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Class AAAA football state semifinals: Game preview capsules

Game preview capsules for the 2018 GHSA Class AAAA state semifinals per Georgia High School Football Daily.


Marist at Cartersville

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Weinman Stadium, Cartersville

Records, rankings: Marist is 11-2, the No. 2 seed from Region 7-AAAA and No. 6; Cartersville is 13-0, the No. 1 seed from 5-AAAA and No. 2.

Last meeting: The teams tied 6-6 in 1930.

Marist was the state runner-up last year and is in the semifinals for the fourth time in seven seasons. The run-first War Eagles are led by QB Connor Cigelske, who scored the team's only touchdown last week in a 10-7 victory over previously unbeaten Mary Persons, which came in averaging 49.25 points, best in Class AAAA. Cigelske has rushed for 387 yards and six touchdowns in the playoffs, while attempting about eight passes per game. WR/DB/KR Kyle Hamilton (committed to Notre Dame) had 27 yards rushing, 34 yards receiving and 18 yards on a kickoff return last week. Cartersville won state championships in 2015 and 2016 but lost to eventual champion Blessed Trinity in the second round last year. The Purple Hurricanes have bounced back from the early exit, despite the loss of record-setting quarterback Trevor Lawrence, now at Clemson. Tee Webb, who passed for just 151 yards in mop-up duty last year, has thrown for more than 2,500 yards and 33 touchdowns. RB Marcus Gary has rushed for more than 1,300 yards, including 489 in the playoffs. Cartersville also has the top defense in Class AAAA, allowing just 6.69 points per game with four shutouts.

Maxwell Ratings' projection: Cartersville by 3

CalPreps projection: Cartersville by 7

Troup at Blessed Trinity

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Blessed Trinity Stadium, Roswell

Records, rankings: Troup is 12-1, the No. 2 seed from Region 5-AAAA and No. 9; Blessed Trinity is 13-0, the No. 1 seed from 7-AAAA and No. 1.

Last meeting: This is the teams' first meeting.

Troup is in the semifinals for the first time since 2001 and second time in program history, which dates to 1956. The Tigers have beaten two region champions in the playoffs, Pickens 53-14 in the second round and Cairo 20-17 last week. QB Kobe Hudson, a converted wide receiver who is committed to Auburn, has passed for 3,152 yards, rushed for 1,206 on 133 carries and had a hand in 45 touchdowns. Trey Williams (173 carries, 888 yards, seven TDs) and Tyree Carlisle (93-610-10) also carry a big part of the rushing workload. Blessed Trinity is the defending state champion and playing in the semifinals for the fourth time in five seasons, and many of the key players return from the championship team. Steele Chambers (committed to Ohio State) is the leading rusher with about 1,300 yards, but Elijah Green's return from injury and the emergence of sophomore Jackson Hamilton have freed him up for his duties at linebacker, where he is the Titans' second-leading tackler. LB J.D. Bertrand (committed to Notre Dame) leads the defense in tackles, tackles for losses and sacks. QB Jake Smith passes for about 120 yards per game. His top target is WR Ryan Davis.

Maxwell Ratings' projection: Blessed Trinity by 12

CalPreps projection: Blessed Trinity by 4

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