Troup at Blessed Trinity
This will be the first meeting in school history for reigning Class AAAA state champion Blessed Trinity and the Troup Tigers. Since opening the playoffs, Blessed Trinity has elevated its game to a whole other level. Last week’s 42-15 win over previously undefeated Eastside stifled an Eagles' offense that managed a school-record 38.5 ppg even after the 15-point outing.
Stopping Troup’s explosive offense (37.62 ppg) will be another challenge, but the Titans are phenomenal when it comes to limiting explosive plays and keeping talented quarterbacks in check. As for the offensive side, Blessed Trinity got a major boost when the playoffs started with the return of sophomore Jackson Hamilton to the rotation. Hamilton has tallied four rushing touchdowns through the first three rounds, and provides great support behind U.S. Army All-American and Ohio State commit Steele Chambers.
The Titans have also been able to assert control of games early, and Troup will have to come out much sharper than Eastside—which found themselves down 35-0 by the half. For Troup, the Tigers are going to have to disrupt the rhythm of Blessed Trinity and overwhelm them with their athleticism. Defensively, Troup has done a good job in stopping the run, but Blessed Trinity’s offensive balance will steepen this task.
Offensively, junior quarterback Kobe Hudson has accounted for 29 passing touchdowns with 3,152 yards and 16 rushing touchdowns with 1,206 yards. There is no doubt that Hudson's gifted abilities make Troup a dangerous opponent for the Titans. Troup’s outcome will once again depend largely on Hudson’s performance, and it will be up to his versatility and leadership to ensure this game remains competitive for all four quarters.
Marist at Cartersville
If you are a fan of great defense, the matchup between Marist and Cartersville will be a clinic of outstanding defense this Friday. Marist comes into the matchup allowing just 10.5 ppg and Cartersville is allowing a mere 6.69 ppg. In the semifinals, Marist was down 7-0 to Mary Persons, but used its stout defense to remain in striking distance and set itself up for a dramatic 10-7 win over an outstanding Bulldogs team.
Cartersville got off to a slow start and gave up 13 quick points to Baldwin last week, but used a 42-0 advantage from that point to run away with a 42-13 win. Marist fell short to Blessed Trinity in last year’s state championship, and Cartersville was upset by the Titans in the second round. As much playoff success as these programs have had over recent years, however, this marks their first meeting since a 6-6 tie in 1930.