MARIETTA — Marietta used a strong ground game and an air-tight defensive effort to defeat Newton 35-0 in the first round of the Class AAAAAAA state playoffs Saturday at Northcutt Stadium.
The Region 3AAAAAAA runner-up Blue Devils (5-6) will go to undefeated Carrollton in a second-round game next Friday.
Marietta took control in the first quarter with touchdown runs of 84 and 76 yards by Jaylen Frazier and Russell Bey, respectively, and the Blue Devils maintained their advantage with a running attack that gained 303 yards, as well as a formidable defense that held Newton (7-4) scoreless.
“The defense has been playing great all year.” Marietta coach Richard Morgan said. “My defensive coordinator, Jason Allen, has done a great job getting those guys motivated in the right spots and playing together. The offense is coming along, and I think we’re a pretty tough opponent now.”
Frazier rushed for 187 yards and three touchdowns on 18 carries, while Bey added 91 yards and one score on six carries to lead the potent Marietta ground game.
“I thought our offensive line and our running backs played their best game of the season,” Morgan said. “In the playoffs, you have to be able to run the football and impose your will up front, and I think we did that tonight. I was very happy to see that, and it’s coming at the right time.”
Marietta needed only three plays to score on its first offensive series of the game as Frazier broke through a hole in the Newton defensive line and exploded for his 84-yard touchdown run to give the Blue Devils a 7-0 lead with 8:16 remaining in the first quarter.
The second Marietta scoring drive took only one play as Bey exploited a gaping hole in the Newton defense and rumbled down the field 76 yards for the score to make it 14-0 with 1:51 left in the first quarter.
“Based on the coverage (Newton ran) in certain sets, we felt like, if we motioned some guys around and created some confusion, we felt like we could hit a couple inside,” Morgan said. “It worked for us that we were able to do that. The running backs did a good job of finishing it off once they hit the secondary.”
After scoreless second and third quarters, Marietta got its last three scores of the game in the final period on a pair of 9-yard runs by Frazier with 9:39 and 5:10 remaining, and a 22-yard touchdown pass from Daniel Gray to Jeremiah Frederick at the 1:07 mark.