The Rebels were looking to change that against Cartersville Friday night, but fell short as the Purple Hurricanes defeated the Rebels, 33-28, at home.
Defense was the key, as the Rebels (4-2, 1-2 Region 6-AAA) could not find an answer to Cartersville’s running game and Cartersville’s defense took advantage of three Rebel turnovers, including one interception with less than two minutes remaining that killed Haralson County’s hopes for victory.
The Rebels’ first two possessions went three-and-out as the Cartersville defensive front allowed nothing on the ground. Cartersville’s first possession went 54 yards in six plays, all by running back Morgan Alexander, who scored on a 4-yard run. The two-point conversion failed and Cartersville (3-2-1, 2-1 Region 6-AAA) had an early 6-0 lead.
The Rebels stopped the ‘Canes on their next possession and took over on their own 48-yard line. Malik Allah, who couldn’t get much yardage with his legs, used his arms to march the Rebels down the field and he connected with Blake Poole for a 13-yard touchdown. Juan Singhavong added the extra point for a Rebel 7-6 lead.
Cartersville’s next possession went three-and-out and the ‘Canes had to punt from their own 25. The Rebels blocked the punt and Ryan Rigdon picked up the ball and ran it in for a Rebel touchdown. The extra point kick gave the Rebels a 14-6 lead in the first quarter.
The Rebel defense held Cartersville on its next possession and seemed poised to put more points on the board, but then things got ugly for Rebels. Cartersville recovered a Haralson County fumble on the Rebel 46-yard line and Alexander closed the gap with a 2-yard touchdown run. Another attempt for a two-point conversion failed, so the Rebels still held a slight lead.
The Rebels lost a fumble again on their next possession, this time deep in Cartersville territory, but the ‘Canes missed a field goal as the half ended.
So far this season, the Rebels have come out strong in the third quarter. This time, however, it was Cartersville that came out firing as it scored on its first two possessions after halftime to go up 26-14 with three minutes left in the third quarter.
The Rebels were finally able to strike back as Allah connected with Poole for 41 yards to get to the Cartersville 26-yard line. A reverse play ended with Singhavong passing the ball to Poole for 26-yard touchdown at the beginning of the fourth quarter.
The ‘Canes answered right back as Tate ran 22 yards for a touchdown to put Cartersville up 33-21.
Allah answered with a drive that saw Singhavong and Poole catch big yardage passes and was capped by a John Dobbs 2-yard run. The Rebels were alive again as they trailed by six with 6:12 left in the game.
Cartersville methodically drove the ball across midfield, but were stopped on 4th-and-4 on the Rebel 25-yard line. The Rebels had two minutes to try to take the lead, but Allah’s pass was intercepted on their first play, deflating Haralson County’s chance to pull out the victory. Cartersville drove down to the Rebel 2-yard line against a tired Rebel defense, but in a show of class downed the ball twice to end the game.
The Rebel offense still put up some impressive numbers. Allah was 15-for-19 passing for 210 yards; Poole had four receptions for 110 yards and two touchdowns. Singhavong caught eight passes for 79 yards, threw for one touchdown and was 4-for-4 kicking extra points.