Photo: Gadsden City’s Dre Kirkpatrick, Elijah Dunn and Trevion Johnson tackle Cullman’s Ryan Skinner during the Titans’ 41-24 victory over Cullman in the first round of the Class 6A state football playoffs on November 4 at GCHS. (Chris McCarthy/Messenger)
For first time in six years, Gadsden City will participate in the second round of the state football playoffs.
Hosting Cullman in the Class 6A opening round on November 4, the Titans led 20-0 and 34-10 on the way to a 41-24 victory at GCHS.
Gadsden City (7-4) will host Mountain Brook this Friday (Nov. 11) in a second round game.
The Titans went ahead 13-0 after one quarter courtesy of a pair of Gabriel Brito fields goals – the first from 46 yards out and the second from 39 – and Luke Waldrop’s six-yard touchdown pass to Clyde Curry.
Matthew Sparks’ seven-yard TD strike to Khalil Hughley at 7:05 of the second period stretched the advantage to 20-0.
The Bearcats (7-4) drew within 10 points via Ryan Skinner’s 22-yard touchdown pass to Nathan Zillis and Zills’ 47-yard field goal before Sparks and and Curry connected on a 76-yard TD on the final play of the first half.
The lone score of the third quarter was Sparks’ nine-yard touchdown pass to T.J. Worthy, which along with Jake Malone’s PAT stretched the lead to 34-10.
A 48-yard TD pass from Tanner Gains to Zillis on the first play of the fourth period drew Cullman within 34-17, but a Sparks-to-Curry TD pass for six yards essentially put the game out of reach. The Bearcats scored a touchdown with less than a minute left in the game.
Sparks was 19 for 25 in passing for 223 yards and four touchdowns. Curry had nine receptions for 146 yards and three scores, while Hughley caught seven passes for 67 yards and a score.
Worthy led the way on the ground with 104 yards on 14 carries. Dre Kirkpatrick rushed nine times for 63 yards.
Stephen Powell finished with eight tackles, followed by Braylen Starkes with six and K’Rysiak Yow with five. Jordan Veasey had an interception and Elijah Taylor had a sack.