The Sonoraville Phoenix kept giving themselves a fighting chance with some big plays in the second half, but in the end, it wasn’t enough as Adairsville had built a big enough lead to survive the attempted comeback.
Adairsville used a multi-headed rushing attack to make life tough on the Sonoraville defense, and that helped them pull away and hold on for a big 35-25 win on the road in Region 6-AAA South subregion play.
The Phoenix (4-4, 1-2 subregion) never quit fighting as they trailed 35-18 less than three minutes to play as defensive back Blade Bryant picked off a pass and weaved down the field for a 98-yard interception return for a touchdown to pull his team within 10 with 2:29 to play.
On the following drive, Adairsville (4-3, 1-1 subregion) set up for a punt on fourth down, but attempted a fake that was ruled incomplete. Sonoraville drove down the field and set up for a 26-yard field goal attempt with 49 seconds remaining to try to get within one possession. But the Tigers came through with a game-clinching block of the kick.
Adairsville was led by the tandem of quarterback Mason Boswell and running back Christian Steele, who picked up chunks of yards all night in the running game. Steele finished with 144 yards on 19 carries with a touchdown, and Boswell also went over the century mark with 121 yards on 15 carries with a touchdown. Bryce Burgess came through with some big runs as well, totaling 64 yards on nine carries with two scores.
The Tigers led 28-12 at halftime, but on their first possession of the second half, Sonoraville’s Kobe McEntyre came up with an interception to set up the Phoenix with great field position at the Adairsville 20. The Phoenix punched it in a few plays later on a 10-yard touchdown run by Tristan Key, who had his own big night on the ground as Sonoraville’s biggest offensive playmaker. The senior finished with 208 yards on 24 carries with three touchdowns.
Sonoraville then got another defensive stop to continue on the next Adairsville possession. But after driving to the Tiger 16, the Phoenix were stopped on fourth down. Adairsville took the ball downfield on a long drive that ended with a two-yard touchdown run by Boswell as the Tigers’ retook control of the game at 35-18 with 10:47 to go in the fourth quarter. Boswell also threw for 63 yards, including converting on a third-and-long late in the game on a pass to Dakota Hughes to allow his team to milk more of the clock.
The Tigers were able to keep Sonoraville quarterback Patrick Moore in check in the running game as the senior was held to just 11 yards on the ground. He did throw for 114 yards on 10-of-14 passes, including six to Trenton Daniel for 90 yards.
Sonoraville was able to get out to a lead first, using an efficient rushing attack to drive down the field on the opening possession of the game that spanned nearly half of the first quarter. Key got all but one carry on the drive, which he punctuated with a seven-yard touchdown run that followed several big gains. The extra point failed, but the Phoenix took a 6-0 lead.
Adairsville responded with a long drive that culminated with a seven-yard touchdown run by Steele to give his team 7-6 lead early in the second quarter. After forcing a stop, the Tigers struck again, this time on a 48-yard touchdown pass from Cody Henderson to Burgess after Henderson received a lateral pass from the quarterback Boswell.
The Phoenix snatched the momentum right back, however, when Key out-raced the Adairsville defense on the way to a 55-yard touchdown run. The two-point try failed, making it 14-12 with 8:54 left in the first half.
Adairsville turned the half in their favor from there, scoring on two other possessions in the second quarter thanks to two one-yard plunges by Burgess to give his team a 28-12 lead at the break.
Sonoraville forced two turnovers in the first half as Bryant and Colton Richards each recovered fumbles, but the Phoenix were unable to turn either into points.
Sonoraville is on the road next Friday as they close out the subregion schedule with a short trip to rival Calhoun; Adairsville returns home to host Bremen next Friday.