Cedar­town Mid­dle School foot­ball goes un­de­feated to win cham­pi­onship

The Standard Journal - - FRONT PAGE - By KEVIN MYRICK Editor

The Pep­perell Dragons locked up a spot in the play­offs af­ter out­last­ing the Cedar­town Bull­dogs in a 39-34 win in Lin­dale.

Pep­perell head coach Rick Hurst said his squad met one of their main goals of the sea­son by en­sur­ing they will be mixed up in the race for the AAA state cham­pi­onship with their Fri­day win.

“We ac­com­plished the mis­sion I set back in Fe­bru­ary when I took this job, which was to get th­ese guys back into the play­offs,” Hurst said. “That’s what we did.”

It came down to whether the Dragons could hold off the Bull­dogs late in the fourth quar­ter, when Cedar­town came storm­ing back af­ter a strong sec­ond and third quar­ter. The Dragons took the open­ing kick­off, but were forced to punt not long af­ter and gave Cedar­town the chance to draw first blood. That’s ex­actly what the Bull­dogs did, scor­ing the open­ing touch­down on their first drive of the game which ended with an 11-yard touch­down by Quan Neal.

Pep­perell struck back on the next play by block­ing the point af­ter, but weren’t able to cap­i­tal­ize on a drive that ended with a 14-yard field goal that left the Dragons down 6-3 in the first quar­ter.

The Dragons scored on their next drive, tak­ing ad­van­tage of field po­si­tion on a Cedar­town in­ter-

cep­tion thrown on third and long, and took the lead early in the sec­ond when quar­ter­back Trevor Thomas kept a 1 yard run.

Cedar­town re­sponded with a drive of their own that ended with 7:41 left in the quar­ter and gave Cedar­town the lead back.

The Dragons took the lead again with a 9 yard touch­down pass be­tween Thomas and Parker Gai­ley. The Bull­dogs re­sponded with a big play of their own as Neal went 65 yards for a score for a 21-18 win.

Pep­perell took the lead — and kept it for the rest of the game — on a Thomas keeper for 25 yards late in the half.

“I told them that if we could hold them on the open­ing drive of the sec­ond half, which we haven’t done all year, we’d have a chance,” Hurst said. “We did it tonight.”

The Dragons kept Cedar­town off the board on their open­ing pos­ses­sion of the sec­ond half, then put to­gether a 93-yard pitch and run be­tween Thomas and Will Chas­tain.

Cedar­town got a break in the third on a fourth and six play that gave the Bull­dogs a chance, and Neal came up with an in­ter­cep­tion late in the quar­ter to hold.

The en­su­ing drive went into the fourth quar­ter and setup a 42yard touch­down pass be­tween quar­ter­back Trevon Wof­ford and Darien Har­grove with 7:26 left on the clock, but could only watch as Tae Ham­mond ran for a 65-yard touch­down just sec­onds later to give Pep­perell a 39-28 lead.

Pep­perell put to­gether a drive late in the game which ended in an­other touch­down for Neal from 10 yards out, but couldn’t get the ball back with enough time left to try for the lead.

The Dragons jumped to 4-1 in Re­gion 5-AAA and 6-3 over­all on the sea­son as they head into their fi­nal game of the reg­u­lar sched­ule against Har­al­son County.

Hurst said it will be a good chance for his team to see what a Wing-T team can do on the field.

“This will be a good op­por­tu­nity for us if we end up play­ing who we think we will. El­bert (County) is a Wing-T team, and so is Har­al­son, so this will be a good test for us,” he said.

Cedar­town, who fell to 1-7 on the sea­son with the loss Fri­day, is hop­ing to get a last chance to get into the play­offs with their fi­nal game over Rock­mart.

Head coach Scott Hen­drix said his team will be get­ting ready to host the ri­val Jack­ets in what he expects will be the Bull­dogs’ tough­est test of the sea­son.

CJ Robin­son looks for run­ning room.

Cedar­town’s Quan Neal (33) looks for an open hole af­ter tak­ing a hand­off from quar­ter­back Trevon Wof­ford (9) dur­ing Fri­day’s game at Pep­perell.

Quan Neal and Lee Sis­son cel­e­brate a touch­down Fri­day night against Pep­perell, one of many scores for the Bull­dogs on the night that ended in a 39-34 de­feat.

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