Balanced Spartan squad awaits Etowah in first round

Kordell Rudolph and the Etowah High Blue Devils travel to Pleasant Grove tonight (Nov. 8) in the first round of the Class 5A state football playoffs. Kordell Rudolph and the Etowah High Blue Devils travel to Pleasant Grove tonight (Nov. 8) in the first round of the Class 5A state football playoffs.

 Etowah (7-3) at Pleasant Grove (9-1)

Last week’s results: Glencoe 31, Etowah 24; Pleasant Grove 48, Bibb County 12

Series record: first meeting

By Gene Stanley/Sports Correspondent

Pleasant Grove High is one of the feel-good stories of 2013.

The community was shell-shocked by a 2011 tornado and is still recovering.

Entering this season, the team’s numbers were unusually low and the Spartans were looking at having to use several ath-letes on both sides of the ball. 

Injuries have also depleted Pleasant Grove’s numbers.

However, Pleasant Grove has rallied and wins most of its games with offense. The Spartans have scored an average of 33 points a game – good for 11th best in all of Class 5A.

“The key is that they’re so balanced,” Etowah coach Drew Noles said. “Their running back (KeJuan Feagan) is probably the best running back we’ve faced. And they’ve got two quarterbacks, both of which can beat you with their arm or their legs. When a quarterback can run, it’s scary.”

DeJuan Feagan, twin brother of KeJuan Feagan, was a backup quarterback until Week 5, when he had to start in place of an injured player. He has responded by rushing for over 800 yards in five games. He has also completed over 60 percent of his passes for another 800-plus yards.

Alex Reedy, Sean Brown and Andrew Nicolosi lead the Spartans defense.

Etowah is coming off a tough loss to Glencoe in which the Blue Devils came up short on a fourth-down conversion attempt just outside the Yellow Jacket goal line in the game’s final minute.

“We’re still stopping ourselves, on both offense and defense,” Noles said. “We are having too many negative plays. But we’re still working on fixing the things we’re not doing well on.

“When you’ve got seniors who know that if they lose, they don’t get to play again, the tend to step up and do better.”

Against Glencoe, Paul Ruiz rushed for 96 yards on 11 attempts.

Andy Noles was 4-for-10 in passing for 65 yards, while Kordell Rudolph completed 9-of-18 passes for 54 yards.

Lamar Thomas had seven receptions for 76 yards.

Darius Moore had 19 tackles, followed by Glen Williams with 12 and G.Q. Hardwick with nine.

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