Host Carver-Columbus trailed the whole game until Jaiden Credle’s 54-yard touchdown with 2:27 left and Devin Riles’ game-deciding two-point conversion that gave them the one-point victory (22-21) over Cedartown. The Bulldogs opened up a 14-0 lead off of a pair of rushing touchdowns by Cedric Washington in the first quarter. Carver was able to even up 14-14 at the half with a 12-yard Riles touchdown run and a 54-yard touchdown pass from Riles to Cam Hudson. Washington returned to the endzone for his third score on a 33-yard carry to put the Bulldogs back up 21-14 and the teams battled back-and-forth until Credle’s late score. Cedartown forced a turnover on downs inside the 10-yard line with just six minutes left before Carver’s defense got the stop and set up the game-winning drive. Carver-Columbus will make its first appearance in the finals since 2007.
No. 2-ranked Benedictine bested visiting North Oconee by a margin of 42-32 in a semifinals game that featured four lead changes to advance to the state title game for the first time since 2016. Auburn-commit Holden Geriner put the Cadets on the board with a scoring strike to Zaquan Bryan before the Titans took a 14-7 lead with Dominic Elder’s 3-yard run and Khalil Barnes’ reception of a Max Wilson touchdown pass. Geriner found Bryan for another touchdown early in the second, and following a North Oconee three-and-out, Kameron Edge put Benedictine up 21-14. The Titans added a field goal before the break and a Brooks Thompson touchdown reception early in the second half to reclaim the lead, but Edge hauled in a touchdown pass from Geriner on third-and-long and UGA baseball-commit Justin Thomas found the end zone shortly after for a 35-24 Benedictine advantage. North Oconee was able to get back within a field goal early in the fourth quarter with a touchdown and successful two-point conversion. The Titans failed to score again, however, and Geriner added a touchdown on a QB sneak with 3:19 remaining for the game’s final points. The Cadets will face Carver-Columbus in the title game.