By Staff Report
DECATUR-Austin Smith and Robert Jones both scored two touchdowns as the No. 2 ranked Cedar Grove Saints cruised to a 49-0 Class 3A first-round victory over the Hart County Bulldogs on Friday at Avondale Stadium.
Cedar Grove (10-1) wasted little time in scoring taking just three plays after the opening kickoff to take the lead. Chavon Wright closed out the three-play, 78-yard drive going the final 16 yards up the middle for the touchdown. Luis Dominguez added the PAT to make it a 7-0 Saints lead with 10:45 to play in the first quarter.
Wright’s touchdown run was set up by Robert Jones’ 56-yard run down to the Hart County 16.
The Saints defense which held the Bulldogs to just 44 yards of offense in the first half forced the first of four three-and-outs in the game to take over at its own 46 after Jadon Haselwood’s 50-yard punt return for a touchdown was called back due to a penalty.
It would take five plays for the Saints to make it a 14-0 ball game as Austin Smith scored the first of his touchdowns on a one-yard run. Oral Ashe connected on the PAT. Smith’s short pass to Rashad Jordan that Jordan turned into a 36- yard gain set up Smith’s run.
The Bulldogs drove to the Saints 44-yard line on their next possession, but were pushed back and forced to punt from their own 49 after a short six-play possession.
Cedar Grove needed just three plays to up the lead to 21-0. A 15-yard run by Rashad Dubinon got the drive started and Haselwood went up high to snag a Smith pass over a Bulldog defender for a 45-yard gain to the Hart 12-yard line. Smith got his second touchdown of the game by getting out of traffic in the backfield and flashing around the left side to outrun several defenders to the end zone. Dominguez added the PAT to make it 21-0 heading to the second quarter.
A chop block on the Bulldogs led to a dropped snap on a punt to give the Saints the ball on their own 43. Runs of 10 and 20 yards by Jones had the Saints at the Bulldog 20. Smith hit Haselwood on a wide receiver screen on the next play and Haselwood made some nice moves to get into the end zone only to have a holding call nullified the score.
Jones ended the drive on the next play getting outside and racing down the right sideline 18 yards and diving to the pylon for the touchdown. Ashe converted the PAT to make it 28-0 with 6:32 left in the half.
Cedar Grove’s defense stopped the Bulldogs just short on a fourth down and four play to take over possession at their own 33 with 1:24 to play. The Saints managed the clock well and Kendall Boney threw a slant to Haselwood for 17 yards and the touchdown with just two seconds left in the half. Ashe again connected on the PAT to send Cedar into the half up 35-0.
A fourth-down pass at the Hart 32 was tipped and went incomplete to give Cedar Grove the football on downs, one of three in the game for the rugged Saints defense, at that point.
Smith threw a nice back-shoulder pass to Montre Montfort who made a nice catch with a defender right on him for 35 yards down to the Hart two-yard line. Jones went the final two yards for the touchdown and with Ashe’s PAT it was 42-0 game with 3:21 left in the third quarter.
Mikhi Gilstrap finished up the scoring with a six-yard blast up the middle with 6:09 to play and Dominguez hit the PAT for the final of 49-0.
Jones finished with 105 yards rushing and two touchdowns on eight carries and Jadon Haselwood finished with five receptions for 97 yards and a touchdown for the Saints.
Hart County managed just 154 yards of total offense in the game.
Top 10 ranked Stephenson and Tucker both dropped their first-round games as turnovers proved costly in the losses.
The No. 6 Jaguars entertained the Coffee Trojans at Hallford Stadium but stumbled out of the gate falling behind 21-0 early and trailing 21-3 at the half.
Stephenson pulled with 21-10 in the third quarter. Coffee used a pair of interceptions, the second for a touchdown, to go with a field goal in a 17-point run that took just about one minute to put the game out of reach in the fourth quarter.
Stephenson finishes 9-2 on the year as the Region 4-6A champions.
The Tigers fell behind 23-7 in the first half before scoring before the of the second quarter to trail just 23-14 at the half. Tucker (7-4) pulled within 23-21 with 1:35 left in the third quarter only to have Northside answer with a 65-yard touchdown run to extend the lead to 29-21. The Eagles added an interception return as they pulled away again for a final of 43-21.
Three DeKalb Class 5A entries fell out of the playoffs as well with undefeated Southwest DeKalb, Lithonia and Miller Grove losing their first-round games.
Southwest DeKalb jumped out to a 13-0 lead in the first half only to have Loganville rally for a 14-13 victory. A kickoff return for a touchdown just after the Panthers’ (10-1) second score of the game spurred Loganville to the win at Godfrey Stadium.
Lithonia (6-5) and Miller Grove (3-8) both dropped games on the road. Lithonia fell 41-0 to Cedar Shoals and Miller Grove battled in a 35-14 loss to Buford.
Arabia Mountain can join Cedar Grove in the second round with a win over Clarke Central on Saturday at Godfrey Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7:30 pm.
DCSD STATE PLAYOFFS RESULTS
Friday, Nov. 9
Coffee (8-3) 45, Stephenson (9-2) 17
Northside-Warner Robins (6-5) 43, Tucker (7-4) 21
Loganville (5-6) 14, SW DeKalb (10-1) 13
Cedar Shoals (8-3) 41, Lithonia (6-5) 0
Buford (9-2) 35, Miller Grove (3-8) 14
Cedar Grove (10-1) 49, Hart Co. (4-7) 0
DCSD STATE PLAYOFFS SCHEDULE
Saturday, Nov. 10
Clarke Central (6-4) vs. Arabia Mountain (6-4), Godfrey, 7:30 pm
Friday, Nov. 16
CLASS 3A SECOND ROUND
North Hall (9-2) at Cedar Grove (10-1), Godfrey, 7:30 pm