Football season ends with loss in second round of state playoffs

Team finishes 9-2 and goes undefeated in region play

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Photo courtesy of Lifetouch

Senior quarterback Dennis O’Shea escapes a defender in the first half of a 25-3 victory over Cedar Shoals in September.

Jackson Long, Staff Writer

Last weekend, the St. Pius X football team lost in the second round of the state playoffs to Cartersville 31-19. After coming off of a 6-6 season in 2019,  the team had some unfinished business this season. While they came up short in the postseason, the Golden Lions finished with a 9-2 record and went undefeated in region play. 

Like every athletic program across the country, the team was forced to contend with tremendous obstacles due to Covid. From new routines and tedious protocols to cancellations to virus outbreaks, their journey wasn’t easy, but they did get to have an almost-complete season, and that’s what matters. 

The Golden Lions traveled to Flowery Branch for their first game of the season in September. They held the lead for the entire game and ended up winning 38-28 with touchdowns from senior  RJ Brewster and sophomore Jack Tchienchu. 

The next week they were scheduled to play rival Blessed Trinity, but the game was cancelled because both teams were battling mandated shutdowns and quarantines. The Golden Lions did not end up playing again until the end of September when they went up against Cedar Shoals, beating them 25-3. 

The next week against Westminster was a heart crusher, with the Wildcats narrowly winning by a field goal. It was a very well-fought game that could have gone either way until the final seconds ticked off the clock.

Then region play began, and the boys began to turn it up a notch. They dominated Northview 42-7, and senior Mason Benefield had three touchdowns and ran 150 yards, making it one of his best performances all season. 

The next five region games were a breeze for the well-prepared Golden Lions, and they defeated Southwest DeKalb, Lithonia, MLK, Stone Mountain, and Decatur all by double digits.

The playoffs started the final week of November with a 31-6 victory over Loganville at home. Senior lineman Charlie Long earned Offensive Player of the Week due to his solid blocking performance, and junior Austin Taylor was named Defensive Player of the Week. 

Their toughest game of the season awaited them the next round of the playoffs when they squared off against Cartersville the following weekend. Again playing at home, the Golden Lions suffered their final loss of the season to the second ranked Hurricanes.

While ending the season with a loss is always heartbreaking, especially for the seniors who competed for the last time, the Golden Lions finished with a 9-2 record, undefeated in the region ranked, and ranked eighth in 5A.