Photo by Theresa Bolden Devore
Everette Jones (22) tries to break free from a Carroll Academy player Friday night.
Photos by Theresa Bolden Devore
Drayton Potts (32) makes the tackle versus Carroll Academy in the district contest.
Javion Smith (21) battles for extra yardage against the Rebels.
Patriots pull away from Rebs
Marshall Academy, in what coach Barrett Donahoe labeled “a trap game,” left Carrollton Friday night with its seventh straight win.
The 34-13 victory over Carroll Academy upped the Patriots’ record to 7-2 overall and more importantly kept them unbeaten in District 1-AA at 3-0.
“It wasn’t pretty at times,” Donahoe said, “but it was a conference win on the road, and that’s huge.”
The victory came a week after the Patriots celebrated a big homecoming win over big school Magnolia Heights, a member of Class AAAA.
“I thought we were lethargic on both sides of the ball at times; the emotion was not where I wanted it to be for a conference game,” he said. “And that’s typical following the emotional win the week before. But we have to guard against it.
“We had a game plan in which we could overcome those issues, and we did. We executed on offense when we needed to in order to have some success.
“And defensively, we made adjustments in the game and played pretty well overall.”
The Patriots scored on the first play of the game. Ben Shaw threw a short pass to Everette Jones, who did the rest of the work. Jones dashed 81 yards for the touchdown. Justin McDoniel kicked the extra point.
The Rebels quickly answered. It came via the big play, too. Colby Holly ran 44 yards for the score. The extra-point try was blocked by MA’s Tanner Taylor. The Patriots were up 7-6.
“We just played it poorly,” Donahoe said about giving up the early touchdown.
On Carroll’s next possession, a high snap resulted in a 23-yard loss to its own 15. Two plays later, Will Hanggi and Javion Smith applied the pressure to the quarterback, and the home team was flagged for intentional grounding.
“That was a big swing in the game,” Donahoe said. “They had just gotten a first down and then had the snap over the quarterback’s head.
“From that point forward, they never could get much momentum going with their offense.”
Jones returned the punt 20 yards to the Carroll 20, and the Marshall offense was in business. On second down, Shaw took a handoff from Eli Pearson and went 18 yards for the touchdown. McDoniel’s kick made it 14-6 with 4:59 to go in the first quarter.
The Patriots’ Buford McDowell recovered a fumble on the Rebels’ next possession, but the MA offense could not capitalize.
The Patriots survived a turnover midway through the second period.
But after a big defensive stop on third down by Devarius Harris and a Rebel punt, the Pats had possession at the Carroll 47.
Shaw threw to Drayton Potts for 11 yards and a first down. Then the two connected again on a third and 11, this time for 33 yards and a touchdown. With 2:50 to go in the first half, McDoniel’s kick raised the lead to 21-6.
That score stood until the break.
The defenses of both teams stood tall in the third, with Jordan Bowen and Tyler Bolden making big plays.
The Patriots put the win on ice with an eight-play, 79-yard drive to start the fourth quarter. Shaw started things with a 17-yard run. Pearson picked up another first before Shaw added two more first-down carries, the latter one for 26 yards to the Carroll 21. Two flags on the Rebels pushed the ball to the 6. Shaw ran for the six points from there. The extra-point try missed the mark. It was 27-6.
The Rebels faced a second and 16 on their next possession. Harris sacked the quarterback and forced a fumble, which McDowell picked up and returned 9 yards for a score. McDoniel’s kick made the scoreboard read 34-6.
Carroll added a late score on an 18-yard pass from Logan Taylor to Noah Collier, and Holly kicked the extra point.
“Like I said, it was a win, but we definitely have some things we need to improve on,” Donahoe said. “We have to get better – it’s time (just two regular season games remaining before the playoffs).”
The Patriots step out of district this Friday with a road trip to Batesville to face Class AAA North Delta, a long-time rival. The Green Wave is 6-2 after a 33-18 loss last week to Magnolia Heights.
“North Delta is a good, talented football team that has won a lot of games,” Donahoe said. “It’s a rivalry game, and a lot of people get emotional about this one.
“It’s a chance for us to get power points (in regards to playoff positioning) by picking up a win over a bigger school with a good football team.”
He said his team’s goal is to be a number one or two seed come playoff time, which would mean hosting games all the way through the post-season until the state title game.