MARIETTA — Harrison Bailey will go down as Cobb County’s all-time leading quarterback. On Saturday, he gets to find out if he can add “state champion” to his resume.
With Saturday’s Class AAAAAAA championship game against Lowndes left to play, the Marietta star is Cobb County’s all-time leading passer with 11,445 career passing yards. He passed former Lassiter standout Eddie Printz for the top spot earlier this season, with Printz now a distant second with 8,743 yards.
Bailey has also thrown a county-record 114 touchdowns, besting former McEachern quarterback Bailey Hockman’s 94.
Now, as Bailey is about to play his final and, potentially, biggest game in a Marietta uniform Saturday at Georgia State Stadium, the title is more important to him than his numbers.
“Me, personally, I’m looking at this as a normal game,” Bailey said. “Our heads have been down and level, and we’re not putting our heads up until 11:30 p.m. Saturday night.”
Bailey is coming off what could be considered a career performance in last week’s state semifinal win over Parkview when he threw for 423 yards and five touchdowns. It was the fourth time this season he had thrown at least five touchdown passes.
For the season, Bailey has completed 251 of 372 passes for 4,000 yards and 40 touchdowns, to only nine interceptions.
The future Tennessee Volunteer has also had time to mentor the younger quarterbacks in Marietta’s system. Coach Richard Morgan said Bailey has set a standard for everyone to emulate, and he will leave an indelible mark on the Blue Devils program for years to come.
“He enjoys practice and enjoys watching film,” Morgan said. “Those are the type of things you want to rub off on the younger kids. He’s got every record in the book. I don’t know if I’ll be around here long enough to see those records broken. He’s done it the right way and you want other people to emulate that.”
Bailey has also had to deal with his share of adversity over the course of his career.
The 6-foot-4, 220-pound Bailey started all four years at Marietta, but he missed nearly a full season’s worth of games because of injury. He likely could have threatened the state’s three all-time passing leaders — future college stars Trevor Lawrence (13,902), Deshaun Watson (13,077) and Jake Fromm (12,745) — had he remained healthy.
Bailey missed seven games with a shoulder injury his sophomore year. Despite that, he got healthy in time for the playoffs and led Marietta to the state quarterfinals.
Bailey was injured again late his junior season and missed much of the last two weeks of the season and the playoffs.
As he prepares to move on to college, the one thing Bailey says he will miss the most about his Marietta experience is the family bond within the locker room, as well as the relationships he has built with those teammates.
“Through all the good and bad years, we’ve all been through it together,” Bailey said. “It brought us all closer as a team moving forward to this year.”