By S. Thomas Coleman
For the AJC
Things started going Kell’s way last Sunday when the Longhorns won the coin toss to host their quarterfinal playoff game with fellow No. 1 seed Warner Robins. And that, as it turned out, was just the beginning.
Kell (13-0) started fast and didn’t let up, as the No. 2-ranked team in Class AAAAA advanced to its first state semifinal with a 52-28 trampling of the sixth-ranked Demons (11-2), Friday night at “The Stockyard” in Marietta. The Longhorns will face the winner of Creekside-North Paulding next week.
Kell jumped out of the gate on the first possession of the game, with a 16-play, 75-yard drive that stalled at the Warner Robins 5-yard line. Cammeron Massung booted a 22-yard field goal to put the Longhorns ahead, 3-0, midway through the first quarter.
Kell wasted little time adding to the lead as senior linebacker Keith Hampton grabbed a pass that bounced in and out of the hands of a Warner Robins receiver and returned it 12 yards to the Demons’ 36-yard line. Four plays later, senior receiver Julian Burris took a jet sweep in from 6-yards out to increase the lead to 10-0.
Warner Robins, which came into the game averaging more than 360 yards of total offense, got going on its next possession. But on a night where nothing went right for the Demons, the drive sputtered at the Kell 21-yard line, and then normally-reliable junior kicker Matt Monday left a 38-yard field goal attempt short of the uprights.
Then, on third-and-10 on Kell’s ensuing possession, junior quarterback Camron Rosendahl avoided the rush, stepped up in the pocket and looked as if he was about to take off for a first down. Instead, he zipped a quick pass to senior receiver/safety Taylor Hinkle, who stayed in the middle of the field and outran the Warner Robins secondary for an 80-yard touchdown and a 17-0 Longhorn advantage midway through the second quarter.
But things got even worse for the Demons before they could get to halftime. On the kickoff, junior Reggie Gordon was on his way to a nice return up the far sideline before the ball was poked out of his arms, right to sophomore Evan Carnes, who was brought down at the Warner Robins 34-yard line.
The Demon defense got a tackle-for-loss and a sack on Kell’s first two plays from scrimmage, but on third-and-20, Rosendahl hit senior Errol Breaux for 24 yards and a first down. Five plays later, senior Jay Moxey, who finished with more than 100 yards rushing, scored the first of his three touchdowns on the night from 3 yards out, to increase the Longhorns’ cushion to 24-0.
Any chance of a second-half comeback by Warner Robins was smothered on the Demons’ first possession of the third quarter when senior Danny Hite Jr. was stuffed on third-and-two at his 30-yard line. Then a bad snap to Monday on the ensuing punt caused him to rush his kick, which netted just 10 yards to the Warner Robins 40-yard line. After Burris took a bubble screen pass 35 yards to the Demon 5-yard line on Kell’s first play from scrimmage of the third quarter, Moxey took it the rest of the way one play later for an insurmountable 31-0 lead.
Warner Robins 0 0 14 14 28
Kell 10 14 14 14 52
K – Cammeron Massung 22 fg
K – Julian Burris 6 run (Massung kick)
K – Taylor Hinkle 80 pass from Camron Rosendahl (Massung kick)
K – Jay Moxey 3 run (Massung kick)
K – Moxey 5 run (Massung kick)
WR – Caden Johnston 9 run (Matt Monday kick)
K – Burris 97 kickoff return (Massung kick)
WR – Marquez Callaway 63 pass from Johnston (Monday kick)
K – Moxey 1 run (Massung kick)
K – Itabari Mason 6 run (Massung kick)
WR – Danny Hite Jr. 30 run (Monday kick)
WR – Terry Harris 33 run (Monday kick)