ROSWELL, Ga. — Blessed Trinity’s hopes to repeat as Region 7-AAAA champs may have been put to rest Friday night as the Titans lost a 25-24 heartbreaker to Marist in the final minute of play.
With the top two teams in the region squaring off, the teams not only matched up evenly on paper, no one had much of an advantage in statistics when the game was over.
Just one yard separated their total offensive yards, BT with 263 and Marist with 262. Those yards were split evenly between rushing and passing. A single first down separated the teams. Both teams were around 35 percent on third-down conversions. BT committed just one more turnover than the War Eagles.
The difference in the game, which didn’t appear until Marist’s final drive of the game, was fourth-down conversions and two-point conversions. Marist would convert three fourth downs on their last scoring possession.
The Titans led 24-17 midway through the fourth quarter after Steele Chambers rushed for a 2-yard touchdown.
On Marist’s second set of downs from their own 44-yard line, a deep pass on third-and-5 would be deflected, setting up Marist’s first fourth-down conversion on the drive, a bubble screen that just crossed the line to gain.
Marist drove to the Titans’ 32-yard line with two and a half minutes left, but faced a fourth-and-eight. The War Eagles would convert again on a pass towards the sideline, the receiver pushed out at the 19.
BT’s offense surrendered a single yard on three plays inside the red zone, but on fourth-and-nine Marist came down with a 50/50 ball at the two-yard line. They would score on quarterback keeper the next play.
After Marist’s offense remained on the field, Blessed Trinity called their last timeout to draw up a defensive play. However, a quick slant pass was brought down by a Marist receiver in tight coverage to put the War Eagles on top, 25-24.
BT still had 53 seconds to work with but no timeouts in a bid to get into field goal range.
Still on their own 35-yard line with 32 seconds left, Jake Smith was intercepted on a long pass down the sideline to end the Titans’ chances.
The Titans led 17-7 at the half on two rushing touchdowns from Steele Chambers, but Chambers’ score late in the fourth would be the Titans’ only points of the second half.
Chambers had 57 yards rushing.
Quarterback Jake Smith was 10-20 passing for 133 yards with three interceptions.
The loss puts BT at 2-1 in Region 7-AAAA play with their regular season finale against West Hall Nov. 3. Marist took the outright lead in the region standings at 2-0.
If BT is to repeat as region champs, the Titans will need a win against West Hall and for Marist to drop its final two games against Chestatee and White County as well as a White County loss to West Hall.