The fourth-ranked Trojans (7-0, 3-0 Region 6-AAA) hammered the Grangers to the tune of 49-0, including bursting out with a 42-0 first-half throttling of a team they were 0-13 against in the all-time series prior to Friday.
The Rebels (1-6, 1-2 Region 6-AAA), meanwhile, overcame some turnover issues late in their 25-23 homecoming victory over Central to notch the long-awaited ‘W’ for Harvey and crew.
The win marked Haralson County’s first victory since Nov. 7, 2008. Harvey, who is in his first year with the program, was obviously not a part of the Rebels’ 0-10 campaign last year, but he was especially proud of his team for never throwing in the towel through a coaching transition and 0-6 start to the 2010 season.
“I’m very, very pleased. The kids and the coaches have never stopped believing and working. I mean, to their credit, being 0-6, I think they could have been discouraged. But we’ve been practicing hard and doing things like we were 6-0 the whole way through, and it made a huge difference,” Harvey said.
Business as usual — even on a historic night
There was about a quarter and a half of football remaining on Friday when the Trojan starters began ripping off their athletic tape and searching for space to sit on a sideline bench.
A smattering of Trojan fans behind them, then about a dozen, then a few more gradually filed out of Callaway Stadium for the trip back to Carrollton on Highway 27.
They had seen this before.
During the 49-0 win at LaGrange, a familiar scene played out in the game’s second half. Carrollton’s first-teamers gave way to Carrollton’s backups, who ran out the final moments of another blowout victory with the aid of a running clock.
For the Trojans, such dominance has become second nature. Carrollton is outscoring opponents by an average of almost 38 points per game.
“Oh yeah, we got a swagger,” running back Telvin Brown said. “We’re walking tall. I think we got one. We just gotta keep doing what we’re doing — working hard in the weight room, working hard at practice — and we’ll see what happens.”
In the two-point victory over the Lions, Haralson County junior tailback Antoine Phillips ran wild, rushing for 261 yards and two touchdowns for the dominating ground performance in helping lead the Rebels to the Region 6-AAA victory.
Harvey said it was just a matter of time before Phillips exploded offensively.
“Just outstanding. What we’ve all been waiting for,” Harvey said. “I mean, it’s not a reflection that he couldn’t have done this every week, it just took us a little bit of time to get the offense together enough so he could showcase his abilities. He’s been that good all year.”
Phillips has done a little bit of everything for the Rebels this fall, and on Friday night he finally got that breakout performance.
“He’s returning punts, returning kicks, catching passes. You know, he’s probably leading us in all offensive categories,” Harvey said. “I’m just glad to have him and not have to worry about tackling him.”
Emotional week in Temple
Tiger coach Seth Rogers expected Friday night’s Region 5-AA contest at Heard County to be a tough ball game even before Monday’s bus accident that claimed the life of senior lineman James ‘Ray Ray’ Walker.
So when the Tigers (3-3, 1-2 Region 5-AA) dropped the 47-20 decision in Franklin, he wasn’t discouraged with his team’s play. After everything it’s been through, the Temple coach expressed pride, more than anything, by the character his team demonstrated in its ability to work through the adversity and continue moving forward during this difficult time.
“We didn’t even practice Monday. Then Tuesday, we practiced — I guess you could call it a practice — it wasn’t very good. Our focus was not on football. For us to come out and compete [Friday], that speaks volumes of our kids and this coaching staff,” Rogers said.
The way Bremen coach Ricky Tolleson looks at it, every game from here on out is akin to a playoff battle. And that’s exactly how he handled Friday night’s 27-14 Region 6-A road win over Walker in Marietta.
“Every Friday night, I call them a playoff game now. They really are. A playoff atmosphere, and every one counts,” Tolleson said.
The Blue Devils (5-1, 2-1 Region 6-A), who out-rushed Walker, 238-71, kept pace in the region standings, moving into a third-place tie with Bowdon (3-3, 2-1 Region 6-A), which was off on Friday.
Darlington (5-1, 3-0 Region 6-A) won at Mt. Zion on Friday, while Trion (5-1, 3-0 Region 6-A) was off, keeping the duo tied atop the 6-A standings, with Bremen and Bowdon just a game back.
Down, but not out
Villa Rica (4-3, 2-2 Region 5S-AAAA) certainly didn’t help its postseason hopes with Friday night’s 21-14 home loss to Chapel Hill, but VR coach Rob Cleveland ensured his team that it still isn’t out of the race for a playoff berth.
“The No. 1 spot’s probably out of reach unless some things happen for us. But we’re still very much alive for the No. 2 spot or the No. 3 spot. Either way, we’re going to play Game 10 at [home], and I think it will be for a playoff spot. It’s going to be an electric atmosphere,” Cleveland said.
Times-Georgian sports reporter Aaron Kraut contributed to this story.