Carver-Atlanta bowed out of the Class AAAA playoffs Friday, losing 17-14 to Dalton at Lakewood Stadium in Atlanta.
Catamounts linebacker Robert Hardaway sacked quarterback Jordan Holden on fourth down to stop the Panthers’ last-minute drive and preserve the win. Carver had driven from its own 12-yard line into Dalton territory with less than three minutes to play.
Aside from a two-point conversion in the second quarter, Holden did not play for the first three quarters. He entered the game after Daniel Palacios gave the Catamounts the lead for good with a 31-yard field goal to open the final period.
Tevish Clark started ahead of Holden, who had led the team to nine wins and thrown for 1,290 yards and eight touchdowns this season.
“We felt like Tevish would give us the best chance to win this week because he is more of a run-pass threat,” Carver coach Darren Myles said.
Carver lost top rushers Montavious Taylor and Derrick Johnson to leg injuries in the second quarter. The senior running backs were among several Panthers limping along the sideline during the game. Taylor had rushed for 127 yards on seven carries before his injury, and finished the game with 181 yards.
“We were down to our fourth string tailback at times,” Myles said.
After the Catamounts opened the game with 60 yards on the ground, the Carver defense forced and recovered a fumble at the 7. On the second play after the turnover, Taylor broke free for an 89-yard touchdown run, putting Carver ahead 6-0.
Dalton pulled ahead 7-6 behind a 63-yard drive that ended with a 4-yard run from quarterback Cole Calfee. Calfee also completed a 37-yard pass to Brandon Dale during the drive.
Carver recovered a second fumble at the Dalton 36 with 4:46 to go before halftime and scored nine plays later when Tevish Clark hit Steve McDonald for a 6-yard touchdown pass on fourth down.
On the first possession after halftime, Dalton recovered a fumble at the Carver 36 and evened the score at 14 when Calfee found Dale for a 13-yard score. The Catamounts (8-3) will play top-ranked Sandy Creek or Eastside next Friday.
Dalton – 7 – 0 – 7 – 3 – 17
Carver – 6 – 8 – 0 – 0 – 14
Carver – Montavious Taylor 89 run (kick failed)
Dalton – Cole Calfee 4 run (Daniel Palacios kick)
Carver – Tevish Clark 6 pass to Steve McDonald (Jordan Holden pass to Clark)
Dalton – Calfee 13 pass to Brandon Dale (Palacios kick)
Dalton – Palacios 31 FG