CMS Bulldogs win shootout against Huntland
Cornersville Middle School's Kolbe McMahon was a one-man wrecking crew on Thursday night, as the dual threat quarterback racked up 528 all-purpose yards and accounted for seven touchdowns to lead the Bulldogs to a 56-36 victory over the Huntland Hornets at home.
Having lost to Huntland 14-12 three weeks earlier, Cornersville (3-2) saw their offense fire on all cylinders in Thursday's contest and built a 36-24 lead in the first half before outscoring the Hornets 20-12 over the final two quarters to claim their second straight victory.
"We've slowly improved every week," said CMS coach Eric Crabtree. "We started school with just 11 players and only had two that had played organized football before. We've gotten better as the season's gone along though and I'm proud of them."
The Bulldogs scored touchdowns on their first eight possessions en route to racking up 477 yards of total offense, which included 328 yards rushing on 31 carries.
McMahon was the driving force behind Cornersville's offensive explosion, as he rushed for 269 yards and four touchdowns on 22 carries, completed 4-of-10 passes for 149 yards and two TDs, and returned three kickoffs for 110 yards and a score.
"I thought Kolbe played exceptionally well," said Crabtree. "Tonight he became a leader. He's been a good player for us the entire season, but tonight he stepped up and showed leadership on the field."
Justin Victory tallied 21 yards rushing on three carries for the Bulldogs as well, while Zack Blackwell rushed for 20 yards and a touchdown on two carries. Will Vanhooser also toted the ball twice for 14 yards.
CMS wide outs Dakota Polk and Carson Walker both hauled in two passes for 81 and 68 yards respectively with each of them scoring one touchdown.
Huntland also had a big night offensively and finished with 384 yards from scrimmage, all on the ground, but committed two costly turnovers that snuffed out a couple of potential scoring drives.
Hornet running backs Riley Harmon and D.J. Taylor both broke the century mark, as Harmon rushed for 167 yards and two touchdowns on seven carries, while Taylor toted the pigskin nine times for 146 yards and three TDs. Jared Pendleton added 71 yards rushing on seven carries for Huntland as well.
Hornet quarterback Ryan Dickey failed to complete either of his two passes and threw one interception.
McMahon paced the Bulldog defense with six tackles, while Cody Owens registered four tackles and recovered a fumble. Polk, Vanhooser, Adam Qualls, and Walker also notched three tackles for CMS and Blackwell recorded an interception.
Cornersville wasted no time getting on the board, as McMahon broke loose for a 57-yard run on the first play from scrimmage before scoring on a two-yard touchdown plunge 46 seconds into the contest to give CMS a 6-0 advantage. Huntland stopped the Bulldogs on the two point-conversion attempt to keep the deficit at six.
After Harmon raced 65 yards for a touchdown on the Hornets first possession, Taylor ran in the two-point conversion to put Huntland up 8-6.
McMahon then hit Polk for a 57-yard touchdown strike on CMS' next drive prior to running in the two-point conversion to stake Cornersville to a 14-8 lead.
The Hornets pulled back ahead 16-14 thanks to a 21-yard touchdown jaunt by Taylor and Harmon two-point conversion run, but McMahon returned the ensuing kickoff 75 yards for a TD before finding Walker in the end zone on the two-point conversion attempt to put CMS back on top 22-16 midway through the first quarter.
Huntland advanced down to the Bulldog 7 on their next offensive series with the help of a 61-yard run by Pendleton, but Blackwell picked off Dickey at the goal line to extinguish the Hornet scoring threat.
The Bulldogs gave their defense a long rest on their ensuing possession, as they chewed 8:09 off the clock while putting together a 19-play, 90-yard drive that was capped off by a McMahon one-yard touchdown dive. Walker then hauled in the two-point conversion pass to push Cornersville's lead to 30-16 with :18 left in the half.
Following a short kickoff by CMS, Taylor rumbled 48 yards for a touchdown prior to running in the two-point conversion to narrow the gap to 30-24 with :07 left in the half.
The Bulldogs, however, managed to find pay dirt on the final play of the first half when Walker scored on a 65-yard touchdown reception to make it 36-24 at the break.
In the second half, Cornersville stopped Huntland on downs near midfield before McMahon raced 42 yards for a touchdown to stretch CMS' lead to 42-24 with 2:01 left in the third quarter.
Although Harmon returned the kickoff 44 yards to the Bulldog 29, Pendleton fumbled the ball two plays later and Owens pounced on the pigskin to give Cornersville possession at the 34-yard line.
CMS then opened up a 48-24 advantage midway through the fourth quarter when McMahon scored on a three-yard touchdown run to punctuate an 11-play, 66-yard scoring drive.
The Hornets cut the deficit to 48-30 on a 37-yard touchdown jaunt by Taylor, but Blackwell scored on a 20-yard touchdown scamper on the Bulldogs' ensuing offensive series before running in the two-point conversion to extend Cornersville's lead to 56-30 with 1:45 left.
Harmon then scored on a 65-yard touchdown run against CMS' reserves for the 56-36 final.