Brooks Barden. The guy who started it off. In 2012 and 2013, Barden was one of the best high school quarterbacks in the state of Georgia. As a junior in 2012, Barden threw for 2,636 yards and 39 touchdowns. He threw 36 straight touchdowns to start the season before throwing his first interception in the playoffs. That year he won the state's offensive player of the year award in the class of AAA, as well as earning all-state honors. In 2012, the only player in Georgia who threw for more touchdowns was Gainesville quarterback Deshaun Watson. I'm sure you've heard of him. Barden led the Purple Hurricanes to a 13-1 record that season.
Barden had another big season in 2013 as a senior, throwing for 2,523 yards and 43 touchdowns. He earned 1st team all-state honors for the second consecutive season, leading Cartersville to an 11-1 season. Barden also made plays with his feet, rushing for 761 yards and 10 touchdowns combined during his junior and senior seasons.
Its clear Barden left his mark at Cartersville, and the future Hurricane quarterbacks know all about his accomplishments.
"He did really well here obviously." Current Cartersville quarterback Trevor Lawrence said. "Me watching him in middle school helped me a lot because I saw the way he handled things and everything he did to be successful here. I talk with my coach a lot about how smart he was so that's something I've learned from him. We talk some whenever he comes back in town."
Basically, the guy was a winner. He was a big 6-foot-2 210-pound lefty who could read a defense and anticipate throws with the best of them. His decision making and ability to not turn the ball over made him special.
Barden had an extremely successful career at Cartersville, but the guy who followed him might be one of the best the state of Georgia has ever seen.
Trevor Lawrence. If you follow recruiting, or even follow football in Georgia, you might already know about him. He’s a celebrity around town and most experts believe he is the top player in the country for the 2018 class. The spotlight was on him early, and Lawrence was filling some big shoes. He was up to the challenge.
“I don’t feel like there was any added pressure.” Lawrence said. “I knew what I was getting into and that’s what I wanted. I wanted somewhere where I was going to be pushed and be expected to do really good things.”
As a freshman, Lawrence took over the starting job and it's been his team ever since. It's rare to see a freshman starting at quarterback for any team, especially on a team who just went 11-1 the previous season. But Trevor isn't your typical quarterback. In 2014 Lawrence threw for 3,042 yards and 26 touchdowns, leading the 'Canes to a 12-2 season. He took his team deep into the playoffs, but the fell in the semi-finals to Buford. The Wolves had their own dynasty going on at the time. Like Barden before him, Lawrence was named 1st team all-state quarterback, the third straight season a Cartersville quarterback had won the award.
As a sophomore in the 2015 season, Lawrence continued to improve his game. He was a leader on the team along with senior tight end Miller Forristall, who would eventually sign with Alabama in the 2016 recruiting class. Earlier that spring, there was only one goal, winning a state championship. They looked like a championship caliber team, and Lawrence was on the verge of greatness. He shined at multiple camps in the summer for 2015, and became a priority target for teams including Tennessee and Clemson. More offers came that summer, and Trevor was quickly recognized as a top 2018 prospect in the country. Through it all, there was only one thing on his mind. Winning a state championship.
Lawrence would end up threw for 3,655 yards and 43 touchdowns while only throwing 4 interceptions his sophomore year. He even got a little revenge from last year, beating Buford in the state championship. The entire team played lights out including athlete Trey Creamer and the entire defense. As for Lawrence, he showed the clutch gene that every coach looks for. He played with toughness, and got hit hard by a Buford defender in the red zone late in the game. Lawrence stepped up and made a great throw on the run to tight end Miller Forristall for the winning touchdown. He led Cartersville to undefeated 15-0 season, and a state championship. Like the year before, Trevor would win 1st team all-state quarterback honors, the fourth consecutive year a Cartersville quarterback had won the award. See a trend here?
His junior season has been just as you’d expect it. Insanely good. Lawrence has thrown for 2,902 yards and 40 touchdowns. This past Friday, Lawrence was 14-18 for 253 yards and 7 touchdowns. The state record for passing touchdowns in a game is 9. Truth is, Lawrence didn’t even play in the second half. What’s crazier than that? Lawrence has barely played in the second half of games all season.
85% of Trevor Lawrence’s yardage and touchdowns his entire career has come in the 1st half of games. You read that right. Trevor is already on pace to break records by his senior year, but it’s scary to think of the statistics he could put up if he were to play more in the second half of games. Cartersville has always had a tough defense, and will often create multiple turnovers and give Lawrence and the offense easy field position to work with. That leads to blowouts, giving the backup plenty of experience at the end of games. Also, this team isn’t going up against bad teams every week either. Cartersville has played a tough schedule all year, and have played against some of the most talented defenses in the country. The Hurricanes beat former state-champion Allatoona, and hung 31 points on a defense with three different players that hold offers from both Alabama and Georgia.
The season isn’t quite over yet, but Cartersville has a strong chance to repeat again as state champions. It’s also likely that Lawrence will, for the third straight year, win 1st team all-state honors. That would be the fifth consecutive year that a Cartersville quarterback has won the award.
The Hurricanes host Burke County this week in the second round of the playoffs. The Lawrence era is still in progress for at least another year, but there is another guy waiting in the wings.
Tee Webb. The 6-foot-4 174-pound freshman certainly looks the part physically, and has all of the tools needed to be the next man up at Cartersville. Like Lawrence, Webb was known in the industry early on, and has performed well at multiple camps after middle school. He’s a good athlete and one of the top baseball prospects in the state for his age group. The current star had some nice things so say about guy who will one day replace him.
“Obviously he’s a big guy.” Lawrence said. “He is bigger than I was. He’s grown a lot as far as size and being smart and knowing what to do. I try to teach him to stay smart and be humble. That’s one thing I try to do. It’s definitely a brotherhood around here. We spend a lot of time together. We are here more than we are at our house to we try to enjoy it.”
In 5 junior varsity games, Webb has thrown for 1,100 yards and 19 touchdowns with three interceptions. In last Friday’s 77-14 win over Chestatee, Webb was 5/7 for 116 yards and two touchdowns in the second half.
It's easy to see there is something special going on in Cartersville, Georgia. Make sure you go see it. They're in the making of building a dynasty.