After dismantling Peach County to win a region title a week ago, the Carver High football team was ready for the playoffs. Except, of course, that the playoffs don’t start next week and it still had one more to play.
And while Tigers coach Joe Kegler thought his team may have been caught looking ahead to next week a bit, it was still able to cruise to an easy 42-21 victory over visiting Jackson at Kinnett Stadium.
“I think they’re ready to get into the playoffs,” Kegler said. “They made a few mistakes, but all that matters is we won.”
The win was Carver’s (9-1, 6-0) ninth of the year, making it eight straight season it has reached that mark. It was the Tigers’ 50th straight region victory, a streak that stretches all the way back to 2006.
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It will try to make it eight straight seasons with 10 or more wins next week when it faces B.E.S.T. Academy/Maynard Jackson in the first round of the Class AAA playoffs.
For a moment in the first half on Friday, it appeared Carver would make quick work of visiting Jackson. Its first two scoring drives took an average of one minute, 11 seconds each.
On the first, the Tigers ran six straight times, culminating in a 2-yard burst up the middle for a score by Noah Hickey. Hickey did the work on the second, as well, going 39 yards for a score on the third play of the drive to make it 14-7.
They opened the second quarter with back-to-back scores, a 7-yard run by Dequindre Coleman to cap off a 10-play drive and a 43-yard pass from Jawon Pass to Dreilon Freeman to end a three-play drive.
Carver held a 36-14 lead at the half, showing impressive command on the offensive side of the ball. It had 276 yards of total offense in the first two quarters, balancing it between the run and the pass (156 and 125, respectively).
Pass added a 1-yard touchdown run and another pass, 6 yards to Raekwon Lowe in the third quarter to finish the scoring.
“I think they’ve done a good job just getting better week-to-week,” Kegler said of his offense. “They understand their assignments better, they’re executing better.”
If not for the play of De’Eric Bell, Jackson likely wouldn’t have been as close as it was.
Bell passed for a touchdown and ran for two of 30 and 20 yards. Overall, he finished with 31 carries for 178 yards.
Kegler said there wasn’t anything big his team had to do over the next week to prepare for the playoffs next Friday.
“We just need to keep working,” he said.
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Friday at Kinnett
Jackson 7 7 7 0—21
Carver 14 20 8 0—42
C—Noah Hickey 2 run (Nate Barley run); 10:09
J—Rontavious Miller 9 pass from De’Eric Bell (Skyler Hammond kick); 5:54
C—Hickey 39 run (Run failed); 5:19
C—Dequindre Coleman 7 run (Pass failed); 10:03
C—Dreilon Freeman 43 pass from Jawon Pass (Khane Pass pass from Barley); 6:12
J—Bell 30 run (Hammond kick); 1:20
C—J. Pass 1 run (Barley run); :19
J—Bell 20 run (Hammond kick); 7:45
C—Raekwon Lowe 6 pass from J. Pass (Run failed); 4:19
Records: Jackson, 2-8, 2-4; Carver, 9-1, 6-0. Next: Jackson, season over; Carver, Friday vs. B.E.S.T. Academy/Maynard Jackson in first round of Class AAA playoffs.