ADEL -- The matchup that has been talked about for most of the season will take place Saturday in Atlanta at the Georgia Dome.
The Cook High Hornets and Americus Panthers return to the Dome to face each other in AA state playoff semifinal action.
The Hornets advanced with a 39-13 win here over the visiting Calhoun Yellow Jackets. Americus bested Washington Wilkes 34-7.
"I told the team before the game that we both came up short in the Georgia Dome last year and I didn't want us to come up short again this year," said first year Cook High head football coach Michael Pollock.
Last year the Hornets were defeated by Washington-Wilkes while Pollock was an assistant with the Golden Eagles of Washington County, who fell to eventual state champion Swainsboro in the AAA semi-final game.
With the win over Calhoun, the Hornets passed a couple of milestones. According to Pollock, Cook now has the state rushing record having surpassed the 4,800-yard mark.
The 2001 Hornets are also the first Cook team to win 13 games in a season. The 1949 state champion Cook Hornets went 12-0 in capturing the title.
It took a little while for the Hornets to get up to speed Friday as they held a narrow 8-6 first quarter lead. However, a pair of second quarter touchdowns by senior receiver Deonto "Chop" McCormick gave Cook a 20-6 advantage heading into the half. Cook nearly added at least another six points to the first half tally, but sophomore quarterback Thomas Arnold was stopped at the goal line on a one-yard dive attempt as time expired.
"We worked hard on our passing game all week," Pollock said. "We knew they'd put eight or nine guys in the box and try to stop us up the middle. When we started passing it, we loosened them up a little."
McCormick's first touchdown came with 8:52 remaining in the first quarter when he took a screen and raced 49 yards for the score. His second came at 8:33 mark in the second period with the Hornets facing a third-and-eight. McCormick split the middle of the field and hauled in the Arnold strike.
MCormick's third touchdown came just over a minute later when he swept around the end and raced 70-yards for the touchdown.
Senior running back Demarrow Byron stretched the lead in the third when he burst up the middle for a 43-yard scoring run with 7:20 to go in the period.
Calhoun cut the lead in half when quarterback Cam Clark found receiver Casey Baxter in the corner of the endzone.
From that point on it was all Vincent Brown coming out of the Hornet backfield and the Cook defense shutting down the Yellow Jacket attack.
Brown scored twice in the fourth quarter, an 11-yarder at 11:29 and then, following a Cornelius Brown interception, a 55-yard scamper less than a minute later.
The Hornet offense totaled 257 yards on the ground. Arnold was six of nine for 145 yards in the air.
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