CHAMPIONSHIP PREVIEW: Benedictine going to Atlanta for the GHSA 4A state title again

By Travis Jaudon/For the Prep Sports Report | December 6, 2022

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It’s State Championship week for the Benedictine Cadets! BC is back in Georgia’s biggest high school football game and the Cadets are the only Savannah team with a chance to win a football state championship this season.

Benedictine plays top-ranked and unbeaten Cedartown in the Georgia High School Football Class 4A State Championship game on Friday in Atlanta. The Massey Ratings, which are derived using historical data and a predetermined formula, predicts Benedictine to win the game by a score of 28-24. So, the suggested “line” is BC (-3.5) and an over/under of 55 total points.

The ratings give the Cadets a 58% chance of winning the game by any margin.

We’ve been tracking the Cadets all season here at The Prep Sports Report. No reason to stop now. Let’s start with the basics of the game, then get to the good stuff.


WHAT – GHSA Class 4A Football State Championship Game

WHERE – Center Parc Stadium; 755 Hank Aaron Drive; Atlanta, Georgia

WHEN – Friday, December 9; 3:30 p.m.

WATCH – Georgia Public Broadcasting (check local listings)



TWITTER – @JaudonSports

Now that we’ve got the particulars squared away, let’s turn our attention to the teams and players themselves.


Head Coach – Jamie Abrams

Seed – Region 7, Seed 1

Consensus Rank – 1 (58 points)*

Points Per Game – 39.93

Points Allowed Per Game – 9.14

Streak – W14

By the time Cedartown Bulldogs hit the field on Friday, it’ll have been 372 days since they last lost a game. They are in the state championship for the first time since 2001 and are seeking their first title since 1963.

Cedartown knocked off No. 2 North Oconee, 28-20 at home in the semifinals last week. Head coach Jamie Abrams’ team had a 28-13 lead in the fourth quarter of that game, but a late-game North Oconee touchdown resulted in a one-score final margin.

The AJC ranks CHS No. 1 in Class 4A and CalPreps has it ranked No. 78 in the nation.

In his third season at the helm of Cedartown football, Abrams has won three region championships and posted an overall record of 33-5 (.868). Last season, his squad finished 11-2 overall and broke the school’s single-season scoring record (475 points) in the process. This season, they have already scored 559 points and are looking to add to that against a stout Benedictine defense.

Using its under-center option-offense, Cedartown is averaging 315.6 rushing yards per game. That accounts for 82% of its total offense and two weeks ago in the quarterfinals, CHS ran the rock on 59 of its 63 snaps. It worked, as the Bulldogs racked up 425 rushing yards.

When they do pass, they tend to push the ball down field. Quarterback Reese Tanner (see below) has 14 touchdowns and 942 passing yards on just 46 completions (20.5 yards per completion). Defensively, Cedartown has 12 interceptions as a unit.


Reece Tanner - QB: 46-88 (52%), 942 yds, 14 TD (2 int); 43 car, 361 yds, 3 TD

Harlem Diamond - RB: 127 car, 1,218 yds, 21 TD; 18 rec, 400 yds, 8 TD

Patrick Gardner - RB: 131 car, 912 yds, 15 TD

Khamiron Davis - RB: 68 car, 584 yds, 9 TD

Eli Barrow - LB: 174 tackles, 11 TFL’s, 13 sacks

DeMarcus Gardner - CB: 5 interceptions, 5 pass breakups



Head Coach – Danny Britt

Seed – Region 3, Seed 1

Consensus Rank – 4 (44 points)*

Points Per Game – 34.57

Points Allowed Per Game – 10.14

Streak – W10

Danny Britt has his Cadets back in the championship game for a fourth time since 2014 and the 12th year head coach is hoping history repeats itself in the A.T.L. this week. Under Britt, BC is 3-0 in title games, winning it all in 2014, 2016 and last season.

The Cadets are ranked No. 4 in 4A by the AJC and No. 2 by MaxPreps. Benedictine beat No. 5 Troup in the semifinals, 42-21 at Memorial Stadium last week. Two of the Tiger touchdowns came in garbage time, but the 21 points allowed was the most for the Cadets in a win this season. They had not allowed more than 14 points in any of their previous 11 victories.

BC’s offense has been balanced while showing the ability to use the passing or running element seemingly whenever it chooses. The Cadets average 178.4 passing yards and 162.4 rushing yards per game.

Defensively, Benedictine has 12 interceptions while forcing 22 total turnovers through 14 games.

Injuries in the playoffs to Ack Edwards (first round) and Bryce Baker (semifinals) have forced BC to dip down the depth chart at running back and linebacker, but it hasn’t seemed to change its pristine product on the field. Edwards is out for the state championship game and Baker (who exited the game last week and was seen on crutches and in a walking boot for the remainder of the game) was questionable as of Monday.

Sophomore standout receiver Thomas Blackshear has missed the last two playoff games for suspension after he committed two academic violations in November. With 41 receptions in 12 games played this year, Blackshear leads the team in receiving yards (641), receiving yards per game (53.7) and receiving touchdowns (10). His status for Friday afternoon’s game was uncertain on Monday.


Luke Kromenhoek - QB: 163-245 (67%), 2,498 yds, 27 TD (3 int); 122 car, 413 yards, 7 TD

Za’quan Bryan - WR/CB: 17 TD (7 receiving, 5 rush, 4 punt return, 1 INT return); 56 rec, 717 yds; 60+ tackles, 4 interceptions

Na’seir Samuel - RB: 102 car, 867 yds, 7 TD

Wilkes Albert - LB: 125+ tackles

Cody Brinson - CB: 5 interceptions


Each team scores quickly and the game’s opening stanza could go a long way in determining the game’s ultimate winner. Cedartown is averaging 13.4 points in the first quarter this season while BC is averaging 13.3.

CHS is just 1-of-4 on field goal attempts (30 yard long) and 63-for-76 on PAT’s. BC’s Asher Sigmon is 9-of-10 with a long of 41 yards and he and Hudson Grove have combined to make 45 of BC’s 46 PAT’s.

FOLLOW Travis Jaudon on Twitter and Instagram @JaudonSports. Email him at


Optim Orthopedics supports Benedictine Military School, Calvary Day School, Richmond Hill High School, Savannah Country Day, South Effingham High School, and St. Vincent's athletics. Benedictine Military School's team doctor is Dr. David Sedory. Dr. David Palmer is the team doctor for Calvary Day School, South Effingham, and Richmond Hill. Savannah Country Day and St. Vincent's team doctor is Dr. Thomas Alexander. Remember, Optim Orthopedics gets you back into the game!

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The "Coach" Karl DeMasi has been teaching and coaching for the past 35 years on all levels of academia and athletics. One of his hobbies has been writing, announcing and talking about sports. DeMasi has been involved in the Savannah Area sports scene since 1995, and he created the high school magazine "The Prep Sports Report" in 2000. In 2010, the "Coach" started broadcasting The Karl DeMasi Sports Report. He's still going strong, broadcasting on Facebook live and Twitter live every Saturday morning. You gotta love it!

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