The reigning Class 4A champion Benedictine Cadets are heading back to the state title game following a polished 42-21 team victory over visiting Troup. The Cadets led 21-0 after the first quarter, 35-0 at the break, and 42-7 in the third before the Tigers added a pair of fourth-quarter touchdown passes from Taeo Todd. Benedictine quarterback and FSU-commit Luke Kromenhoek had a trio of touchdown completions in the first half, including two to Za’Quan Bryan (11 and 30 yards) and a 30-yarder to Rasean Matthews. Na’Seir Samuel and Houston Jackson each had rushing scores in the first half as well, and Matthews scored from 30 yards out in the third quarter for the Cadets’ final points. Kromenhoek has racked up 2495 passing yards and 24 touchdown passes this season and Bryan stars as a top offensive threat and defensive back—a position he will head to the University of Minnesota to play next season.
Cedartown is returning to the state championship game for the first time since 2001 following a hard-fought 28-20 win over North Oconee in the semifinals. Carlos Jones had a 61-yard pick-six right before the half to stifle North Oconee’s momentum — the Titans were on the Cedartown 39 with 1:26 left — to take a 14-7 lead into the break. The Bulldogs extended their lead to 28-13 early in the fourth before Max Wilson made it a one-score game with a 5-yard touchdown run. North Oconee got the ball back with three minutes left but turned the ball over on downs. Cedartown’s Harlem Diamond finished the night with three touchdowns. The Bulldogs have dominated opponents on the ground this season with their potent Wing-T offense and have averaged 315.6 rushing yards per game with 61 of the team’s 75 offensive touchdowns coming via the ground game.
Benedictine’s two losses this season came to Christopher Columbus (FL) and Ware County and the Cadets have actually not suffered a single loss within their classification since the 2020 state finals. Cedartown is perfect within the classification this season and are one win away from clinching its first-ever state title and flawless campaign. Cedartown’s senior-led core has helped drive the most potent rushing attacks in the state this season and the Cadets have maintained championship form with multiple contributors that have appeared in each of the last Class 4A state finals. Cedartown and Benedictine have each faced six top 10 opponents previously this season and come in battle-tested and prepared for an epic first-ever meeting.