The Carrollton Trojans came into their game vs Riverdale Friday with a 1-0 record after beating Newnan two weeks prior. In the Newnan game, the offense was only able to find the endzone once. So, things would have to change if the Trojans wanted to have the same result vs the state’s 2nd leading passer, Joseph Cambridge, and Riverdale High (2-0).
You could definitely say that the Carrollton offense fixed all their difficulties since their first game as they defeated Riverdale 50-14 on Friday night. Watching the two teams warm up, you could tell that Riverdale had the clear size advantage over the Trojans.
However, the Raiders’ numbers were very limited as many players played on both sides of the ball. For Carrollton, that is not the story. The Trojans had multiple subs rotating on offense as well as defense and I believe that their depth played a vital role in their big victory Friday night.
How it happened:
The Trojans started the game off with the ball and were in the endzone very soon after. #1, junior QB Mark Wright, led the offense right down the field with major help from junior RB Jaylan Thomas and freshman RB Mecose Todd.
Mecose Todd finished the drive off with a TD run, which was his first varsity touchdown. This gave his Trojans the 6-0 lead with just over 10 minutes to play in the 1st quarter.
The defense then would get their first look at Joseph Cambridge and the RHS offense. Coming into Friday, Cambridge was the state’s second leading passer in terms of yards. The only one he trailed was UGA commit and Houston County QB Jake Fromm.
So, the Carrollton defense definitely had their hands full Friday, and they stepped up to the challenge. This first Riverdale drive ended after three plays and they were forced to punt.
The punt was very short and the Trojans had excellent field position to start their second drive. After Mark Wright found a receiver on a screen pass, the offense was now inside the 5 yard line. Unfortunately, they were backed up past the 15 with a penalty.
That yardage was soon gained back after Wright hit #22, senior TE Dylan Parham, for a huge gain. This reception moved them back inside the 5 and the drive was again capped off by freshman running back Mecose Todd. CHS was now up 13-0, still early in the first.
Riverdale was then forced to another 3 and out and Carrollton started this drive on their own 43 yard line. They could not get anything going and were forced to punt back to Riverdale.
This punt ended in a very bizarre way as the players became very confused when a Riverdale return man picked up the ball but did not move. After numerous orders from the coaches on the sidelines, the Carrollton punt team surround the player and took him down on the one yard line. Both teams were very confused on the play. It was definitely very bizarre to watch unfold.
This odd play left the Raiders starting the drive on their own one yard line with 4:02 left in the 1st quarter. Riverdale QB Joseph Cambridge found a lapse in the Carrollton defense and hit a wide open receiver who scampered down the sideline for a gain of 50+ yards. This moved the ball to Carrollton’s side of the field and gave the Raiders their first hint at momentum in the game.
Cambridge then showed his dual-threat ability as he had multiple runs getting his team down to the 3 yard line. After that, coach called his number again as he took a designed QB draw into the endzone with 26.1 seconds to go in the first. This brought the score to 13-7 and capped off a 99 yard, very impressive scoring drive.
Carrollton started the second quarter with the ball but could not get anything going. They were able to move the ball for a first down, but the play was then deemed an incomplete pass even after the referees let it continue. This lapse by the refs forced the Trojans to punt the ball back to Riverdale.
The Raiders then began driving again, but QB Joseph Cambridge committed a crucial turnover as he was caught from behind and stripped of the ball. Carrollton sophomore Charlie Lanier scooped up the fumble and took it 60+ yards the opposite direction for a Carrollton touchdown. This gave his Trojans a huge burst of momentum just as it seemed it was leaning towards the Raiders. It also gave them a 20-7 lead with 8:34 left in the 1st half.
Riverdale started their next drive deep in their own territory. The little room they had to work proved costly as the CHS defense forced another turnover. A tipped Joseph Cambridge pass went up into the air and into the hands of big #55, junior DT Josh Walker.
He immediately went down and his interception gave Mark Wright and the offense the ball only 6 yards away from the endzone. Josh Walker received an offer from Michigan State following the game. Walker is a huge force for the Carrollton defense and that offer is well-deserved. Congrats, Josh.
Mecose Todd scored a couple plays later in what was his third touchdown of the game. This one looked to be stopped short, but he would not be denied as he kept his feet moving and carried a pile of Riverdale defenders into the endzone. This gave the Trojans a 26-7 lead with 7 minutes to go in the 1st half.
Riverdale again could not get anything going and were forced to punt the ball back to Carrollton. This is when the rain hit and it pretty much cleared the stands. The weather seemed to be no problem for Carrollton as they stuck with the run game. Jaylan Thomas also had himself quite a game as he found the endzone for his first time on the next Carrollton drive.
This gave the Trojans a huge 33-7 lead with 4:44 left in the 1st half. The rain definitely looked to have a big effect on the Riverdale passing attack. They were forced into a 4th a 15 situation on the next drive and could not convert. This gave the ball back to the Trojan offense, who took a knee to end the half.
The Carrollton defense got plenty of pressure on Joseph Cambridge in the first half, and the offense came out firing on all cylinders. This combination led the Trojans to a 33-7 halftime score.
CHS had 150 yards of offense in the first half, not as much as you would think for a team who put up 33 points. The reason for this was because the defense kept giving the offense excellent field position. So, they never had to go very far to score points. Also, one of the touchdowns as the scoop and score from the defense.
Riverdale only had 109 yards of offense in the first half, 99 of which came on one single drive. Cambridge was held to 4-of-17 passing with 88 yards in the first half, and was picked off once. These offensive woes continued into the 2nd half for Riverdale as they were forced to punt again on their 1st drive.
The punting unit failed miserably as the punter dropped the snap and then was tackled by a slew of CHS defenders. Again, Carrollton had excellent field positon to start a drive. This time, they would start on the RHS 16 yard line.
The offense was stopped short of the endzone on this drive, but #23, senior kicker Sam Barge, made a 21 yard field goal to make the score 36-7.
Now with only 7:52 remaining, Riverdale had to start putting up some points if they wanted any sort of shot in the game. They were not able to do so on the next drive as #2, senior CB Niesheem Thomas, picked off a Joseph Cambridge pass and returned it 24 yards to the Carrollton 49 yard line.
On the first play after the INT, Jaylan Thomas escaped the defense and ran 47 yards to the Riverdale 4 yard line. Mecose Todd finished off the drive and scored his 4th touchdown of the night, and his varsity career. This gave his team the 43-7 lead with 4:04 left in the 3rd quarter.
Carrollton’s defense then was able to force yet another turnover on the next drive as #17, sophomore OLB Reid Dedman, forced a fumble that Carrollton recovered. This made way for a lot of the younger guys to get in the rotation for both sides of the ball.
The 4th quarter was a running clock the whole time and both teams put up one more score bringing the final to 50-14. This gave Carrollton a 2-0 record and it dropped Riverdale to 2-1.
Carrollton ended the game forcing four turnovers (two INTs, two fumbles). The rain seemed to be a problem for RHS as they fumbled the ball 5 times in the game, but only lost 2. CHS finished with 268 yards of offense on 49 plays, and RHS finished with 226 yards on 62 plays.
Carrollton’s offense was rolling in the game. It is evident in the fact that they only faced five 3rd downs the entire game. The Riverdale defense had no answer for the combination of QB Mark Wright, Running backs Mecose Todd and Jaylan Thomas, and the rest of the Carrollton offense.
Mecose Todd finished the game with 8 carries for 32 yards and 4 touchdowns, 3 of which came in the first half. Jaylan Thomas finished as the leading rusher with 15 carries for 133 yards and one touchdown. The mix of Mecose and Jaylan throughout the game was very tough to stop for Riverdale and I see that being a major problem for the teams in the future as well.
QB Mark Wright finished 7-of-13 with 70 yards. Four different Carrollton receivers caught passes in the game. Dylan Parham led the way with two catches for 31 yards. #1, junior WR Jordan Bonner, and #3, senior WR Thomas Culwell both had two catches with 16 and 11 yards respectively. #13, senior WR Xavier Hammmett, finished off the receptions with one catch for 23 yards.
The defense was led in tackles by sophomore MLB Jacob Cotton who had 5. #27, junior MLB Jeremiah Pierce, had 4.5 tackles, two of which were for loss. Reid Dedman had 4 tackles, two of which were sacks, and three of which were tackles for loss. He also had a forced fumble. #5, Senior CB Ladamion Hunt, also had 4 tackles. In addition to that, he had multiple pass deflections.
Last time I wrote about Carrollton, I spoke of their offense having to improve for them to have a great season. It definitely looks as if they are on the right track as they put up 6 touchdowns Friday night. The CHS defense has been an unstoppable force both games this year, forcing 8 turnovers in just two games. They have also scored a touchdown in both games.
If Carrollton’s defense continues its dominance and their offense continues to improve, then the Trojans will definitely be a team to watch out for in class AAAAA. They will have another week off next Friday, and then will face East Paulding on the 16th at home in their first region battle. This game will kick off at 7:30. East Paulding is 0-2 on the year.
Carrollton is also up for High 5 sports team of the week. If they win, the station will come out to the school and video the players and coaches for television. You can vote for Carrollton by clicking this link.
I had a great time covering the Trojans in their second game and look forward to covering them again in the future. Feel free to contact me if you are a parent or relative of one of the players and are interested in purchasing any pictures.
Football is far more than just a game; it develops families. When you go out and battle it out with 10 other guys, a camaraderie is established and a brotherhood is formed. This brotherhood can last a lifetime. One member of the Carrollton brotherhood, who graduated last year, is in need of our prayers.
Keegan Hill is a freshman defensive back at Jacksonville State and a Carrollton High alum. Recently, he has contracted an infection in his brain that has caused him to have multiple surgeries. This infection is very rare as only one other person has been known to contract it. So, if you could take a couple minutes out of your day to pray for Keegan, I am sure his family would greatly appreciate it.
The Carrollton football team honored their former teammate Friday with a sticker on the back of their helmets that read “K 1-1”. A move made with nothing but class by Coach Sean Calhoun, who never even coached Keegan. I think I speak for everyone in Carrollton and the surrounding areas when I say we’re pulling for you, Keegan. Get well soon.