The Hurricanes advanced to the semifinal round by defeating the No. 1-ranked team in Class AAA, the Thomson Bulldogs, 21-13, Friday night before a sold-out crowd at Weinman Stadium.
“This is a special team that battled from start to finish,” said coach Frank Barden after being informed that the Wolves defeated Carver-Columbus, 31-7.
It is also a 13-0 team that will be playing its fourth straight playoff game at home this coming Friday.
“Being home once again means everything to us,” Barden said.
Cartersville is at home once again and one win away from playing in the Georgia Dome thanks to a defense that kept making key, goal-line stops, recovered two of Thomson’s six fumbles and intercepted a pass in the end zone. And, an offense, that needed just three big plays to offset the Bulldogs’ ball-control offense.
In the first half alone, the Canes stopped Thomson (12-1) for no gain on fourth-and-1 at the Cartersville 24-yard line and then held on downs when a pass fell incomplete on fourth-and-goal at the Canes’ 6-yard line. In the second half, Hayes Linn intercepted a pass in the end zone on first-and-goal from the 5.
“Every time we stopped them [the Bulldogs] from scoring our confidence [on defense] kept growing,” said Brandon Wells, who made the key tackle to preserve Cartersville’s 24-23 win last week. “I knew beforehand that defense would be the heart of this game.”
It was defense that bent repeatedly in the first half.
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