Lacrosse: Blessed Trinity boys winning with depth

Titans, ranked No. 1 in 5A-6A, look for 2nd title in 3 seasons
ajc.com

The Blessed Trinity Titans head into Tuesday’s match against Westminster 13-0 and ranked No. 1 in 1A-5A. They’re No. 2 in the country in the MaxPreps computer rankings, which also have then No. 1 overall in Georgia, regardless of classification. They’re No. 9 in USA Lacrosse Magazine’s South Boys Top 10.

The Titans, who are 3-0 in Area 5, are winning with depth. Sophomore Michael Read (25 goals, 20 assists) and junior Chance Haynie (32 goals, 12 assists) have more than 40 points each, and senior Liam Brubacher (25 goals, five assists), junior Robby Montgomery (16 assists, 14 goals) and junior Sean Keogh (21 goals, nine assists) have 30 points. Senior Rory McCarthy (22 goals, six assists) is right behind them with 28 points.

“This team might not have the overall talent as some in the past, but the talented is more distributed,” said Titans coach Bobby Parker, who guided the Titans to 1A-5A championships in 2018 and 2021. “Everyone is contributing, and we’ve mixed up our system to reflect what we have. If we run into a spot where a player isn’t having a great game, the others can step up. We can run out six different guys and not lose anything, and having that many players with the ability to contribute makes a huge difference in the playoffs, when it’s hotter in April and May. We can put them in any situation and not be afraid to let them go.”

The Titans’ defense may be even more impressive. The unit, led by seniors Aidan Chambers, a two-time all-state first-teamer, and Kennesaw State football commit Deldrick Franklin, and sophomore Charles Ellswood, is allowing an average of less than six goals per contest.

“We play what we call a ‘predator’ defense,” Parker said. “It’s an offensive defense where we don’t react, but play really aggressive and try to dictate what the other team does and not allow them to get into rhythm. We trust them to take risks and trust their instincts. We have eight or nine guys we use, and they’ve adopted that mindset and we’re playing well. They’ve kind of kickstarted our success.”

The Titans are 3-0 against ranked teams, beating No. 3 Lambert and No. 5 North Gwinnett of 7A, and St. Pius, No. 10 in 5A-6A.

Most impressive may have been their 9-8 win against perennial power Lambert, the current two-time defending champions, which came on Feb. 17. In a back-and-forth game, Read scored with 10 seconds remaining to avenge the Titans’ loss to Lambert the year before, when his last-second shot was saved, then taken the other way for a score as the Longhorns escaped with the win.

“That had been eating at him so to be able to put that game away was very cool,” Parker said. “We love playing Lambert. It’s a great measuring stick for where we stack up, and we showed in that game that, when we’re playing well, we can play with anyone in the state.”

After Westminster (6-4), unranked in 1A-4A, the Titans will take 16 days off before returning to the field April 14 for a match against Fellowship Christian (9-2), ranked No. 2 in 1A-4A.

Parker isn’t concerned about the layoff.

“We’ve been playing well and with a consistent schedule,” he said. “As I’ve gone along, I’ve realized the importance of taking time off. When we’re together, we work extremely hard. There’s always an adjustment period coming back from spring break, and we’ll have 3-4 days of practice when we get back that Monday.”

The Titans return from their hiatus to play 1A-4A’s No. 2 Fellowship Christian (9-2) on April 14, then close the regular season with area games at home against Centennial, (6-5, 1-1) on April 18 and at No. 2 Roswell (11-2, 1-0) on April 21 — a regular season finale that could determine the area’s No. 1 seed.

The Titans have won five area championships under Parker.

The Titans have eight players returning from the 2021 championship team, and Parker believes this team can replicate that feat.

“We have high expectations,” he said. “There’s no complacency. The players realize how great we can be. They look at other great Blessed Trinity programs and they want to achieve that success. Our seniors are leading by example and they’ve been there before. We know what it takes to get to the goal we’re trying to achieve. This group is connected as a team, and they enjoy being around each other, and that has translated to wins on the field.”