For the second straight year, the Cartersville Parks and Recreation Department 12-and-under football team overcame a tough Savannah team to win the Georgia Recreation and Parks Association championship.
Khristian Lando, who scored the winning touchdown in last year's 16-8 triumph, found the end zone twice, while rushing for 170 yards in Sunday's 12-6 win over Savannah. He added nine tackles and a fumble recovery on defense.
Stephen Rowser had 55 yards on the ground and three key third-down conversions.
It was the defense, though, that continued to be a difference-maker for Cartersville. Isaiah Livsey made 14 tackles and forced a fumble; Trevor Harris intercepted a pass; and Logan Shrewsbury stripped the ball for one of Cartersville's four forced turnovers.
After allowing a stunning touchdown on the game's opening play, Cartersville kept Savannah off the scoreboard the remainder of the game.
"They hit us in the mouth right off the get-go," Cartersville head coach Adam Williams said. "... Had a bad read on it, but everything worked out from there. We got it squared away, and they didn't score again for the rest of the game."
The lone breakdown was the only touchdown Cartersville allowed over the weekend, having shut out West Walton, 48-0, in the semifinals Saturday. Williams called Brayden Pope the defensive player of the game for his nine tackles and pick-6.
Savannah also pitched a shutout Saturday, routing Central Walton by a 43-0 score. It set up a rematch of last year's championship game.
Williams said seven of Cartersville's players were on the 12U title team from last year, while several others were on the team that captured the 10U crown in 2017. This season, Cartersville's 8U team reached the semifinals and the 10U squad finished as runner-up.