Rockmart dominates in opener over Cedartown
The annual rivalry between Rockmart and Cedartown was renewed in the 2019 edition of the Battle of Polk County on Friday, and the Yellow Jackets extended their streak to two games in a 31-12 win.
Head coach Biff Parson said it was an opportunity to showcase a Rockmart football program that seeks to make big waves in the weeks to come and make it back to the top of the heap in the state.
“It was total dominance,” Parson said. “We hold them accountable that they had to play for four quarters, and that’s a group that played four quarters.”
Javin Whatley was the man in charge of Rockmart’s dominance on offense through most of the game, mainly on the ground after he put up four touchdowns on the night, with three coming in the last quarter of play alone.
Rockmart put up 278 yards of offense — a lot of that credited to Whatley — including 54 passing yards from the junior quarterback, who went 7 of 12 on the night.
The Jackets ate up more than nine minutes of time in the first quarter alone, getting down to the Cedartown 1-yard line before they were forced to turn it over on a Bulldogs goal-line stand. Whatley was responsible for much of the forward movement on the 90-plus yard drive.
Rockmart finally scored on a second Bulldogs’ defensive stand, putting up a 30-yard field goal off the leg of Cooper Yanzetich. Whatley later punched in a 1-yard score late in the second quarter to put the Jackets up 10-0 at the half. He also put up touchdowns of 3, 4 and 5-yards on the night.
“He (Whatley) brings a whole new dimension to the offense, and that forces them to play 11 on 11,” Parson said.
Cedartown fans got see some flash from running back Kobe Pryor when he punched in a third-quarter touchdown from 21 yards out after being denied a 92-yard returned blocked field goal attempt that was erased by penalty flags earlier in the game.
The Bulldogs ended up putting on 165 yards of offense on the night, much of that on the ground and split between Pryor, CJ Washington, quarterback Taji Hudson and others who pushed forward the ground game.
Right before Pryor put the Bulldogs on the board, Cedartown saw one of their big talents get knocked out of the game. Quarterback Taji Hudson was hit in the torso just under his pads by a helmet, and was pulled from play and sent off to Floyd Polk Medical Center for testing.
Head coach Doyle Kelley did not have information on his condition immediately following the game. Hudson was able to climb into an ambulance under his own power before leaving the stadium. Later postings on social media indicated he might have suffered internal injuries from the hit, and he was transported to a Chattanooga hospital for further treatment.
His replacement, MJ Holliday, was able to connect in a fourth-quarter touchdown play with Chadriq Neal on a 69-yard pass, but the Bulldogs were unable to convert on the extrapoint attempt.
Kelley said that he was disappointed with the outcome of the game, and that his team would do better in the coming days when they hit the road for the next four games, including their region opener against Cartersville.
Next Friday, Cedartown (0-1) heads off to play Alexander, while Rockmart (1-0) hosts CentralCarroll for their second game of the season in non-region play.
Cedartown’s offense runs out to setup a play against Rockmart during their annual rivalry showdown on August 23.
Cedartown quarterback Taji Hudson looked for open running room in the first half against rival Rockmart. Kevin Myrick
Rockmart cheerleaders watched along with the rest of the packed stadium as the Jackets looked to score during the first half against Cedartown.
Rockmart quarterback Javin Whatley runs the ball up the middle through Cedartown’s defense during the Yellow Jackets’ 31-12 win Friday against their cross-county rivals in Cedartown.
Rockmart quarterback Javin Whatley played center stage with four touchdowns against Cedartown in a 31-12 win to open the football season.
Rockmart traveled to Cedartown to play the annual Battle of Polk County game to start the regular season on August 23.