Hornets Roll Past Pebblebrook in First Round of Playoffs
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by Ty Simons
ROSWELL–The Hornets started off their postseason run with a 45-7 win over Pebblebrook High School of Mableton on Friday.
Though the Hornets did not score their first touchdown until deep into the second quarter, the team made up for lost time with a dominant performance that stretched to the end of the third quarter. Roswell banked 396 total yards on offense with key contributions from a wide range of players, including the addition of Jajuan White, who took over as starting running back for an injured Sheldon Evans this week. Defensive tackle Max Boyd and linebacker Sam DiRoberto led the Hornets on defense.
A slow first quarter ended with no score for either team, though Roswell came close to a touchdown on their second drive. White led a steady march up the field, covering 42 yards in six carries, but was stopped five yards short of the goal line on a fourth down conversion. The Hornets put the first points of the evening on the scoreboard about midway through the second quarter, as DiRoberto recovered a fumble that allowed kicker Turner Barckhoff to make a 31-yard field goal.
The Hornets started to break away from Pebblebrook with the night’s first touchdown on their next offensive series. The scoring drive was pass-heavy, with receptions from Jordan Ford and Tyneil Hopper topped off with a 33-yard catch by Kentrell Barber. To finish the half, Malik Willis connected with wide receiver Jayden Comma to further Roswell’s lead to 17 points.
Roswell scored on every possession in the third quarter. Starting from their own 14-yard line, a 28-yard reception by Comma and a 48-yard TD catch by Xavier McKinney helped Roswell move 86 yards to the endzone in four plays.
After the kickoff, Boyd and DiRoberto made a pair of backfield tackles for a combined loss of 14 yards, forcing the Falcons to punt from their own 2-yard line. That gave the Hornets good field position on their next drive, from the Pebblebrook 37-yard line. Willis fired off a 22-yard pass to Christian Ford, and White took the ball in for the touchdown.
From the Falcons’ 32-yard line, Ford and Gabe Reeves took Roswell to the endzone again with a pair of completions. Jesse Bridgman recovered a Pebblebrook fumble on the first play of scrimmage after Roswell’s kickoff, allowing Willis to make a scoring run for 20 yards as time expired in the third quarter.
Pebblebrook managed to score a single touchdown off of Roswell in the fourth quarter. Otherwise, the final minutes of the game rolled on without much action as the clock ran out and Roswell finished their successful start to the postseason.
In round 2 of the playoffs, Roswell will take on Peachtree Ridge next week at home. These two teams last encountered each other in 2011 in a game that Roswell lost 31-2. If the Hornets are more successful this time around, they will go on to play either North Cobb or Lambert in the 3rd stage of playoff contention.