Varsity Hornets Dispatch Etowah, Win Region 4

Rajath Prabhakar, Staff Writer

Roswell Hornets entered Friday’s contest on a 3-game winning streak. Their opponent: the Etowah Eagles. Sitting at 3rd in Region 4, Friday’s game would decide the region. Etowah won the toss and deferred.

Both teams’ opening drives lasted five plays, with the teams trading punts. On their second drive of the game, Roswell went three-and-out, with a bad punt by junior Caden Long leaving Etowah on Roswell’s 31 yard line. 2 plays and an offside penalty later, Etowah found the end zone, with senior Dalton Miller connecting with junior Klivert Many for an 11-yard touchdown. Freshman Carson Allen’s point-after split the uprights, putting the Eagles up 7-0. The Hornets ensuing drive stalled out after just six plays, forcing them to punt. The quarter ended with Etowah up 7-0.

In the second quarter, the Eagles were able to drive all the way inside the red zone. But they shot themselves in the foot with ill-timed penalties. On 4th and 1, Dalton Miller was stuffed at the line, turning the ball over. Two punts later, Roswell got the ball back at their own 20. Junior Marquis Willis picked up a first down with runs of 5 and 8 yards. Following an incomplete pass and a run for a yard, Roswell was able to move the chains on a pass interference by Etowah. After senior Saveon McCrary was dropped for a 1-yard loss, senior John Copenhaver tied the game with a 32-yard touchdown scamper. Caden Long’s extra point made it 7-7.

Following the Eagles’ three-and-out, Roswell got the ball back with 3:25 remaining in the first half. All they did was go 61 yards in 9 plays, capped off by Marquis Willis’s 5-yard touchdown run. Junior Brian Najar’s PAT split the uprights, putting the Hornets up 14-7.  The Eagles ran out the clock on the ensuing drive, ending the half with the Hornets up 14-7.

Etowah went backwards on the opening possession of the second half, going 3-and-out. Roswell took advantage, going 46 yards in 6 plays to extend their lead to 21-7. Saveon McCrary did the honors, punching it in from the 4. 21-7 Roswell. After another 3-and-out from the Eagles, the Hornets did not let up. Capping off a methodical 8 play, 63 yard drive, senior Nnamdi Orjioke rushed for another touchdown. 28-7 Roswell. Etowah was able to stem the bleeding a little bit on the ensuing drive, as Dalton Miller found the tight end senior Jackson Manns for a 13-yard touchdown. 28-14 Roswell. That bit of momentum would be short-lived for Etowah, as senior Ethan Roberts connected with tight end John Copenhaver for a 75-yard touchdown to put the Hornets back up 21.

“My receivers are big playmakers so I tried to get the ball into their hands the best I could and let them take over the game,” said Roberts on the touchdown.

The third quarter ended with Roswell up 35-14, outscoring Etowah 21-7 in the quarter.

Things got even uglier for the Eagles in the fourth. Senior Doneiko Slaughter put his stamp on the affair, picking off Dalton Miller and taking it to the house. 42-14. It was the first of three interceptions for Miller. Two possessions later, Etowah had another chance to make the game more respectable. However, this happened.

Intending to find Klivert Many on 1st down, the senior lofted a lazy pass that was easily picked by junior Evan Plunkett, who waltzed into the end zone for the second pick-six of the night. Although the PAT was missed, Roswell was up 48-14, which was how the game ended.

Friday’s game was also the last regular season game for the seniors in their high school careers. When asked about his favorite moment in a Hornets uniform, Ethan Roberts said that beating Walton for the region championship was one of his favorites. With the win, Roswell wins Region 4, clinching home-field advantage for at least the first two rounds of the playoffs. They will have a rematch with Wheeler at 7:30 p.m. Friday night. The Wildcats suffered a beatdown in Roswell’s Homecoming game, losing 28-0.