Cartwright, Red Raiders ground Wildcats
Normally a team would feel pretty good about its performance, having dominated in building a 26-point lead.
Not so when it came to the T.W. Andrews football team at halftime of its 45-10 win Friday night against Eastern Randolph in Simeon Stadium, securing sole possession of first place in the PAC-6 2A.
“At the half, the kids were feeling as if they were losing,” Andrews coach Rodney McKoy said. “They were really fired up that they needed to play better. That’s a good sign when you’re up 33-7 and you didn’t think you played well.”
It was hardly the case that Andrews (7-1, 3-0) didn’t play well. After stalling on its first possession, TWA scored the next six times it had the ball, a string that ran through its first possession of the third quarter to go up 39-7.
At that point, the Red Raiders had 385 yards total offense and scored on three methodical drives and three one-play strikes — a 69-yard run that was the last of three touchdowns by Marquell Cartwright and passes of 41 and 16 yards from Lamar Raynard to Justin Lea.
Over the same amount of time, the Wildcats (5-4, 2-1) did not muster a first down and had minus-8 yards of total offense in six possessions from scrimmage. But the Wildcats did reach the end zone for the only time, thanks to a 91-yard kickoff return that brought them within 13-7 less than a minute into the second quarter. Their only score on offense came on a 33-yard field goal with 10 minutes to play.
“We played really well in spurts,” McKoy said. “Eastern Randolph is a pretty decent team and they were tied with us for first place in the conference. We’ve got to understand that a lot of the teams we play are going to be good from here on out. They came to play. We’ve got to fight, and I thought we did that.”
The Red Raiders had 515 yards total offense that included 369 in the first half. Led by Cartwright’s 143 yards that also included touchdown runs from the 3 and 1, Andrews gained 310 yards on the ground. D.J. Hill added 110 yards, 48 of them on a burst through the Wildcat defense with 6:22 remaining in the game. Jahmad Cherry also scored on a 1-yard run.
Andrews gave a preview of things to come when Raynard, who threw for 202 yards, connected with Branden Galloway on a 54-yard gain to the ER 31 on the first play of the game. The Wildcats later held on that possession and kept the Red Raiders from breaking a big play for a touchdown on the next two before Cartwright blew through a big hole and took off on his 69-yard scoring run.
“Their defensive end was doing things that we didn’t expect,” McKoy said. “But our coaches made a great adjustment.”
Cartwright provided one of the few negatives for Andrews when he lost a fumble that Eastern recovered at its 37 late in the third quarter. The Wildcats then went on the drive that ended in the field goal.
“I’m not pleased that we fumbled,” McKoy said. “We’ve been taking care of the ball, and I think it’s the first one we’ve had in six or seven games.”
Eastern finished with 141 yards, most of it coming in its last three possessions, with running back Jason Letterlough gaining 98 of them.
“I think the score was indicative of the kind of defense that we played,” McKoy said.