On one side will be coach Frank Barden, who won his state championship in 1999 with his 15-0 Cartersville Purple Hurricanes.
On the other side will be coach Tim McFarlin, who won his state championship in 2006 with his 13-1-1 Roswell Hornets.
McFarlin became the Hornets head football coach the same year that the Barden-led Canes went 11-1 and advanced to the second round of the Class AA state playoffs. Since then Barden has remained with the Canes, while McFarlin chose to come out of retirement to take over Blessed Trinity’s football program last season.
A football program that is just 11 years old, plays in Region 6-AAA, and will be facing a team “who I think has been playing football for approximately 100 years,” said McFarlin, who guided the Titans to the first round of the Class AAA state playoffs last season. Quite an achievement for someone who had left the coaching ranks and Roswell in 2007 following a 10-3 season.
This year, Blessed Trinity (9-2) is traveling north to Cartersville after defeating White County, 35-14, in its first round state playoff game. The Canes, who again have home field advantage, reached the second round with their 56-21 victory over the Jackson County Bulldogs.
“When we play Cartersville, we will be playing the best team we have faced all season long,” McFarlin said. “We are a team that does not have any potential Division I college players on it, nor does it have the speed and size that Cartersville has. We just play hard for four quarters.”
Of all the teams in Region 6-AAA that Blessed Trinity played this season, “Cedar Grove is the one team that closely resembles Cartersville,” he said. “They just pose a lot of problems with their schemes and matchups.”
The Titans only two losses have come against Lovett, 24-7, and St. Pius, 24-7. Last week, St. Pius defeated Dawson County, 72-28. McFarlin described St. Pius as a team that lines up in a Wing-T and hammers its opponent.
“Blessed Trinity can expect to see two things when we play Cartersville,” he said. “A team that is well-coached, and a team that is aggressive. It’s a team that is also steeped in tradition.”
For the two championship caliber coaches, Weinman Stadium will provide the backdrop for their first-ever, head-to-head matchup.
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