DALLAS- Itching to get the two-week bitter taste of a home loss to No. 10 Kell out of their mouths, the Carrollton High School football team stormed back into action with a 56-0 dismantling of Paulding County at Dave Hardin Stadium on Friday.
The Trojans (7-2, 5-2 Region 7-AAAAA) officially clinched a playoff berth with the road shutout with exact seeding within the region still to be determined with next week’s season finale.
CHS head coach Sean Calhoun was satisfied with the way his players came out charged up and ready to dominate in the league matchup.
“These last two weeks, the good Lord put us through something and we needed it. All praise and glory goes to him for giving us safe travels,” Calhoun said. “We talked about starting fast. We had a bad taste in our mouths for a long two weeks, so to have a night like this was truly amazing to be a part of.”
Carrollton began the onslaught immediately in the first quarter when after a quick Paulding County (0-9, 0-7) three-and-out, a punt blocked by Reid Dedman would be recovered by Theo Banks in the end zone for a touchdown to put the Trojans on the board.
“That’s what Reid Dedman does. Reid Dedman blocks punts, that’s what he does,” Calhoun said. “We talk about non-offensive touchdowns all the time and we started the game off with one. It changes games.”
In their first two offensive drives of the contest, the running back tandem of Kodee Brewer and Brandon Marenco each broke off respective touchdown runs to give the White and Gold an early 21-0 advantage.
Making his first start under center, freshman quarterback Myles Morris got in on the scoring action with a 44-yard TD scamper on the first play of the next drive to put them up by 28.
During the first CHS drive of the second, Morris showed off his arm by hitting Isaiah Lancaster for a 21-yard pass to get the Trojans down to the one. That would set up a one-yard direct snap touchdown to Marenco to extend the lead to 35-0.
On the next Paulding drive, the Benjamin Tooks stripped Patriot QB Hunter Jennings deep in PC territory and Chase McDaniel recovered to give Carrollton prime real estate. Taking over signal-calling duties, Kashif Taylor housed his first snap of the night for a 16-yard touchdown to continue the blowout.
The Trojan defense once again chipped in on the next series as the senior Dedman came down with a tipped pass and housed a 20-yard pick-six to add on to their lead.
Finally, with a few minutes still remaining in the first half, Taylor put an exclamation point on the fireworks by hitting Lancaster for a 42-yard touchdown connection to give the Trojans a commanding 56-0 lead heading into halftime.
With a running clock in effect, both teams emptied their respective benches and played their reserves in the second half.
Coach Calhoun went through the list of things his players successfully accomplished on Friday.
“We had some main goals. Score a non-offensive touchdown, our kids did that. Pitch a shutout, our kids did that. Start scoring points like we know we can when our kids are fully focused, our kids did that,” Calhoun said. “We still have to learn from this film and get better, but we’re making those easy plays and hopefully we can take this confidence into the final week of the season.”
With a Class AAAAA playoff berth guaranteed, the Trojans can clinch at least the three-seed in their regular season finale next week versus Hiram. The Hornets were officially eliminated from postseason contention with a 30-0 loss to Kell on Friday.
“You’re guaranteed 10, so to play 11 on, you have to earn it. For this bunch to earn Game 11 is awesome,” Calhoun said. “Now it’s about seeding so we have to watch this film, learn from it and beat a really good Hiram team who’s coming to our place next Friday.”