Birmingham, AL – The John Carroll Catholic Cavaliers capped their most successful regular season since 1998 with a decisive 44-7 victory over the Class 1A Maplesville Red Devils Friday night at Pat Sullivan Field.
Head coach Will Mara’s Cavs closed out the regular season at 8-2 overall with a 5-2 mark in Class 5A, Region 5 play. Maplesville slips to 6-4 (6-1).
The Cavaliers asserted their will over the visitors from Chilton County from the opening kick. With two quick touchdowns in the first quarter, courtesy of a Zach Archer 44-yard run and a Mitchell Nutter 14 rushing score. The momentum continued into the second quarter when quarterback Carson McFadden broke free for an exhilarating 58-yard touchdown sprint, extending the John Carroll lead to three scores.
Not content with their substantial advantage, the Cavaliers continued to pile on the points. Charles Farr added a 35-yard field goal late in the second quarter, followed by an 11-yard touchdown pass from McFadden to Ryan Redmond, resulting in a commanding 31-0 lead at the break.
The second half showcased the Cavaliers’ depth and talent as they seamlessly rotated players. McFadden, after an exceptional performance, made way for sophomore signal caller Benjamin Barnes, who led the Cavalier offense with composure and precision. Archer contributed another touchdown, this time crashing into the end zone from one yard out. Although an 80-yard touchdown pass from Barnes to Redmond was called back due to a penalty, they quickly regrouped and connecting again on a 59-yard touchdown pass to put the game on ice.
Maplesville managed to find the end zone late in the contest, but it proved to be a mere consolation as the Red Devils were unable to mount a significant comeback.
For the Cavaliers, McFadden exhibited his versatility at quarterback, completing 6-of-10 passes for 99 yards and a touchdown. He also showcased his rushing ability, accumulating 108 yards on just five attempts, including a spectacular touchdown run. Barnes, who took over in the second half, showed promise, completing 7-of-9 passes for 162 yards and a score. Nutter played a crucial role in the ground game, with 16 carries for 82 yards and a touchdown.
Archer made significant contributions on both offense and defense, recording five receptions for 61 yards and two carries for 45 yards, resulting in two touchdowns. Redmond proved to be a reliable receiving target, hauling in three catches for 96 yards and two touchdowns.
Looking ahead, the Cavaliers, who are making their first playoff appearance since 2009, will face a tough challenge in the first round of the AHSAA Class 5A postseason as they travel to Cullman County to take on the 9-1 Fairview Aggies. Maplesville, on the other hand, will host Choctaw County (5-3) in the Class 1A playoffs.