By Alvin Richardson
In a game that would ultimately decide the number two and three seeds in Region 8AAA Hart County’s ground game carried the day. Led by tailback Malachi Thomas (1136 rushing yards coming in) Hart took a 21-14 lead into intermission and then dominated the second half with a punishing rushing attack. The visitors from Hartwell held the ball for 18:24 of the final 24 minutes, racked up 14 first downs and posted 18 unanswered points to capture the number two seed. Morgan had precious few opportunities in the second half with just three possessions that resulted in 12 plays, 41 total yards and no points.
It was a wild first half. In those first two quarters Morgan hit a 62 yard bomb, and put together a six play, 61 yard drive for 14 points. Hart responded with a 22 yard touchdown pass of their own, an 80 yard drive and a lightning bolt 80 yard run to take a 21-14 lead at the break. It looked like the game was going to be a track meet but Hart controlled the second half and won handily.
The outcome gives Hart County a home game versus Haralson County next Friday while Morgan will have to travel north to Calhoun to take on the second seeded Yellow Jackets from Region 6AAA. See a preview of that game in a separate article.
Morgan County got off to a fast start. On their opening series they punched out a first down and reached the 32. From there Trent Folds fired a deep strike down the sideline to Jerrit Wyatt who gathered it in and strolled into the end zone for the game’s first touchdown. Bennett Ianelli’s PAT made it 7-0 with less than two minutes elapsed in the contest.
Hart quickly responded with a 56 drive of their own that ended with a 22 yard TD pass to knot the score at 7-7 with 7:31 still left in the first quarter. Morgan drove to the Hart County 41 on their next possession where they faced a fourth and inches but decided to punt and Hart County promptly drove 80 yards to take their first lead of the game at 14-7.
The Bulldogs countered in lightning fashion. Starting at their 31 Folds hit Wyatt for 29 yards and on the next play found Chris Walls on a run-pass option play for 15 more. Kobridgette Lumpkin hit the middle for 15 yards on the next snap and all of a sudden Morgan was at the 10. Three plays later Lumpkin found the end zone from one yard out and Ianelli tied it at 14-14 with 10:54 left in the half.
On the ensuing series Seth Robertson made a diving catch of a tipped pass for an interception at midfield but the Dogs couldn’t make a first down and punted to the 21. Hart moved into Bulldog territory but fumbled it back at the 25. Morgan managed a first down when Folds found Austin Knight on an eight yard slant but they couldn’t sustain the drive. Folds came through with a nice 40 yard punt and Hart took over at their 20. On the next play Malachi Thomas swept right, found a crease and went 80 yards for a 21-14 lead with 3:24 left in the second period.
The second half was all Hart. The Bulldogs from Hartwell began the second half with an 11 play drive that covered 54 yards. The PAT hit the upright and bounced away to make it 27-14 with 7:05 remaining in the third quarter.
With the game still in reach Morgan drove to the Hart County 39 with Lumpkin gaining 18 rushing yards and Folds connecting on an 11 yard pass to Wyatt but the drive ran out of steam at the Hart 40 and the ensuing punt went into the end zone.
At that point Hart delivered the back-breaker. They put together an 18 play, 80 yard drive that took 9:20 off the clock and resulted in six more points. That touchdown made it 33-14 with only 6:09 left in the contest and erased any hope for Morgan.
Folds was intercepted on the next series and Hart County polished off the victory with another long drive. This time they went 82 yards in 10 plays to score with 1:19 left in the game to make it 39-14.
Trent Folds, Kobridgette Lumpkin and Jerrit Wyatt led Morgan on offense. Folds passed for 189 yards and a touchdown, Lumpkin rushed for 63 yards and a touchdown and Wyatt caught 4 passes for 116 yards and a score.
On the defensive side senior linebacker Cole Freeman led the way with 11 solo tackles, five assists and a forced fumble. Al Edwards also turned in a solid performance with three tackles and eight assists.
Morgan County finished their regular season with an overall record of 7-3 and a region mark of 4-2. Their game next Friday night will be played at Phil Reeves Stadium in Calhoun, Georgia. Game time is 7:30.
Morgan County vs Hart County Score by Quarters
1st 2nd 3rd 4th Final
Hart County 14 7 6 12 39
Morgan County 7 7 0 0 14
Morgan County vs Hart County Yardage Totals
Rushing Passing Total
Hart County 423 111 534
Morgan County 76 189 265
Morgan County vs Hart County Key Defensive Stats
Player Solos Assists TFL Int. FR QBP Other
Cole Freeman 11 5 0 0 0 0 FF
Al Edwards 3 8 0 0 0 0
Seth Robertson 4 0 0 1 0 0
Zan Mohone 5 2 0 0 0 0
Elijah Reynolds 3 4 0 0 0 0
Donovan Caswell 2 4 0 0 0 0
Noah Brown 1 4 0 0 0 1
Criston Foster 2 3 0 0 0 0
D.J. Jones 3 3 0 0 0 0
Keirreon Farley 1 4 0 0 0 0
Jarrell Brown 1 2 1 0 0 0
(Key: FR = Fumble recovery; QBP = Quarterback pressure; TFL = Tackle for loss; FF = Forced fumble)
Morgan County vs Hart County Key Offensive Stats
Passing Comp. / Att. Yards TD’s
Trent Folds 14 / 22 189 1
Rushing Att. Yards Yards / Carry TD’s
Kobridgette Lumpkin 12 63 5.3 1
Jonathan Proby 7 13 1.9
Receiving Receptions Yards Yards / Catch TD’s
Jerrit Wyatt 4 116 29.0 1
Al Edwards 2 21 10.5
Chris Walls 1 15 15.0
Denver Laughlin 1 14 14.0
Austin Knight 1 8 8.0
Note: Seth Robertson, Kobridgette Lumpkin and Jonathan Proby each had a reception.
Bennett Ianelli 2 X 2
Final Region 8AAA Standings
Team Region Record Overall Record
Jefferson 6-0 8-1 (one game canceled)
Hart County 4-2 8-2
Morgan County 4-2 7-3
Monroe Area 4-2 7-3
Franklin County 2-4 2-8
Jackson County 1-5 3-7
East Jackson 0-6 3-7
(Note: Hart, Morgan and Monroe wound up in three way tie broken by region tie-breaker point system with Hart finishing as #2, Morgan as #3 and Monroe as #4)
Scores From Region 8AAA
Hart County 39 Morgan County 14
Monroe Area 35 Franklin County 0
Jackson County 17 East Jackson 0
Region 8AAA State Playoff Opponents
Sonoraville @ Jefferson
Haralson County @ Hart County
Morgan County @ Calhoun
Monroe Area @ North Murray