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Atlanta high school sports news from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Cartersville dazzles in national spotlight

When Cartersville took the field against Florida’s Class 7A Bartram Trail on Saturday, I had plenty of confidence (and existing evidence) to believe that the Purple Hurricanes would be able to compete with the Bears and extend their active winning streak to a state-best 32 games. As high as my expectations were going in, as I watched Cartersville celebrate on the field after an unforgettable 52-45 victory, every expectation had been shattered. I was familiar with running back Rico Frye’s abilities and his three-star status, but I was in awe watching the Creekside transfer plow through defenders like a Michael Turner clone.

In addition to his 18 carries for 108 yards and two scores, Frye added three catches for 102 yards.

I have seen Cartersville quarterback Trevor Lawrence put on passing clinics in the past, but Saturday was different. Once the win was secured and the body of work was complete, it was clear that the 18-of-23 passing, 404 passing yards and five touchdown throws was one of the best performances I am ever going to see on the high school level. Throughout the years, there are teams and players that end up elevating the entire state with their extraordinary talent, and Lawrence is without a doubt raising the bar for young, aspiring quarterbacks across Georgia.

Cartersville head coach Joey King has produced a 44-2 record since taking over the program in 2014 and he and his staff deserve a lot of credit for the focus that the Canes continue playing with. Bartram Trail (598) and Cartersville (546) combined for 1,144 yards of total offense on Saturday, but the offensive fireworks overshadow several defensive standouts that were able to finish a wild and certainly exhausting football game. Cartersville built a 31-3 lead before entering the half ahead 31-17, but the game turned in Bartram Trail’s favor with a couple long drives and a successful onside kick in the second half. Cartersville’s defense ended up being on the field for 28:29 of the game's 48 minutes. Exhausted and with the Bears looking to tie the game back up on the final series, Cartersville had enough in the tank to secure the win and celebrate another landmark victory for the program. Carson Murray had 12 tackles and a sack and teammate Nyvin Nelson posted 11 tackles with a sack. Marquail Coaxum was credited with another 10 tackles and JaCorey Johns forced a fumble, added a sack and finished with nine tackles. Here is Evan Greenberg's outstanding recap of the action.

Cartersville will host Calhoun on Friday before closing non-region play against Westlake on Sept. 8.


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