Class 4A: Benedictine 35, Carver Columbus 28

The Benedictine football team celebrates its 35-28 win over Carver Columbus in the Class 4A championship game on Dec. 10 at Center Parc Stadium in Atlanta

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The Benedictine football team celebrates its 35-28 win over Carver Columbus in the Class 4A championship game on Dec. 10 at Center Parc Stadium in Atlanta

It looks like Auburn is getting a jewel in quarterback Holden Geriner.

The senior threw for a personal-best 397 yards and four touchdowns and helped No. 2-ranked Benedictine to a 35-28 win over No. 3 Carver Columbus in the Class 4A championship on Friday at Georgia State’s Center Parc Stadium.

Geriner completed 24 of 30 passes and led the Cadets to their third state title; the others came in 2014 and 2016 in Class 2A. He finished the season with 3,377 yards and 36 touchdowns.

“We were sitting back behind the offense the other day when they were repping through and Holden made a throw, and we literally all laughed … did you see that?” coach Danny Britt said. “That’s something a normal high school player doesn’t do. He is really special and Auburn is getting heck of a player.”

Benedictine (13-2) also got 10 receptions from Za’Quan Bryan for 121 yards and two touchdowns. Justin Thomas, the Savannah Player of the Year, caught seven passes for 169 yards and one touchdown and rushed 17 times for 58 yards and one touchdown. Thomas completed his season with 1,429 yards rushing and 967 yards receiving.

Carver (13-2) was led by Jaiden Credle, who ran 20 times for 184 yards and two touchdowns, and quarterback Devin Riles, who completed 17 of 26 for 232 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 28 yards, figure diminished by three sacks for minus-27 yards.

Credle finished the season with 2,162 yards rushing. Riles, a Virginia Tech commit, completed the year with 2,222 yards passing and 955 yards rushing.

“We knew it was going to be a battle,” Geriner said “We just did everything we could to come out and fight.”

The score was tied 14-14 at halftime and Benedictine appeared to have broken the game open at the end of the third quarter. Carver, trailing 21-14, had reached the 15 yard line and appeared poised to tie the game. But Credle was stripped at the 13 and recovered by Benedictine’s Michael Smith in the end zone. Then, the first play from scrimmage, Geriner went deep – dropping the ball out of the fog that covered the area -- for an 80-yard touchdown to Kameron Edge and a 28-14 lead.

“They’re a very good team and they weren’t going to give up until the scoreboard said zero,” Geriner said. “We just had to come out every time on offense and just put up points and we did.”

Carver answered with a quick touchdown, scoring on a 13-yard Williams Bonilla run and drawing to within 28-22 when Riles ran for the two-point conversion. Benedictine responded with a quick score, Bryan hauling in a 23-yard touchdown.

Carver wasn’t through and made it 35-28 when Credle scored on a 53-yard run with 5:14 left. But the Tigers never got the ball back, as Benedictine was able to pick up two key third downs and run out the clock.

“On the last drive, when I took a knee, that’s when it really set in,” Geriner said.

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