FORSYTH -- Opposing teams haven’t had much luck this season against the Mary Persons defense.
The sixth-ranked Bulldogs, however, added a prolific offensive attack to their repertoire Friday night at Dan Pitts Stadium against Rutland.
Cal King passed for 248 yards and two touchdowns, and Akebren Ralls caught six of King’s passes for 133 yards and a touchdown in a 47-20 GHSA Region 2-AAAA win over the Hurricanes on homecoming night. Dee High added 134 yards and two touchdowns on the ground.
“We kind of challenged those guys a little bit because we’ve struggled the last couple of weeks on offense,” Mary Persons head coach Brian Nelson said. “They responded a little bit better, but obviously we’ve still got a lot of things to work on on both sides of the ball. We got a long way to go to be a really good team.”
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Mary Persons can clinch its first region title since 1997 with wins over Baldwin and Veterans in the next two weeks.
The Bulldogs (7-0, 4-0 Region 2-AAAA) exploded for 23 points in the second quarter after scoring just three in the first quarter. They allowed Rutland to run just nine plays in the second quarter.
After King found a wide-open John Perkins for a 30-yard touchdown pass midway through the second quarter, the Bulldogs executed a perfect onside kick. That led to an 18-yard touchdown run by Justin Jarrell with 3:42 left in the half. The defense forced a three-and-out and a 59-yard pass from King to J.T. Stokes set up a 1-yard touchdown run by High on fourth-and-goal.
The Hurricanes (4-3, 1-3) got on the scoreboard when Jalen Kirkland scored on a 21-yard blocked punt return for a touchdown early in the third quarter, but Mary Persons answered with a 68-yard touchdown from King to Ralls on the next play.
“I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again (about Ralls), I don’t know what it is; it’s like a knack he’s got,” Nelson said. “He’s always around the ball. He makes big plays. I can’t describe it. It’s God-given ability.”
Rutland closed to within 13 points on consecutive touchdown passes from Timori Northcutt to Shakenneth Williams. Both essentially came on jump-ball passes (31 and 15 yards) into the end zone. The Hurricanes, however, couldn’t climb any closer.
Mary Persons closed the game with fourth-quarter touchdown runs by High (21 yards) and Jarrell (5 yards).
The Hurricanes likely will need to win their final three games to have a shot at the playoffs.