Thompson goes for state title on Sat.

MARYVILLE, Tenn. – While much of Tar Heel fans' attention this week has been on the commitment of Cameron Sexton, UNC's other 2005 quarterback commitment, Cade Thompson, is gearing up for the Tennessee Class 4-A state championship on Saturday.

No. 1-ranked Maryville (14-0), located in a suburb of Knoxville, plays No. 2 Memphis Melrose (14-0) at 4:30 p.m. on the campus of Middle Tennessee State in Murfreesboro.

Thompson is seeking his second state title as a starter, while the Red Rebels will try to win their fourth since 2000.

He wraps up a senior season in which he passed for 2,381 yards and 32 touchdowns with only three interceptions. His record as a starter is 42-1 with his only loss coming in last year's state semifinals. Thompson, along with his fellow seniors, has never lost a home game.

"We're excited - this is what you play for," Quarles said. "There's just one game to go and I am so proud of this group of seniors."

Thompson was named Tennessee's Mr. Football as the top offensive back earlier this season. In Melrose, Maryville will face a team with Gregory Hardy (151 tackles, 42 tackles for a loss, seven sacks and an interception), the state's Mr. Football winner for linemen.

"They're real fast and athletic and they have a really good defense," Thompson said of his upcoming opponent. "Our emphasis is to just be disciplined and come in with a really good game plan."

Maryville rolled to a 49-0 victory over Bristol's Tennessee High in the semifinal Friday night. Thompson took advantage of a scheme designed to stop his team's ground game and completed touchdown passes of 10 and 16 yards.

"Everything was clicking," said Thompson, who was 10-for-12 for 121 yards, after coming out of the game just one series into the second half. "They were giving us everything underneath and we took it. A lot of things were open."

Inside Carolina traveled to Maryville to interview Thompson and his coach George Quarles this week, for a feature to be published in January's edition of the IC magazine. While that story will focus on Thompson's career and his reaffirmed commitment to North Carolina, obviously his mind was clearly focused on the task at hand.

"This is huge for me," Thompson said. "Ever since we lost in the semifinals last year, all I've thought about is this coming Saturday."

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