The Purple Hurricanes ( 7-1, 3-1 in Region 7B-AAA) had been using Jamie Jackson as their featured running back but turned to Kendall Martinez a week ago due to injuries to Jackson and against Cedartown the two took turns keeping the Bulldog defenders on their heels.
Although they amassed impressive statistics -- combining for four touchdowns and more than 200 yards in total offense -- the 31-6 victory by the Canes was a team win.
"Our kids are playing hard," head coach Frank Barden said. "I was proud of the way we played and the way the seniors played on senior night."
Friday was the last regular season game those seniors will sink their cleats into the field at Weinman Stadium and the Canes made the most of that opportunity, wrapping up the game essentially with one good quarter of play.
"We played well in the second quarter," Barden said, "and put 24 points on the board. The second half ... we managed to get down and get the other touchdown in our first drive."
The Canes almost scored much earlier, though.
Cartersville took the game's initial kickoff and started play on its 40, where it netted five yards on three plays and had to punt.
Colin Barber, the Canes' junior punter, then boomed a 55-yarder that found the end zone and the Bulldogs had to start from their own 20.
On their second play of that drive, the Bulldogs lost the handle on the ball and the Canes were in business at the 18. But three plays later Cartersville fumbled into the end zone and Cedartown had dodged a bullet.
Both teams moved the ball the rest of the period and Cartersville started marching to the Dogs' goal line with about three and a half minutes showing in the quarter. The eight-play drive chewed about half a minute off the second quarter -- highlighted by a 53-yard pass to Hayes Linn from Tyler Will, who was 6-of-8 for 200 yards on the evening. Jamie Jackson did the scoring honors from one-yard away and the Canes were up 7-0.
The Canes held Cedartown to three plays, then took over on their own 35. Jackson took the first handoff of the drive and found daylight up the center of the field for a 65-yard scoring play. Slemp's PAT was good and the home team was up 14-0.
Cedartown's next drive abruptly ended when a Bulldog pass found itself in the waiting arms of Talique Cochran at midfield.
The Canes passed once for 35 yards then lost one yard in three running plays and settled for a 40-yard field goal by Slemp, putting them up 17-0.
Cedartown mounted an eight-play drive in response but then punted to Cartersville with precious little time -- 1:04 -- remaining until halftime.
But an abundance of clock wasn't necessary when Cartersville's passing attack is working, and Will hit Jackson for a 72-yard touchdown strike, as the Canes carried a 24-0 lead into halftime.
Cedartown started the second half with a 13-play drive that penetrated to the Cane 14. That's when Carterville's Reggie Douglas stepped in front of the receiver at the two-yard line and clawed his way out to the seven.
Cartersville took 10 plays while eating up almost four minutes to score on its first drive of the third quarter, highlighted by a 34-yard run by Jackson and aided by a 15-yard penalty against the Dogs.
Jackson capped the drive with a three-yard run and the Canes closed out their scoring for the night, up 31-0, after Slemp's PAT was good.
The Bulldogs responded with a 16-play drive that ate up almost all of the final quarter but let them close the score to 31-6.
Coach Barden said he was pleased overall with the play of the Canes but noted an early chance to score slipped away.
"We missed one opportunity early when they turned it over, and we didn't get it," he said.
He said having Jackson returning to form was a treat.
"It was good to have Jamie back and have him healthy a little bit," he said. "This is the first game he's probably been back healthy."
He said the win is an accomplishment for the Canes but they must now turn their attention to improving their play for their upcoming gridiron challenges.
"We've got to go back to work on Monday," he added.
Cartersville returns to its role as a road warrior on Friday night, when it visits Pickens.
SCORING BY QUARTER
1 2 3 4 F
CAR 0 24 7 0 31
CED 0 0 0 6 6
CAR -- Jamie Jackson 1-yd run (Preston Slemp kick) 11:29
CAR -- Jackson 65-yd run (Slemp kick) 9:30
CAR -- Slemp 40-yd FG, 4:47
CAR -- Jackson 72-yd pass from Tyler Will (Slemp kick) 0:54
CAR -- Kendall Martinez 3-yd run (Slemp kick) 0:27
CED -- Nick Chubb 1-yd run (PAT failed) 2:12
1st downs 9 11
Rushes-yds 23/141 42/152
Passing yds 200 67
Comp-Att-Int 6-8-0 7-11-2
Total yds 341 219
Penalties 3-25 5-45
Fumbles - lost 2-2 2-2
Punts - 1-55 2-69
Rushing - CAR: Jamie Jackson 9-99, Kendall Martinez 12-48, Tyler Will 1-(-7)
Passing - Tyler Will 6-8-200
Receiving - CAR: Jackson 1-72, Reggie Douglas 3-40, Hayes Linn 1-53, Charles Owens 1-35