KENNESAW — Darlington scored on every first-half drive and built a 49-7 halftime lead en route to a 49-21 victory over Mount Paran Christian in the Eagles’ Region 7A Private opener at Catherine Steele Sewell Stadium on Friday.
The Tigers (6-1, 2-0) scored early and often and started with a 41-yard pass from Patrick Shelley to Talan Shirey less than a minute into the first quarter.
Darlington’s third play from scrimmage was a 48-yard touchdown run from Caleb Thompson to make it 14-0. Thompson finished the night with 128 yards rushing.
Shelley threw his second touchdown to Thomas Bethel for 11 yards with 5:52 left in the first quarter to make it 21-0. Shelley completed all five passes he threw in the game for 85 yards.
The Tigers closed the first-quarter scoring with a 7-yard carry from Alan Cordero to go up 28-0.
Darlington began the second quarter with a 25-yard run into the end zone by D’marion Floyd, which was followed by a 59-yard touchdown pass from Jack Payne to Eli Thompson, and then a 17-yard touchdown run from Bethel and the Tigers were up 49-7 at the end of the first half. Payne completed two of three passes for 77 yards.
“Coach (Tommy) Atha and I are very close friends,” Mount Paran Christian coach Mitch Jordan said. “They were very well prepared and they outcoached us tonight. We just weren’t ready and that falls on me being the head coach.”
Darlington had a total of 336 yards rushing, including 174 yards in the first half.
Mount Paran (3-4, 0-1) scored its first touchdown in the second quarter when Sam Griffith-Tesch scored from 7 yards out to make it 35-7 with 6 minutes left in the first half. Griffith-Tesch ran for 79 yards on the night, contributing to more than half of the Eagles’ 142 total yards.
The Eagles scored again with 33 seconds left in the third quarter after Henry Akopov blocked a Darlington punt and returned it for a touchdown to make it 49-14.
Mount Paran’s VJ Ray added a 7-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.
“The second half was fun, and we had some younger guys get in their varsity snaps, which was awesome to watch,” Jordan said. “But we have to get ready for a tough next match against Christian Heritage”
The Eagles will have a bye week before facing Christin Heritage on Oct. 22.
“We had an up game last week against King’s Ridge and had some success,” Jordan said. “We have to prepare, and we can’t make the same mistakes. Darlington did a great job of owning the line of scrimmage (Friday).”