Friday night’s scrimmage went about as good as it could have possibly gone for Cedartown football.
The Bulldogs stayed dominant over Class 5A Cass on the road, but even bigger than the victory were the individual performances. CHS had several starters show out and saw impactful outings from numerous younger players as well.
The opening period was a stalemate thanks to quality defense from both sides. The Bulldogs raced out in front on the first play of the second quarter. After 12 minutes of trying, junior Patrick Gardner finally found paydirt. The high-impact fullback nicknamed “Juice” shed an attempt from a would-be tackler and dove into the end zone on a 7-yard scoring run. An Eri Velasquez extra point found its way through the uprights.
Although Jamie Abrams’ squad had a couple nice drives later in the second quarter, none came to fruition.
The Bulldogs wasted no time in the second half as CHS capped off a long drive with another touchdown run by Gardner, this time from 15 yards out.
Velasquez again converted the extra point with 6:22 remaining in the third quarter.
Cedartown quickly got the ball back after the Bulldog defense forced a three-and-out, but backup quarterback Drew Ledbetter could not cleanly receive the ball under center and fumbled it over to the Colonels. Fortunately, Cass fumbled on the very next play, allowing sophomore Demarion Martin to recover.
On the first play of the ensuing drive, freshman tailback Tae Harris saw his opportunity and seized it. The small speedster accelerated past the Colonel defense for a 44-yard touchdown run.
Cass found their only response on the ensuing drive. A well-timed read option caught some of the younger Bulldog defenders napping, leading to a 75-yard score on a quarterback keeper.
Freshman running back Jaquaveon Price put the exclamation point on Cedartown’s victory with a 65-yard touchdown run with four minutes left in the game.
Cedartown ran for 364 yards and four scores against the Bartow County team. CHS only passed for 32 yards on the night, but quarterbacks Reece Tanner and Drew Ledbetter were not asked to do much at all. The key to winning the game, from the signal caller’s point-of-view at least, was to turn around and hand it off to one of the several rushers in the Bulldogs’
Cass, on the other hand, managed just 117 total yards (102 rushing, 15 passing) against Cedartown’s stout defense. The Bulldogs allowed just three first downs, forced three fumbles (two resulted in turnovers), and snagged one interception.
Friday’s performance is impressive as the Cass program is one on the rise. The Colonels, which compete in Region 7-5A with the likes of Blessed Trinity, Calhoun, and Cartersville, finished 6-4 in 2020 and wound up just one region win away from qualifying for the postseason. The Colonels are expected to compete for a playoff spot this season as they return much of their production from last year’s squad.
Now, the real fun starts for Cedartown head coach Jamie Abrams. The second-year leader wanted to ensure his team was battle-tested by the start of region play, and he will get his wish starting this Friday night.
The Bulldogs will hit the road, traveling to Alpharetta to take on Denmark High School in the season opener. The Danes compete in Region 6-7A and leapt into the postseason as the two-seed after going 5-1 in league play. Denmark lost to 7A runner up Collins Hill 17-6 in the second round to finish a 6-5 season in just the program’s third year in existence.
Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Friday in Alpharetta. Fans unable to attend the game can tune into WGAA Radio’s broadcast over the radio (106.1 FM, 1340 AM), on Facebook Live, on YouTube, and on the NFHS Network.