Opening statement: Pearl-Cohn’s ground game stuffs Cane Ridge

Firebirds double up Ravens with more than 500 yards of offense without Barion Brown available

ANTIOCH – Pearl-Cohn knew entering Thursday’s season-opening matchup at Cane Ridge that their best player wouldn’t be on the field.

The Firebirds simply found a different way to win.

Piling up 557 yards of total offense, including 461 on the ground, Pearl-Cohn pulled away in the third quarter to a 38-19 victory over the host Ravens.

Pearl-Cohn sophomore Malachi Cromwell cuts upfield as junior William Waters (65) blocks a Cane Ridge defender. Cromwell scored three touchdowns in the Firebirds’ 38-19 victory Thursday evening. (Alivia Schwan/615 Preps)

And Barion Brown didn’t get to factor in it at all, sitting out Thursday’s game due to a one-game suspension stemming from his ejection in the Firebirds’ Class 3A semifinal loss at Milan last November.

“We knew there were certain things (offensively) that we couldn’t do (with Brown out),” Pearl-Cohn head coach Tony Brunetti said. “But we could still throw the deep ball a little bit. We’ve got a young quarterback (sophomore Keshawn Tarleton), so you’ve gotta be smart, and you gotta make sure you put him in a comfortable place where he could do good and then grow on it … The guys up front made sure and took care of him pretty good.”

Still, Brown urged his teammates on, as the Firebirds (1-0) got going late in the first quarter after falling behind on a special teams error.

An errant punt snap allowed Jeremiah Wheeler-Yarbourgh to pounce on the loose ball and run it back 35 yards for the game’s first score with 5:48 left in the first.

Jayden Robinson’s 39-yard touchdown run tied things at 6-6 in the first, then Malachi Cromwell broke free for a 47-yarder on the next series to put the Firebirds ahead for good.

Cane Ridge (0-1) kept things close in the first half as quarterback Shivan Abdullah eluded the Firebird pass rush and found Byron Davis for a 29-yard touchdown with 5:26 left in the half. Abdullah found the end zone himself near the end of the half, scoring from seven yards out on 4th-and-goal.

Tarleton and Cromwell each had a long touchdown run called back due to penalties. Tarleton hit D’Arious Reed for a 42-yard touchdown in the first half.

But Cromwell, a sophomore in his first career varsity game, romped to a 217-yard night with three touchdowns. Cromwell added a pair of third-quarter scores from 32 and 3 yards to help the Firebirds pull away. Robinson added 161 yards on 19 carries.

Cane Ridge junior quarterback Shivan Abdullah hands off to junior Maliek Campbell during the first quarter of Thursday’s season opener. Abdullah threw for 199 yards and a touchdown, but Cane Ridge fell 38-19 to Pearl-Cohn. (Alivia Schwan/615 Preps)

Both teams moved the ball down the field but kept trading 4th-down stops as the final 12 minutes passed without further scoring.

“Sophomore and junior-heavy and guys aren’t tough enough yet,” Cane Ridge head coach Eddie Woods said. “Point blank, period. I’m from Memphis, so I’m straightforward. Just not tough enough yet.”

Cane Ridge failed to score in the second half after trailing by only three points at halftime.

“We came out (in the second half) and they ended up scoring on us and that took the wind out of us,” Woods said. “We played the run pretty well the first couple of series, then we just went back to doing young stuff.”

Abdullah threw for 199 yards on 11-of-21 passing, and Reggie Goodloe caught seven passes for 168 yards for the Ravens.

Pearl-Cohn travels to MBA next Friday, while Cane Ridge hosts Antioch.

PEARL-COHN 38, CANE RIDGE 19

PC (1-0), CR (0-1)1st2nd3rd4thFinal
Pearl-Cohn14816038
Cane Ridge6130019

SCORING SUMMARY

1st Quarter

CR – Jeremiah Wheeler-Yarbourgh 35 fumble return, 5:48. Kick failed.

PC – Jayden Robinson 39 run, 3:25. Kick failed.

PC – Malachi Cromwell 47 run, 0:51. Keshawn Tarleton run.

2nd Quarter

CR – Byron Davis 29 pass from Shivan Abdullah, 5:26. Pass failed.

PC – D’Arious Reed 44 pass from Keshawn Tarleton. Robinson run.

CR – Abdullah 7 run, 1:41. Jamie Herrera kick.

3rd Quarter

PC – Cromwell 2 run, 8:20. Tarleton run.

PC – Cromwell 32 run, 2:27. Randall Hodge pass from Tarleton.

PEARL-COHNCANE RIDGE
First downs179
Rushes-yards49-46132-87
Pass attempts-completions-interceptions5-11-011-21-0
Passing yards96199
Punts-average1-162-35.5
Fumbles-lost2-20-0
Penalties14-1174-20

INDIVIDUAL STATS

Rushing

Pearl-Cohn: Malachi Cromwell 16-217, Jayden Robinson 19-161, Randall Hodge 8-81, Keshawn Tarleton 6-12.

Cane Ridge: Maliek Campbell 18-53, Shivan Abdullah 10-34, Marte’on Lindsley 4-0.

Passing

Pearl-Cohn: Tarleton 5-11-0 96.

Cane Ridge: Abdullah 11-21-0 199.

Receiving

Pearl-Cohn: D’Arious Reed 3-76, Marquise Woodson 2-20.

Cane Ridge: Reggie Goodloe 7-168, Byron Davis 1-29, Lindsley 1-4, Mose Phillips III 1-0, Campbell 1-(-2).

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