Sandy Creek got back to the basics this week, and it showed in a vintage 41-0 pounding of LaGrange Friday night. With their backs against the wall, the Patriots (4-4, 1-3) put together one of their most complete efforts of the season against the Grangers (0-9, 0-5) to keep their postseason hopes alive.
Mired in a four-game losing streak, team leaders weren’t about to go down without a fight.
“They’ve been through a lot this week. They came together and had a senior meeting. They decided that they were tired of the direction of the team,” said Coach Brett Garvin. “I’m just as proud as I can be. That was an awesome job.”
The offense went with their bread and butter, simplifying the attack with a physical running game that was just too much for the Grangers to contain.
“One day at practice we ran the same play the whole day out of 2 or 3 sets, but the kids really learned how the play’s supposed to work,” said Garvin. “Sometimes we get caught up through the summer and first of the season trying to make sure you have enough in your arsenal and you forget about the basics.”
While pounding it out was the plan, it was the passing game that scored the first points. Matthew Williams found Amin Shaheed open across the middle, and he did the rest, streaking past the defense for a 70-yard catch and run touchdown. David Gonzalez, who finished the night 5 of 6, added the extra point for a 7-0 lead.
The defense played with fire all night. Brian Branch got the party started with a pick six to double the lead. It was a dominating performance, one a reeling defense badly needed.
“We needed a good game on defense,” said Garvin, whose team had struggled against high-octane offenses in recent weeks. “The kids can start questioning themselves a little bit, so they needed a game where they could come out and play.”
Sandy Creek padded their lead late in the half with an 87-yard scoring drive. Aided by a 17-yard Rashad Amos run and a pair of first-down scrambles from Williams, Amos plunged in from a yard out for a 21-0 lead at the half.
Jordan Clark found the end zone midway through the third quarter from 12 yards out as the lead swelled to 27. Amos put a little more on with a second-effort push to shake the Grangers on a 5-yard score. Clark dealt the finishing blow on a short run early in the fourth quarter for the 41-0 margin.
The defense, featuring a number of fresh faces late in the blowout, finished with a flourish. DQ Showers picked off a pass, and Lloyd Shobe and Jack Barczak teamed up for a sack on the final play to kill any hopes of a last-gasp score.
The Patriots look to keep the good vibes going this week when they host Cedartown. They know they have to win out to keep their playoff hopes alive.
“I think if we keep the momentum going we’ll be alright, I really do,” said Garvin. “I think the kids kinda understand that a little bit now.”
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