The Cartersville Purple Hurricanes earned a third trip to the state championship game in the past four years Friday night with a come-from-behind, 17-14 home semifinal victory over Marist.
The Canes' defense rose up again on multiple key possessions as Cartersville survived a game the offense turned the ball over four times.
Two of the four turnovers resulted in Marist taking a halftime lead, but a pair of defensive stops following turnovers made the difference for the Purple Hurricanes.
Cartersville took a 10-0 lead early in the second quarter on a 33-yard scoring strike from Tee Webb to Devonte Ross (photo).
Oscar Hernandez, who made both extra points in the game for Cartersville, also booted a first quarter 29-yard field goal that gave the Canes a 3-0 lead.
Despite the early advantage for Cartersville, Marist grabbed a 14-10 lead by halftime.
Kyle Hamilton intercepted a tipped pass to set up a short field for Marist and Lincoln Parker capped the scoring drive with a 4-yard run with 1:20 remaining in the second quarter.
A 15-yard strip sack, recovery, and return for a touchdown by the War Eagles’ Jalen Clark gave Marist a 14-10 lead with only 0:35 remaining in the first half.
Following a scoreless third period, Cartersville took the lead for good with 7:51 remaining in the game. Webb (photo) found Ross again with a 38-yard touchdown pass for the Canes’ 17-14 lead.
With the victory, the Cartersville senior class improved to 55-1 in their careers.
Webb finished the night 11-for-24 for 200 yards and two touchdowns. He threw two interceptions and fumbled twice. Marcus Gary rushed 21 times for the Hurricanes for 80 yards. Ross had four receptions for 127 yards and two touchdowns. Jackson Lowe caught a pair of passes for 30 yards.
Cartersville will face Blessed Trinity for the Class AAAA state championship Wednesday, December 12 at 4:30 p.m. at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.