Rockmart vs. Callaway

Rockmart's Juke Boozer pushes against Callaway's Kobe Jackson as he runs out of bounds with a pass. (Kevin Myrick/Standard Journal) Rockmart's Juke Boozer pushes against Callaway's Kobe Jackson as he runs out of bounds with a pass. (Kevin Myrick/Standard Journal)

ROCKMART — The season is over for the Region 7-AA champs, as they came up short at The Rock in the second round of the playoffs

The 9-3 Yellow Jackets fought until the final down of the game to keep their run through the playoffs alive, but fell short at home as the Callaway Cavaliers came up with the 40-35 win Friday night.

Rockmart had a chance late to take a lead, but after finding success in a fourth quarter drive on the ground switched to a passing attack. On a third-and-9 play, Dylan Bailey threw a short pass hoping for a first down and it was instead grabbed by Callaway’s Courtney Williams for a 96-yard return and a touchdown to put the game just out of Rockmart’s reach.

“We had an opportunity when we got down here to really take the lead and got behind the sticks and did some things that just didn’t go our way,” Rockmart head coach Biff Parson said postgame. “That’s just the way life is, and this bunch is a resilient bunch, and we’ll bounce back.”

Rockmart put together a drive on the following kickoff and scored with Bailey connecting with Juke Boozer for a 9-yard touchdown reception, but it was too late for the Jackets with only 26 seconds on the clock.

“They played a good team, and you can’t have mistakes and turnovers when you play a good team like that. But I love my team to death,” Parson said. “They’ve fought hard all season to the end, even in games when things didn’t go our way.”

The Jackets finished the night with 456.5 yards of offense, with Bailey throwing eight completions on 15 attempts with two touchdowns and one interception. Whatley also put up big numbers on the night, with 15 carries and 83 yards and scored two touchdowns.

Callaway’s offensive numbers were just as impressive. The Cavaliers racked up 423.5 yards of offense, mainly on the back of DJ Atkins who put up 143.5 yards on 19 carries, but didn’t score a single Cavalier touchdown.

Rockmart’s season ends with their third loss after a big year, with a 6-0 run through 7-AA and a region championship, and a win over Alabama state champion Piedmont.

The Cavaliers will face Brooks County next Friday in the third round of the playoffs.