Sandy Creek 63, Cedartown 10

It took exactly 17 seconds for the Sandy Creek Patriots to shift gears into playoff mode.

That’s how long it took Javon Jackson to return the game’s opening kickoff 82 yards for a touchdown. From there the Patriots never looked back, opening up a 42-3 lead in the second quarter en route to a 63-10 win over the Cedartown Bulldogs in the first round of the AAAA state playoffs.

Next Friday Sandy Creek will host Chestatee, who defeated Grady in its first-round game.

The Battlefield in Tyrone was a house of horrors for Cedartown, especially in the first quarter. After Jackson’s scoring burst, the Bulldogs fumbled the next kickoff at its own 36, and on second down Delvin Weems ran 30 yards for a score to make it 14-0 less than two minutes into the game.

Cedartown went three-and-out and punted on each of its first two possessions. After the first punt, Cole Garvin hit Demarre Kitt on a 59-yard bomb to set up Eric Swinney’s 24-yard touchdown run, and on the next possession Garvin capped off a 75-yard drive with a 15-yard scoring pass to Swinney with 2:40 left in the first quarter.

The Bulldogs put together a drive that reached the Sandy Creek 4, but the Patriots’ defense held and the visitors settled for a field goal. Korey Banks returned the ensuing kickoff to the 40, and a nine-play drive concluded with Weems running the ball into the end zone from 2 yards out.

A halfback pass by the Bulldogs was intercepted by Brian Miller, and on second down Swinney caught a screen pass and raced 60 yards for a score and a 42-3 lead. Cedartown drove down the field and scored on a 3-yard pass with five seconds to go before halftime.

The Patriots started the third quarter by stopping the Cedartown offense and snuffing a fake punt at midfield. Joseph Alexander reeled in a 39-yard pass from Garvin on first down and Swinney ran 11 yards for a score on the next play.

The Bulldogs drove into the red zone but stalled and missed a field goal attempt. Two plays later, Weems exploded up the middle for a 75-yard touchdown run. On the next possession Maceo Brown ran 66 yards down the left sideline on the final play of the third quarter for the final score of the game.

Ronnie Blackmon intercepted a pass to stop Cedartown’s final offensive threat, and the Patriots held the ball most of the fourth quarter with the help of a running clock.