AAAA State Championship Primer

Defending state champion Blessed Trinity and Cartersville, the winner of the two previous AAAA titles, will square off Wednesday, Dec. 12 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in this year’s championship. Here’s a look at the major themes and storylines heading into kickoff.

Cartersville was stunned in the second round by Blessed Trinity last year, and has followed a tremendous defense and gifted offense back to this winner-take-all rematch with the Titans. Cartersville’s current senior class has seen the Purple Hurricanes win 55 games over the last four years, and the only loss during this span is the 21-17 loss to Blessed Trinity a year ago. The opportunity to avenge that loss will be a fresh source of motivation on Wednesday as the Canes line across the Green and Gold at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Cartersville’s current postseason run has put the Canes’ defensive talent on full display, and the team’s 17-14 win over Marist in the semis showed this dimension of their winning formula vividly. When the War Eagles went up 14-10 before the half, the defense kept Marist scoreless for the remainder of the game, and allowed quarterback Tee Webb a chance to find Devonte Ross for the game-winning 37-yard touchdown pass with 7:51 left in the game.

Blessed Trinity is one win away from back-to-back state titles, and the first undefeated season in program history. This year’s Titans are powered by the same star-studded Class of 2019 that led the school to its first state championship last year. Fast starts have been a signature of Blessed Trinity’s success this postseason, and it has outscored its opponents 136-15 in that department through the first four rounds of its current run. Quarterback Jake Smith is a proven leader that has accounted for 21 passing touchdown and just one interception this season. Running back Steele Chambers can transform the Titans into a power running team if need be, and took 36 carries in Blessed Trinity’s 51-35 win over Troup in the semifinals. In addition to the season-best 244 rushing yards Chambers put up in the latest victory, he also accounted for three rushing touchdowns and a passing score. All three of his pass attempts have resulted in touchdowns this season.

Blessed Trinity’s knack for fast starts, and Cartersville’s topnotch defense will clash right away, and the rest of the game should play out like a tactical chess-like battle between two well-prepared and experienced programs. For Cartersville, this is an opportunity to pick up where it left off, and resume its reign over Class AAAA with its third state title in the past four seasons. Blessed Trinity will be defending the first state title in its history, and is on the verge of completing the first undefeated season in school history, which would be a testament to the incredible level of consistency and focus that has defined the Titans’ prominence these past two seasons. An outstanding quarterback matchup between Blessed Trinity senior Jake Smith and Cartersville junior Tee Webb should be expected, but the Titans especially have found ways to neutralize the classification’s top passing offenses—just like they were able to do in the first half of their semifinal win over Troup and quarterback Kobe Hudson.