Rockmart, Georgia- The White County Warriors (7-3) traveled to Rockmart to face the Yellow Jackets (10-1) in the first round of the GHSA AAA State Playoffs.
In a very fast and hard hitting game , the Warriors didn’t start the way they had planned. To begin the game, the Warriors had a tough time stopping Senior Quarterback Javin Wahtley, as he rushed for 264 yards in the game. On third down of the Yellow Jackets first drive, Wahtley found Sophomore Dennis Sims for a 47 yard touchdown pass to put the Jackets up 7-0. The Warriors failed to pick up a first down on their first drive and punted the ball back to the Yellow Jackets. The Yellow Jackets picked up a quick first down and picking up big gains by Junior Keyshaun McCullough. The Warriors were having a tough time catching up to the speed of Rockmart. As soon as the Warriors started making some big defensive plays, Wahtley scored on a 26 yard run to make it 13-0 with 4:30 left in the fist quarter, as the Jackets missed the PAT. On the first play of the Warriors next offensive drive, Senior Quarterback J. Bnen Haynes pass was tipped and intercepted around midfield. The Warriors again were having a tough time stopping the rushing attack of the Yellow Jackets. The Yellow Jackets ran the ball on every single play of the drive and scored on a 5 yard rush by Wahtley to make it 20-0.
The Warriors would start to get the offense going, led by J. Ben Haynes and Darrius Cannon. Huge gain by Cannon got the Warriors inside the Yellow Jackets 20 yard line. Haynes would score on a 15 yard run and make it 20-7 early in the second quarter. The Warriors made a huge stop on third down, but jumped offsides on 4th down to give the Yellow Jackets a first down. The Yellow Jackets would stick to the ground game but the Warriors would make two huge tackles in the backfield to force a punt after some Yellow Jacket penalties. The Warriors would pick up a first down, on third down, but would get called back because of an offensive pass interference and be forced to punt the ball back to the Yellow Jackets. The Warriors were still having a tough time stopping Wahtley, as he scored again on a 29 yard touchdown rush to make it 27-7. The Warriors picked up a first down on 4th and 1 with 1:20 left in the second quarter. Haynes found Cannon on a 27 yard touchdown pass to make it 27-14 with 1:05 left in the 2nd quarter. The Warriors defense would hold strong and hold the Yellow Jackets to 0 points to close the half.
To start the second half, the Warriors would get a huge kickoff return by Cannon to give the Warriors great starting field position. The Warriors would get the offense going with small gains rushing the ball and some play action passes to get deep into Yellow Jacket territory. The Warriors would cut the lead to 6 with a 1-yard rush by Silas Mulligan and make it 27-21. On the kickoff, Wahtley would return the kickoff 80 yards for the score and extend the Yellow Jacket lead to 34-21. The Warriors would quickly answer on a great offensive drive led by Mulligan as he would score his second touchdown to cut the led again to a one score game. The Warriors would still not be able to slow down Whatley as he would pick up a 20+ yard gain again and put the Yellow Jackets into Warrior territory. Whatley would find Sims for another touchdown extending the lead 41-27. Both Sims touchdown catches were played very well defensively by Junior Bryson Cronic, as both passes were tipped by him but caught by Sims. With 3 minutes left in the third quarter, the Warriors were gaining momentum on the offensive side of the ball, running the ball very well but fumbled around the 30 yard line and was recovered by the Yellow Jackets.
The Warriors were playing very well defensively until Whatley ran outside, where he would pick up a lot of extra yards. The Yellow Jackets would quickly score again on a 8 yard rush by Jojo Haynes to extend the lead again 48-28. The Warriors would start to throw the ball more and pick up some quick first downs. J. Ben Haynes would find Reece Dockery for a 13 yard TD pass to make it 48-35 with 8:50 left in the fourth quarter. The Warriors would get a key stop to get the ball back to the offense. The Warriors would throw two deep passes and the Yellow Jackets would get called for pass interference both times. The Warriors would go for it on fourth down with 3 minutes left but fail to pick up the first down. The Yellow Jackets would run the clock out and go onto win 48-35 as the Warriors season comes to and end.