From Staff Reports
With Christian Heritage and Trion High School’s offenses doing what they do best, it was the former’s defense that made the key stops Friday night — and that has the Lions poised to host a state playoff game.
The Lions stopped the Bulldogs on downs three times, including in the final two minutes of the game, to take a 24-20 Sub-region 6A-A victory at Trion’s Sam R. McCain Memorial Stadium. Christian Heritage (7-2, 3-1) clinched second place in the sub-region with the win and will travel to play the Sub-region 6B-A No. 3 team next week.
“We just made some good plays there at the end,” Christian Heritage coach Preston Poag said. “We had some guys in the secondary that stepped up and made the plays. We bowed our neck there at the end.”
With a spot in the playoffs depending on either winning a region title or finishing high enough in the GHSA’s power ratings — which factor in victories and strength of schedule — Christian Heritage solidified its hold on a spot. The Lions are out of the running for a region title but were ninth in this week’s Class A private school power ratings and should move up.
“It is easily the biggest win we have had,” Poag said. “To be 7-2 in our second year in the Georgia High School Association is just amazing. You are just fighting for position in these power rankings, so we just have to go out and try to move up that list."
Trion (5-3, 2-2) rushed for 238 yards, while Christian Heritage quarterback Trevor Brown passed for 191 yards and two touchdowns. The Lions led 17-7 at halftime, but that edge vanished as Trion’s Gabe Howell hauled in a touchdown pass from Cory Bethune with 6:18 left in the game to give the Bulldogs a 20-17 lead.
Christian Heritage got on the board early when Hunter Dixon connected on a 23-yard field goal after an interception by Wesley Hagin, and Brown connected with senior wide receiver Nich Bartley on an 11-yard fade into the end zone for a 10-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.
The Lions added a 1-yard scoring run by Austin Lowe and a Dixon extra point for the halftime lead, but Trion scored the next 13 points and Christian Heritage needed all it could muster to pull out the win.
Late in the fourth, Brown hit Tyson Cooper on a 9-yard scoring pass for the go-ahead touchdown, but it was a 37-yard pass from Brown to Nich Bartley that got the Lions in position. Bartley finished with 114 yards on nine receptions.