ROSWELL, Ga. — Brandishing a host of new starters in BT’s first contest under its new defensive coaching staff, the Titans picked up where they left off last year against St. Pius X Friday night. BT had a strong defensive performance and effective rushing attack to give the Titans their 22nd straight win.
While Friday’s performance was far from the dominance the Titans showed last year, it did serve as the first stepping stone in growing the 2019 squad.
“This is not going to be a real good football team in a hurry,” BT head coach Tim McFarlin said. “I think we have a chance to be pretty good down the road, but it’s going to happen week by week.”
BT’s defense has been critical to the Titans claiming the last two Class 4A state titles, and in the debut game for its new coaching staff and scheme, St. Pius managed just 148 total yards.
“The defense did an awesome job, and they’ve had to learn a whole new system under a whole new set of coaches, and I was just really proud of how the kids played, particularly up front,” McFarlin said.
The Golden Lions had just 37 yards after the first half, and their only touchdown was a result of Blessed Trinity penalties early in the third quarter.
BT committed three straight penalties on their opening drive of the second half, putting the offense in a first-and-30 situation. Quarterback Duncan Reavis threw a long pass into single coverage on the ensuing play, and a St. Pius defender came away with an interception.
The Titans defense forced a three-and-out, but a five-yard running into the kicker penalty incentivized St. Pius to go for a fourth-and-3 conversion. The Golden Lions picked the first down and converted another fourth down play before scoring a rushing touchdown to cut BT’s lead to 21-7.
“I was irritated by penalties in second half, but on the good side, it was penalties of kids playing hard,” McFarlin said.
Before the inauspicious start to the second half, the Titans had a three-touchdown cushion behind two rushing scores from Elijah Green and an 11-yard scoring scamper from freshman Justice Haynes.
Green put BT on the scoreboard midway through the first quarter with an impressive 29-yard rush off the edge, avoiding two tackles before crossing the goal line. He found the end zone again with four minutes left in the first half with an 18-yard rushing score set up by three straight completions from Reavis for a total of 55 yards. Reavis was 8-12 passing with 104 yards.
BT’s defense sparked the Titans third rushing score late in the second quarter. Ryan Attaway recovered a St. Pius fumble deep in Golden Lions territory which set up an 11-yard touchdown run from Haynes on the next play.
Greene extended BT’s lead to 28-7 on the first play of the fourth quarter with a 7-yard score. The North Carolina commit compiled 21 carries for 163 yards, an impressive opening night after he missed most of last season due to injury.
“Elijah was so anxious to get back after missing all of last year,” McFarlin said. “I thought for the first game he looked good. What was really impressive was his yards after contact.”
Friday’s win extended BT’s win streak over St. Pius X to seven games and the Titans overall win streak to 22 games dating back to the 2017 regular season. However, McFarlin said the team has plenty of room to grow and BT will undoubtedly be challenged by their grueling schedule, but he was pleased with Friday’s result.
“I loved the energy, it was a good turnout and it is a good rivalry,” he said. “This was a good way to kick things off.”