Cedartown Middle School football goes undefeated to win championship
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.