Class 4A Blog: Underclassmen quarterbacks will stack classification moving forward

Credit: Jason Getz/

Credit: Jason Getz/

The 2021 Class 4A GHSA Football Season concluded with an incredible championship battle between Benedictine and Carver-Columbus. Both programs started the season ranked in the top 5 and fought through difficult playoff paths to set up their memorable finals. Ultimately, Benedictine emerged victorious 35-28 and it proved to be one of the most competitive games championship weekend. Benedictine closed out its thrilling 35-28 victory over Carver-Columbus to take home the program’s third all-time state championship and first since 2016 will a game-clinching drive that ran out the final 5:14 of the ball game. The Cadets scored with a 4-yard Justin Thomas touchdown run on their 13-play opening drive and continued finding big plays to answer Carver’s explosive offense. After both teams went three-and-out, Carver found the endzone with a 23-yard touchdown pass from Devin Riles to Cameron Hudson on a crucial 4th-and-8 call to cut the deficit to 7-6. Minutes later, Benedictine quarterback Holden Geriner connected with Thomas on a 61-yard strike to grow the lead to 14-6, but Carver’s Jaiden Credle evened it back up with a 59-yard touchdown run to make it 14-14 heading into the second half.

Carver went three-and-out to start the third quarter and Benedictine reclaimed the lead on a 58-yard touchdown pass from Geriner to Za’Quan Bryan. Both teams turned it over and then it appeared Carver was about to score, but Credle’s fumble was recovered by Michael Smith in the endzone for a touchback. On the next snap, Geriner tossed an 80-yard touchdown pass to Kameron Edge that pushed the lead to 28-14. Carver continued to claw back and cut the deficit to 28-22 on a Riles touchdown pass to Williams Bonilla and a successful two-point conversion. The high-powered offensive showdown continued midway through the fourth quarter as Geriner extended the lead to 35-22 with another touchdown to Bryan—this time from 23 yards out. Just 23 seconds later, Credle broke loose for a 53-yard Carver-Columbus touchdown to make it a 35-28 game with just 5:14 left. Benedictine received the ball and then used a 10-play, 51-yard drive that ate up the rest of the clock and ended with a victory formation snap at the Caver 8-yardline. The foggy weather did not stop Geriner from his outstanding performance and the Auburn-commit finished 24-of-30 passing for 397 yards and four touchdowns. Credle led the rushing category and paced the Tigers with 184 yards off 20 carries to go with his two touchdowns. Benedictine’s Justin Thomas had seven catches for 169 yards and a touchdown to go with his 55 rushing yards and a score and teammate Za’Quan Bryan finished with 10 catches for 121 yards and two scores. Carver outgained Benedictine by a mere two yards (467-465) in total yardage.

This season also proved to be a Launchpad for underclassmen that had huge seasons and will have massive expectations surrounding them in 2022. Junior Perry quarterback Amar Gordon Jr. led the classification with 2,990 passing yards and 32 touchdowns this season and he had sophomore receiver Dakarai Anderson haul in 51 catches for 801 yards and eight touchdowns. That duo will be back this next season to contend for the Region 2-4A title once again.

Northwest Whitfield also has a star Class of 2023 passer with Owen Brooker. He accounted for 2,902 yards this season with 25 touchdowns and just 17 touchdowns. Additionaly, Bainbridge’s Jah’marion Smith tallied 2,087 yards with 22 touchdowns and six interceptions this year. As for the Class of 2024, Dougherty’s Kameron Davis led the Trojans to the semifinals and is the No. 8 ranked quarterback in the nation for his class. Davis passed for 1,787 yards and rushed for 1,363 yards and accounted for 29 total touchdowns.