CALHOUN — The Rockmart Yellow Jackets didn’t have to give up a shutout win over Gordon Central, but they made the right move in their 45-7 victory on the road Friday night.
Late in the game with a running clock, the Jackets’ defense let Warriors running back Jesse Walters come through and score on a 75-yard run in a pre-planned play between the two head coaches.
“He is an outstanding young man,” Gordon Central Head Coach TJ Hamilton said. “He means everything to the Warriors. He’s amazing. This run right here means everything to him.”
Hamilton said when he called Rockmart head coach Biff Parson about the play, he was immediately supportive. Parson added that he was glad to give Walters the chance to score.
“It’s just the right thing to do, and that’s what we preach to our kids about the standard. It’s about doing what’s right,” Parson said. “As much as we like a shutout and holding opponents to a certain amount of yards, at the end of the day that made that kid’s life and that’s the least we can do from our end.”
Rockmart otherwise had no trouble with the Warriors through the rest of the Region 7-AA game. The Jackets put up 38 unanswered points through three quarters of play as quarterback Javin Whatley scored two touchdowns on the ground and one in the air.
A pair of fumbles given up by the Warrior’s Jordan Boone and then a pair of interceptions thrown by Gordon Central quarterback Sean Grey set up scores by Mehki Floyd, a pick-six by Deidric Gibson, and a pair of short runs across the plane by Whatley kept the Warriors off-balance through the first half, as well as one more in the air for the Jackets’ quarterback.
Whatley ended his night going 4 for 13 for 156 passing with a touchdown pass to Reed Couch in the second quarter.
Rockmart (9-0, 6-0 7-AA) ended up putting 448 yards on the board overall compared to 241 by Gordon Central, whose only points came from Watkins.
Cooper Yanzetich attempted a pair of field goals. The first put the Jackets on the scoreboard 3-0 in the first quarter, and another missed low with a running clock in the fourth quarter.
Rockmart faces Model at home for Senior Night hoping to finish a perfect season and wrap up the Region 7-AA title, while Gordon Central (2-7, 2-4) travels to Coosa for its season finale.