The Kell Longhorns stayed on track last week and improved to 4-0 with a tough 20-13 win over East Paulding. Running back Brian Randolph carried the ball 17 times for a team-high 135 yards and two touchdowns to lead the ‘Horns.
“Randolph was big for us with those two scores,” said head coach Derek Cook.
He also played safety on defense and made some key tackles in the late stages of the game to help Kell hang onto a seven-point lead and eventually a victory. One of the turning points of the game was a critical fourth-and-one play when Cook called a play-action fake and quarterback Austin Petrik passed off to fullback Chris Gaines for a touchdown that tied the game at 13.
The win over East Paulding marked the first victory of the season over a Class 4A opponent. On paper that should have meant that it would be an easier game than those against Class 5A foes. However, East Paulding is a former Class 5A team just like Kell and the Raiders presented just as much of a challenge to them. The Longhorns are steadily climbing the rankings, coming in this week at No. 5 (GPB/AJC rankings). Thing will not get any easier for Kell as the team will face undefeated and No.6 (GPB/AJC rankings) Hiram this week. The Hornets have absolutely crushed every opponent they have faced this year, as the combined score of their games is 148-13. The Hornets have two shutouts to their credit and look unbeatable at this point. It will be a mighty test for Kell.
INDIAN SUMMER …
McEachern has recovered rather nicely after an opening loss to Peachtree Ridge. Since then, they have won three straight games including last week’s 54-15 pasting of Campbell. If was one key to the Indians’ win over Campbell, it was the way the defense held the Spartan rushing attack. McEachern managed to hold the Spartans to only five total yards on the ground and outgained Campbell in total yards, 405-138.
Quarterbacks Dondre Purnell and Trent Thompson put McEachern ahead early with scoring drives of 72 and 27 yards respectively on the team’s first two possessions. It was pretty much a route from then on as they led 33-0 at halftime and would never be challenged in the game.
“I’m thankful for the talented players that we have on this team, because it’s going to get tougher each week, and we’ll see how things go after this week off coming up,” head coach Kyle Hockman told the MDJ after the game.
The Indians will have a bye this week and face South Cobb at home on October 1.
BUCS GASHED BY DALTON …
Allatoona fell just short of improving to 4-0 last week, as they fell in a heartbreaker to Dalton, 21-17. The Catamounts scored the game-winning touchdown with only 19 seconds to play. Miles Jones was again a leader for the Buccaneers with 78 yards on 22 carries and a touchdown that gave his team a 17-14 lead late in the fourth quarter. It was the first time Jones was held under 100 yards this season. The turning point in the game came just before the half when Allatoona was leading 10-7 and Dalton blocked a punt and scored a touchdown to take a 14-10 halftime lead.
“We just did things that we shouldn’t do and that cost us,” said head coach Gary Varner. The loss left the team at 3-1, but still very much in contention for a region championship. The Bucs will have a bye week this week and then face first-place Cartersville in a very important region matchup.
EAGLES EDGE HILLGROVE …
South Cobb won their third straight contest with a 20-19 nail-biter over Hillgrove. The Eagles were able to stave off a field goal attempt in the final second to preserve the victory. Quarterback Johntavious Mullins completed a 12-point comeback with a 17-yard go-ahead run for a touchdown. He was the unquestioned leader of the team in this game, finishing with 232 yards passing and 47 yards rushing with two touchdowns.
“We knew this was going to be one of the biggest games we ever played. We didn’t expect it to be this close. We fought hard and played through tough times,” Mullins told the MDJ. After a week off the Eagles will have a region showdown with McEachern that will settle some early season arguments as to whether South Cobb is back.