Class 4A Blog: Benedictine prepares for title defense, busy Week 1 kicks off Wednesday

Defending state champion Benedictine head coach Danny Britt was invited to speak on the Drive for the GHSA State Title video cast this week to talk about his Cadets as they look to defend their crown against a brand new Class 4A field. Check out what coach Britt had to say and then find all of the classification’s Week 1 matchups below. Cherokee Bluff will be facing off with Kell this Wednesday in the Corky Kell Classic at 5:30 p.m. and will play the first football game in the state. The Bears won their second-straight region title last season in Class 3A and completed the young program’s first-ever undefeated regular season.

Monday’s interview with coach Britt:

We had you on last year in the midst of your run to the state championship and we mentioned those two out-of-state losses to open the year, but then really came together. You said you were waiting for that offense to explode and they sure did. Just talk about that experience?

“Absolutely, it was a great transition with being able to lose and then seeing the kids being able to redirect themselves. We talked about that last year. We really became a solid football team. That being said, we lost a lot of the guys that led that effort last year, so this year we are looking for those leaders and seeing who is going to step up. We’ve had a really good offseason and preseason and so we are anxious to see what we have and who is going to fill the roles.”

Holden Geriner was unbelievable at quarterback last season with those 33 touchdowns and what he was able to do with his legs in some of those games, talk about what the position is going to look like this year

Luke takes over and he is an equally talented young man. In fact, he’s already committed to Florida State to play quarterback even though he hasn’t started a game as a quarterback yet, so that’s pretty funny. But he is going to be exciting to watch. He is 6-foot-4 and a big kid and can really throw it. He has the same type of arm that Holden has and he can also really move. He can run and is really physical. He has played strong safety and receiver for us and he’s got that type of mentality. Being young, he is going to make some mistakes early, but we are ready for that and ready to work through that. It’s going to be exciting to watch him progress.

That’s right, he had 25 catches for you last season at receiver and also 44 tackles in that safety spot. I know his older brother Mac was on the team last year and just graduated. Talk a little about that.

Yes, Mac was one of those major senior leaders that helped us establish that improvement that we saw and he has graduated and gone on to the Massachusetts Maritime Academy to play football and become a river pilot.

In addition to quarterback, I know Holden was also punting for you guys last season. Is Luke going to handle punting like Holden did last year?

No, we have a specialist in Asher Sigman who handles our short field goals and extra points, but Luke will be the backup at punter. My whole philosophy is that if you are a quarterback, you can kick, you can hold and you are an athlete. So they are always going to be asked to step up if needed.

I don’t want to focus too much longer on last year, but we have to mention Justin Thomas and what he was able to do on the field this past season. How does he stack up in your mind to the other great players to come through the program?

After this many years, it’s hard to rank kids, but he is really really special as everybody knows. He’s probably the best to ever do it, just because he could do so much very very well. Running the ball, blocking, receiving, returning, defense and everything he did was special.

It looks like the guy you have this year that will be stepping in the spotlight will be Zaquan Bryan and he had a big season last year with 95 catches, 1300 yards and the touchdowns.

Yes, with Zaquan, we are going to put him in that slot role so he can catch and run and also block more and he will also contribute in the return game and on defense. He has the same athletic abilities and he is just very smooth and fluid. He’s not quite as big as Justin, so we will have to manage that, but he is very tough and is going to be exciting to watch.

Defensively, you were talking about being able to be a little more aggressive last year and take more chances and create more turnovers.

Yeah, we lost some great players, but we have some outstanding guys returning for us. The front seven is going to have to be a strong point of our football team. We feel really good about our front three and guys with multiple offers. We are big at the nose tackle. At linebacker, we have a lot of guys competing for that role. Bryce Baker is back and he is going to be really good for us. We moved him out to the Sam linebacker spot where Holden Sapp was last season and we will get to see more of his athletic ability.

You mentioned the defensive tackle position with guys like Cole Semien, he had five sacks for you last season as a junior, where do you see him this year in terms of matching up that level of production?

He has a great motor. This will be his third year starting and he is going to need to show that and I feel like he will.

CLASS 4A WEEK 1 SCHEDULE

REGION 1

Bainbridge

Cairo

Hardaway

Shaw

Westover

Thursday, Aug. 18

Hardaway vs. Carver-Columbus

Shaw vs. Marion County

Friday, Aug. 19

Bainbridge vs. Cedar Grove

Cairo at Thomas County Central

Westover at Dougherty

REGION 2

Baldwin

Griffin

Howard

Perry

Spalding

West Laurens

Westside-Macon

Thursday, Aug. 18

Griffin vs. Ola

Friday, Aug. 19

Baldwin vs. Peach County

Howard vs. Southwest

Spalding vs. Eagle’s Landing

Westside-Macon at Central-Macon

REGION 3

Benedictine

Burke County

Islands

New Hampstead

Southeast Bulloch

Wayne County

Thursday, Aug. 18

New Hampstead vs. May River

Southeast Bulloch vs. Liberty County

Friday, Aug. 19

Benedictine vs. Jenkins

Burke County vs. Thomson

Islands vs. Calvary Day

Wayne County at Bradwell Institute

REGION 4

Fayette County

LaGrange

North Clayton

Riverdale

Starr’s Mill

Trinity Christian

Troup

Whitewater

Thursday, Aug. 18

LaGrange at Smith Station (AL)

Friday, Aug. 19

Fayette County vs. McIntosh

Trinity Christian vs. Woodward Academy

Troup at Harris County

REGION 5

Hampton

Lovett

Luella

McDonough

Mt. Zion-Jonesboro

Pace Academy

Stockbridge

Woodland-Stockbridge

Friday, Aug. 19

Hampton at Tri-Cities

Lovett vs. Westminster

Luella vs. Eastside

McDonough at Locust Grove

Woodland-Stockbridge at New Manchester

Saturday, Aug. 20

Mt. Zion-Jonesboro vs. Jonesboro

Pace Academy vs. Holy Innocents’

Stockbridge vs. Southwest DeKalb

REGION 6

Hapeville Charter

Holy Innocents’

Miller Grove

Southwest DeKalb

Stephenson

Westminster

Clarkston

Druid Hills

Stone Mountain

Thursday, Aug. 18

Hapeville Charter at Newton

Friday, Aug. 19

Miller Grove vs. Tucker

Stone Mountain at Chapel Hill

Westminster at Lovett

Saturday, Aug. 20

Holy Innocents’ vs. Pace Academy

Southwest DeKalb at Stockbridge

Stephenson vs. Dutchtown

REGION 7

Cedartown

Central-Carroll

Heritage-Catoosa

Northwest Whitfield

Sonoraville

Southeast Whitfield

Friday, Aug. 19

Cedartown at Rockmart

Central-Carroll vs. Redan

Heritage-Catoosa at Ringgold

Northwest Whitfield at Pepperell

Sonoraville vs. Pickens

Southeast Whitfield at Coosa

REGION 8

Cedar Shoals

Cherokee Bluff

Chestatee

East Forsyth

East Hall

Madison County

North Hall

North Oconee

Walnut Grove

Johnson-Gainesville

Seckinger

Wednesday, Aug. 17

Cherokee Bluff vs. Kell

Thursday, Aug. 18

Cedar Shoals at Clarke Central

Friday, Aug. 19

Chestatee vs. Hebron Christian

East Hall at West Hall

Johnson-Gainesville at Banks County

Madison County at Franklin County

North Hall at White County

North Oconee at Oconee County

Seckinger vs. Peachtree Ridge

Walnut Grove at Jasper County