Atlanta earns, 34-16, win over Gladewater
Coming off two district losses, Atlanta kept its playoff hopes alive with a, 34-16, home win over the Gladewater Bears last Friday night.
Since 2012 the two teams have split wins 3-3 but Atlanta leads the all-time series 9-8.
Gladewater received the ball to open the contest, but a quick three-and-out forced the Bears to punt with 10:44 showing on the clock.
Atlanta set up shop with good field position at the Bears’ 48-yard line.
The Rabbits kept the ball on the ground the entire drive. After a 2-yard loss and a penalty against Atlanta, running back Jawan King took the pitch from quarterback Andy Samples 27 yards to the Bears’ 28.
Samples darted for 10 yards followed by an 8-yard run by Dra Nelson.
Samples gained another four yards and King five on two carries before Samples ended the 8-play drive with a 1-yard touchdown.
Fernando Campos connected on the PAT and Atlanta was up, 7-0, with 7:36 left in the first frame.
On Gladewater’s first snap of the next drive the tailback fumbled the ball back to Atlanta with 7:25 left in the first quarter.
Working from the 32 Samples took the ball three yards and King gained eight yards on two yards down to the 21.
The very next play King slipped through the defense and bolted into the endzone from 21 yards out.
Campos nailed the PAT and Atlanta was up, 14-0, with 6:08 showing on the clock.
Gladewater made the most of its next drive as the Bears netted a couple of big runs to get down into Rabbit territory, but a couple of penalties and two incomplete passes eventually forced the Bears to attempt a 41-yard field goal.
The Bears’ kicker nailed the 41-yard field goal and the score stood at, 14-3, with 2:47 left in the first quarter.
Atlanta began its next drive from the 31 and faced second down after Desmond Webster was stopped at the line of scrimmage.
Samples hit Shun Hunter for 12 yards and then gained 12 yards on the ground. After a short run by Nelson, Samples hit Kade Wood for 18 yards to end the opening quarter.
The Rabbits opened the second half with a trick play that involved Samples pitching the ball to King who flipped the ball to Wood who threw the ball downfield and into the hands of a Gladewater defender with just 11:51 showing on the clock.
Gladewater tried to grind the ball as they are known for and moved the pigskin from the 16 to the 47 with short run plays.
The Bears ended up punting the ball away on fourth down after the 9-play drive stalled at the 8:19 mark.
Atlanta began its next drive at the 25-yard line.
The only pass play on the 12-play drive was an 11-yard connection from Samples to Carson Rich.
The other 11 plays included physical runs by Webster (16 yards total), Samples (16 yards total) and King (22 yards total) with the latter being a 4-yard score by King.
The PAT was good and Atlanta was up, 21-3, with 2:55 left in the first half.
Gladewater had more trouble with a stingy Atlanta defense and ended up punting the ball away at the 1:01 mark after only moving the ball 16 yards in seven plays.
The first half ended with an 8-yard run by Webster followed by a 5-yard run by Nelson.
The second half opened with the Bears trying an onside kick which was nabbed out of the air by Luke Anthony.
The recovered kick also gave the Rabbs great field position at the 49.
Samples took the ball across midfield with a short run followed by a 10-yard gain by King.
Three plays later Atlanta had to punt the ball away with 9:30 left in the third stanza.
Atlanta’s defense continued to attack as they dropped the Bears’ tailback for a 7-yard loss on the first play from scrimmage which put them at the 11.
Six plays later Gladewater made its way just across midfield, but faced fourth-and-7.
The drive ended with an incomplete pass with 6:38 left in the quarter.
Atlanta ended up going and three-and-out and had to punt the ball back to Gladewater with 5:59 left in the third quarter.
The next two drives for each team were reminiscent of a short boxing match with both fighters landing stout blows.
Gladewater took the ball from the 17 to Atlanta’s 41 in just five plays. The drive was capped off with a 41-yard touchdown.
The successful PAT put the score at, 21-10, with 2:55 left in the third quarter.
Not to be outdone, King scored on a 58-yard gallop to the endzone on second down of the next drive.
The missed PAT set the score at, 26-10, with 2:36 left in the quarter.
The third quarter ended with Gladewater eating the clock minutes up like PacMan.
The Bears began its drive from the 30-yard line and by the end of the third quarter they had moved to Atlanta’s 43.
The seven-minute long plus drive ended in the redzone as the Bears turned the ball over to Atlanta on the 6-yard line at the 8:23 mark.
Atlanta couldn’t move the ball and punted the pigskin away with 7:00 left in the contest.
Gladewater took advantage of the good field position at the Rabbit 37 and punched the ball into the endzone in just four plays.
The PAT was no good but Gladewater had the momentum setting the score at, 27-16, with 5:36 left on the clock.
Both teams traded turning the ball over to one another until the 2:21 mark when Samples iced the game for Atlanta with a 17-yard touchdown scramble.
The PAT put Atlanta up, 34-16.
With time being held on the field due to a clock malfunction, Gladewater’s hope at scoring again took a major hit when Anthony intercepted the ball.
After a couple of kneel downs, Atlanta came away with its first district win.
Samples was a perfect 4-for-4 in passing for 41 yards in the first half and ended up going 5-for-9- with 45 passing yards. He also had 75 yards rushing on 14 carries with two touchdowns.
King had 154 rushing yards on 16 carries with three scores. Nelson added 18 rushing yards and Webster had 20.
Hunter had 12 yards receiving, Wood added 22 and Rich had 11.
Campos was 4-5 on extra point attempts.
Atlanta visits Gilmer this Friday, Nov. 3, with kickoff set for 7:30 p.m.