Championship Preview: Class AA

Photo by Lauren Roberts


Head Coach Danny Britt has the Cadets clicking on all cylinders heading into the Georgia Dome. Benedictine is the classification’s top scoring offense, averaging 44 points per game. Last season the Cadets posted a school record 13 wins, but fell to Lamar County 10-7 in the semifinals. Benedictine will have a chance for revenge against Greater Atlanta Christian after the Spartans knocked off the Cadets 24-21 to open the season. After the loss, the Cadets rolled off five straight wins. Their second loss of the season came against Vidalia 35-28. The Ca-dets bounced back strongly and as a result averaged 47.9 points per game in their 12 wins, including outbursts of 70, 63 and 62 points. Senior quarterback Stevie Powers is one of the state’s most prolific passers throwing for 2,993 yards with 29 touchdowns and just six in-terceptions. He was very efficient in his first meeting against Greater Atlanta Christian, with 274 yards passing and two touchdowns while also running in a score. Powers, a Southern Mississippi commit for baseball, threw for a combined 805 yards in consecutive wins over Wayne County and Jeff Davis. His favorite target is Brad Stewart. The three-star wide receiver hauled in 409 yards and three scores in the same two-game span. Stewart has 1,244 yards on 64 catches with 17 touchdowns this season. The Cadets are strong on both sides of the ball and also led the region defensively, allowing just 11 points per game. The Cadets have outscored their opponents 157-26 thus far in the playoffs including routs of No. 10 Thomasville, No. 3 Lovett, and No. 6 Brooks County. Benedictine has recorded 25 sacks while inter-cepting 19 passes this season and it’s two-way standout Stewart leads the team with five interceptions. The strong run game of John Kennedy (932 yards) and Chance Jackson (785 yards) balances the offense. The Cadets have been in existence since 1908 and have never won a state championship since state titles began being recognized in 1947.


The undefeated Spartans are a far cry from their 1-9 record five years ago. Head Coach Tim Hardy has compiled a 34-6 record in his three years with the program and now has sights set on the program’s first state title. Greater Atlanta Christian rolled through the regular season, racking up confidence-boosting wins along the way. The Spar-tans knocked off visiting Benedictine to open the season 24-21 after a monster performance from wide receiver Darius Slayton. The UGA-commit caught eight passes for 186 yards and three touchdowns, in-cluding the game winner. The Spartans scheduled stiff out-of-class games including North Oconee and Eagle’s Landing Christian, who is in the Class-A Private state championship. GAC handled North Oconee 28-10, and defeated Eagle’s Landing 23-16 on the road. Once getting into region play, the Spartans began to roll, outscoring their next five opponents by 37 points per game. GAC received a scare when it played No. 3 Lovett but the Spartans knocked off defending state champion Lions for the first time in eight years, 14-7. Davis Mills threw two touchdowns in the win and the Spartan defense was able to hold off a late Lovett rally. Since entering the playoffs, each game has gotten closer. GAC started off the postseason drumming Chatta-hoochee County 41-13. Next the Spartans defeated last season’s state runner-up Lamar County 48-20. Undefeated No. 2 Vidalia was next in line for the Spartan buzz saw. Tennessee-commit Micah Abernathy ran for 194 yards and three scores as GAC jumped out to a 21-0 lead and never looked back. The semifinals produced a scare against No. 5 Fitzgerald. GAC led 41-27 but two late scores knotted the game at 41. Will Kenworthy booted 21-yarder as time expired for a 44-41 win. Ab-ernathy carried the load with 259 yards and two scores. GAC, started in 1991, has never won a football state title, losing to Buford 34-10 in its only other finals appearance in 2002.


One of these two schools will be crowned state champs for the first time in program history, but raising the trophy won’t be easy for these two familiar andwell-respected teams. It was a nip-and-tuck game when Benedictine fell at Greater Atlanta Christian in Week 1, 24-21. The game was as even as it gets,with the Cadets totaling 392 yards while the Spartans gained 414. A pair of SEC-commits lead the GAC offense. UGA commit Darius Slayton torched theCadets for 186 receiving yards in their first meeting while Micah Abernathy, headed to Tennessee, has also run wild in the playoffs. The Cadets will need QBStevie Powers to find Brad Stewart on the outside. GAC lost the turnover battle last time they played but they may not be able to afford doing so again. Keepan eye on whether Benedictine’s defense can slow down the Spartans speed. GAC held the Cadet’s No. 1-ranked Class AA scoring offense to a season-low21 points when they met. This is the only finals matchup where neither team has won a state title.

Class AAAAAA Preview

Class AAAAA Preview

Class AAAA Preview

Class AAA Preview

Class A-Private Preview

Class A-Public Preview

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