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Thursday, September 9, 2010 - 12:48pm

Blessed Trinity Outlasts Grady; Woodward and BT Rule Volleyball Classes

An all-Fulton showdown between Blessed Trinity and Grady did not disappoint last Friday, as a back-and-forth thriller resulted in a 17-14 win for the host Titans.
Grady two-way star Damian Swann did all he could for the Grey Knights, but it was not enough to pick up a road victory. Swann had one interception on the defensive side of the ball and he also hauled in a last-second touchdown pass to give Grady a 14-7 lead at halfime. Blessed Trinity, however, got a 43-yard touchdown run from Kevin Schulz before John Davis picked off a pass in the final minute to clinch the win.
Lovett and Westminster, both ranked in the Top 10 in Class AA, had mixed results in going up against Class AAA opposition last Friday. The Lions, who were clipped 13-11 by Thomasville two weeks ago, picked up their first win of the season by hammering Towers 44-7. Lovett quarterback Hunter Budd exploded for six touchdowns (four passing, two rushing) while completing 16 of 20 passes for 222 yards.
Westminster scored a big road win over Class AAA St. Pius last week, but the Wildcats were not as fortunate at home against Carrollton. The Trojans led 13-7 at halftime before pulling away for 35-7 victory. The Westminster running attack, anchored by speedy Ralph David Abernathy IV, was limited to a mere 28 yards on 20 attempts.
Still, the Wildcats feel good heading into Region 6-AA competition in the aftermath of two difficult tests against top teams from Class AAA.
“Going on the road to beat the No. 4 team in triple-A (St. Pius) was a big confidence booster for our team, and something that we really needed going into the season,” said Westminster quarterback William Linginfelter. “Playing these good non-region games is very important to our program to get us ready for region play.”
In other Fulton County games last week, Tri-Cities trounced Forest Park 35-0, Mays thumped Redan 35-7, and Chattahoochee handled Lambert 31-7. Faced with a brutal two-game stretch to begin its season, Roswell lost its second nail-biter in as many weeks. The Hornets, who dropped their opener 13-9 to Collins Hill, succumbed to Peachtree Ridge 24-17.
Blessed Trinity and Westminster raced to cross country victories at last weekend’s Berry Invitational in Rome. The Titans took home the girls A/AA/AAA title, placing four runners under 21:00. Natalie Kile led the way with a time of 20:24, good for seventh place overall in the individual competition. Blessed Trinity’s Anna Gandolfo and Kate Beecham rounded out the Top 10.
On the boys’ side of the A/AA/AAA competition, Westminster’s depth could not be matched by any other school. The Wildcats placed only one runner in the Top 10 individually, but their five scorers crossed the finish line in a span of just 22 seconds, starting with Cody Tedesco in ninth place at 17:06. Spencer Nash, John Whelchel, Jake Candler, and Tyler Cooke took places between 11th and 16th with times between 17:11 and 17:28. Blessed Trinity came in fifth out of 24 teams, with Dylan Dimartino and Kyle Marchuk recording times under 18:00.
Woodward remains on top of the Class AAA GACA/PrepCounty coaches poll, while Blessed Trinity is still tops in the Class A/AA rankings. The War Eagles, who are the two-time defending state champions in Class AAA, compiled a 3-1 record last week. Woodward lost to Walton in a pair of tight games, but the team earned victories over Columbus, Wesleyan and Sandy Creek.
Blessed Trinity is 24-1 this season, losing only once to Pope in the final of last month’s Sequoyah Classic. Led by Score Prep’s female athlete of the week Aly McAlvany, the Titans are currently on a 17-match winning streak and have dropped only two games in that span and none in their last seven matches. They went undefeated last week en route to winning a tournament at Armstrong Atlantic State University.
“I believe this is the most talented team I’ve ever coached, in terms of pure volleyball talent, athleticism and desire,” head coach Paul Stevens said in an interview with “The senior leadership’s been outstanding and the players genuinely enjoy playing with each other and doing things on and off the court.”
Chattahoochee, 20-2 for the season, registers at No. 3 in the Class AAAA coaches poll. The Cougars have won 12 matches in a row and 24 of their last 25 games following wins last week over Lambert, Milton, Lassiter and Milton.