ATLANTA, Ga. (WSAV) – After falling in the semifinals last season, the Benedictine football team had one goal and one goal only on its mind.
Win a state championship.
Friday night, the Cadets made good on their promise with a 35-28 win over Carver-Columbus in the GHSA 4A state title game.
“They’ve still never seen the region championship we won,” head coach Danny Britt said after the game. “They didn’t care, they wanted one thing and that was to win a state championship. That’s what they did and they were selling out to do it.”
Benedictine started the game quick out of the gate. After stopping the Tigers on their opening drive, the Cadets marched down the field and a touchdown from University of Georgia baseball commit Justin Thomas gave the team a 7-0 lead.
Carver-Columbus, led by senior running back Jaiden Credle, fought back and the teams went into halftime tied up at 14 apiece.
The Cadets took the field in the second half and, once again, used an efficient attack to find the end zone. Auburn commit stood strong in the pocket and threw a beautiful ball to a streaking Zaquan Bryan for the touchdown. Benedictine doubled its lead with another Geriner touchdow; this time an 80-yard touchdown pass to Kam Edge to make it a 28-14 ball game.
“You don’t realise it because he’s so good-looking and in control, but he’s very tough and an extreme competitor,” Britt explained. “That’s just who he is. They got some D1 guys on that defensive line, but he hung in there and made the throws.”
Once again, the Tigers found a way to claw their way back into the game. Midway through the fourth quarter, Carver-Columbus quarterback Devin Riles came up with a 13-yard touchdown pass to make it a one-possession game.
Every time the Tigers pulled within striking distance, Benedictine seemed to have an answer. Geriner threw his fourth touchdown of the day, his second one to Bryan, to make it a 14-point game with 5:37 left in regulation.
Carver-Columbus responded immediately, but Geriner and company iced the game with a couple of clutch first downs and Benedictine stormed the field to celebrate the program’s third-ever state championship.
“It’s been extremely special. We knew it was going to be a special year,” Geriner, who also threw for 397 yards in the game, said. “We came into this year, it was an eye opener starting 0-2, but we turned things around and had a tremendous season and a tremendous win here.”
“I’m gonna miss playing with these boys,” Thomas said, with tears in his eyes. “They are my brothers, I’m going to love them. Even though I’m playing baseball in college, I’m going to miss this.”
WSAV sports director Andrew Goldstein will bring you all the highlights and postgame interviews tonight on WSAV at 11.