CALHOUN, Ga. — For the second time in three games to start this season, North Murray was lethal on offense, this time rolling to a 40-20 Region 6-AAA victory over Sonoraville on a rain-soaked Friday night.
Senior D'Ante Tidwell — who has been clocked at 4.38 seconds in the 40-yard dash — was waterproof as the Mountaineers standout rushed for 92 yards on 17 carries and also had three catches for 125 yards.
With 3:28 left in the first half, the versatile playmaker caught a pass in the seam from sophomore quarterback Seth Griffin for a 50-yard score and a 27-20 lead North Murray carried into the break. Tidwell also set up one of Griffin's three quarterback sneak touchdowns in the second half with an impressive 69-yard catch-and-run down to the 1-yard line.
"This game was a lot of fun, especially because we took care of the ball and didn't make many mistakes," said Tidwell, who scored twice. "We got better tonight. Even without two playmakers (Noah Lunsford and Michael McDade), we still have more weapons. We are tough when we play our game and execute like we have been lately."
Despite a steady and heavy rainfall from kickoff, neither team was slowed down early.
Sonoraville's Jo Jo McDaniels was electric as he returned the opening kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown and made five catches for 103 yards in the first half, including a highlight-reel-worthy leaping grab for a 63-yard score.
North Murray (2-1, 2-0) struck on the third play of the game as Griffin heaved a 76-yard touchdown pass to Cade Petty down the left sideline. Petty finished with 123 total yards (93 receiving) and made a diving grab on a tipped pass on the goal line to set up another touchdown in a one-sided second half.
With 10:38 left in the second quarter, the Phoenix (2-2, 0-2) held a 20-14 lead after a rushing score by senior Brady Lackey.
After surviving a 62-49 win over Ringgold just two weeks before, the Mountaineers stepped up and did not allow a point the rest of the way.
Judson Petty had double-digit tackles, while also posting a sack and picking off a pass in the fourth quarter. Shawn Myers also intercepted a pass late to seal the second-half shutout.
"Judson played a great game and is going to be a really good player," North Murray coach Preston Poag said of the freshman, who also had a 35-yard catch. "He doesn't say much and works all the time. He and his brother can do a lot of great things for u,s and we are glad to have them."
After a six-touchdown performance against Ringgold, Griffin totaled 284 yards (254 passing) with five touchdowns.
"We took care of the ball tonight and made a lot of big plays on a really wet field," Poag said. "D'Ante is our best player and did exactly what we expect him to do. He is a great leader, and I am happy for this whole team."
The reigning region champions will look to stay unbeaten in 6-AAA play as North Murray hosts Rockmart (3-1, 2-0) next Friday.
Contact Patrick MacCoon at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @PMacCoon.