1. Cartersville’s speedy secondary
The speed in the defensive backfield between Devin Henderson, Mark Quattlebaum and Bryce Gober has made the Cartersville defense as dynamic as ever, which is one of the reasons why Rockmart’s offense completed more passes to Henderson (1) than its own receivers Friday night. Even with Hayes Linn and Josh Cooper gone to graduation, the secondary is as strong as ever.
2. The emergence of Sidnee Johnson
Just a sophomore, Adairsville’s Johnson is certainly someone to keep an eye on in the coming years. He has racked up yards on minimal carries and has made our Sunday Standouts list all three weeks.
3. Three-headed monster
Three Cartersville running backs- Kalin Heath, Brandon Long and Tiamon Pennymon-have all had tremendous success this season, so much so that the coaching staff has begun to play all three of them together at times. This trio of running backs, along with the trio of T.L Ford, Mark Quattlebaum and Gordon Gray at receiver, gives the Canes a dynamic group of weapons. Meanwhile, Marcus Childers, Tristin Smith and Johnson have been dynamic for the Tigers, while Keelyn Wilkey, Chris Morton and Colin Rogers have produced on the ground in Cass’ pair of wins.
4. Woodland’s defense
In defense of Woodland and its 0-3 start, the defense deserves much better. New Manchester had scored 41 and 44 points, respectively, in its previous two games. The Wildcats held New Manchester to just 21 Friday night. Making the unit’s job tougher is the fact the offense has not stayed on the field for very long.
5. Cass defensive ends
The pairing of Justin Reed and Montavius Parker has been unstoppable rushing on the edge in Cass’ three games. Even against Cartersville, Brooks Barden was getting hit nearly every time he dropped back to pass. Against Heritage, the duo helped force three interceptions and a fumble that resulted in a defensive touchdown.
6. Cartersville’s balance
The Canes are averaging nearly 200 yards through the air and just over 220 yards on the ground. The team has scored 16 offensive touchdowns, eight rushing and eight passing.
7. Cass spreads out production
Seven different Colonels have brought the ball across the goal line. Cass has a total of 10 through three games.
8. Bartow ’backers
Adairsville’s strength has been its linebackers for years. Johnson and Tristin Smith have continued that with their efforts this season. However, all four county schools have had excellent play from the linebackers and are trying to take advantage of that strength by putting several on the field at the same time. For example, Cass will play Jordan Reed, Keylon Woodard, Lakel Scott and Noah Foley together. Cartersville will do the same with Jesse House, Pennymon, Jahir Camps, Mason Heath, Jawon Johnson and Tyler Reed all working into the game.
9. Cartersville’s outstanding freshman
It seems every year another freshman steps forward and helps the varsity Purple Hurricanes. This season it has been Trase Fezzia. Fezzia has 105 receiving yards in his first three high school football games, good enough for second on the team, giving the Canes even more athleticism at receiver.
10. Big returns
Quattlebaum and Morton are fast. That speed has translated into some big return yardage. Morton had a 58-yard punt return inside the 15-yard line this past week, while Quattlebaum had a 38-yard punt return down to the Cass two-yard line in their matchup.
11. Morton’s big play ability
Morton’s speed in the open field has become a weapon for Cass and the slot man has four catches and four rushes so far this season. One of his catches went for 78 yards and a touchdown. One of his runs went for 41 yards, which later set up a touchdown.
12. Woodland’s tough schedule
The combined record of the Wildcats’ opponents is 11-2, all of which are Region 5-5A schools. Woodland has been matched up with the best teams in the region in the early-going. As a result, the team’s remaining games are likely to start having much more favorable outcomes.
13. County win/loss
With the exception of games in which county teams have been matched up against each other, Cartersville, Cass and Adairsville are undefeated against non-Bartow opponents, providing reason to be optimistic as the season progresses.