The third installment of the Tri-Cities Labor Day Classic proved to offer a little bit of everything as six teams opened their 2014 high school football season.
In the opener Carver-Columbus (1-0) held of Carver-Atlanta (0-1) on the final play of the game to seal the 12-6 victory. The Panthers had one last shot from the Tigers 13 with 1 second left. Freshman quarterback Octavious Battle had to come in for starting quarterback Kentrell Barber after Barber was injured on the previous play. Carver-Atlanta was out of timeouts there they could get Barber back in the game. Battle hit Gregory Payton on a flare pass and look as though he was going to score however he stepped out-of-bounds at the four yard-line as time expired.
Jawon Pass put Carver-Columbus up 6-0 on a 9-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. The Tigers would go up 12-0 on a 22-yard touchdown run by Isham Alexander on the first play of the second quarter. Alexander led the Tigers rushing attack with 13 totes for 93 yards and a touchdown on the day. Pass was 12-of-25 60 yards passing for Carver-Columbus.
Carver-Atlanta would but together its best drive of the game mid-way through the fourth quarter. Kentrell Barber capped the 8-play 73-yard drive with a 9-yard touchdown run to pull Carver-Atlanta within six, 12-6 with 4:36 remaining.
Carver-Columbus returns to action Friday against Spencer at Memorial Stadium in Columbus. Carver-Atlanta will face Washington-Atlanta Saturday August 30th at Lakewood Stadium.
Host Tri-Cities had yet to win a games in their classic. That changed this year. After fields goals of 35 and 25 yards by Alex Hernandez made it 6-0, the Bulldogs put away Hardaway in the second half.
Tri-Cities’ special teams set up the first two touchdowns in the second half. After a blocked punt, Antonio Wilcoxson rushed in from a yard out on the next play. Tri-Cities got pressure on the next punt resulting in a 4 yard net punt. Two plays later Lquan Wiltshire rushed from 24 yards out putting Tri-Cities up 20-0 with 5:05 left in the third quarter.
Following a fumble recovery reserve quarterback Dominique Francis hit Romello Floyd on a 12-yard touchdown pass on the next play putting Tri-Cities up 26-0 with 11:03 left in the fourth quarter.
Hardaway would bounce back with its most impressive drive of the game which was helped by 15-yard personal foul horse collar penalty on Tri-Cities at the end of a 50-yard completion from Tyler Raleigh to Ja’Kobe Ellerbee. Two plays later Raleigh hit Troy Monroe for a 6-yard touchdown capping the 5-play 70-yard drive for the 26-6 score.
The highlight of the game came as Tri-Cities was trying to run out the clock out but Lquan Wiltshire had other ideas. Wiltshire took the hand off, went left, broke off several tackles, spun out of another set of tackles and darted to the end zone for a 45-yard touchdown sealing the 33-6 victory with 1:03 remaining. Wiltshire finished with 9 carries for 165 yards and two touchdowns rushing.
Tri-Cities (1-0) is off this week and will return to action Sept 6th against Southwest Dekalb. Hardaway (0-1) will line up against Chattahoochee County on August 29th.
6A Langston Hughes took on 5A Mays in the only inter-classification game of the classic. Langston Hughes took on Mays in the nightcap of the 3rd Annual Tri-Cities Labor Day Classic. Langston Hughes entered the game ranked in the preseason by the AP for the first time in school history. Mays entered ranked in the preseason by the AP for the first time since 1990.
It did not take long for either to pop fireworks. After forcing Mays to punt on its opening drive, Hughes struck first. Kinan Humphrey hit Kenyan Houston for a 72-yard completion setting up DeFunda McCrary’s 11-yard touchdown scamper on the next play. Hughes led 6-0 with 8:16 remaining in the first quarter.
Mays answered back two plays later as Rowmartis Bell burst through the gap and raced 72 yards for a touchdown. It was Bell’s second carry since returning from an ACL injury. Offensive lineman Keenan Anderson (6’7 370) added the extra point to put Mays up 7-6 with 7:18 remaining in the opening frame.
Hughes threatened on its ensuing drive but were turned over on downs at the Mays 34. Both defenses were flying to the ball and playing very physical football forcing them to exchange punts on seven consecutive possessions.
The tenor of the game changed after Langston Hughes failed to convert a fake punt giving Mays possession at the Hughes 33 late in the first half. On the next play Mays starting quarterback Asahnia Aderhold was injured and left the game. Aderhold came back briefly in the second half, left again and did not return.
Sophomore backup Jarian Varner replaced Aderhold on the drive and was intercepted in the end zone. Hughes started their drive with Humphrey hitting Houston for a 20-yard gain. On the next play Humphrey scrambled right and was pulling up to head out of bounds when he was hit late. Mays was penalized however Humphrey was down on the Mays bench. He left under his own power favoring his left side. Humphrey rode the bike and walked around on the sideline but did not return. Mays led 7-6 at halftime.
Sophomore quarterback Isaiah Green started and finished the second half for the Panthers. Green led Hughes on a 11-play 70-yard drive to open the half capping it with an 11-yard touchdown pass to Montavious Atkinson to put Langston Hughes up 13-7 with 7:18 remaining. It was the first of three straight plays Atkinson made to spark Hughes.
Atkinson made a wonderful stop on the ensuing kickoff, then hit Bell for a 10-yard loss on the next play. D’Andre Walker sacked Aderhold on the next two plays as Mays went three-and-out with minus-16 yards on the drive. Green went back to work from the Mays 38 with a 33-yard strike to junior Rashard Burch. Mays held Hughes to a field goal but were flagged for roughing the kicker. Hughes elected to take the points off the board and Josh XXX scored from a yard out two plays later extending Hughes’ lead to 20-7.
Atkinson intercepted Varner on Mays next possession setting up Green and the offense at the Mays 18. Three plays later Green found sophomore Sean Nelson in the right corner for a 16-yard touchdown giving Hughes the 27-7 lead with 7 seconds left in the third quarter.
Walker (12 tackles) and Atkinson (11 tackles) led the Panther defense that continued giving Varver and the Mays offense fits in the fourth quarter. Sophomore Joshua Brown and senior Jaylan Turner each intercepted Varner in fourth quarter. Varner did not complete a pass, threw 4 interceptions and lost one fumble in relief of Aderhold.
Green went 9-of-15 110 yards and two touchdown in relief of Humphrey. Humphrey was 8-of-17 127 yards when he left the game late in the second quarter. Atkinson had 10+ total tackles, 2 sacks and caught 4 balls for 43 yards and a touchdown. D’Andre Walkers recorded 3 sacks as Hughes’ defense held Mays to 135 yards of total offense.
Things will not get easier for Langston Hughes (1-0) as they will seek to revenge a 16-14 loss last season to Creekside (1-0) on Friday followed by a game with Grayson before region play begins.
Mays (0-1) will look to get Aderhold healthy while addressing what is a serious issue at the quarterback spot heading in to their next game against Glenn Hills before a meeting with ML King.