Blessed Trinity built a 34-6 and then used a running game powered by Steele Chambers to keep Troup at arm’s length in the second half of a 51-35 victory over the visiting Tigers in the Class AAAA semifinals Friday night in Roswell.
Chambers, an Ohio State commitment, ran for 240 yards on 36 carries, scored three touchdowns and threw a 23-yard touchdown pass to lead the Titans to their second-highest point total of the season.
The victory puts No. 1-ranked Blessed Trinity (14-0) back in the state championship game with a chance to defend its 2017 title. The Titans will play in Mercedes-Benz Stadium at 4:30 p.m. on Dec. 12 against Cartersville, the 2015 and 2016 Class AAAA champion. Cartersville advanced with a 17-14 victory over Marist, the state runner-up in 2017 and the second-place team behind Blessed Trinity in Region 7-AAAA this season. Cartersville lost to Blessed Trinity 21-17 in the second round last season.
“We had a good week of preparation, but it was out of necessity,” Blessed Trinity coach Tim McFarlin said of his team’s offensive success. “You watch these guys on film, and Troup can just score in bunches. [Troup’s Kobe] Hudson at quarterback is just a guy who puts so much stress on a defense.”
Blessed Trinity was in control from the opening kickoff, which Carson Harof returned 83 yards to the Troup 9-yard line, setting up a touchdown run on the next play by quarterback Jake Smith.
But the Titans got some breathing room with 21-point swing in less than a minute late in the first half that turned what could’ve been a 20-13 lead into a comfortable 34-6 margin.
Trailing 20-6, Troup drove from its 32-yard line to the Blessed Trinity 5, where it had first-and-goal. After three plays netted 1 yard, Hudson threw incomplete on fourth down, and the Titans took over at the own 4.
After Blessed Trinity gained a yard on its next play, Smith threw a pass up the right sideline to a wide-open James Bryant, who went 95 yards for a touchdown.
“That’s not really a play we expect to score on, it’s one where we’re just hoping to give us some breathing room,” McFarlin said.
Blessed Trinity’s Quinton Reese intercepted Hudson on the Tigers’ next play, which was followed by a 23-yard touchdown pass from Chambers to Ryan Davis for the 34-6 lead with 2:11 to play in the half.
Troup (12-2), however, refused to go quietly. Hudson threw a 26-yard touchdown pass to Trey Williams with seven seconds remaining in the half to cut the lead to 34-12, then scored on a 26-yard run early in the third quarter to make it 34-20. Troup eventually cut the lead to 37-27 late in the third quarter but got no closer.
Hudson, committed to Auburn, came into the game with 3,152 passing yards and 1,206 rushing yards. His passing numbers were a little off against Blessed Trinity (13-of-36 with three interceptions), but he did finished with 186 yards and three touchdowns.
Hudson hurt Blessed Trinity more with his running, picking up 182 yards and scoring twice on 18 carries.
Blessed Trinity had a 551-437 advantage in total offense, Smith was 7-of-11 passing for 187 yards and two touchdowns, both of which went to Bryant for a total of 131 yards. Davis caught six passes for 79 yards and a touchdown.
Troup - 6-6-15-8 - 35
Blessed Trinity - 14-20-3-14 - 51
B - Jake Smith 9 run (Ethan Chauvin kick), 11:36
B - Steele Chambers 38 run (Chauvin kick), 7:21
T - Jamari Thrash 21 pass from Kobe Hudson (kick failed), 2:43
B - Chambers 9 run (kick failed), 7:26
B - James Bryant 95 pass from Smith (Chauvin kick), 2:32
B - Ryan Davis 23 pass from Chambers (Chauvin kick), 2:11
T - Trey Williams 26 pass from Hudson (kick failed), 0:07
T - Hudson 26 run (Hudson run), 9:17
B - Chauvin 33 field goal, 4:53
T - Hudson 10 run (Helsyn Martinez kick), 3:11
B - Bryant 36 pass from Smith (Hauvin kick), 10:36
B - Chambers 4 run (Hauvin kick), 8:30
T - Thrash 37 pass from Hudson (Thrash pass from Hudson), 5:34
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