Two other Tigers also scored via the ground route while Woodland ran for all four of its touchdowns in the season opener for the Wildcats and second game of the season for Adairsville.
Adairsville took control of the game early, putting up 21 points in the first quarter and adding 10 in the second while amassing a 31-7 halftime lead. Woodland kept the game interesting, putting up 22 points in the second half while Adairsville added 21 more.
“It was a roller coaster ride there,” Adairsville head coach Eric Bishop said. “Once we got a lead we tried to come out in the second half and roll some players in there and give some of our players an opportunity to prove themselves and get some Friday night experience. We gave up some scores and probably some pretty big yardage in that situation.
“Offensively Marcus Childers had a heck of a night. If he plays for four quarters, there’s no telling how many yards he throws for.”
Wildcat head coach Vince DiLorenzo said his team has a lot of improving to do.
“It starts with us as coaches,” he said. “We didn’t move the ball very well on offense. We didn’t stop them on defense. Our kicking game was OK, but it was clear that we were having trouble on defense and on offense, moving the football and blocking their people.”
The Tigers opened the game clicking on all cylinders, marching 59 yards in eight plays with Childers punctuating the drive with a 1-yard touchdown run as they took a 6-0 lead with 9:13 left in the first quarter.
Woodland started its initial drive from its 32 and picked up a first down with help from a penalty call but lost possession when a pass was picked off at the 35.
The Tigers took over at their own 41 and quickly moved into Woodland territory with a 20-yard run by Johnson. Three plays later Childers hit Tony Hale with a 19-yard touchdown strike and the Tigers were up 14-0 after making a two-point conversion.
Childers put the Tigers up 21-0 with a 44-yard pass to Marquel Lane with 2:12 left in the period.
Adairsville capped a 10-play drive with a 42-yard field goal by C.J. Jackson midway through the second quarter for a 24-0 lead.
Woodland got on the scoreboard with a nine-play drive the next series when Grant Robinson ran in for a score from the 4-yard line, closing to 24-7 after the PAT.
Adairville’s next touchdown came after the Tigers recovered a Woodland fumble at the 18. Childers hit Hale for the touchdown and the Tigers carried a 31-7 lead into halftime.
The Tigers added to that lead midway through the third quarter with a three-play drive that was concluded by a Childers-to-Hale touchdown pass that covered 60 yards, putting them up 38-7 with 7:54 remaining in the third frame.
Woodland responded with two touchdowns before the quarter expired, one on a 1-yard run from Jonathan Applin with 1:35 remaining and the second a 2-yard run from by Khalil Morris that was set up by a Woodland interception. The Wildcats trailed 38-20 at that point.
Adairsville added to its lead with a three-yard run by Johnson with 9:22 left in the final quarter, leading 45-20 after the PAT was made by Jackson, and a 1-yard run by Blaine Bishop with 5:45 remaining.
Nick Campuzano scored Woodland’s last touchdown with 1:54 remainining in the contest.
Bishop said Adairsville had a good running attack against Woodland.
“Sidnee Johnson just pounds it on up in there and Marcus did a great job of getting us in the right play,” Bishop said. “We’ve got to the point now where we get into a formation and give him some freedom as a three-year starter. I can’t say enough about Sidnee. I don’t know what his stats were but every time he touched it, it was a chunk of change. We’re doing a lot of good things right now. There were not nearly as many mental mistakes tonight. That’s the thing I’m most proud of.”
He said the players will have to keep working to improve their game but he saw some positives in their attitude.
“There were certainly many times in the game where it appeared out of reach and our players could have quit but they didn’t,” he said. “I feel privileged to be able to coach these guys that won’t quit and won’t give up. We’re going to do our best as coaches to help them prepare and get ready for Forsyth Central.”
Adairsville improved to 2-0 with the victory. The Tigers have now defeated the only two upper division teams on their schedule for the year. Last week they overpowered Ridgeland, 28-14.
They now take a week break and open their region play against the powerful Ringgold Tigers, who finished their season last year with a deep playoff run.
After Ringgold the Tigers, who play in Region 6-AAA, close out their season with seven straight region opponents.
Woodland, which plays in Region 7-AAAAA, is 0-1. The Wildcats next line up against Forsyth Central on Sept. 5, kicking off their region play. Their next seven games will be against region opponents, too.