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Second-half surge sends Trojans to quarterfinals

By Tucker Cole, 11/20/23, 8:45AM EST


The Carrollton Trojans advanced to the quarterfinal round of 7A playoffs with a 45-28 win over Valdosta on Friday after scoring 28 unanswered points to begin the second half.

After a rocky start, quarterback Julian Lewis ended the night with 209 yards and four touchdowns. Kimauri Farmer rushed for 163 yards and two touchdowns.

It was a 65-yard quarterback keeper by Valdosta’s Todd Robinson that cut Carrollton’s lead down to 10-7 at the half, but Carrollton exploded at the beginning of the second half with 14 points on just two plays to go up 24-7.

A short Valdosta punt set up Kimauri Farmer for a 30-yard touchdown run, and after Jadyn Thompson recovered a fumbled kickoff return, Julian Lewis found Ryan Mosley for a 29-yard touchdown pass.

The next two Carrollton possessions also resulted in quick scores, with two consecutive passes to Caleb Odom ending in a touchdown before a long completion to Jordan White set up a juking Christian Ward touchdown catch and run.

With these 28 consecutive points, Carrollton was up 38-7.

Valdosta scored 15 straight points of their own late in the second half to cut the score to 38-22, but a fourth-down sack by Carrollton defensive lineman Jacob Levy virtually sealed the win late in the fourth.

Caleb Odom put the cherry on top with a touchdown catch in the right corner of the end zone.

Before this second-half explosion, both teams were struggling on offense early. Quarterback Julian Lewis threw just his second interception of the season in the first quarter, but Carrollton’s defense made up for the mistake as linebacker Brodie Bradburn got a pick of his own.

On Carrollton’s first scoring drive, Trojan punter Andrew Albertus collected more passing yards than Lewis, with 33 yards on a fake-punt pass to Jadyn Thompson compared to just 18 total for Lewis at that point in the game.

Albertus also finished the first half leading the team in passing yards, 33-28.

Following the fake punt, sophomore running back Kimauri Farmer took the ball the remaining 21 yards on three carries, capping it off with a five-yard score. Carlos Hernandez tacked on the PAT for a 7-0 Trojan lead at the 10:16 mark of the second quarter.

The Trojans seemed as if they were in control and might take a comfortable 10-0 lead into the halftime as Hernandez added a field goal with 1:46 until halftime, but Valdosta had other plans as Robinson took a quarterback keeper 65 yards virtually untouched for a score.

The 10-7 halftime lead felt a bit uneasy for the Trojans, but the 28 unanswered points soon put those worries to rest.

Carrollton (11-1) will now host Walton (12-0) in the quarterfinals.