Cedartown head football coach Jamie Abrams knows there is nothing much better than getting out to a big lead early.
So when his team marched into Tunnel Hill last Friday and did just that, going on to rout host Northwest Whitfield 44-8 in a Region 7-4A tilt, he was pleased to report it.
“It’s always good when you can jump out to a big lead in the first half of a game,” Abrams said while taking in a middle school football game on Saturday afternoon. “We had to use a big second half to defeat Pickens, but last night we were able to take care of business early.”
The No. 9 ranked Bulldogs scored all of their 44 points in the first three quarters and utilized the final interval as a chance to give some backups playing time.
Abrams’ squad wasted little time getting things going. After receiving the opening kickoff, Cedartown marched the length of the field in just over four minutes, capping off the drive with a 2-yard touchdown run by CJ Washington. Then, only two minutes later, Jayden Johnson found pay-dirt on a 3-yard rush. The accompanying two-point conversion made it 15-0 Cedartown with five minutes remaining in the first quarter.
Washington, a four-star junior, decided he was not done making an impact in the first half. He ripped off two more scoring runs — one from 6yards out and one from 53 yards out — in the second quarter.
Sandwiched between those touchdowns was a touchdown for tailback Harlem Diamond, who rushed for 35 yards in three consecutive plays before reaching the end zone.
A mostly uneventful third quarter was changed with 3:45 left when Washington crossed the plane once again. The Georgia commit scored on a 13-yard touchdown run, his fourth of the night, to put the Bulldogs up 44-0.
That would be the final points of the night for Cedartown’s offense. The coaching staff put in all reserve players to earn snaps over the final twelve minutes. Northwest Whitfield finally got on the board when Brayden Morrison surprised the defense on a read-option play, finding the end zone from 10 yards out. The Bruins converted the two-point try, but it was too little, too late for the home team.
“At this point, when you start region play, every game is important. They’re all important, but the next game is always the most important,” Abrams said. “The kids can come out here and feel good for a day, and then tomorrow we will start looking at it again so we can make corrections. It’s always positive to win, especially in those region games, and just control what we can control as far as taking it one game at a time.”
Cedartown’s defense, which has been the strength of the team all season long, shined again at Northwest Whitfield (4-2, 0-2 7-4A). The Junkyard Dawgs allowed 151 total yards and eight points to one of the top offenses in Class 4A.
On the flip side, the Bulldogs rushed for 320 yards on the day, with much of that production coming from the usual suspects in Diamond and Washington.
Cedartown (4-2, 2-0) heads out on the road again this week, this time to take on Ridgeland.
It will be the 13th all-time meeting between the two Northwest Georgia programs, with each side winning six in the series.
However, the Panthers currently hold a two-game winning streak over the Bulldogs after defeating Cedartown twice back in 2013. The game will kick off at 7:30 p.m. from Happy Valley in Rossville.