It's been a topsy-turvy beginning to the high school football season in Bartow County. With every team having played two games, the collection of teams sit at 5-3 overall.
Following Friday's games, Cartersville is still unbeaten after walloping Luella by a 47-0 margin. The other three county schools are all 1-1. Cass knocked off Class 7A foe Forsyth Central in a 15-7 win; Woodland's comeback bid fell short in a 34-28 loss to East Hall; and Adairsville, which was idle, also has an even record.
On one hand, it's impressive for every team to have won at least one game, so far. On the other hand, a couple of those 1-1 teams will certainly feel like they easily could be still undefeated.
The wildest part is that had it not been for an all-state kicker from Allatoona missing two field goals, every team in the county would be 1-1 at this juncture.
Region play begins next week for three schools. Woodland and Cass meet in the Region 7-AAAAA opener for both schools. Adairsville, meanwhile, heads to Coahulla Creek. In non-region action, Cartersville will welcome McNair to Weinman Stadium.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Santino Jones — Cass
If you were not familiar with the Cass High football program before Friday night, you might have wondered who that No. 16 was who was stealing the show against Forsyth Central.
The sophomore transferred from Calhoun this year, and the roster provided by the coaches in the preseason didn’t have a No. 16 listed.
But Jones had his coming-out party against Forsyth Central, scoring the opening touchdown for Cass in the first quarter on a big catch-and-run play.
Jones then had two crucial interceptions in the fourth quarter to stop Forsyth Central drives, the last one sealing the first win of the season for the Colonels in their home opener at Doug Cochran Stadium.
The defensive back added three tackles and pass breakup in the game.
Elijah Harris — Cass
Jones had several big plays for Cass, but Harris created a big play of his own and consistently produced throughout Friday’s upset win. The junior linebacker forced the fumble that Mark Perdue returned 80 yards for Cass’ second score of the game to take a 12-0 lead in the first quarter. He also had 10 tackles, including an impressive 3 1/2 for loss and was in on a sack.
Devonte Ross — Cartersville
Ross remains arguably the most dynamic impact player in Bartow County. His ability to change a game in a blink of an eye is virtually unparalleled.
He did so twice on Friday night versus Luella to bookend a first half full of Cartersville touchdowns. Ross returned a bouncing kickoff roughly 85 yards to the house for a 7-0 lead just seconds into the game. A few minutes into the second quarter, he hauled in a gorgeous pass from Tee Webb for a 57-yard touchdown to put the Canes up 40-0 at the break.
In between, the junior hauled in a 10-yard pass on Cartersville’s first play from scrimmage; he snared a 14-yard reception; and the standout defensive back later added a short 5-yard gain. In total, Ross caught four balls for 86 yards.
Tee Webb — Cartersville
Webb completed each of his seven pass attempts in the first quarter before finally misfiring on his opening toss of the second. No problem. The Louisville commit’s next pass went for a 69-yard touchdown pass to Marquail Coaxum. Following a short connection with Evan Slocum on the next Canes series, Webb lofted a perfectly placed ball into the arms of Devonte Ross for a 59-yard score.
The senior preseason all-state selection didn’t get off to the best start to his final year leading Cartersville. He completed fewer than half of his passes in the season opener against Allatoona, but Webb was on fire from the opening snap against Luella.
Overall, Webb finished 10-for-11 passing for 189 yards and two touchdowns. He even added 12 rushing yards and a score on the ground. Look for a similarly robust line out of Webb, when McNair comes to visit next week.
Demarcus Williams — Woodland (2)
The featured back for the Wildcats, Williams rushed 16 times for 125 yards and two touchdowns Friday night, accounting for more than a third of the Woodland offense in the game. He got Woodland on the board with his 2-yard touchdown run in the third quarter, and the senior got the Wildcats back in the game with a 43-yard touchdown run late in the same quarter to bring his team within one score at 21-14.
Asa James, Woodland — James ran the ball 17 times for 88 yards, including a fourth quarter touchdown that brought Woodland within one point at 21-20. He also had two receptions for 10 yards.