Coosa has spent the better part of the season proving to all of its opponents how much it has matured in the past year. And when Model challenged the Eagles in the first half, they were more than happy to prove it again.
The Eagles racked up 39 unanswered points starting in the second quarter as a stifling defense and big-play offense rolled past Model 46-14 in a Region 7-AA matchup on Friday night in Coosa.
The victory gave Coosa its first playoff berth since 2014, a perfect example of the team’s growth.
“These seniors have become leaders, and they have long memories too,” Coosa head coach Todd Wheeler said. “They didn’t forget Model two years ago, or what’s happened the last few years. And they have the discipline now to take on these challenges head on.”
Kenon Dixon was all over the field, racking up 140 total yards and a receiving touchdown. Quarterback Logan Pledger went 8-of-14 for 144 passing yards and two touchdowns, while Jalen Hodge recorded 130 rushing yards on 20 carries.
Model’s Kwalic Dublin recorded 65 rushing yards and a touchdown, while Matthew Syverson tallied 82 total yards and a touchdown. But the Blue Devils could never get things moving save for a touchdown drive early in the game.
Coosa (6-3, 4-2 7-AA) found its groove after Dublin scored on a 17-yard run to tie the game at seven. The Eagles drove down the field and scored on a touchdown pass to Kameron White, and added another score on a Gavin Hughes run five minutes later. Dublin threw an interception on Model’s next drive, and Coosa’s bevy of athletes on offense took advantage.
Pledger hit Dixon for a 36-yard pass, and on the next play Jaylen Nelson hit White for a 34-yard touchdown on a wideout pass, putting Coosa up 26-7 at the half.
“That’s just how we roll,” Dixon said. “When everybody can get the ball and make a big play on offense, you try and get everybody the ball. That’s just what we do.”
Model (1-8, 1-5) put together a few first downs to begin the second half, but the drive was halted by a fumble. Coosa’s offense kept rolling, as Pledger found Dixon for a 16-yard touchdown to make it 33-7.
A few plays later, Derricus Clarke intercepted Model quarterback Jackson Couch’s pass and took it back 31 yards for a score.
“Big plays, like they have all season, really killed us,” Model coach Gordon Powers said. “Coosa converted at least three deep passes tonight, and each of them we literally didn’t cover the guy. And you can’t let that happen.”
The fourth quarter featured a running clock, as both Coosa and Model scored a touchdown before the game’s conclusion.
Model finishes its season with a trip to Rockmart next week while Coosa hosts Gordon Central for senior night. While the Eagles are pleased with making the playoffs, they know they still have plenty to prove.
“Well, let’s get through Gordon Central before we get through the playoffs,” Wheeler said. “It’s certainly exciting, but right now we are worried about finishing the season the right way.”