“We’ve prepared for this all season,” Warner Robins quarterback Jalen Addie said. “We had to get in here and finish the drill.”
The game was so one-sided that a running clock was used for the fourth quarter. It was so out of hand that the Warner Robins players were posing for celebratory photos on the sidelines in the fourth quarter … and not getting in trouble for it.
It was the fifth state championship for Warner Robins, who also won it all in 1976, 1981, 1988 and 2004.
The Warner Robins offense was unstoppable. The Demons, who totaled 170 points in their first four playoff games, scored on each of its nine possessions administered by the starting offense. That’s 9-for-9 touchdowns. Led by a dominating offensive line and quarterback Addie, Warner Robins amassed 601 total yards – 342 on the ground, 259 in the air – and 33 first downs.
Cartersville started the game with a 7-0 lead on Sam Phillips’ 94-yard kickoff return and led 14-7 after Devonte Ross snagged a 26-yard touchdown pass from Carlos Del Rio-Wilson. But that was the highlight for the Hurricanes.
“Once they ran that kickoff back, we got it out of our system,” Addie said. “We’ve been in situations like this before, and that’s part of the game. We had to come out and drive the ball. Our defense got a stop, and we came together as a team and got the job done.”
Warner Robins scored 28 consecutive points and took a 35-14 halftime lead. Addie had a hand in each – throwing a 14-yard touchdown to Malcom Brown and a 29-yard touchdown to Kaleb Howard and scoring on a pair of 5-yard runs.
“We know what they were capable of, so we told our guys not to take their foot off the gas,” Westbrook said. “Our offensive line, from tackle to tackle, they did their job. All of our guys did their part. I’m proud of those guys and the way they finished.”
The Demons scored on the opening drive of the second half on Jahlen Rutherford’s 10-yard run and added a pair of scores, a 12-yard Brown run and a 56-yard pass from Addie to Daveon Walker, that pushed the lead to 55-21 and triggered the running clock for the final quarter.
Addie completed 16 of 18 passes for 259 yards and three touchdowns and ran 16 times for 107 yards and three touchdowns. Rutherford carried 21 times for 143 yards and one touchdown, and Brown rushed 13 times for 102 yards and one touchdown. Walker caught six passes for 91 yards and Armon Porter had four receptions for 75 yards.
“Jalen set the tone,” Rutherford said. “Addie’s the motor.”
Del Rio-Wilson completed 15 of 26 passes for 225 yards and two touchdowns, but threw a pair of interceptions and was sacked twice. Devonte Ross and Phillips each had four catches. Quante Jennings was the top rusher with 51 yards on 11 carries.
Warner Robins finished the season 13-1; it lost to Lee County and Valdosta, although that outcome was reversed because Valdosta used an ineligible player. Cartersville finished 12-2 in its first season in Class 5A.