Blessed Trinity 41, Southwest DeKalb 20

CHRISTINA MATACOTTA FOR THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION.

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CHRISTINA MATACOTTA FOR THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION.

Blessed Trinity rushed for 272 yards and five touchdowns and beat Southwest Dekalb 41-20 in a Class 4A first-round playoff game Friday night at Hallford Stadium.

Justice Haynes rushed for 105 yards on 10 carries. J.C. French was 9-of-12 passing for 118 yards and rushed for 99 yards on eight carries.

The victory - Blessed Trinity’s 11th straight in first-round games - was a struggle initially as the ninth-ranked Titans (7-4) had two early turnovers on promising drives.

“We were a little sloppy at first on offense,” Blessed Trinity coach Thomas Hall said. “It was really ball security. We were driving the ball on those first two drives, and we coughed it up.”

The defense stepped up big, forcing consecutive three-and-outs on offensive turnovers and forced two turnovers in the turnovers in the second quarter.

“I thought our defense was really solid,” Hall said. “I thought they ran to the ball well and tackled well. I thought it was a complete performance by our defense.”

Blessed Trinity would get the ball rolling in the second quarter, scoring 21 unanswered points behind Haynes’ two touchdown runs (22 and 27 yard runs).

French contributed three total touchdowns, two on the ground and one through the air. French scored on a dynamic 49-yard run, making elusive cuts and putting the speed on in the fourth quarter.

“I think we are trying to be more balanced than we have been in the past,” Hall said. “Our goal going into the season was to be a little bit more balanced, not just throwing the ball but using our quarterback’s feet a little bit. It was hard to do it because we had so many injuries early in the season.”

Southwest Dekalb (6-5) had no answers defensively besides the early forced turnovers. The Panthers mustered only 37 yards rushing. Billy Johnson was limited to 17 yards on just five carries but did break loose on a 98-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.

Southwest DeKalb’s Sabian Campbell passed for for 212 yards and two touchdowns, and Armond Davis had six catches for 165 yards and two touchdowns, but most of that came in garbage time.

Blessed Trinity now must face No. 2 Woodward Academy on the road next week.

Blessed Trinity 0-21-13-7- 41

Southwest Dekalb 0-0-6-14-  20

B - Justice Haynes 22 run (H.B. Todd kick)

B - Cole Weaver 13 pass from J.C. French (Todd kick)

B - Justice Haynes 27 run (Todd kick)

B - French 8 run (Todd kick)

S - Billy Johnson 98 kick return (kick failed)

B - Mavrick Torrico 13 run (kick failed)

B- French 49 run (Todd kick)

S- Armond Davis 61 pass from Sabian Campbell (pass failed)