Class AA semifinals preview

Photo by Lauren Roberts

Brooks County vs. Benedictine

Benedictine’s postseason run has relied on a formula that propelled the Cadets to an 8-2 record in the regular season; an overpowering offense featured alongside a smothering defense.Behind the arm of senior quarterback Stevie Powers, the Cadets have rolled off three convincing wins in the playoffs over Thomasville, Rabun County, and defending Class AA state champion Lovett, outscoring the opposition 108-19 during that span. Brad Stewart is one of the state’s most productive wideouts and has paced head coach Danny Britt’s squad with 59 receptions for 1138 yards and 15 touchdowns. At defensive back, Stewart has picked off a team-high five interceptions to go along with 23 tackles. He is joined by seniors Jack Muller and Zach Scott, each having logged over 100 tackles on the season, including a combined 19 tackles for loss. Senior Chance Jackson and sophomores John Kennedy and Chris Harris lead Benedictine’s rushing attack and this trio enters the matchup having combined to score 34 touchdowns. For Brooks County, this is not the first time that it has faced a highly-ranked team in 2014. During the regular season, Maurice Free-man’s Trojans fought to losing efforts against the likes of Ware County, Madison County (Fla.),and Fitzgerald. After the loss to Fitzgerald, the Trojans have rattled off five straight victories to make a second straight appearance in the semifinals. The first three rounds have tested BrooksCounty and each of the three wins has been decided by seven points or less. After squeaking outa 24-17 win over Bacon County, the Trojans followed it with a 21-14 win over upset-minded Washington-Wilkes in the second round. In the quarterfinals, Brooks County topped Heard County 35-34 where a missed extra point by the Braves proved to be the difference. Quarterback Demontay Jones led the offensive effort last Friday, accounting for all five of Brooks County’s touchdowns(three passing and two rushing). This will be the first ever matchup between the two schools

Greater Atlanta Christian vs. Fitzgerald

Fitzgerald is making its first semifinals appearance under third-year head coach Jason Strickland. The Purple Hurricanes come in with a 12-1 record while recording victories over BrooksCounty and Macon County this year. Coach Strickland’s squad has won in dominant fashion this year with a 22.2 average margin of victory in its 12 wins. Behind a rushing attack spurred by running back J.D. King and quarterback Gerald Morgan, Fitzgerald has scored 40 or more points in 10of its contests, including a current streak of seven games since its loss to region-foe Thomasville in mid-October. Morgan is the offensive catalyst for the Purple Hurricanes and has accounted for 2,150 rushing yards and 26 touchdowns, including three straight games of 200-plus yards. He has also completed 45.7 percent of his passes for 1,246 yards and 15 scores. King has made large contributions his sophomore season and has rushed for 1,425 yards with 15 touchdowns.Despite being considered the number one team in Class AA, Greater Atlanta Christian finds itself on the road after losing the coin flip to determine home field advantage. The Spartans enter the semis with a perfect 13-0 record that has seen them earn marquee victories over No. 2 Vidalia,No. 3 Lovett, and No. 4 Benedictine. With Fitzgerald next on the list, the Spartans look to rely on a suffocating defense that recorded four shutouts during the regular season. Linebacker Tyler Cooksey anchors defense that has allowed only 11 points per game. Darius Slayton and Micah Abernathy have proven to be game changers on both sides of the ball. Abernathy (a Tennessee-commit) made his offensive impact well known against Vidalia in the quarterfinals as he rushed for 186 yards and three touchdowns. The Spartans are appearing in its second semifinal under head coach Tim Hardy, having previously lost to the Jefferson Dragons 42-14 in 2012.


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