Cartersville takes 4A to national stage; Woodward Academy and Spencer post notable victories
Cartersville will represent Georgia’s Class 4A on a national stage Saturday night as the Purple Hurricanes visit Florida’s Class 7A powerhouse Bartram Trail at 7:30 pm on ESPN2. Each Saturday morning during the regular season I will be posting a blog that summarizes the Friday night action with takeaways and what I learned. That being said, I was unable to watch Cartersville open its season with a 35-14 victory over Allatoona last weekend and feel it is necessary to include this Saturday night showcase in this week’s blog. So I will update this post following the game to include Cartersville’s intriguing cross-state matchup.
There were two results that stuck out Friday night that give light to this year’s 4A landscape. First, Woodward Academy scored an impressive 31-0 victory over Grady to open its season, a matchup that the War Eagles lost a year ago. It took less than two minutes to find the endzone and sophomore quarterback Mike Wright performed with both accuracy and efficiency. Wright is an intriguing storyline that has developed in Class 4A. He was a freshman behind Ryan Glover last season and only attempted 13 passes behind the three-star Penn signee. With Glover’s ability as a both a passer and runner, the 2016 Woodward offense looks much different than it does this season with the pocket passing of Wright. Tahj Gary had an outstanding sophomore season out of the War Eagles’ backfield, but it was his work in the running game fueled his success. Gary posted a team-high 14 rushing touchdowns but as a receiver saw just 16 catches for 155 yards and zero scores. Friday night, however, it was Gary doing his work through the air and the sophomore quarterback leading the passing clinic. Wright finished the game 17-of-23 passing for 242 yards and included three touchdown passes to Gary. At 6-foot-5, Wright has already seen a quick ascent in the Class of 2020 recruiting ranks and Friday’s performance offers validation.
The other notable result came with Spencer’s 28-18 victory over Carver-Columbus. Spencer posted consecutive playoff appearances for the first time since 1967 last year and head coach Pierre Coffey isn’t done making history in what is now his third season at the school. Friday’s win over Carver snapped a streak of 18 straight losses to the Tigers, but there is even more to this significant victory. The 28 points scored is the highest point total that the Green Wave has scored against the Tigers since 1966, despite playing Carver 50 times before Friday night’s victory.