A battle between Floyd County foes Friday night started out with both teams trying to get their offense off the ground, but it was Model who succeeded by staying close to it.
The Blue Devils had 268 yards rushing against the host Coosa Eagles in the Region 7-AA contest that saw Model take control with a 28-point second inning to go on and win 38-0.
It’s the second shutout in a row for Model, which has won five of its last six games and is in a position to finish no worse than third in the region and earn a state playoff berth.
Jabari Burge, who was the Blue Devils starting quarterback at the beginning of the season before Sam Silver was brought in mid-season, was rotated in midway through the second quarter and maneuvered his way to a 48-yard touchdown run on his second play behind center.
The senior would end up with 109 yards and two touchdowns on five carries through a quarter and a half of playing time.
“Defensively we flew around. Offensively we sputtered early, but Jabari came in and gave us a little spark there. And that gives defensive coordinators a tough Sunday to try and come up with different schemes in a sense if he can continue to do that,” Model head coach Jeff Hunnicutt said.
“He’s got that potential and that’s what we challenge him with as a coaching staff. Jabari is a competitor, so maybe that’s lit a bit of a fire under him. He came in tonight and did the job we know he can do.”
Model (5-4, 5-1 7-AA) led 38-0 going into the fourth quarter and the game was put on a running clock with each team playing mostly backups.
Both teams played to a scoreless tie after the first quarter, with neither team able to find momentum. But that changed in the second quarter as starting quarterback Sam Silver kept a Model drive alive with an 18-yard scamper on third-and-14 to get down to the Coosa 2. Tyler Gamble then charged his way into the end zone on the next play for the first score of the game.
Coosa (1-8, 1-5) saw a series of unlucky plays pile up in the second quarter, one of which happened on the ensuing drive as a high snap on fourth down went over punter Terry Curry’s head. The junior, who also is the Eagles’ starting quarterback, retrieved the ball but was tackled on his own 14-yard line.
Joseph Wallace scored a Model touchdown two plays later on a 12-yard run to the outside. Kicker David Veillon made the second of five extra points to set the Blue Devils up 14-0 with 6:18 left in the half.
Model’s defense, which held Coosa to under 40 yards of offense, added to the score when Anthone Williams picked off a throw from Curry to Nicholas Threadgill on the run and darted 42 yards into the end zone with 1:07 before the break.
The win gives Model a winning record for the first time since the 2016 season when it finished with a 7-4 record after losing in the first round of the state playoffs.
“We stuttered out of the gates and lost a little bit of focus, but we’re a younger team in the sense of winning,” Hunnicutt said. “I thought we played really well in the second quarter and we jumped on them with the pick six. I’m just proud of the kids. But we’re going into game ten and we have not peaked yet. And that’s a testament to where we are and where we can get to.”
Model will wrap up the regular season next week by traveling to No. 1 Rockmart, while Coosa hosts Gordon Central in the final game for both teams.