Chang’s booming punt hit the ground at the 20-yard line and bounced perfectly out of bounds, inches inside the left pylon, to pin Carrollton inside its own 1. On the very next play, the Trojans’ Jarvis Terrell fumbled the ball into the end zone and Kell’s Bryson Armstrong fell on it to give the Longhorns a 7-0 lead with 27 seconds left in the first quarter.
“Sometimes, it is better to be lucky than good. That was a great, lucky bounce, but we have been working on that,” Kell coach Derek Cook said. “We told Chang he needed to be working on his angle, kicking to put the ball out of bounds inside the 10. And I was very happy for him that he was able to get it done (Saturday).”
Kell (1-0) kept the momentum rolling on Carrollton’s ensuing possession, as Michael McCain intercepted Jack Garrett’s pass on the second play of the drive to set the Longhorns up on the Carrollton 36. The Trojans (0-1) held Kell to a 33-yard field goal attempt that Chang put through for a 10-0 Kell lead.
The Longhorns’ defense allowed a mere 45 yards of total offense in the first half, and Itabari Mason recovered his own fumble into the end zone on a 2-yard touchdown run as time expired on the first half. The extra point gave Kell a 17-0 halftime advantage.
Kell’s defense allowed 199 yards of total offense in the game, with 40 coming on a desperation pass late in the game.
“Our kids played really hard,” Cook said. “They didn’t concern themselves with the conditions. They just went as hard as they could as long as they could. When they peeled off because of heat or injury, the next guy went in, and there really wasn’t much of a drop-off. Very pleased with our first- and second-team effort (Saturday).”
Armstrong was able to find holes in the Trojans’ defense all day long, as he caught nine passes from Cameron Rosendahl for 108 yards. All but two of Armstrong’s catches went for a first down.
“We have been practicing a lot lately, and I think we have it down,” Armstrong said. “We just have that connection, and I am liking it.”
Rosendahl was 15-for-22 with 170 yards through the air and added 67 rushing yards on 15 carries. He said he knows where to find Armstrong on the field.
“Me and Bryson have always had a connection. It is always simple for us,” Rosendahl said. “We could close our eyes and do it.”
Mason finished with 14 carries for 83 yards and a touchdown.
Jarvis Terrell broke free of the Kell defense for a 41-yard touchdown run and the Trojans’ only points on the day. The run was one of only four plays Carrollton had of more than 7 yards.
Chang also connected on a 22-yard field goal to give the Longhorns a 20-7 lead with 2:20 left in the game.
With the win, Kell improved to 4-1 in the Corky Kell Classic, the event named after the school’s namesake, longtime Wheeler football coach and Cobb County administrator Carlton “Corky” Kell.
Kell was one of the minds behind what would become the Classic, which debuted in 1992 and was further developed by McEachern’s Jimmy Dorsey and Brookwood’s Dave Hunter following Kell’s death in 1995
The loss spoiled the Carrollton coaching debut of Ed Dudley, the former longtime Walton coach. It was the first time Dudley had coached a game in Cobb County since 2008, just before his departure for Ware County.