Class 4A Blog: Benedictine, North Oconee, Carver-Columbus, Cedartown stack intriguing semifinals

Oct. 23, 2020 - Norcross, Ga: A GHSA football is shown before the Georgia high school football game between Cedar Grove and GAC at Greater Atlanta Christian, Friday, October 23, 2020 in Norcross, Ga.. JASON GETZ FOR THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION
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Oct. 23, 2020 - Norcross, Ga: A GHSA football is shown before the Georgia high school football game between Cedar Grove and GAC at Greater Atlanta Christian, Friday, October 23, 2020 in Norcross, Ga.. JASON GETZ FOR THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION

Credit: Jason Getz

Credit: Jason Getz

The Final Four is set after an extremely close quarterfinal round that was decided by two, 14, three and five points in its four matchups. Now, just four teams remain and the semifinals will pin Carver-Columbus against Cedartown and Benedictine against North Oconee. Here’s a brief look at how the quarterfinals played out.

The most noteworthy result is likely Benedictine’s 24-21 home win over defending state champion Marist. Quarterback Holden Geriner threw three touchdown passes to lead Benedictine past visiting Marist in a battle between the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in Class 4A. The second-ranked Cadets broke a 14-14 halftime tie with a Hudson Grove 37-yard field goal and a 20-yard scoring strike from Geriner to Justin Thomas, giving them a 24-14 lead going into the fourth quarter. Quinn Gooding pulled Marist to within 24-21 thanks to a 12-yard run with more than four minutes remaining, but Benedictine ran out the clock on its next possession. Geriner also threw a 65-yard touchdown pass to Thomas in the first quarter and a 9-yarder to Za’Quan Bryan in the second. Gooding finished with two touchdowns for the War Eagles, who also got one from Champ Davis on a 9-yard run.

The Cadets’ opponent North Oconee posted a 29-24 win over Bainbridge. The Titans’ win puts them through to the semifinals for the first time in school history. North Oconee led 15-14 heading into the half on the back of a pair of first-quarter touchdowns from Khalil Barnes and Dom Elder, and an early third-quarter field goal gave Bainbridge its only lead of the game. The Titans responded with a rushing touchdown from quarterback Max Wilson later in the third and Barnes’ second score of the night, coming in the fourth, to secure the win. On defense, safeties Jack Fabris and Brett Biga each had one interception for the Titans.

On the left side of the bracket, Carver-Columbus survived a 16-14 battle over a red-hot Dougherty team that has been giving opponents trouble all season long. No. 3 ranked Carver-Columbus trailed Dougherty 7-0 and 14-8 and escaped with a victory in large part to the team’s successful pair of two-point conversions. Dougherty’s sophomore quarterback Kameron Davis (Florida State-commit) tossed a touchdown to put the Trojans up 7-0. The Tigers answered with an 8-yard touchdown run by Jaiden Credle and successful 2-point conversion. Dougherty reclaimed a 14-8 lead at the half with a touchdown run by Devin Collier. Credle returned to the endzone on a 4-yard carry with 8:01 left in the third quarter in what proved to be the game-winning score.

Carver-Columbus will face Cedartown in the semifinals, which was able to defeat Perry 39-25 and earn its first semifinal berth since 1999. Cedartown was down 18-17 early in the third, but outscored Perry 22-7 the rest of the way to secure the victory. Junior Harlem Diamond gave the Bulldogs the lead in the first off an 18-yard touchdown rush. Perry was quick to score, but senior CJ Washington responded with a 67-yard touchdown run to put Cedartown up 14-6. After Perry took an 18-17 lead early in the third, a trio of touchdowns from Washington — two rushing scores and one through the air — helped put the game away for the Bulldogs.