Jackets hold off Mountaineers in Chatsworth, 49-42

Rockmart’s Javin Whatley (2) makes his way through a group of North Murray defenders during Friday’s Region 6-3A game in Chatsworth.

CHATSWORTH — Trailing by 28 in the third quarter, North Murray kept climbing.

The Mountaineers put together a furious rally after facing a large mountain to climb, but came up short in a home Region 6-3A game Friday night against Rockmart, falling 49-42.

The biggest deficit came with a little over seven minutes in the third quarter when the Mountaineers trailed 42-14. The two teams had exchanged scores in the first quarter to make it 14-14, but a couple of second-quarter touchdowns and two early scores in the third from Rockmart (4-1) built the big gap. A 98-yard touchdown run by Rockmart’s Jojo Haynes punctuated the Rockmart run.

North Murray (2-2) responded with a two-play scoring drive as quarterback Seth Griffin hit Cade Petty in stride for a 62-yarder down to the Rockmart two, then Noah Lunsford plunged in for the score on the next play.

After a quick stop, another long Griffin pass, this time to Michael McDade, set up a D’Ante Tidwell rushing touchdown, making the score 42-28.

Then it was Petty’s turn again. He made defenders miss, then tightroped the sideline for a 54-yard score to cut the Rockmart advantage to a touchdown with 8:37 still left in the game.

The Rockmart offense, which had been shut down for the previous three drives, sparked back to life.

A 14-play drive, led by quarterback Javin Whatley, shaved six minutes off the clock and increased the Rockmart lead. Whatley hurt the Mountaineer defense all night with his legs and arm. He ran for 117 yards and two touchdowns and passed for 130 yards and another.

North Murray did add a late touchdown — Griffin to Petty for 14 yards — but an onside kick with under a minute left was snatched up by Rockmart.

The loss drops the Mountaineers to 2-1 in Region 3-6A play and snaps a streak of nine straight region victories. Rockmart has now won four in a row and is 3-0 in the region heading into this coming Friday’s Homecoming game against Lakeview-Ft. Oglethorpe.

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