was its only 47-yard line, and McNair only ran three plays in Cartersville territory, never crossing the Cartersville 46-yard line.
DUAL-THREAT — Adairsville's game Friday against Coahulla Creek was the first time Tigers fans really got a look at the two-quarterback system the team plans to run out this year.
Derrick Simmons was suspended for the first quarter in Week 1 for an altercation in the preseason scrimmage, while Mason Boswell didn't play much at all in Week 2 because of an ankle injury.
With both Boswell and Simmons available on Friday, each found success in the 41-10 win over the Colts.
Boswell led the team the first two drives, then Simmons took the next one and the pair shared the fourth Tigers drive, with Boswell going most of the way and leading Adairsville to a touchdown. Boswell took the next drive as well, before Simmons finished the last three drives with the game already well in hand.
Neither one completed a pass in their four attempts each, but they combined for 256 yards rushing on 21 carries with three touchdowns, some of which came with Boswell playing the T-back position alongside Simmons at quarterback.
Adairsville (2-1, 1-0 Region 6-AAA) scored on two of its four drives with Boswell in at QB, and two of the five drives with Simmons leading the huddle.
Adairsville will likely run Simmons out at quarterback more in the coming weeks due to injury. With starting T-back Landon Ayers out for possibly the next three weeks with a torn meniscus, starting linebacker Nic Jackson took over at running back and ran six times for 21 yards, adding a 2-point conversion.
Jackson also is involved on nearly every play as Adairsville's leading tackler, though, and playing Boswell at running back with Simmons at quarterback could help take the load off Jackson.
Head coach Eric Bishop said Ayers' surgery went well and he's ahead of schedule on his rehab, but until he returns, the Tigers could use Boswell at running back more. Out of the T-back role, Boswell ran six times for 123 yards, out of his total of 15 carries for 196 yards in the game.
Aside from the running back position, Jackson also was filling in for Chris Rodriguez as a kicker after Rodriguez was injured in the first half. Sophomore Courtney Slocum filled in for Rodriguez in the slot on offense, and he showed flashes of potential with a 13-yard touchdown run.
CHANGING IT UP — Like its Bartow County brethren, Woodland is also expected to utilize somewhat up a two-quarterback system moving forward.
Sophomore Jakob Foss is a much more traditional quarterback. He provides a spark to the passing game, although Cass didn't allow him to make much of an impact in that area Friday. Regardless, his presence forces defenses to play Woodland more honest than in the past.
Putting senior Titus Jones in at signal-caller allows the Wildcats (3-0, 1-0 Region 7-AAAAA) to get the ball in the hands of their best athlete. Having the threat of Jones running — along with the possibility of him handing the ball off to backs such as Justice Carter, Demarcus Williams and Jimmy Davis — gives the defense more pause than it otherwise would have when Woodland lines up in the Wing-T formation.
Foss and Jones alternated first-half possessions with the latter leading the lone scoring drive. Jones finished off the series himself with a 1-yard touchdown. Foss took over for a majority of the second half after the Wildcats had started to play better.
Woodland head coach Tony Plott envisions both seeing plenty of snaps moving forward. The biggest hurdle for Plott will be managing the reps of Jones, who stars on defense at safety and also handles a lot of the kick-return duties.
"I think it's essential for us, and we'll have to continue to do that, if possible," Plott said of playing both QBs. "One thing we're not going to do is sacrifice Titus from the defensive side of the ball. ... We need to continue to let Jakob grow, and the only way he's going to get better is by experience. We've got to stay true to that, because he's going to be a good ballplayer for us."
DEFENSE DOES ITS JOB — If there has been a staple of Cass football under Bobby Hughes, it's been tough defenses. The final scores don't always indicate just how well the unit plays on a weekly basis.
Last year, in particular, the Colonels (1-2, 0-1 Region 7-AAAAA) would stonewall opponents through much of the first three quarters before a time of possession disadvantage usually showed in the final period.
That was the case last week against Forsyth Central and it proved true again Friday in a 17-7 loss to Woodland. The Cass defense played as well as could be expected against a hard-nosed running team like Woodland.
"They got tired, but they played hard," Colonels head coach Bobby Hughes said. "I can't ask for much more out of them. These are two good football teams that played really hard."
The linebackers, especially, showed out against their county rival.
Rodney Richards and Blake Carrington each finished with 15 tackles. Richards had 11 solo stops and Carrington had nine. Cameron Hill chipped in with 11 tackles, too. Cameron Trammell did a bit of everything with six tackles (1.5 for loss), a sack, a pass breakup and a fumble recovery.
If the Cass offense can take the next step or two forward, the Colonels will likely be able to compete in more than a few Region 7-AAAAA games. Woodland head coach Tony Plott, for one, thinks Cass will be a tough out for future opponents.
"I have all the respect in the world for Cass, its program and what Bobby Hughes does," Plott said. "That is a good football team, and they're going to give people fits this year. They're physical, they've got some great players, and they have a good scheme offensively and defensively. They're going to be really good."