090419_MNS_GOTW_Tanner_Bivins

Wesleyan’s Tanner Bivins (50) recovers a fumble during a 2018 home contest against Prince Avenue Christian.

The turn of the calendar to the month of December has brought about the semifinals of the Georgia High School Association State Football Playoffs with three teams still in contention for a championship.

The two-time defending Class 4A state champions Blessed Trinity stayed alive in the postseason with a 31-0 home win over West Laurens Nov. 29. The victory extended the Titans’ winning streak to 10 games. The scoring started for Blessed Trinity on Aaron Werkheiser’s 34-yard field goal in the first quarter. Later in the quarter, Justice Haynes had a 15-yard touchdown round to increase the Titans lead to 10-0.

Two second-quarter TD runs by Elijah Green gave Blessed Trinity a 24-0 lead heading into halftime.

The Titans put the game away in the third quarter on Duncan Reavis’ 45-yard touchdown pass to James Bryant for their final score of the contest.

Blessed Trinity, the top seed from Region, is in the state semifinals for the sixth-consecutive year and visit Woodward Academy Dec. 6. The War Eagles are the top seed from Region 4AAAA and defeated Cartersville Nov. 29. The Titans hold a 3-1 lifetime series lead over Woodward but lost their contest against the War Eagles 13-10 earlier this season Sept. 6.

The Class A Private playoff semifinals pit two local teams separated by less than 15 miles against each other in Fellowship Christian and Wesleyan Dec. 6.

The Paladins are the fourth-overall seed and defeated Hebron Christian 35-28 in the quarters Nov. 29 to stay undefeated on the season with a record of 12-0. Murphy Reeves’ 59-yard touchdown run midway through the fourth quarter gave Fellowship a 35-21 lead to secure the victory. He finished the night with a team-high 129 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Jayven Hall also rushed for two touchdowns and Josh Cole had a TD on the ground for the Paladins who amassed 282 rushing yards as a team attempted only two passes in the victory.

Defensively, Nathan Nardone posted a team-high 11 tackles and a sack for Fellowship. Teammates Caleb Mcclung and Kyle Elphick each had seven stops.

Wesleyan, the ninth-overall seed, also advanced to the semis following a 42-16 win against top-overall seed Savannah Christian Nov. 29.

The Wolves’ scoring started on a 22-yard touchdown pass from J.C. French to Wyatt Hodges in the first quarter. French’s one-yard touchdown run in the second quarter allowed Wesleyan to retake the lead 14-10 late in the second quarter and into halftime.Griffin Caldwell took control of the contest with four rushing touchdowns in the second half for the Wolves.

Fellowship is in the state semis for the second time in program history with the other appearance taking place in 2016 when the team advanced to the championship game. Wesleyan is in the semifinals for the third time in history. The other appearances took place in 2010 and a state championship campaign in 2008.

The Wolves have won both previous meetings against the Paladins including a 14-7 victory in 2011.

In other football news, Alpharetta head coach Jacob Nichols has stepped down after leading the program for six years. The Raiders won two region titles and made the state playoffs four times during his tenure.

The Atlanta Track Club has announced its Powerade All-Metro Cross Country Team. Milton runner Nyah Hernandez, Cambridge runner Ashley Sechrest along with Hannah Miniutti and Kelly Ann Sutterfield of Blessed Trinity were named to the squad.

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