The Eagles’ defense pitched a shutout through three quarters and put the clamps on Roswell’s explosive running game, limiting the Hornets (1-4, 0-1) to a season-low 124 yards on the ground.
“The defense was great (Friday),” Etowah coach Dave Svehla said. “We knew coming into the game that they had a phenom at running back, and we did a great job of swarming to the ball and not giving up any big plays to him.”
The Eagles (3-2, 2-0) limited Roswell tailback Andrew Kwateng, who was averaging 220 yards per game, to just 94 yards on 21 carries.
“He is an incredible back, and the biggest thing we did was take good angles and not give up that one big play, because we knew that one bad angle meant he would be gone,” Svehla said.
With the Roswell offense sputtering for much of the game, the Etowah offense was a model of efficiency, grinding out long drives on the ground and running out to a 23-0 lead through three quarters.
Starting from midfield on their second drive, John Oliver found Cody Burdett for a 19-yard gain and a first down at the 31-yard line. Etowah’s running game took over from there, pounding eight straight running plays then ended with Stanlee Logue finding the end zone from 5 yards out on a counter play. Ryan Hopper’s extra point gave Etowah a 7-0 lead with 9:11 to play in the second quarter.
Etowah safety Ben Rowell picked off a Ryan Monty pass two drives later and returned it 28 yards to set the Eagles up deep in Roswell territory again.
Oliver cashed in on the turnover with a 1-yard quarterback sneak to give Etowah a 14-0 advantage with less than a minute to play in the first half.
The Hornets gift-wrapped two more points with 15 seconds to play in the second quarter, snapping the ball over the punter’s head and into the end zone for a safety.
“That was good, old-fashioned butt-whooping,” Roswell coach Justin Sanderson said. “They won on both lines of scrimmage and played in our backfield all night long.”
Etowah did, however, suffer yet another injury at quarterback in the second half, losing backup John Oliver for the game and forcing junior varsity quarterback Robbie Knox into second-half action.
The Eagles had already lost starter Reeves Johnson to a season-ending injury last week.
Despite not throwing a pass, Knox led Etowah on scoring drives on back-to-back second half possessions, the first ending on a 29-yard gallop by fullback Matthew Bowling, and the second on a 36-yard Ryan Hopper field goal.
Bowling led Etowah on the ground with 92 yards on seven carries. Brandon Engle added 42 and Raishad Devezin had 55 on eight carries.
Roswell scored two touchdowns through the air in the waning minutes — 18- and 4-yard passes from Ryan Monty to John Albert — to keep the score close before the clock ran out on the 26-14 final.