The annual rivalry between Rockmart and Cedartown was renewed in the 2019 edition of the Battle of Polk County on Friday, and the Yellow Jackets extended their streak to two games in a 31-12 win.
Head coach Biff Parson said it was an opportunity to showcase a Rockmart football program that seeks to make big waves in the weeks to come and make it back to the top of the heap in the state.
“It was total dominance,” Parson said. “We hold them accountable that they had to play for four quarters, and that’s a group that played four quarters.”
Javin Whatley was the man in charge of Rockmart’s dominance on offense through most of the game, mainly on the ground after he put up four touchdowns on the night, with three coming in the last quarter of play alone.
The Jackets ate up more than nine minutes of time in the first quarter alone, getting down to the Cedartown 1-yard line before they were forced to turn it over on a Bulldogs goal-line stand. Whatley was responsible for much of the forward movement on the 90-plus yard drive.
Rockmart finally scored on a second Bulldogs’ defensive stand, putting up a 30-yard field goal off the leg of Cooper Yanzetich. Whatley later punched in a 1-yard score late in the second quarter to put the Jackets up 10-0 at the half. He also put up touchdowns of 3, 4 and 5-yards on the night.
“He (Whatley) brings a whole new dimension to the offense, and that forces them to play 11 on 11,” Parson said.
Cedartown fans got see some flash from running back Kobe Pryor when he punched in a third-quarter touchdown from 21 yards out after being denied a 92-yard returned blocked field goal attempt that was erased by penalty flags earlier in the game.
Right before Pryor put the Bulldogs on the board, Cedartown saw one of their big talents get knocked out of the game. Quarterback Taji Hudson was hit in the torso just under his pads by a helmet, and was pulled from play and sent off to Floyd Polk Medical Center for testing.
Head coach Doyle Kelley did not have information on his condition immediately following the game. Hudson was able to climb into an ambulance under his own power before leaving the stadium.
His replacement, MJ Holliday, was able to connect in a fourth-quarter touchdown play with Chadriq Neal on a 69-yard pass, but the Bulldogs were unable to convert on the extra-point attempt.
Next Friday, Cedartown (0-1) heads off to play Alexander, while Rockmart (1-0) hosts Central-Carroll for their second game of the season in non-region play.