With his team facing consensus No. 1-ranked Peach County in Fort Valley next week and the Region 2-AAA championship likely on the line, Carver head coach Dell McGee was hoping for a solid region win over Central-Macon Thursday night at Memorial Stadium.
While McGee's sixth-ranked Tigers did cruise to a 46-14 victory, the Carver head coach was far from happy with his team's overall performance.
"I thought (Central-Macon's) defense did a pretty good job against us," said McGee, who is now 84-18 in seven-plus years as head coach. "We didn't execute very well offensively. We had too many penalties, dropped balls and mental mistakes. This was a win, but it wasn't a quality effort as a team."
Carver (7-1, 4-0) didn't take long to get on the board, as Dreilon Freeman took the game's opening kickoff and returned it 65 yards for a touchdown and the Tigers led 7-0 just 19 seconds into the contest.
Central-Macon (2-6, 2-2), which was coming off a 51-0 drubbing at the hands of Peach County in Fort Valley last week, was forced to punt on its opening possession, but a bad snap on the punt gave the Tigers the ball on the Chargers' 23-yard line. However, Carver's offense stalled and faced a fourth-and-11 on Central's 25 before quarterback Torrance McGee found Mario Moore for a 25-yard touchdown pass to make it 13-0 midway through the opening period.
Following a Carver punt that backed Central to its own 10-yard line, the Tigers' Tim London fell on a fumble to put Carver in business at the Chargers' 4. A holding penalty backed Carver up to the 14, but McGee hit JaQuan Sanks with a 14-yard touchdown pass and the Tigers led 19-0 after one quarter.
Carver's Khane Pass intercepted a Derrick Evans pass on Central's next drive and returned it 24 yards to the Chargers' 16. Five plays later, McGee ran it in from 16 yards out and Tyrin Lewis made the extra point to give the Tigers a 26-0 lead early in the second quarter.
The Tigers' defense forced Central, which finished the game with just 124 yards of offense and six first downs, to punt again and this time Moore scored on Carver's second play from scrimmage. This one was a 36-yard run and with 9:13 still to go before halftime, Carver led 33-0.
Carver got one final score before the break, finally putting together a 10-play, 60-yard drive that took almost four minutes off the clock. Noah Hickey finished it off with an 8-yard touchdown run and the Tigers took a 40-0 lead into halftime despite totalling just 164 yards of offense.
"I think it's natural for kids to look ahead (at the next opponent)," said McGee. "Our kids saw (Peach County) on film because they played Central last week. Our kids might've been looking ahead, but we just didn't play a solid football game."
McGee said his team must go back to the drawing board and fix things if it wants to knock off Peach County next week and possibly claim a region championship.
Friday at Memorial StadiumCentral-Macon 0 0 14 0--14
Carver 19 21 6 0--46First Quarter
Carver - Dreilon Freeman 65 kickoff return (Tyrin Lewis kick), 11:41Carver - Mario Moore 25 pass from Torrance McGee (Kick failed), 6:07.Carver - JaQuan Sanks 14 pass from McGee (Run failed), 2:02.
Carver - McGee 16 run (Lewis kick), 11:24.
Carver - Moore 36 run (Lewis kick), 9:13.
Carver - Noah Hickey 8 run (Lewis kick), 0:57.
Central - Jordan Colbert 46 run (Joe Kovac kick), 9:58.
Carver - Brandon Thomas 75 kickoff return (Kick failed), 9:37.
Central - Derrick Evans 5 run (Kovac kick), 4:02.
Records: Central-Macon 2-6, 2-2 Region 2-AAA, Carver 7-1, 4-0. Next: Jackson at Central-
Macon, Nov. 2. Carver at Peach County, Nov. 2, 8 p.m.