Pepperell shuts down Rebels
The Pepperell Dragons had little to play for, but wrapped up the regular season with a convincing 38-8 win against Haralson County on Friday night in Tallapoosa.
The Dragons (7-3, 3-2 Region 5-AAA) already had locked up the No. 3 spot in their region, but still rolled past the Rebels (1-9, 0-5). The team was mostly led by the defense and special teams, which accounted for nearly half of the team’s points.
“I thought our offense sputtered all night long,” Pepperell coach Rick Hurst said. “That’s just kind of the way it’s been all year.
“Our special teams and defense were ready, but offensively, we just kind of stopped.”
The offense started off well, scoring on its first play from scrimmage on a 70-yard reverse touchdown pass from senior receiver Chris Mackey to sophomore quarterback Trevor Thomas.
Junior everyman Hunter Chastain got the second score with a 60yard punt return for a touchdown to make it 14-0.
Later in the second quarter, senior Jacob Smith blocked a Haralson punt, resulting in a safety. On the ensueing kickoff, Chastain went 65 yards to the house again to give the Dragons a 23-0 lead at the half.
“You take those two scores away and it’s a lot closer,” Hurst said.
Haralson scored a touchdown in the third off a blocked punt of its own, but Pepperell responded. Thomas hit sophomore running back Tae Hammond for a 30-yard touchdown pass, and a two-point conversion made it 318. Hammond would finish the blowout in the fourth, scoring on a 40yard touchdown run to bring the game to its final score. More than anything, Hurst was proud of his defense for staying tough for all four quarters.
“Our defense was on the field a lot against an offense that was very unpredictable at times,” Hurst said. “I feel like we had a great plan going in, and I though we executed well all night.”
With the No. 3 seed in the region, Pepperell will play at Jefferson next week for the first round of the playoffs. Jefferson finished its regular season 9-1 and 5-1 in region 8-AAA, with its only blemish a double-overtime loss to region champion Oconee County.