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November 14, 2018     The Monroe County Reporter
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November 14, 2018
 

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MARY PERSONS BULLDOG S Sponsored by j iCONGRATULATIONS TO MARY PERSONS' ATHLETICS November 14, 2018 IIIIIlillllllllllllllllllllllll By Rk:hard Dumas forsyth@mymcr.net The Mary Persons Bulldogs got their state playoffrun off to a rousing start on Friday, scoring the most points in program playoff history in a 59-0 humiliation of visiting Rich- mond Academy at Dan Pitts Stadium. The Bulldogs scored points on all eight of their first-half possessions en route to a 52-0 halftime edge. MP then emptied its bench in the second half as the GHSA mercy nile allowed for a running.clock for the final 24 minutes. MP senior quarterback J.T. Hartage passed for a school single-game record 305 yards and five touchdowns on 10 of 12 comple- tions. MP's top receivers, Antoine Davis and DeiAdrek Alford, did most of the aerial dam- age, combining for seven receptions for 206 yards and four touchdowns. Meanwhile, MP senior running back Quen Wilson exited for good late in the first quarter with an apparent left knee injury after just four carries. It was the first time this year that Wilson, who went scoreless on Friday, was held without a touchdown. But in Wilson's absence, reserve running backs Rico Harden and T.]. Morgan more than picked up the slack, combining for 126 yards and two touchdowns on 12 carries. Hardens first-quarter dash for glory, which started on a draw behind right tackle and ended with a dive across the end zone just inside the left pylon was one of the greatest individual plays in Dan Pitts Stadium history and earned Harden the 13WMAZ Play ofthe Week honor. In all, MP outgained the hapless Muske- teers 589 to 53 in total yards, including a 267 to 18 edge on the ground and a preposterous 465 to 34 edge in the first half alone. Things started going wrong for Richmond Academy on the third play from scrim- mage when MP comerback Rico Harden picked offa Mason Cobb pass after it was deflected by MP linebacker Ladamian Sands. Harden retumed the pick 18 yards to set the Dogs' offense up at Richmond Academy's 24-yard-line. After penalties set MP back to the Musketeers' 47, Hartage fired a slant to Davis in the left slot. The senior receiver did the rest, spinning away from several tacklers and sprinting into the end zone for a 47- yard touchdown. Julian Rivera's extra point put MP ahead 7-0 with 9:27 left in the first quarter. The Musketeers then tried to convert a 4th- and-1 on their next series, but MP's Daniel Lavelle exploded into the backfield and stuffed Richmond Academy rmming back Ty'Quan Grissett for no gain. Starting again deep in Musketeers' territory at ;chmond Academy's 29-yard-line, Hartage went for the kill, firing a deep bomb down the left sideline to favorite target Alford for a 29-yard touchdown just inside the end zone bound- ary. Rivera's extra point gave MP a 14-0 edge with 7:17 left in the first quarter, but the rout was just beginning. After a Richmond Academy three-and- out, MP started at its own 22-yard-line and it took just two plays for the Bulldogs to find the end zone again when Hartage flipped a toss to receiver Desmond Williams, streak- ing right to left behind the line of scrimmage. Williams raced around left tackle and then speeded down the left sideline for an 80-yard touchdown. Rivera's extra point then put MP in front 21-0 with 4:39 left in the first quarter. At that point, all three Hartage passes had gone for touchdowns. MP head coach Brian Nelson then at- tempted an onside kick, which was recov- ered by MP's Antoine Davis at Richmond Academy's 46-yard-line. The Bulldogs' drive stalled at the Musketeers' 9-yard-line, and MP settled for a 26-yard Rivera field goal to put MP in front 24-0 with 1:42 left in the first period. Richmond Academy still couldn't muster a first down on its next series as MP'S Kendrell Watts sacked Cobb for an eight-yard loss on third down. Six plays later, MP added to its lead when Harden darted right before cutting back across the grain, breaking five tackles in the progress, and finding open field near Richmond Academy's sideline. Stumbling as he reached the five-yard-line, he continued his forward momentum, diving across the goal line for a 40-yard TD run. Rivera's extra point put MP ahead by a whopping 31-0 margin with 11:06 left in the second quarter. Nelson said of Harden: "He's a pretty good player, and that was a pretty impressive run. But we've had a lot of them (good players). And he got called on to do his job, and he came in and did it. And that's what we ask of our guys. When your number gets called and you get your opportunity, go in there and make the most of it. And that's what he did." The Musketeers finally recorded a first down on their ensuing drive on a pass inter- MP senior receiver Antoine Davis got behind Richmond Academy defensive backs twice for long touchdowns, including this 76-yarder in the second quarter of the Dogs' 59'0 win. Davis was 11-0 MP's leading pass-catcher in the game with four receptions for 134 yards and two touchdowns. (Photo/Will Davis) ference penalty. Richmond Academy would eventually cross midfield before Sands broke up a third-down pass to force a punt. Hart- age then completed all three passes on MP's next drive, including a 20-yard touchdown throw to Alford in which the senior quarter- back escaped the pocket left and threw back across his body to his 6'4" target, who was nmning a left to right slant toward the end zone. Rivera's extra point put MP in front 38-0 with 5:23 left in the second quarter. After another empty Musketeers' posses- sion, Mary Persons added to its lead on a quick-strike 76-yard touchdown from Hart- age to Davis, who ran free down the right hash for the easy score. Rivera's extra point gave MP an almost preposterous 45-0 lead with 4:06 left in the first half. But the Bulldogs still weren't done. With 23 seconds left in the first half, Morgan capped a six-play, 42-yard drive with a six-yard touchdown. Rivera's extra point put MP ahead 52-0 at halftime in what may very well have been the most dominant half of football in MP playoff history. Despite playing almost exclusively reserves in the second half, MP's defense still held Richmond Academy to a single first down. While MP's second string offense couldn't get much going, the Bulldogs did muster one more score, a 14-yard rushing touchdown by freshman D.J. Martinez, who led MP with 94 rushing yards. Tripp Shipman's extra point gave MP a 59-0 edge with 4:30 left in the game, and that would prove to be the final See BULLDOGS. Page 4B By Richard Dumas forsyth@mymcr.net The Mary Persons competition cheerleading squad record- ed its best-ever state finish on Saturday, placing third at the AAAA state championship meet in Columbus. The Cheer Dogs, who were exempt into the event finals by virtue of their Region 2-AAAA championship one week earlier, bettered last year's best-ever finish of fifth place by two spots. MP, which posted a team score of 91.33, finished be- hind only champion Cartersville, which recorded a winning total of 95.33 and second-place Denmark, which finished with a 94.33 in its first-ever appearance at state. Defending AAAA state champion Chapel Hill placed behind MP in fourth with a total of 88.33. Prior to 2017, MP had never finished higher than seventh at the state competition. MP head coach Kyle Ward said he was "really pleased" with the Cheer Dogs' performance on Saturday and said MP performed nearly as well as it did at region the previous week when the Cheer Dogs received a core of 101. He said there were a few small miscues that prevented MP from achieving its goal of a perfect routine, but he said he thinks MP would See BULLDOGS Page 6B 4