Gage Griffith scored two goals for Cartersville and Matthew Bryson and Ross Palsey added a goal apiece.
"It was a team effort. Our team had to come together after losing one of our star players," Canes coach D.J. Paradis said in reference to a season-ending injury to Zach Cravey. "Not having him on the field, everybody had to step up. We knew it was a must-win if we wanted to go to state.
"We scored about 20 minutes into the game on a header from Gage Griffith on a cross and that just set the tone for the game."
Paradis said his team dominated possession and outshot the Indians 16-2. "We never really let up. We just kept on attacking."
Both teams, he said, were tied for fourth place in the region going into the game. Cartersville improved to 5-4 in the region with the victory and has a final region game left against Cedartown.
"We win on Monday when we play Cedartown on senior night and we're going to state," Paradis acknowledged.
Even if the Canes were to lose, they still could advance to state based on a goal-differential tiebreaker, but their coach knows they need to simplify things with their performance on Monday.
"We would win out on goal differential," Paradis said of a scenario where three teams, including Murray County and Gilmer, could finish 5-5. "[But] we just have to take care of business and not worry about the rest."
Whatever the rest of the season holds for Cartersville, it will not feature the play of Cravey, the team's senior who cracked his collarbone in a 1-0 loss to Shiloh on Wednesday.
"We're learning to adjust without him, but we still have his leadership on the sidelines and he's making sure he's coaching up those young guys that are taking his place," Paradis said.
While the Canes (8-7-1) are at least one game from solidifying their spot in the playoffs, the Lady Canes (8-5), who were off on Friday, have already clinched the region's third seed. Both teams play Monday, with the Cartersville girls opening up the evening with a 5:30 p.m. start.