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Canes fall in second round, historic streak ends

Jake Smith rolled to his right, lobbed the ball into the end zone and connected with Ryan Davis from 27 yards out with only 0:12 remaining to lift visiting Blessed Trinity to a 21-17 upset of the two-time defending Class 4A state champion Cartersville Hurricanes at Weinman Stadium in the second round of the 2017 GHSA state playoffs.

The Titans led 14-3 at halftime on a 40-yard touchdown run by Steele Chambers with 6:06 left in the first quarter and a 1-yard Chambers touchdown run that culminated an 80-yard, 13-play drive with only 0:07 left in the half.

Cartersville’s first half points came on a school record 55-yard field goal by Jonathan Cruz with 5:11 remaining in the second quarter that cut Blessed Trinity’s lead to 7-3 at the time. Cruz had missed earlier from 52 yards out.

In the second half, the Titans missed a 47-yard field goal attempt with 7:09 remaining in the third quarter and Cartersville answered with a 15-yard touchdown pass from Trevor Lawrence to E.J. Turner with 2:29 left in the period. A two-point conversion attempt failed, but the Canes had narrowed the Blessed Trinity lead to 14-9.

The Canes defense stopped the Titans on their next possession and forced a punt that was scooped up off the bounce and returned 75 yards for a touchdown by Marko Dudley. Rico Frye took a direct snap and converted a two-point conversion to give Cartersville a 17-14 lead with 10:57 remaining in the game.

Blessed Trinity got the ball back with just under two minutes remaining at the Cartersville 46 yard line and drove successfully for the winning score.

Cartersville quarterback Trevor Lawrence finished 16-for-29 passing for 148 yards and one touchdown. He also ran 13 times for 18 yards. Running back Rico Frye carried 18 times for 96 yards and caught three passes for 27 yards.

On defense for Cartersville, Grant Harris had 10 tackles including 2 for loss. Marquail Coaxum finished with 9 tackles and a pass break-up. Nyvin Nelson and Carson Murray both had sacks.

The Canes finished the season with an 11-1 mark. Their state-leading win streak was snapped at 41 games.

The playoff loss also marks the end of an historic run by the Cartersville senior class. The Hurricane senior class accumulated a 53-3 record over four years that included two state championships, four region championships, three Final Four appearances, and 14 playoff wins.

Blessed Trinity (10-2) travels to Thomson for the state quarterfinals next Friday. Thomson knocked off Americus-Sumter in overtime, 35-34.

NOTE: Cartersville statistics provided by Andrew Houghton, The Daily Tribune News

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