Columbia Academy too much for Cornersville
A young Cornersville squad returned home to Frog Bottom on Friday night looking to ride the momentum of a hard-fought win over Summertown against a dangerous Columbia Academy squad ranked fifth in the state in the latest Associated Press poll.
The Bulldogs from Columbia (7-1, 7-0) showed why they earned the ranking in a 56-0 dismantling of Cornersville (2-6, 2-4) that saw the home team down 28-0 after the first quarter.
"We just ran up against a really good football team tonight that came here to do one job and that's to win a football game," Cornersville coach Gerard Randolph said. "I think we were ready coming out of the dressing room but you have to be ready on the field also. Those guys came with some fight tonight. We were just outmanned."
Cornersville found itself in a hole from the outset when quarterback Dylan Johnson connected with wide receiver Taylor Thompson on a 54-yard touchdown pass on the game's second play. Thompson finished with seven catches for 170 yards and three touchdowns.
"We had a good game plan, we just didn't execute it the right way," said Cornersville freshman quarterback Eli Woodard. "Number 1 (Thompson) was the impact player. We just couldn't stop him."
Johnson hooked up with Thompson on a 34-yard stroke on the next drive for the visitors to make it a 14-0 game just six minutes into the contest.
Meanwhile, Cornersville struggled to get any offense going. The home team managed a meager 71 yards of total offense (70 rushing) and just four first downs for the game despite Woodard putting the Bulldogs in great field position twice in the second quarter with kick returns of 52 and 45 yards.
"We came into this game really fired up thinking we were going to hang with them but they're older and most of us are freshman," Woodard said. "We can't use that as an excuse because we're high schoolers just like they are."
Columbia Academy continued the romp in the second quarter with another Johnson-to- Thompson connection and a 1-yard touchdown run by Hudson Primm just before halftime to put Cornersville in a 49-0 halftime hole.
"Going into halftime I told the guys we're playing for pride," Randolph said. "We're gonna go out there and keep playing. We're gonna be classy while we're doing it and we're not gonna stop. My goal to them was to win the second half and they came out fighting and I'm proud of them for that."
Despite the mercy rule in effect the Bulldogs stopped the defensive bleeding, holding Columbia Academy to just one score. They also got a bit of an offensive push from freshman running back Trenton Warren, who came up with 20 yards rushing on just four carries.
"I think they just had more experience than us. Their players were bigger and that kind of hurt us," Warren said. "It's going to make us better in the long run from facing this kind of adversity. It'll just make us work harder to come back and beat them next year."
Warren also got help in the backfield from another freshman, Cam Whitaker, who chipped in 17 yards. Woodard also rushed for 30 yards against Academy's vaunted defense.
Having three freshman as the teams' leading rushers will give Bulldogs fans hope for the future, and assistant coach Andy Woodward thinks it'll just take the players buying into what the coaches are preaching to harness that talent.
"You have to get them to buy into the program," the elder Woodward said. "You have to have them buy into what we're trying to do is the positive thing to be doing even though sometimes it's not the easiest thing to be doing. Win or lose, we're continuing to try and get better."
The Bulldogs face another hard test Friday when Fayetteville (6-2, 5-1) visits for a 7 p.m. homecoming game.
The Tigers lost by just six points two weeks earlier against Columbia Academy and in second place in Region 4-A.
Columbia Academy 28 21 0 7 -- 56
Cornersville 0 0 0 0 -- 0
CA -- Taylor Thompson 54 pass from Dylan Johnson (Thomas Garrison kick), 11:42.
CA -- Thompson 34 pass from Johnson (Garrison kick), 9:45.
CA -- Timmy Riley 17 run (Garrison kick), 4:23.
CA -- Thomas Garrison 60 punt return (Garrison kick), 2:16.
CA -- Thompson 12 pass from Johnson (Garrison kick), 5:42.
CA -- Garrison 65 pass from Thompson (Garrison kick), 1:30.
CA -- Hudson Primm 1 run (Garrison kick), 0:49.
CA -- Matt Petselt 22 run (Garrison kick), 1:18.
Columbia Academy 392, Cornersville 67.
Rushing: Columbia Academy 160; Cornersville 65.
Passing: Columbia Academy 232; Cornersville 2.
Cornersville: Eli Woodard 14-28, Trenton Warren 6-23, Andrew Brady 2-10, Cameron Whittaker 11-9, Will Vanhooser 2-2.
Cornersville: Eli Woodard 1-6-2.
Cornersville: Cameron Whittaker 1-2.
Turnovers: Columbia Academy 1, Cornersville 2.
Cornersville: Ben Taylor 4, Peyton Finch 2.5, Dillard Hatchett 2, Cameron Whittaker 2, Eli Woodard 2, Cayde Fitzgerald 2, Austin Barron 1, Jacob Mitchell 1, CJ Coble 1, Blake Pickett 1, Adam Qualls .5, Trenton Warren .5, Will Vanhooser .5.