FROM STAFF REPORTS
The Carrollton High School football team struck early and often to carve out a 41-7 region road win over Cass on Friday night in White.
The fifth-ranked Trojans controlled the contest from start to finish upon building a 35-0 lead by halftime, allowing third-year head coach Sean Calhoun to rest his starters during the second half and get several younger guys quality varsity reps.
Carrollton (5-1, 3-1 Region 7-AAAAA) racked up 265 yards of total offense in the first half — 149 through the air and 116 on the ground — while holding the Colonels (1-5, 0-4) to a mere 47 yards on 30 offensive snaps through 24 minutes.
Understanding that his ballclub had an opportunity to jump out and take care of business early, Calhoun was pleased with the focus and execution Friday evening.
"First and foremost, I've got to thank our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for giving us safe travels and our fans safe travels and having a good night for football. It ended up not being rainy, so the field was in pretty good condition," Calhoun said. "We wanted to go up there and play good offense, play good defense, play good special teams and stay healthy. We did that. So it was a real good business trip for us."
The Trojan defense forced a three-and-out on the opening drive of the game, quickly leading to a nifty 45-yard touchdown pass from freshman Terrell Carmicheal to Virgil Brewer on the first offensive play from scrimmage for the visitors.
"We gave it to Terrell on a sweep and he threw it to Virgil. It was very nice. A great way to open the game up," Calhoun said.
On the ensuing Cass possession, the Carrollton defense set its offense up with tremendous field position after Trojan senior safety Reid Dedman recovered a Rett Moore fumble at the Colonel 22-yard line, resulting in another quick score on a six-yard Brandon Marenco touchdown run.
"Reid being around the ball, that's his thing," Calhoun said. "He's always going to be in the mix. Having the ability to go on the road and jump on somebody early, you get to take their crowd out of the game and their momentum and home-field advantage out of the game. Being able to come out fast was really good to see."
Cass would move the chains on its next drive, but was forced to punt from its own side the of the field. Carrollton marched 79 yards on nine plays to stretch the score to 21-0 on a seven-yard Marenco run with 1:51 remaining in the first quarter.
Following two more Cass punts, the Trojans made it five-for-five on first-half drives behind a four-yard Keshawn Ridley touchdown run and a 30-yard run by Myles Morris run off a fumble with 4:04 left in the half for the 35-0 lead at intermission.
Taking the ball to start the second half, the Trojans tacked on one final score on a 32-yard pass from Morris to Virgil Brewer. Cass scored its only touchdown on its first second-half possession courtesy of a one-yard Moore run.
Morris completed 5-of-9 attempts for 124 yards and a touchdown, while rushing for 47 yards and a score on two carries.
The Trojans remain on the road next week with basically the exact same trip to face Woodland, Cartersville. The Wildcats (4-2, 2-2) fell to top-ranked Rome on Friday.
"We actually passed Woodland going to Cass. We'll be making the same trek, so hopefully our kids will be familiar with it. Another grass field and another good opponent that's doing some things this year," Calhoun said. "Obviously, we haven't watched film on them yet, but I know they still run the ball. Coach (Tony) Plott does a really good job up there. We need to have a good week of practice. That's what was good about this team and this week. We practiced so much better and we came out and played so much better. We're going to enjoy this victory because winning is hard, winning is very difficult. We're going to enjoy it and come back in and focus on Woodland."