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LC vs Blessed Trinity game preview

by Ken K. Green Lamar County hosts Blessed Trinity of Roswell Friday night in the second round of the GHSA Class AA state playoffs at Thunder Alley. The Trojans are undefeated at 11-0 and Region 4-AA champions. The Titan are 7-4 and the second seed from Region 6-AA. Lamar is averaging 39.6 (fourth in the state) points per game while yielding 11.3 (sixth) for a point differential of +28.3 (fifth). When and Where: Friday 7:30 p.m. at Trojan Field Weather: Mostly clear and breezy with temperatures in the upper 40s at kick-off and dropping to the mid-40s by game’s end. Advisory: A category 11-0 Blue Thunder storm is brewing and ready to descend on Trojan Field where it will strike fast and furious. Admission: $8 at the gate as set by the GHSA. Advance tickets are available all day Thursday and until 1 p.m. Friday at the high school and middle school and at Slice’s Pizzeria on Main Street with no reduction in price per the GHSA. Only babies in arms and persons bearing GHSA membership cards and media passes will be admitted at no charge. Last week: Blessed Trinity beat Heard County 44-19. Lamar County beat Bleckley County 35-14. Series: This is the first ever meeting between the two schools. Post-season records: The Trojans are 6-12 overall in 13 appearances in the post season. The Titans won their first ever post season game last week and are 1-3 in their fourth appearance in the playoffs. Titan defense: 4-3 base front allowing 22 points per game (16th). Titan offense: Pro-style I formation scoring 22.5 points per game (16th). Top players: #2 Spencer McManes (Jr. QB), #4 Chris Dore (Sr. WR/DB), #1 Jordan Denson (Jr. RB), #74 Thomas Pietro (Sr. OL), #37 Liam Walsh (Sr. LB), #35 Will Slaten (Jr. LB), #58 Kevin Lynch (Sr. DE), #59 Tanner Dupuis (Sr. DL). Titan coach: Tim McFarlin. First year at Blessed Trinity. 89-38-1 overall including 10 seasons at Roswell where he led the Hornets to eight post-season appearances for a 10-7-1 record and a tie for the AAAA state championship with Peachtree Ridge in 2006. What Coach McFarlin has to say: ‘Lamar County is loaded with athletes. They have probably more team speed than we’ve seen all year, We’ve got to be able to run the ball and stop the run. They’re the best offensive football team we’ve seen since (#1 ranked) Buford. They can cause a lot of problems with their speed. They have good size up front and some good cover guys in the secondary. For us to have a chance to win, we’ve got to sustain some drives and keep their offense off the field. I hope we can play our best and move on to the third round. This will give us a chance to see some small town football.” Prediction: Maxwell ratings has the Trojans an 8 point favorite. CalPrep projects Lamar a 28-21 winner. Rankings: The Trojans are ranked in the top 10 in Class AA in five polls. Associated Press (6th), Atlanta Journal-Constitution (7th), Georgia Athletic Coaches Association (8ht), Maxwell (7th) and MaxPrep (10th). Blessed Trinity is 12th in Maxwell and 13th in MaxPrep. Injury report: Jarvis Merritt (ankle) and Quay Searcy (ribs) were both banged up in last week’s game but are expected to be in the lineup Friday night. Both players were given kudos by the coaching staff for their physical blocking on the perimeter to help spring long runs. What you should know: A Trojan win would propel them into the state quarterfinals for the first time since 2001. The winner of Friday’s game will face the winner between Appling County (Region 2 #1) and North Oconee (Region 8 #1). If the Trojans and Appling win, the next round will be played here. If the Trojans and North Oconee win, a coin toss Saturday morning will determine the site of the third round game. What Lamar head coach Jason Strickland says: “Blessed Trinity is going to be a tremendous challenge. They came out of one of the toughest regions in the state so, obviously, I think their record is quite deceiving. They are very balanced on offense. Their quarterback has been as solid as anyone we’ve seen all year. He is just very consistent and extremely patient. He is a big kid with tremendous fundamentals. Most of their passing game comes off quick game and play action stuff. He has just been deadly this year getting the ball out. Their most consistent runner has over 1,000 yards rushing on the season. I wouldn’t say he is extremely big, or overly fast but the guy is just a football player. He is hard nosed and keeps his legs churning. You just don’t see him make many mistakes. Probably their best overall athlete is a receiver/DB. The kid is pretty fast and an extremely intelligent football player. He seems to make two or three plays a game that just makes your heart skip a beat. Defensively they base out of the 4-3. They do a great job with their technique, and you just never see their guys out of position. I don’t think they are the biggest or fastest defense we have seen this year but they’re as sound as anyone. You’re going to have to work for every yard you get. It is impressive watching their guys fit in gaps. I think the region they play in probably gives them a bit of an edge. With some of the teams they’ve played this year, I can assure you they aren’t going to be in awe of us. They’re seasoned against high level competition. Their head coach has been in several playoff games and we know there hasn’t been much he hasn’t seen. At the end of the day the team that executes the best Friday night is going to give themselves a great opportunity to advance. We feel like we’ll need to play our best game of the season Friday. If we do, we should have a good shot.”

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