Last year, Sandy Creek held off LaGrange for a low-scoring 3-2 victory. This time around, the Patriots scored a little bit more as they sprinted past the Grangers in a 52-0 rout Friday night.
Coming off a loss to Cartersville last week in a matchup of the top teams in AAAA, Coach Brett Garvin was proud of how his team responded.
“The big theme all week was how are we going to handle the adversity of losing in a big game on television, number one versus number two. That’s about as big as you can get,” said Garvin. “We wanted to not to have a letdown. That game’s in the past. We’re done, and we can’t go back and get it again.”
The Patriots showed no signs of a Cartersville hangover. On their first offensive snap, Rashad Amos burst through the line for a 78-yard run. They picked up a key third down conversion on an 11-yard pass from Matt Williams to Brian Branch, and Amos finished off the drive with a one-yard plunge for a quick 7-0 lead.
The second possession was just as fruitful. A 23-yard pass to Ahmad Jackson and a 41-yard completion to Dealo Parson set the table. Williams went back to Parson to cap it off for a 17-yard touchdown and a 14-0 lead at the end of the quarter.
LaGrange thought they finally had some momentum going to start the second quarter. They completed a bomb over the top of the secondary, but the Patriots punched the ball loose, and Cody Jones pounced on the fumble.
Sandy Creek took advantage of the miscue, driving 92 yards in four minutes. Williams keyed the drive, hitting Jackson for 27 yards on a screen, Parson for 18, and scrambling for 19 to move the chains. Another successful screen got it into the end zone as Amos scored from 13 yards out for a 21-0 lead.
Forcing another three and out, the Patriots set up inside the 30 after a short punt, and they scored on the next play. Williams hit Branch in stride on a fly route for a 29-yard score and a 28-0 lead.
Getting the ball back again, the Patriots made their first major miscue. Buried deep in their own territory, Williams scrambled and his desperation pass was intercepted. LaGrange got the ball inside the red zone, but sacks by Nolan Johnson and Justin Beadles pushed them out of scoring range at halftime.
The end to the half left the Patriots with some teaching points to focus on down the stretch.
“We’ve got to polish up the penalties and execute. When we try to hurry, we get a little scatterbrained,” Garvin said. “We’ve got to calm down and stay focused on what we’re doing. If we don’t get the touchdown, we don’t get the touchdown, but we can’t shoot ourselves in the foot.”
Midway through the third, the Patriots got back on the board on a Williams-Jackson 22-yard touchdown. Jaiden Downing ended LaGrange’s next possession with an acrobatic interception, and Amos took it 52 yards to the house on the next snap for a 42-0 lead.
With the game well in hand, backups started entering the game, and Sandy Creek leaned on running back Dorien Graham for some big pickups. David Gonzalez padded the lead with a 35-yard field goal.
The final blow came after a perfect punt by Cody Jones was downed on the one yard line, and LaGrange fumbled the first snap. Abdur Jones pounced on it in the end zone for a touchdown and the final 52-0 margin.
Williams had another big game, finishing 14 of 24 passing for 258 yards, 4 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions. Amos ran for 166 yards and 2 touchdowns, with 3 catches for 41 yards and a score. Jackson led all receivers with 5 catches for 93 yards and a score.
With the loss to Cartersville, the Patriots are likely playing for the two seed in the region, and they know they can’t ease off the gas the rest of the way. Next up is 4-4 Cedartown at home this week.
“We’ve got to come out and play one week at a time, and they came out tonight and played really well,” said Garvin. “I’m pleased as punch with them.”