Another week, another huge region win for Cedartown football.
The Bulldogs improved to 5-2 overall and 3-0 in Region 7-4A play with a 56-12 road victory at Ridgeland on Friday night. Cedartown has now won five straight games following their season-opening losses to Rockmart and Calhoun.
For the fourth straight week, the Bulldog offensive line cleared the way for a 300-yard rushing performance. Reece Tanner was 3-of-5 passing for 54 yards, but Cedartown racked up 323 rushing yards for a total of 377 yards on the day.
“I’m proud of the guys for coming out and competing well against a region team. It’s always big to get a region win,” Cedartown head coach Jamie Abrams said. “I’ve already started watching film and see a lot of things we could’ve done better though.”
As has been a trend this season, Cedartown’s starting defense shined against the Panthers. The Bulldogs gave up just 254 total yards in the win, allowing 166 through the air and only 88 on the ground.
“The defense has done a lot of good things this season,” Abrams said. “They told me right off the bat that they wanted to be a good defensive team, and they’ve done a good job so far.”
With the victory, Cedartown took control of Region 7-4A. The Bulldogs are the only team in the region without a league loss. The closest team in the standings is Central-Carroll, who own a win over Northwest Whitfield and have suffered a loss to Heritage-Catoosa.
Despite playing a long way from home in metro Chattanooga, the Bulldog offense started strong in Rossville. CJ Washington scored on an 8-yard touchdown run to make it 7-0 with 7:24 left in the first quarter. Less than two minutes later Washington found paydirt again.
The accompanying two-point conversion made it 15-0, which was the score at the end of one quarter.
Abrams’ squad capped off a long drive early in the second as Tanner scored on a short run on the first play of the quarter. It was the first of two second quarter scoring runs for the sophomore, who tallied an 18-yard rush midway through the period.
Jayden Johnson added an extra score for emphasis, as the South Carolina commit broke away from the defense on a 36-yard touchdown run to give Cedartown a 36-0 lead at halftime.
The Bulldog defense forced multiple turnovers, including an interception for Jayden Johnson and a fumble recovery for Jai Barnes.
The onslaught continued in the second half. Harlem Diamond led Cedartown on another scoring drive to start the second half, tallying his fifth rushing touchdown of 2020 to make it 42-0.
The snap on the point-after-touchdown was botched but recovered by Jeremiah Johnson. The senior completed a pass into the end zone to increase the Cedartown lead to 44 points.
Jeremiah Johnson made another impact on the game later in the third quarter as he recovered a Panther fumble and house-called it from 37 yards out. Ridgeland scored two touchdowns before time ran out in the third quarter.
Though they had finally let the Panthers on the board, the Bulldogs were not finished scoring. On the ensuing kickoff after the second Ridgeland touchdown, Diamond flashed his speed to break away from the defense. The running back and special teams contributor returned the kickoff 85 yards to the endzone, making it 56-12 through three quarters.
Cedartown has a bye this Friday, with the Bulldogs’ next game on Nov. 13 at home against Central-Carroll.
“We will use the bye week to work on ourselves,” Abrams. “We will start working on Central some this week, but our main focus will be cleaning our own play.”
With a win over the Lions on Nov. 13, Cedartown would win the region championship. If the Bulldogs take Region 7-4A, it would mark their first region title since 2001.
“All season long we’ve approached the next game as the most important one, so we’re sticking with that,” Abrams said. “The next game just so happens to be that one, but we will treat it the same as any other.”