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Prince Avenue Christian School’s football team looked automatic last Friday, making a statement win with a shutout over Brookstone in the second round of the state playoffs.

After winning their first-round game by a forfeit, the Wolverines showed how they could repeat as Class A-Private state champion with the 52-0 victory over the Cougars.

Afterward, quarterback Aaron Philo praised the work of offensive line coach Rod Dollar and the team’s offensive linemen.

“Shout out to Coach Dollar, the o-line played great [last week],” Philo said.

The Wolverines’ offensive line helped Philo to 368 passing yards and four touchdowns.

Philo found Bailey Stockton for the first connection with an 11-yard touchdown pass. It was a slower quarter for the offense, but it was Elijah Dewitt who Philo found for a 23-yard touchdown to end the first frame as Prince led 14-0.

With nine minutes on the second quarter clock, Philo again found Dewitt who ran nearly 60 yards to the Brookstone end zone, but he was stopped 1 yard short of a touchdown. Philo took the scoring into his own hands and kept the ball for 6, helping the Wolverines go up 21-0.

Riley Cartey made his defensive presence known with 6:44 on the clock as he broke up what would have been a touchdown pass for Brookstone. The Cougars turned it over on downs and Prince took over on its 4-yard line.

Philo and Stockton used the possession to connect again as Philo completed an 86-yard pass to a wide-open Stockton.

Prince finished the half with another touchdown as time expired, this time with a 5-yard touchdown pass to Ethan Christian. The Wolverines had a 35-0 lead as they entered the locker room for halftime.

“We sort of played three weaker opponents for the last five weeks,” said head coach Greg Vandagriff after the game. “We needed to come out and play hard, play physical and establish ourselves, and I sort of think we did.”

Stockton and the Wolverines continued to establish themselves out of the gate in the second half, but it was messy.

Stockton quickly forced a fumble from Brookstone and recovered the ball for a turnover, but Prince then lost possession with a fumble, too.

Cartey got the ball back almost immediately, though, with an interception on the Brookstone 35-yard line. The turnover set up Keon Rogers for a 1-yard touchdown and Prince had a 42-point lead.

“We had something to prove,” Cartey said. “We worked together as a team, communicated, coach was talking to us to make adjustments, make sure we’re doing the right thing and we just worked together, supported each other.”

To finish out the night, Stockton opened the final quarter with a pick six, returning the ball 55 yards for his third touchdown versus the Cougars.

“The coaches had a good game plan for us,” Stockton said.

Bryson Franklin scored the final points of the game with a 46-yard field goal to break 50 points on the scoreboard, but Will Elrod sealed the deal for Prince with his own interception in the final minute.

Considering it was Prince Avenue’s fourth shutout game of the season, Vandagriff was satisfied with his team’s performance coming out of its off week.

“The kids did great, defense played really well, made some adjustments. Rob Ridings, our D coordinator, just did a fantastic job,” Vandagriff said. “It was just understanding [Brookstone’s] offense and what they can do and when seeing some adjustments they made, we made some adjustments with them.”

With extra practice time on their hands, Vandagriff made sure his Wolverines stayed healthy for the matchup against the Cougars, and did so with extra preparation in the film room.

“A little more conditioning with a little more looking at exactly what they did, every single piece of their offense,” Cartey said.

The defending state champion, Prince knows what it takes to make a deep playoff run.

“Playing as a team,” Vandagriff said. “We need everybody. We need O-line blocking well, we need the D-line playing well and need our skill guys to do their part.”

The Wolverines will travel to First Presbyterian Day School in Macon this Friday with hopes of advancing pass the third round of the playoffs.

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