Lights out figuratively.
Lights out literally.
Such was the case in Warner Robins and Carrollton’s Class AAAAA quarterfinal Friday in McConnell-Talbert stadium.
Figuratively was a 63-24 win for the Demons.
Literally was when the lights literally went out early in the fourth quarter.
If somebody was trying to send a message, it was clearly unnecessary. Anybody watching could see … well, when they could see … utter domination by the host.
In particular was a third quarter in which Warner Robins outscored Carrollton 28-0 to put the game away – a running clock in the fourth.
The Trojans started the game off well enough. They scored on three plays. It helped that the last of those was for 66 yards and came via standout rusher Jaylan Thomas, who came in averaging more than 10 yards per carry. Connor Smith-McCrum’s point after made it 7-0.
The Demons answered right back on their first possession, however. They put together an eight-play, 67-yard, drive that ended with Jarius Burnette’s first score of the night – one of three. It was from 19 yards out – he also had a key 29-yard reception from quarterback Dylan Fromm on the drive. Eli Mashburn tied it with his point after.
Carrollton went back out front with a 25-yard Smith-McCrum field goal – a seven-play drive that started on its 17.
That only lasted until Warner Robins’ next possession. It went 80 yards on 10 plays – two pass interference calls of 15 yards each certainly helped – and ended with an 11-yard touchdown run from Fromm – also one of three. Mashburn made it 14-10. The Demons would never trail again.
They did have to punt – one of two, both in the first half. They also had to stop the Trojans on a fourth-and-10 – that after they had picked up a fourth-and-one and avoided a Smith-McCrum field goal try of 31 yards. All of that came after Warner Robins’ second score – the visitor also lost its starting quarterback, Mark Wright to injury (shoulder from the looks of it).
Following the three-point miss, the Demons put together another 80-yard drive – the game into the second quarter by then. A 50-yard pass from Fromm to Julius Cobbs was one key play, while the score came via Burnette from the 1. Mashburn made it 21-10.
Carrollton answered it with a 60-yard drive following. It went 11 plays – another pass interference negated a third-down stop and put the ball on the 4. Quarterback Kashif Taylor found Jordan Bonner with a pass for the score on the next play. Smith-Mc-Crum made it 21-17.
The Trojans fumbled on their next possession. Warner Robins recovered it on the 41. Fromm ran it for 20 yards on the second play from scrimmage. A pass interference tacked on 15 more yards and Burnette finished it off from 24 yards out. That came with about 20 seconds left in the half. Mashburn made it 18-17.
Cobbs caught a touchdown pass of 47 yards to get the third started. The Trojans went three-and-out before Fromm scored again. This time it was from four yards out and capped of a 49-yard drive of five plays.
Carrollton, desperate now, turned it over on downs on a fourth-and-12 – was actually fourth-and-17 until an offsides call. Fromm’s first two passes following went incomplete, but his third was to Jaeven West for 56 yards and another touchdown. The point after made it 56-17.
The Trojans ran one play from the 26 to signal the end of the third quarter. Two plays later came the aforementioned “lights out”. When play finally resumed – the game clock at 9:35, the Trojans scored on a trick play of 39 yards. Smith-McCrum’s point after made it 56-24.
Warner Robins brought in Blake Etheridge at quarterback following – as well as some other substitutes. That simply resulted in another touchdown, when on the third play from scrimmage, he scored from the 20.
Next up in the semifinals for the Demons will be Carver-Atlanta, which beat Jones County in its quarterfinal, 26-21.