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It was like they never left.

After missing back-to-back games due to COVID-19 cases affecting the team, Cedartown football picked up right where they left off with a massive 35-7 win at home over New Manchester (1-3) on Friday night.

The Bulldogs were able to register another win, this time in the home opener, to improve to 2-0 on the season.

Cedartown’s offense showed an ability to drive down the field against the Jaguars early on. Unfortunately, both of the Bulldogs’ first two drives stalled inside the red zone, leading to two successful Mario Maldonado field goals to give the home team a 6-0 lead after one quarter of play.

The Bulldogs wasted no time finding paydirt in the second quarter. On the first play of the period, senior running back CJ Washington kept fighting through potential tackles and burst into the end zone from ten yards out. Maldonado converted the extra point to make it 13-0.

Maldonado had a solid night. The senior kicker was 2-for-2 on field goals and drained all three point-after-touchdowns.

Perhaps none of his plays were bigger, though, than his surprise onside kick following Washington’s touchdown. Cedartown recovered, giving them an opportunity to increase their 13-point advantage.

Once again, CHS put together a quick scoring drive. After a 48-yard strike from Reece Tanner to Donald Knight set them up with a first and goal, junior tailback Harlem Diamond lowered his shoulder and powered through a New Manchester linebacker to make it a three-possession game.

Head Coach Jamie Abrams elected to go for two, and Washington received the direct snap, hurdled a man at the goal-line, and bounced into the end zone to create a 21-point cushion.

Cedartown would add two more scores in the second quarter. The first came on a 37-yard touchdown run by Washington, in which the Georgia commit showcased his athleticism, speed, and refusal to go down on first contact. The final score for the Bulldogs was a two-yard touchdown run for junior fullback Patrick Gardner. That scamper gave Cedartown a 35-0 lead midway through the second quarter, which would remain the score for much of the contest.

The Bulldog defense continued to pitch a shutout in the third quarter, resulting in a running clock throughout the entire second half.

A blown coverage mishap by Cedartown’s reserve defense allowed the Jaguars to score on a long touchdown pass in the fourth quarter, but that is all the Bulldogs would allow in a massive victory at Cedartown Memorial Stadium.

Cedartown finished with 301 total yards in the home opener. They rushed for 253 yards on 38 carries and completed one pass for 48 yards. Washington led the team in total yardage, rushing for 123 yards on ten carries and tallying two scores and one two-point conversion. Diamond finished with 58 yards and one touchdown on seven carries.

As well as their offense performed, the victor’s defense was even more dominant. They allowed just 137 total yards to New Manchester’s offense, a unit that scored 30 points against Hiram a week prior.

The Bulldogs (2-0) will hit the road this week for their second away game of the season as they head south on Highway 27 for a meeting with Heard County (3-1).

The Braves, who entered Friday as the tenth-ranked team in Class AA according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, are coming off their first loss of the season after falling 20-7 at Darlington.

Friday’s game in Franklin will start at 7:30 p.m. Fans unable to make the trip can tune into the free audio broadcast on WGAA Radio or can pay to watch a livestream via WGAA’s Facebook Live or through the NFHS Network.

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