Close Losses Plague Cedar­town’s 2018 foot­ball sea­son

The Standard Journal - - SPORTS - CHS By Lo­gan Mad­dox lo­ganseth­mad­[email protected]

Cedar­town’s 2018 foot­ball sea­son was one filled with streaks and al­ter­nat­ing wins and losses. It in­cluded heart­break­ing de­feats and joy-filled vic­to­ries.

De­spite the sea­son com­ing to an end last Fri­day in At­lanta by way of a 38-6 loss to St. Pius X, the 2018 Cedar­town Bull­dog foot­ball sea­son had many suc­cesses.

Cedar­town opened the sea­son on the road on Au­gust 17, trav­el­ing to ri­val Rock­mart in what would be cho­sen as the Fox 5 Game of the Week. The Bull­dogs were hop­ing to ex­tend their win­ning streak against the Yel­low Jack­ets to 8-in-a-row, but thanks to an an­swered-prayer long touch­down pass to Juke Boozer in the fi­nal minute of the game, Rock­mart was able to claim the vic­tory by a score of 20-14.

This is the clos­est any­one has come to beat­ing the Yel­low Jack­ets all sea­son, the team that is cur­rently ranked num­ber one in the state for Class AA foot­ball.

Rather than al­low­ing the dis­ap­point­ment of the open­ing loss af­fect them, Cedar­town took care of 6A Alexan­der of Dou­glasville in their home opener the next week, down­ing them 33-7.

Fol­low­ing an­other close loss to a stingy Bre­men team 13-9, Cedar­town would de­fend their home turf once more, oblit­er­at­ing South­east Whit­field County 55-7. Se­nior run­ning back Tony Mathis, Ju­nior back Kobe Pryor, and Ju­nior quar­ter­back Taji Hud­son led the rush­ing at­tack fear­lessly in the win.

The Bull­dogs opened re­gion play against the Cartersville Canes on Sept. 21 at Doc Ay­ers Field. In a game where most re­gional an­a­lysts ex­pected the Cartersville to pull away early, Cedar­town’s de­fense was able to keep them­selves in the game well af­ter half­time.

Se­nior Zahquan Fra­zier was able to pick off quar­ter­back Tee Webb and take it to the crib to give the Bull­dogs the lead.

Un­for­tu­nately, the Canes were able to score in the fourth and hold on to win by the slimmest of mar­gins, 21-20.

Six days af­ter­wards, Cedar­town found them­selves trav­el­ing to Call­away Sta­dium to take on the La­Grange Grangers. On a rainy night filled with many turnovers, the Bull­dogs were able to mus­cle out a win by a score of 9-6. Cedar­town blew out Cen­tral of Car­roll­ton at home 48-7 the next week to im­prove to 4-3 on the sea­son.

Af­ter a well-de­served bye week, the Bull­dogs trav­eled to La­Grange once again, this time to take on the high­lyranked Troup County Tigers, who were led by quar­ter­back and Auburn com­mit Kobe Hud­son.

Once more, Cedar­town’s de­fense was able to keep them in the game late, but the of­fense’s in­abil­ity to score in the sec­ond half al­lowed Hud­son to score on a goalline run which would prove to be the dif­fer­ence, as Troup County won 20-13.

The next week, Cedar­town hosted Sandy Creek in a game that would de­cide the third seed in 5-AAAA. It was a back and forth brawl be­tween two run-heavy of­fenses, but in the end the Pa­tri­ots pre­vailed thanks mostly to two costly turnovers by the Bull­dogs late in the game. Cedar­town

fell 31-28, set­ting up a must­win game the fol­low­ing week.

On Nov. 12, the 4-5 Cedar­town Bull­dogs trav­eled down I-20 East to Dou­glasville for a matchup with the 6-3 Chapel Hill Pan­thers. The win­ner clinched the fourth seed in the play­offs, and the loser’s sea­son would end.

Cedar­town seem­ingly shook off the anx­i­ety of the pre­vi­ous week’s loss quickly, scor­ing 28 points in the sec­ond quar­ter and hold­ing on to win 45-13. As fate would have it for the Bull­dogs, they were paired up with an over­pow­er­ing St. Pius X Golden Lions squad in the first round of the play­offs, and Cedar­town’s sea­son came to an end af­ter the 38-6 loss in Cham­blee.

Any­one who would look at Cedar­town’s reg­u­lar sea­son sched­ule would see that each of their losses were ex­tremely close - they lost all 5 reg­u­lar sea­son games by 21 points to­tal and no loss was by more than 7 points.

The Bull­dogs were very close to win­ning each of those games, but the last per­son that wants to hear that is Coach Doyle Kel­ley.

As he said af­ter the Troup County loss, “We are a great foot­ball team. We do not like hear­ing that we ‘al­most won a game’ or we ‘played well.’ Ev­ery guy in that locker room

wants to win the games, and if I ask a sin­gle one of them how they feel, they will not be happy that we lost. They wanted to win.”

De­spite the dis­ap­point­ing end to the sea­son, Coach Kel­ley as­sured that there would be no time off for the play­ers. “We will be right back at it on Mon­day, pre­par­ing for next sea­son.”

Over the off­sea­son, Cedar­town will look to re­place quite a few se­niors who put in work for four sea­son and built a win­ning legacy within the pro­gram, in­clud­ing Dal­ton Bow­man, Con­rad Bris­tow, Tim Brown, Zahquan Fra­zier, Jerry San­doval, and fu­ture West Vir­ginia Moun­taineer Tony Mathis. Even with th­ese losses, the fu­ture looks bright for Cedar­town foot­ball.

“There are over 20 ju­niors com­ing back next year, and they are some very tal­ented guys,” Kel­ley said.

Some key con­trib­u­tors re­turn­ing are Jayan Kent, Chadriq Neal, Will Pil­grim, Kobe Pryor, Ja­cob Rush, CJ Washington, and Rashad Walker. Ex­pect the Bull­dogs to avenge this sea­son’s close losses next Au­gust when foot­ball sea­son kicks off once again.

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