That held true during Friday’s game against Cass as the pair combined for 312 of the team’s 386 yards of total offense.
The running backs did accumulate 119 yards and two touchdowns on the ground, but it was both Heath and Pennymon’s yardage as pass catchers out of the backfield that was particularly damaging against Cass.
Heath finished with seven catches for 117 yards receiving, with 100 of those yards coming in the first half. He caught three passes for 22 yards on Cartersville’s first scoring drive, including a 15-yard catch over the middle on a third-and-12 to give the Canes a first-and-goal.
He also gave Cartersville a first-and-goal after a 57-yard catch and run in which he lined up in the slot and caught a pass over the middle. He proceeded to go 57 yards down to the Cass 4-yard line where quarterback Miller Forristall would run the ball in on the next play for a 28-0 lead.
Pennymon, meanwhile, did much of his damage after lining up in the backfield on screens and swing passes into the flat. Pennymon’s biggest reception came early in the second quarter on a second-and-15 near midfield. He caught a screen pass and went 37 yards, setting up a Heath touchdown run on the next play.
Pennymon finished with five catches for 76 yards receiving in addition to his 59 rushing yards on nine carries.
Although Heath did catch one pass downfield for 17 yards with few yards after the catch, short passes to the running backs out of the backfield helped Cartersville quarterbacks Trevor Lawrence and Forristall go a combined 17-for-20 passing.
SECOND-HALF TURNAROUND: Cass was beaten by Cartersville in nearly every statistical category Friday night. However, Cass’ young team turned things around dramatically in the second half.
Cass was outscored 28-0 in the first half and outgained in total offense, 282-7. Cartersville also possessed the ball for twice as long, about 16 minutes for Cartersville to roughly eight for Cass.
The second half was much more productive for the Colonels, however, as they were only outscored 13-7 in the second half and outgained 114-81. Time of possession also was about even between the two sides.
After only attaining one first down in the first half, Cass ran off three on its first drive of the third quarter. The Colonels went on a 14-play, 62-yard drive that ate up more than seven minutes of game clock on their way to a touchdown.
Cass converted on two third—and-longs on the drive, including a 16-yard connection between Trevor Lowe and Walter Brown and an 11-yard run by Lowe.
On their other two drives of the second half, the Colonels marched into Cartersville territory on each.
PENALTIES AND TURNOVERS: As is often the case in the first game of the season, each team had its fair show of mistakes.
Cartersville’s bugaboo was penalties as the Canes accumulated 12 penalties for 85 yards in the game, including six illegal procedure calls.
Cartersville had three penalties on the team’s first drive in the fourth quarter, including two inside the 10-yard line that resulted in the Canes settling for a field goal.
Meanwhile, two fumbles hurt Cass after finding themselves in an early deficit. Chris Morton returned a kick 58 yards for Cass at the end of the first quarter, setting up a first down at Cartersville’s 17-yard line. The potential scoring opportunity would not last long, however, as Cass fumbled the ball on their next play from scrimmage.
In the fourth quarter, a Cass fumble near midfield led to Cartersville’s final touchdown of the day when Kobie Whitfield ran 48 yards on the next play.
NO TIME OFF: The Adairsville Tigers had just soundly defeated Woodland at Wildcat Stadium and one might have thought they would get a little time to just celebrate their 52-28 victory.
But that was not the case Friday night as head coach Eric Bishop quickly signaled to his players they would begin preparation immediately for their first region match against Ringgold, who they host Sept. 12.
“We’ve got an off week coming in,” he noted. “Like I told the kids, we’re going back to a camp schedule next week and try to work on the fundamentals, all the little things that will carry us through a very tough ballgame that we have coming up with Ringgold.”
Bishop said his team has cut back on mental mistakes its first two games this season but there are still a lot of areas that need improvement.
He said the Tigers are being flagged by the men in stripes and that he and his staff must find a way to reduce those penalties.
The coach also said the challenge from Ringgold will be huge because “it was a final four team a year ago and we’ve got to go there.
“That’s going to be a playoff atmosphere-type game.”
FEEDING THE PROGRAM: Bishop said a lot of young Tigers got to play Friday night, adding it is how he and his staff are trying to improve his team’s depth.
He noted a lot of those players took a big step by getting to play against Woodland.
“We had a lot of kids step up. We had a lot of kids touch the ball,” he said. “I’m pleased with their performance overall. Obviously we still have work to do.
“We’re doing a lot of good things right now, but like I said, we’ve got to clean up some penalties, but [we didn’t have] nearly as many mental mistakes. That’s probably the thing I’m most proud of.”
He said bringing younger players along is a big part of the job coaches must do.
“We gave up some scores and probably some pretty big yardage in that situation, but it’s a necessary evil,” he said. “You have to do that if you want to continually feed the program and build depth. We want to give those guys that practice all week a chance to get in there and perform a little bit.”
—The Daily Tribune News staffers Jason Greenberg and David Royal contributed to this report.