AVONDALE, Ga. – Blessed Trinity captured the Region 6-AAA championship with a 21-14 victory last Friday night, Nov. 8, over Cedar Grove at Hallford Stadium.
The Titans tied Woodward Academy for first with a 5-1 region record, taking the tiebreaker thanks to a win over Woodward during the regular season. Blessed Trinity defeated the region’s three other playoff qualifiers, and went 7-3 overall, splitting four non-region games against four teams that qualified for the state playoffs.
Blessed Trinity will be at home for its playoff opener against Jackson County, and if the Titans win, they will also play at home the second week against the Adairsville-White County winner. BT defeated White County in the first round last year, and is 3-0 against the Warriors the past two seasons.
Cedar Grove provided an excellent playoff preview for the Titans, with the Saints’ speed similar to what BT will see in the postseason.
“We played well,” said BT coach Tim McFarlin. “We gave up a little bit of speed to Cedar Grove. It was not an easy game for us.”
The Titans got big games from players at several positions. Tailback Milton Shelton carried 31 times for 132 hard-earned yards, enabling the Titans to carry out their ball control game plan. Shelton accounted for most of the yards on a tie-breaking drive in the third quarter that was capped by Chad Manthey’s 4-yard run.
Sophomore quarterback Connor Davis attempted only seven passes, but completed four for 68 yards, including touchdowns of 41 yards to Colin Bradley and 16 yards to Pat Jasinski.
Jasinski keyed Blessed Trinity’s defensive effort with eight tackles, three assists and two fumble recoveries. The Titans forced three Cedar Grove fumbles, one inside the BT 10, and held the Saints scoreless in the second half.
Punter Marc Nolan also made a vital contribution, keeping the ball away from Cedar Grove’s dangerous returner while also getting ample distance on his punts. Nolan, who also handles the placekicking duties, provided the winning point in last week’s 21-20 victory over St. Pius to put the Titans in position to win the region title.
Jackson County brings a 4-6 record into the state playoffs, getting Region 8-AAA’s final playoff spot with a 38-35 win last week against Morgan County. The Panthers’ other three wins came against teams that were a combined 4-26.
The Panthers gave up a total of 165 points against the region’s three playoff teams, but have also put up some big numbers offensively, with McFarlin concerned about Jackson’s speed on the outside.
Three of Jackson’s wide receivers are also basketball players, with the Panthers scoring 21 points against Cartersville in the opening round of last season’s playoffs. BT lost to Cartersville 24-23 in the second round.
McFarlin has been tremendously pleased with the success of this season’s team, which had to replace a large and talented senior class with a relatively small group of seniors who did not enjoy a great deal of success during their junior varsity years.
With a favorable playoff draw, the 2013 Titans have a chance to make the deepest run in the school’s postseason history.