As a result, the offensive play caller and head coach of the Canes, Frank Barden, was recognized as the Class AAA coach of the year at the Atlanta Falcons’ Salute to High School Football on Dec. 13 at the Georgia Dome.
It is the second time Barden has won the coach of the year award and he was honored between the first and second quarters of the Class A state championship game in front of Falcons head coach Mike Smith, President & CEO Rich McKay and other representatives of the Falcons.
“It’s awful nice. When you get something like that it’s a reflection of the program, the school, the kids that play for you on the team and the other coaches. Anytime you get an award like that, you win it as a group. A lot of it was based off the last two years and we had a good time. We enjoyed the kids and had a good time with them.”
In his 19th season with Cartersville, Barden coached his team to an undefeated regular season record for the second consecutive year and an 11-win season.
Barden is the longest-tenured coach in Class AAA and has won 154 games, while losing just 52 for a 68.9 winning percentage.
Cartersville has just three losing seasons since Barden has been at the helm.
Cartersville’s explosive offense scored 534 points this season for an average of 44.5 points per game and an average margin of victory of nearly 30 points.
Cartersville now has a 14-game region and 20-game regular season winning streak, while making it as far as the second round of the playoffs for the second straight season.
For his efforts, Barden was selected to coach the GACA North/South All-Star Classic to be held Dec. 30 in Columbus.
Barden’s son, Brooks, threw for 2,382 passing yards and 42 touchdowns after being named Class AAA Player of the Year last season.
Barden joins several accomplished coaches in Georgia who were honored at the event, including Mike Forester of Mount Pisgah, Mike Muschamp of Lovett, Matt Fligg of Monroe Area, Olten Downs of Creekside and Andy Dyer of Archer.