Head coach Eric Bishop had said before the game the path would be smoother for the winner to claim the region’s No. 3 seed, while the loser would be tasked with finding a way to take the fourth seed.
The two teams had entered the evening with identical 2-1 Region 5-AAA records.
On Friday night, the Tigers scored all five of their touchdowns with their running game.
Quarterback Marcus Childers scored two of those touchdowns and Tristin Smith notched a pair himself for Adairsville. Sidnee Johnson scored the other touchdown for the Tigers.
Childers led the Tigers’ ground assault, running for 134 yards on 10 rushes. He was 7-of-16 for 66 yards through the air.
“Our offensive line had a great ball game tonight,” Bishop said. “I would say this is our best game up front offensively, although I have not seen the film yet.”
The aerial attack was effective while not exactly clicking on all cylinders.
“We kept trying to force it in good-and-down distance situations and get that part of our offense rolling,” Bishop said. “We are still growing. Like I told the kids, ‘We’ve still got work left to do so we will get in field house and in the film room and try to get those things corrected with a very big game against Cartersville coming up.”
He said Childers is continuing to make strides as a signal-caller.
“We have continually given him more and more responsibilities in calls and checking and he’s growing as a player, too, just like the rest of this team. He got us out of some bad plays and into some good ones tonight. Hopefully he’ll continue to grow and that will only make us our offense better.”
Adairsville scored the game’s first touchdown, using four plays on its initial drive of the game to cover 59 yards. Childers punctuated the drive with a 37-yard run with 9:17 remaining in the period, and the Tigers were up 7-0 after Dakota Hines made good on the point-after-touchdown attempt. Hines was five-for-five in that category for the evening.
The Tigers stretched their lead their next opportunity when they took seven plays to travel 80 yards, a drive that was capped by a 42-yard touchdown run by Johnson with 2:42 remaining in the first frame.
Sonoraville responded with a 13-play drive itself, covering 49 yards, that scored on a 4-yard run by Chris Crowe. The Phoenix made the PAT and had halved the lead, 14-7, with 7:02 remaining in the second period.
Adairsville responded with a 12-play drive the next series and took up almost five minutes before Smith pounded his way into the end zone over a Phoenix tackler with 2:35 left until the break, the Tigers leading 21-7.
Adairsville opened the second half with a 12-play drive highlighted by a 19-yard pass from Childers to Brett Gutkowski and a 22-yard run by Childers. Childers later tallied the Tigers’ fourth touchdown of the evening from nine yards out as they claimed a 28-7 lead.
Sonoraville responded with a 76-yard run by Clark Johnson to pull to within 28-14.
The Phoenix almost made a game of it in the final quarter but turned the ball over at the Adairsville 18.
The Tiger offense turned that opportunity into points three plays later when Smith punched in his second touchdown of the night with a 1-yard run.
Bishop said the Tigers have an important win but now must concentrate on continuing to improve.
“We control our own destiny as far as the playoffs,” he said. “It was a good win for us from the standpoint that we are able to accomplish some of those consistency things on offense, especially up front.”
Adairsville improved to 5-2 overall and is now 3-1 in the region.
The Tigers next play Cartersville, who they host next Friday. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m.
Their remaining region foes are Gordon Central, who they play Nov. 1, and Coahulla Creek, who they entertain Nov. 8.
Sonoraville drops to 2-5 overall, 2-2 in the region.
The Phoenix next play Friday when they host Gordon Central. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m.
Their other remaining region foes are Cartersville, who they visit Nov. 1, and Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe, who they entertain Nov. 8.