The incredible 2018 season for Cartersville will go all the way to the state championship game.
It took a stellar performance from the Canes defense and a clutch showing down the stretch by the Cartersville offense to earn a 17-14 victory over Marist Friday at Weinman Stadium.
After letting a 10-0 lead evaporate in the span of 45 seconds, Cartersville put together the game-winning drive early in the fourth quarter before holding on at the end.
Following the comeback win over the War Eagles, the Canes will face off against Blessed Trinity in the state title game.
The Titans defeated Cartersville’s Region 5-AAAA brethren Troup County by a 51-35 score in the classification’s other semifinal.
The championship game, which will take place Dec. 12 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, will be a rematch of a 2017 second-round state playoff game won by Blessed Trinity.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Devonte Ross (2)
Ross has been a key cog on both sides of the ball for the Canes this season, but the sophomore had — by far — the best game of his young career on Friday.
He caught four passes for 127 yards. One of his receptions — a 43-yarder — set up the first Cartersville points of the game. His next two catches each went for 30-plus-yard touchdowns.
The final Ross reception of the night was just as important, extending the Canes final drive to the point where the War Eagles used up all of their timeouts.
As impactful as Ross was on offense, he was arguably better on the defensive side. Lined up opposite Marist standout Kyle Hamilton almost the entire game, Ross contained the Notre Dame commit.
Seemingly the only play Ross wasn’t shadowing Hamilton resulted in the one deep ball to the War Eagles do-everything senior. Overall, Ross made four tackles, including one for loss, and had two pass breakups.
Harrison Allen (3)
From the opening snap, Allen was making plays all over the field. The team’s leading tackler once again paced the Canes in stops, tying with Amarai Orr with nine tackles.
Allen, who also broke up a key pass attempt in the second half, worked as a spy on Marist quarterback Connor Cigelske in obvious passing downs.
In the final minutes, the sophomore had the two biggest tackles of the game for Cartersville. He dragged down Cigelske to force a three-and-out immediately after the Canes had taken the lead. He also made the stop on Cigelske on fourth down to effectively end the game with 23 seconds to go.
As mentioned above, Orr matched Allen with nine tackles with one of his coming behind the line of scrimmage. Yet another sophomore, Orr has played as well as anybody for Cartersville the second half of the season.
Orr wasn’t necessarily the first guy to get to every tackle, but he was almost always the second guy, finishing off every play with a crunching hit.
He’s also on the coverage team for the Canes coverage team, and Orr always seems to be involved in those stops, too.
Marcus Gary — The senior totaled 102 yards with 80 on the ground and 22 through the air.
Tee Webb — Overcame four turnovers to pass for 200 yards and two touchdowns, including a gutsy throw to give the Canes the lead in the final period.