ATLANTA – With the Region 6-AAA title on the line, Blessed Trinity gave St. Pius a battle down to the wire last Friday night before losing 24-17 to the Golden Lions.
Blessed Trinity led late in the game by a point, but a late St. Pius drive sank BT’s efforts.
The loss dropped the Titans into a three-way tie for first with St. Pius and Cedar Grove, Blessed Trinity’s opponent this week. The Titans will be at home for Friday’s game.
St. Pius defeated both BT and Cedar Grove, so the Golden Lions will get the region’s No. 1 seed barring a loss to Decatur, which lost to the region’s other three playoff teams by margins between 14 and 21 points.
The BT-Cedar Grove winner will be the region’s No. 2 seed in the playoffs and earn a home game in the first round of the playoffs, likely against White County, a team the Titans edged 21-19 early in the season.
The loser will finish third and likely have to play at perennial state power Buford, which will finish second in Region 7-AAA because of two forfeits for using an academically ineligible player in games the Wolves won handily.
Blessed Trinity coach Tim McFarlin said his players need to put thoughts of last week’s loss and the playoff possibilities out of their minds and concentrate on a Cedar Grove team that whipped Woodward Academy 47-14 last week.
“They’re fast, talented and well-coached,” McFarlin said of the Saints (4-1, 6-3). “It’s going to be a tough game.”
St. Pius (4-1, 7-2) put together a 12-play, 96-yard drive in the fourth quarter to erase a 17-16 Blessed Trinity lead, scoring with 1:20 to play. The Golden Lions got a big break early in the drive, when an errant pitchout hit the leg of a St. Pius back and caromed forward, winding up as a 20-yard gain when the Golden Lions fell on the football.
“If we recover, it’s a different story,” said McFarlin, who described the play as “a gift” for St. Pius. “That was painful for us.”
Despite the loss, McFarlin said he was happy with the way his team played.
“I feel good where we are,” he said.
The Titans rallied from a 9-0 deficit, with St. Pius scoring a safety after downing a punt at the BT 1, and adding a touchdown after the free kick.
Blessed Trinity quarterback Spencer McManes rallied the Titans, first scoring on a 17-yard run. Later, he hit C.J. Brazil behind the St. Pius secondary for a 73-yard TD pass to put BT ahead 14-9 at the half.
The Golden Lions returned an interception for a touchdown to regain the lead, but the Titans drove inside the St. Pius 10 later in the third quarter, moving back ahead on Marc Nolan’s 25-yard field goal.