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Hartselle Enquirer
Mason Cartee returns an interception 50 yards to put the final nail in the coffin in the Bulldogs’ 49-28 first-round victory over Central-Florence. Special to the Enquirer/Shawna Oliver

Cartee, Priceville explode in fourth quarter for a 49-28 win over Central

PRICEVILLE — Mason Cartee and his Priceville Bulldogs teammates found themselves in a battle in the first round of the 4A playoffs this past Friday at Bulldog Stadium.

With just under six minutes remaining, the Bulldogs and Central-Florence were tied at 28-28 after a Wildcats score.

The rest of the game belonged to Cartee and the Bulldogs. With 3:58 remaining, he ran 45 yards for his fourth touchdown of the night to put the Bulldogs up 34-28.

Following a Xander Gaines 32-yard touchdown run, Cartee scored on a two-point conversion with 1:46 left to extend the lead to 42-28.

With 27 seconds left, Cartee closed out the Wildcats when he picked off a Central pass near midfield and returned it 50 yards for a touchdown to make the final score 49-28.

Cartee started the game by scoring on a 53-yard touchdown pass from Jackson Prickett to take a 7-0 lead.

Central used a similar run-focused attack to take a 14-7 lead with two time-consuming drives in the first half.

Cartee tied the game with an eight-yard run right before halftime to make it 14-14.

“I thought offensively we hurt ourselves with a big holding penalty and a couple of missed opportunities in the first half,” Priceville head coach Chris Foster said. “Defensively, Central was doing some things that gave us trouble.”

The Wildcats went up 21-14 with another long drive. However, Priceville answered with a scoring drive of their own when Prickett scored on a two-yard run to knot things up at 21-21.

Cartee scored his third touchdown on a 16-yard run with 10:19 left in the fourth. But the Wildcats responded with a five-minute drive to deadlock the game at 28-28.

“At the half, I challenged the offense to play a perfect second half and thought Coach Potter did an excellent job making some adjustments to the plays that gave us some issues,” Foster added. “Our players stepped up big in the fourth quarter with our season on the line.”

Cartee finished with 154 yards rushing and three touchdowns on 16 carries while having one reception for 53 yards and a touchdown. He finished with more than 200 yards of total offense plus the 50-yard interception return for a touchdown.

Gaines had 134 yards rushing, a touchdown on 10 carries and a reception for 37 yards.

Jake Langlois led the defensive effort with a season-high 21 tackles. Cartee added 10 tackles.

The defense was bolstered by the return of Larson Speegle, the team’s second-leading tackler, who injured his knee in the Bulldogs’ win over Westminster Christian four weeks ago. He finished with three tackles in limited minutes.

4A No. 3 Priceville (11-0) will travel to Oneonta this Friday for a second-round matchup. The Redskins earned a second-round appearance with a 56-14 win at Haleyville.

The Bulldogs have won 21 of its previous 23 games, including 13 straight home games.

This is the second straight year for Priceville to advance to the second round of the playoffs and the third time in the last four years. In each previous appearance, the Bulldogs fell on the road to Northside in 2019 and Madison Academy last season.

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