HONORING LEGENDARY CANES — Before Friday’s game, Cartersville took the time to posthumously honor three former coaches for their selection as Athletic Hurricane Heroes. Those selected for the award’s inaugural class were Matthew Hill, Roger Lowe and Jeff Cave.
Although the initial class included just a trio of former coaches, it was announced that the award would “recognize and honor outstanding achievements of individual athletes, coaches/administrators and teams of Cartersville High School who have contributed to the integrity, promotion and growth of athletics.”
Hill spent 32 years in the Cartersville School System as a teacher, coach and assistant principal. He also served 12 years on the school board.
Lowe is most well known for his work as a soccer coach for the Canes. For more than 30 years, he coached the boys and helped bring about the start of the school’s girls program.
Cave coached football and wrestling for the Canes, even while battling cancer. He is remembered annually through the Jeff Cave Scholarship, which is awarded to one male and one female senior.
Each honoree was memorialized with a plaque unveiled underneath the Cartersville scoreboard.
INJURY ISSUES CONTINUE — The Cartersville football team had three honorees on the AJC preseason all-state team. Only one of those three players has played in both of the Canes games, thus far.
Senior defensive back Marko Dudley hasn’t seen the field in either contest or the scrimmage. Offensive lineman Jonah Gambill played in the scrimmage and the opened against Allatoona, but the senior Memphis commit sat out Friday’s win over Luella. Senior quarterback Tee Webb has been the only one of the trio to not be bitten by the injury bug.
Neither Dudley nor Gambill was dressed out Friday. The latter was seen roaming the Cartersville sidelines with his right arm in a sling. Canes head coach Conor Foster said Gambill’s injury was to his arm, as opposed to the shoulder, and didn’t seem concerned.
"Just a little nick, he'll be good to go," Foster said.
Gambill and Dudley weren’t the only Canes regulars missing the game. Linebacker Jaylon Akins remained out with a shoulder injury suffered in the scrimmage against Dalton. However, fellow inside linebacker Harrison Allen made his return against Luella, albeit in a seemingly limited capacity.
Elsewhere, junior Oscar Hernandez didn’t handle the kicking duties with punter Andrew Elizalde taking over kickoffs and point-after tries. Afterwards, Foster simply said, “Everything’s good,” in reference to Hernandez.
While injury woes are never welcomed, optimistic Cartersville fans would point out that it’s better to have them early in the season.
SCORE TWO FOR THE UNDERDOG — What a difference a week can make.
After losing to in-county rival Adairsville in the first week of the season, the remainder of the schedule appeared much tougher for Cass.
Not only was Adairsville the least daunting of the Colonels’ 10 opponents this year, at least on paper, but Cass’ final eight games come in, arguably, the most competitive region in Class 5A. And, before that, Cass had to take on a Class 7A playoff team from last season in Forsyth Central.
It appeared there weren’t many wins on the Colonels’ 2019 schedule going into Friday’s home opener against Forsyth Central, and that Cass would have to steal any wins the team could muster as underdogs.
Well, score one for the underdog.
The Colonels won Friday’s game over the Bulldogs 15-7 at Doug Cochran Stadium after going in as 14-point 'dogs, according to the Maxwell computer projections. According to those Maxwell ratings, three teams still on Cass’ schedule are ranked below Forsyth Central (Villa Rica, Hiram and Woodland).
While computer projections are flawed and aren’t nearly as accurate early in the season, the Colonels’ 2019 season outlook unequivocally improved with Friday’s upset.
On the other side of the coin, Cass’ opponent next week, Woodland, had the exact opposite turn of events occur Friday night at East Hall. The Wildcats lost 34-28.
A young team got off to a poor start in the first half with many of the Wildcat players seeing their first meaningful varsity action in a road game. Still, if you were going through the schedule in the preseason, Woodland fans had this one penciled in as a win.
Woodland beat East Hall 56-6 last year and was a 12-point favorite Friday at East Hall, according to the Maxwell computer projections.
The Wildcats will have to regroup as they enter region play next week at home against Cass. The two likely weakest opponents Woodland will play all year are in the rearview mirror and Woodland is now 1-1. Upcoming is the brutal Region 7-AAAAA slate of games.