Cartersville has quietly been rocking along this season. Will coach Frank Barden’s team be in position to challenge Buford by the end of the season?
The No. 2-ranked Purple Hurricanes have been scoring points by the bushel. Last week’s 41-3 win over Coahulla Creek make it four straight games with at least 41 points.
Cartersville (5-0) is the king of Region 5-AAA thanks to an offense led by quarterback Brooks Barden, who has thrown for 1,075 yards and 16 touchdowns. Barden completed 13 of 24 passes last week. His numbers could be astronomical, but there’s little need to inflict additional pain on an outmanned team.
Barden’s two favorite receivers are senior T.L. Ford (295 yards) and freshman Trase Fezzia (214 yards). For had two catches for 55 yards and one touchdown last week, while Fezzia had three catches for 49 yards and two touchdown.
The Canes can run the ball, too. Junior Kalin Heath rushed for 59 yards and caught four passes for 39 yards against The Creek.
Cartersville’s defense isn’t bad, either. The Canes have blanked two opponent and only once allowed a team to score in double digits.
The Canes are trying to play it “one game at a time,” but would love to get another shot at No. 1-ranked Buford. They met in the state semifinals last year, with Buford winning 21-10 to give Cartersville its first loss.
Ringgold surges toward consideration
The next ranked team that stumbles could have Ringgold ready to take their place.
The Tigers are wrongfully overlooked in Region 5 because of Cartersville, but they took a big step toward securing one of the league’s top two playoff spots – and a first-round home playoff game – by putting a 38-20 whipping on Adairsville last week.
Ringgold (4-1) averaged 11 plays on their first four drives against Adairsville and scored three touchdowns. It helps to have experienced senior quarterback Slade Dale calling the plays and running back Kyle Shell was outstanding in the win, running 16 times for 86 yards and catching five passes for 91 yards.
Ringgold had three straight road games, but appears to be zeroing in on the regular-season finale at Cartersville.
West Hall makes its move
Don’t look now, but the West Hall Spartans are making a play for the playoffs. The program hasn’t had a .500 season since 2008 and hasn’t made the playoffs since going 9-2 in 2002 in coach Tim Marchman’s final season.
Second-year coach Tony Lotti has the Spartans on the right road. They’re 4-1, but don’t have a bad team on the schedule the rest of the year. After this week’s game against Buford (doh!) West Hall plays East Hall, North Hall, White County and Dawson County. They probably need to win two of three against East, White and Dawson to reach the playoffs.
West Hall has an excellent quarterback in Zach English. In last week’s 49-7 win over Fannin County, English completed 7 of 8 passes for 99 yards and three touchdowns.