When Adairsville Tiger Head Coach Eric Bishop called this group of Tigers the “Cardiac Cats”, he had no clue how significant that nickname would be as the Adairsville Tigers came up with three fourth quarter touchdowns Friday night to defeat the visiting rival Sonoraville Phoenix, 21-14.
The two teams would feel each other out like two heavyweight boxers in a prize fight in the opening quarter.
The Phoenix offense, lead by the rushing attack of running back Wyatt Springfield, who would accumulate 42 yards on the opening drive, marched deep into Tiger territory on their first possession of the game, but an underthrown pass by Phoenix sophomore quarterback Jaxon Pate would be picked off in the end zone by Adairsville senior strong safety Jordan Carson.
Adairsville’s first drive would take them down to inside the 1-yard-line. The Phoenix defense, however, would bolt down and keep the Tiger offense from scoring as the first quarter ended.
The second quarter was all Phoenix. On their third possession Pate and Junior receiver Brant Bryant would start to take matters into their own hands.
Pate started with three consecutive completions to drive within the red zone. A false start penalty would back the Phoenix up to the 23-yard-line of the Tigers when Pate and senior receiver Nicholas Beddington hooked up for a 23-yd touchdown pass to put the Phoenix up 7-0.
On the Tigers’ next possession, the Tigers would drive down to the Phoenix 38, when Tiger sophomore QB Jonathan Gough would be picked off by Brant Bryant.
The Phoenix would continue putting pressure on the Tigers defense with a steady combination of running from Wyatt Springfield and Zach Lyles, but a huge third down conversion pass from Pate to tight end Ridge Redd would take the Phoenix to the Tiger 5-yard-line.
Pate would dial his own number on the next play and score on a draw play to put the Phoenix up 14-0 after the point-after attempt.
That would take the Phoenix into the locker room at the half with a 14-0 lead.
The Tigers would receive the opening kickoff of the third quarter, and Tiger Senior running back Eli Agnew, who was held in check for the part of the entire game, fumbled the return and Brant Bryant recovered it to put the Phoenix inside the Tiger 20 yd line.
Immediately, Pate would break off another huge run to put the Phoenix inside the Tiger 5 with a first and goal to go, but it would go downhill from there for the visiting team.
The next play would see a bad snap go over the head of Pate for a loss of 20 yards. Two holding penalties would then take the Phoenix back to near midfield and they would be forced to punt.
The next possessions for both teams would result in punts before Adairsville would finally get a positive drive going on offense.
After four completions in a row, Jonathan Gough would hook up on a 13-yardtouchdown pass to Caden Copeland , and after a missed extra pointattempt, the Tigers would crawl to within eight with the score now 14-6.
The “Riverboat Gambler” as Adairsville head coach Eric Bishop has been nicknamed by the Adairsville faithful, would kick an onsides kick that was recovered by the home team to give the Tigers the momentum going into the fourth quarter.
And the final 12 minutes was all Tigers.
The attendees of the game would be marveled by the helicopter arrival of Georgia Tech Head Coach Geoff Collins as he was on hand to scout numerous players from both schools.
He would be treated to an awesome performance from the Adairsville offense. Gough would connect with junior receiver Evan Sanders on another 13 yd TD pass, and after the successful 2-point conversion run by Gough, the Tigers had pulled even with the Phoenix 14-14.
The Phoenix would take the next drive and kill 8:51 seconds off the clock and move to the Tiger 10 with a fourth down and goal to go.
After running the clock down to 42 seconds, the Phoenix decided to kick the field goal for the win. After a good snap and hold exchange, Tokyo Gordon came up with a huge block for the Tiger defense that was recovered at midfield by Senior Tiger cornerback Isaac Linley.
With 30.2 seconds remaining, the Tigers would march the ball right down the field.
The first completion was 12 yards to the far sideline to receiver Grayson Belcher.
The next completion would be to the other side to Evan Sanders for another first down.
With 16.2 seconds remaining in the game and no time outs, the Tigers would dial up one last touchdown pass from Gough to Grayson Belcher for 24 yards that would complete the comeback for Adairsville.
The Tigers improve to 6-1 overall with a 4-1 record in AAA Region 6 play, while the Phoenix drop to 4-3 overall, with a 2-3 Region record.
The Tigers make the trip up to Chatsworth to take on the North MurrayMountaineers in a huge playoff seeding battle, while the Phoenix will take on the visiting Lafayette Ramblers in The Furnace.