Marietta’s 1-4 record to start the year is not an aberration.
That is the message quarterback Harrison Bailey is trying to send with his stellar performance on Friday against North Paulding.
The game was a one-sided matchup with Marietta winning 36-14, and based on Bailey’s passing numbers, he was making it look routine.
Bailey completed 30 of 47 passes for 478 yards and five touchdowns against the Wolfpack. All five went to tight end Arik Gilbert. And Gilbert accounted for 290 of Bailey’s yards.
Four of his touchdown connections came in the first half to set the tone. His first strike was for 42 yards, his second was 39, his third 26 with his final being for 51 yards for a 29-7 Blue Devil halftime lead.
“He did a good job reaching defenses, the blitzes and delivering the football on time,” Marietta coach Richard Morgan said. “Obviously, Arik had a big night. He had wide open routes and some big plays for us.”
Bailey and his teammates went through learning curves in falling state’s best teams in Rome and Grayson as well as two marquee teams from Maryland and Washington, D.C.
Against North Paulding on Friday in the Region 3AAAAAAA opener at Northcutt Stadium, the Blue Devils were more than ready for anything that North Paulding tried to throw at them.
Two other quarterbacks in the county – Wheeler’s C.J. Ogbonna and Kell’s Evan Conley – who ended up with five touchdown passes each while throwing for more than 200 yards.
While Wheeler took its first loss of the season in its Region 2AAAAAAA opener, a 38-36 defeat to Newnan, Ogbonna completed 25-of-33 pass attempts for 360 yards and five scores.
The one setback for Ogbonna, he didn’t get going until final drive in the second quarter when the Wildcats were already trailing 17-0. Until then, Wheeler’s offense had gained only 20 yards. After hitting White for a 6-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter to get within two, its potential game-winning drive was fumbled away with 1:25 left.
Three of Ogbonna’s touchdown passes came in the third quarter. He hit Jeremiah Pruitte for 23 yards, Ricky White for 46 and Miles Elliot for 65.
Kell won its second straight game with a dominant 47-7 win over Villa Rica. Conley only completed nine passes with five of them being into the end zone. He ended up with 214 yards for the game.
Conley threw his shorter touchdown passes in the first quarter, which was a 6-yarder to Eboni Jackson and a 12-yard pass to Camron Ball. He put Villa Rica away in the second and third quarters with a 73, 24 and 23-yard touchdown passes to Xavier Parris, Jamal Hill and Ball.
Kell already had a 47-0 edge going into the fourth quarter.