Mecole Hardeman is the headliner for the Elbert County Blue Devils but he isn’t the only one on the Elbert County roster with a knack for the big play. Latravious. Barnett returned the opening kickoff of the season 85 yards for a touchdown to give Elbert County a quick 6-0 lead.
Cedar Shoals answered on its first possession with a 39-yard touchdown run by Jarmichael Baldwin as the Jaguars went in from 7-6 after a successful extra point.
Two possessions later Barnett struck again breaking off a 63-yard run to the Cedar five. La’kel Hood finished the two-play drive on the next play with a 5-yard touchdown run. The Blue Devils converted the two-point play taking the 14-7, they would never trail again.
Hardeman, a five-star recruit and AJC Super 11 selection, shook off an early fumble by warming up in the second quarter. Hardeman connected with Joseph Johnson for a 13-yard touchdown pass to put Elbert up 20-7. After Cedar Shoals punted Elbert County into a hole at their own six-yard line, Hardeman went back to work hitting Johnson on a 76-yard touchdown pass a few plays later giving the Blue Devils a 28-7 lead. Hardeman finished off his dominant second quarter with a 9-yard touchdown run with 37 second remaining to give Elbert County a commanding 34-7 lead. Cedar Shoals would add a touchdown as time expired in the second quarter on an Aakeem Glenn to Stavion Stevenson 12-yard pass to close the gap to 34-14 at the break.
“He’s the best I’ve ever seen and I’ve seen some good ones, he does so much for our”, Elbert County head coach Sid Fritts said about Hardeman.
In the second half the teams exchanged turnovers and punts before Elbert County’s Hood found the end zone on a 1-yard plunge early in the fourth quarter for his second rushing touchdown of the night, sealing the Blue Devils 40-14 victory.
Elbert County (1-0) will host Stephens County (1-0) next week in their home opener. Stephens County defeated Franklin County 34-7.
Cedar Shoals (0-1) will look to snap its 12-game losing streak and get head coach Scott Wilkins his first win since returning to Cedar Shoals after spending six years as an assistant at Athens Academy on September 11th when the Jaguars travel across town to face rival Clarke Central at Billy Henderson Stadium. Clarke Central (0-1) fell 24-21 at Hart County (1-0) to open their season after leading 21-14 at halftime.