Kell, ranked No. 4 in Class AAAAA, got a pair of first-half touchdown passes from Matthew McGuigan to Brendan Langley in the opener of the Corky Kell Classic and the defense did the rest in a 19-8 win.
The Longhorn secondary was as good as advertised, forcing Chattahoochee quarterback Travis Marshall into short passes most of the day, causing two turnovers and collecting a safety.
“For our front seven, it’s got to be a good feeling to look behind you and see those guys back there,” said Kell coach Derek Cook. “It’s hard to be wrong right now with them … We were able to take [Marshall's] eyes off the receivers to find the rush, and when he did that, we were able to converge on him.”
Marshall completed 14 of 18 passes, all but one of the completions coming on short-range passes. He finished with 101 passing yards and rushed for 56.
“Defensively, you take away that one series to start the second half- and that was on a short field – take that away and we played near perfect,” Cook said.
Langley, who said he was four weeks removed from a bout with mono, gave the defense more than enough cushion to work with.
The South Carolina commitment finished with 91 yards rushing, including 63 on a reverse early in the third quarter, to go with his four receptions for 64 yards and two touchdowns.
“I hope people realize now that so long as we keep playing as a team like we did today, they can look forward to us being back here in December,” Langley said.
Marshall, who earlier in the week committed to Navy, was sacked four times, including once for a second-quarter safety, and lost a fumble that led to Kell’s first score.
His third-down fumble on the Cougars’ first series was recovered at the Chattahoochee 43 by Kell’s Jay Moxley. Six plays later, McGuigan hit Langley on a swing pass and Langley sprinted 28 yards for the touchdown.
Kell drove to the Cougar 4-yard line midway through the second quarter before stalling and trying a 21-yard field goal, which was blocked by Chattahoochee’s Will Johnson.
Even that turned into a positive for Kell. On Chattahoochee’s first snap of the ensuring series, Kell’s Zach Cloer sacked Marshall for a 7-yard loss to the four, and on the next play Michael Valero wrapped up Marshall in the end zone for a safety and a 9-0 lead.
Langley’s 27-yard touchdown reception with 53 seconds left in the first half made it 16-0.
Chattahoochee’s lone score came on a 10-yard run by Chase Nelson in the third quarter.
Chattahoochee 0 0 8 0 – 8
Kell 7 9 0 3 – 19
K – Brendan Langley 28 pass from Matthew McGuigan (Cameron Massung kick)
K – Safety (Michael Valero sacked Travis Marshall in end zone)
K – Langley 27 pass from McGuigan (Massung kick)
C – Chase Nelson 10 run (Marshall run)
K – FG Massung 33