ATLANTA (WSAV) — The Benedictine Cadets had their backs pinned to their own end zone, facing a Cedartown first and goal up just 14-13 within the game’s final minute.
As Cedartown lined up, poised to score the game-winning touchdown, the rain that had hampered both teams all day long intensified, pounding the field in driving sheets.
The Cadets stood tall on second and third downs, forcing Cedartown to burn timeouts and setting up a fourth-and-goal from the two-yard line to decide the game.
Instead of kicking a potentially game-winning field goal, the Bulldogs did what they’d done all-game: hand the ball to a fullback to run up the middle.
Benedictine stonewalled them, securing the Class 4A title for the second straight season.
The Cadets were in such a precarious position partly because of a fake punt call on fourth down and one from the 24-yard line with roughly three-and-a-half minutes to go. A bobbled snap to the upback resulted in Cedartown taking over deep in BC’s end, forcing the Cadets’ last-second heroics.
This game was largely marked by defensive excellence: neither side scored until late in the second quarter. On third down and four from the 19-yard line, Benedictine called a pitch to backup quarterback Houston Jackson, who pulled the ball back and passed it to Za’Quan Bryan for the game’s inaugural score.
Benedictine followed that play up early in the third quarter with a drive right down the field, punctuated by a RaSean Matthews score from 12 yards away to take a 14-0 lead.
Fumbles served as an equalizer for Cedartown; the Bulldogs recovered two BC miscues. Both Cedartown touchdowns came from QB keepers by Reece Tanner.
BC quarterback Luke Kromenhoek found it difficult to move the ball through the air, gaining just 81 passing yards on 8-of-18 throwing. However, he adjusted to making plays with his legs, picking up 75 gross rushing yards.
Wilkes Albert and Kieran Glover led Benedictine’s defense by racking up 20 tackles and 18 tackles, respectively.
Benedictine finishes the year at 13-2 and on an 11-game winning streak.