Cartersville and Thomson elevate AAAA once again
We danced with question ‘Is Cartersville the best team in the state regardless of classification?’ in last Saturday’s blog. It was the day after the Purple Hurricanes posted an impressive 56-0 win over Class AAA Calhoun. Knowing Cartersville had a showdown with Westlake, a Class AAAAAAA school with Division 1 prospects loading the roster the following Friday, we sat back to see what would happen to confirm whichever stance we were leaning toward at the time. While Westlake might not be the same 10-3 team we saw last year, neither is Cartersville. The Purple Hurricanes displayed their dominance with another seamless effort, before walking away with a 31-0 blowout over the Lions to increase a state-best 18-game winning streak.
This is more than a hot streak. Cartersville’s first three opponents combined for a 37-5 record last season and now the Purple Hurricanes have outscored them by a 117-14 margin.
In Friday’s victory, Cartersville had two goal line stands and produced two timely turnovers, both statistics showcasing the incredible focus this year’s team has come out of the gates with. Offensively, Cartersville outgained the Lions 346-167 as junior five-star quarterback Trevor Lawrence went 18-of-26 passing for 295 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. With a healthy mixture of screens and spreading the football around to seven different players, Cartersville had the answer in the passing game for Westlake’s size and speed. The Lions challenged Cartersville physically and the game even got chippy with Westlake committing 13 penalties, but the Purple Hurricanes showed enough poise to keep control of the game.
The other noteworthy finish in Class AAAA on Friday, was No. 2 Thomson taking its showdown with defending Class AA state champion Pace Academy 38-10. Pace Academy head coach Chris Slade candidly summed up Thomson’s victory in a postgame interview with S. Thomas Coleman by stating “They came in here and kicked our butts… Hey, if you play football long enough you’re going to get a butt kicking. Tonight, we got a butt kicking.”
Thomson enters its bye week with a 4-0 start under its belt. The formula for the Bulldogs’ success has been a ground and pound offense that racked up more than 400 yards against the Knights. Running back Michael Thomas made news last week with a 172 rushing yard and two touchdown effort in Thomson’s 42-20 win over Jefferson. This week, he bulldozed his way to tie a career-high 284 rushing yards and three touchdowns off 23 carries. Thomas is averaging 163.8 rushing yards per game and 8.5 yards per carry, although he was gouging the Knights with 12.3 yards per carry Friday night.