They Remembered the Titans: AAAA Champs
Images: courtesy Georgia Bulletin, By Michael Alexander
Blessed Trinity Defends State Championship - Gets the ‘W’
Heading into the big game, Cartersville had only lost one game in four years - to the Titans - which knocked the Canes out of last year’s playoffs. By the 4th quarter, the Canes were reminded who they were dealing with again.
At 4PM, DEC 12, 2018 at MERCEDES BENZ STADIUM the Blessed Trinity Catholic High School cheerleaders raised a 10-foot by 18-foot banner with the pre-game statement, “Defend the Title.” The players ran through it pumped to play in the 2018 Class AAAA state football championship game against Cartersville. Four quarters later, Blessed Trinity would leave Mercedes-Benz Stadium with a 23-9 victory, its second consecutive state championship and a perfect 15-0 season.
Both teams were 14-0 coming into the big game. In fact, Cartersville had lost only once in the last four seasons when they fell to Blessed Trinity in a 2017 playoff match-up. This was a much-anticipated event for a number of reasons.
Although the BT defense allowed 321 yards, 175 on the tough running of Marcus Gary, the Titans stopped the Purple Hurricanes every time they threatened and forced Cartersville to punt seven times.
Before head coach Tim McFarlin arrived in 2011, the Titans had struggled a bit to get their footing, by then winning only one region championship and having never posted double-digit wins in a season; but now they can boast 49 wins in just the last four.
Five seniors have been major contributors since their freshman seasons and helped lead BT to three state championship games (and two rings!) in their four seasons: Ryan Davis, J.D. Bertrand, Steele Chambers, Jake Smith and J.R. Bivens.
For this 2018 championship game, McFarlin sacrificially decided not to play senior defensive star J.D. Bertrand, who suffered a sprained medial collateral ligament in his knee during the team’s previous playoff game. Bertrand wanted to play, but McFarlin wasn’t about to jeopardize the student-athlete’s future at Notre Dame.
Working against one of the state’s top defenses, Steele Chambers went 97 yards on 23 carries and converted on several crucial first downs.
Ryan Davis, who starred on both sides of the ball had seven of BT’s 10 receptions for 135 of BT’s 156 passing yards (and another catch nullified by a penalty). Davis set up the first Blessed Trinity touchdown with a 43-yard catch in the opening period, making a nice grab in coverage on an excellent throw by Jake Smith. That led to a 9-yard scoring toss from Smith to sophomore fullback Ryan Dupont, who slipped out of the backfield to give the Titans a 7-3 lead early in the second quarter that they would never relinquish.
While the Titans will sorely miss the five seniors who played four seasons at the varsity level (Davis, Bertrand, Ohio State-bound Steele Chambers and Bivens), they will lose only a handful of other front line seniors, among them Poma and Jake Lyons on defense, offensive lineman Jack Jacobs and kicker Ethan Chauvin.
Steele Chambers told the Georgia Bulletin the team was able to win it all because of love.
“What made this team so successful was our love for one another. When you have the ability to tell your brother next to you how much you love them, and commit yourself to doing whatever it takes to help them succeed, you can overcome anything,” said Chambers. “That’s what sets us apart from the rest. That’s why we’re two-time state champions. Love!”
COACHES & STAFF
Principal: Cathy Lancaster
Head Coach: Tim McFarlin
Athletic Director: Ricky Turner
Defensive Coordinator: John Thompson
Asst. Head Coach / Offensive Line:
Defensive Safeties: Ryan O’Sullivan
Defensive Line: Coleman Rudolph
Running Offensive Coordinator /
Offensive Line: Tom Ryan
Running Backs: Michael Henry
Defensive Line: Frank Marcoccio
Quarterbacks: Alli Abrew
Linebackers: Justin Akin
Tight Ends: Brad Slaten
Defensive Corners: Jermaine Phillips
Wide Receivers: Preston Thrailkill
Freshman Head Coach: Chuck Price
JV Wide Receivers: Kenny Cook
JV Line: Joe Miller
Freshmen Running Backs: John O’Hara
Freshmen Secondary: Davis Turnbull