It’s hard to score when you don’t have the ball, and for the Adairsville High football team Friday night at Chattooga, the Indians’ ball-control offense and running game were too much to overcome in a 20-0 loss in the Tigers’ season opener.
"First of all, it’s what we have said, Chattooga is a very good football team. They showed it on the offensive and defensive lines tonight,” Adairsville head coach Eric Bishop said after the loss. "We’re still struggling with offensive-line play and some injuries, and those injuries are no excuse. Not to take anything away from Chattooga, we did have some bright spots and we played really good defense for the most part of the game.”
Adairsville’s defense was stout early on, and the halftime score was just 6-0 in favor of the home Indians.
During that first half, though, Adairsville’s offense struggled to string first downs together and played mostly between the 20-yard lines.
"There were some missed opportunities there in the first half [on offense],” Bishop said. "We really had a chance to score three different times in the first half.”
Because of the stalemate throughout the first two quarters, and with Adairsville still staying close, it seemed like the Tigers were one big play on offense from taking control.
Adairsville did get a big play on defense when Courtney Slocum’s interception inside the team’s own 10-yard line in the last minute of the first half stopped a threatening drive from Chattooga and gave the Tigers the momentum going into halftime.
But then came the rushing attack for the Indians. Led by sophomore running back Lashaun Lester, Chattooga marched methodically down the field to score two touchdowns in the third quarter while chipping away at the clock. As a result, the Tigers only ran three plays in the third quarter.
When they got the ball back in the fourth quarter for just their second possession of the second half, the Tigers found themselves in a 20-0 hole.
"The story of the third quarter is they just got the ball and kept it,” Bishop said. "They just grinded it out for five, six yards at a time. Both teams running the football and our inability to pass the football tonight made the game go by so fast.
"The running back [Lester] is the real deal. We had a tough time with him last year and he had some very tough runs. He’s a great high school football player.”
Adairsville will look to bounce back next week with a home game versus Bartow County rival Cass.