The No. 2 ranked Cedar Grove Saints (9-2) and Benedictine Cadets (8-3) clash for the second consecutive season in the Class 3A high school football playoffs in a 7:30 pm kickoff at Godfrey Stadium on Friday.
The two teams met in the third round a year ago with Cedar Grove taking a 55-0 blowout win on the way to the Class 3A state championship.
Cedar Grove is coming off a 36-6 win over Fannin County last week as four different layers scored touchdowns led by Chavon Wright (8 carries, 73 yards, 2 TDs). Wright has rushed for 1,322 yards and 17 touchdowns this season on 164 carries (8.1 ypc) that puts him at 2,415 yards on 290 carries (8.3 ypc) and 30 touchdowns in four seasons.
Langston White (3 carries, 65 yards, 1 TD), Eric Harper (1 carry, 48 yards, 1 TD) and Rashod Dubinion (5 carries, 34 yards, 1 TD) were the others to put touchdowns on the board as the Saints rolled up 275 yards and five touchdowns on the ground.
Junior quarterback Austin Smith has passed for 1,192 yards and 14 touchdowns on the season with sophomore Janiran Bonner (27 receptions, 492 yards, 9 TDs) and senior Coreyon Cone (16 receptions, 306 yards, 3 TDs) are his top targets.
Benedictine pitched a 55-0 shutout against Monroe last week after giving up a combined 77 points in the final two games of the regular season. Senior outside linebacker John Dodd (97 total tackles, 6 for loss) leads the Cadets’ defense along with fellow senior linebacker Jake Reese (91 total tackles, 8 for loss).
The Cadets’ offense features four running backs with six or more touchdowns on the season led by Leshon Brooks (88 carries, 674 yards, 8 TDs) and James Epps (62 carries, 435 yards, 9 TDs). Sophomore quarterback Holden Geriner runs the offense and has passed for 1,260 yards and 14 touchdowns.
Cedar Grove has four shutouts in its last six games and allowed just 17 points overall in the stretch. Senior linebacker Isaiah Ratcliff (116 tackles, 16 for loss, 7 sacks) led the way against Fannin County with 10 total tackles and a sack for a safety. Sophomore Demarius Jackson (52 tackles, 24 for loss, 3 sacks) had 9 total tackles (4 for loss, 1 sack) against Fannin County while senior defensive end Alvin Williams (82 tackles, 24 for loss, 13 sacks) added 8 tackles (1 for a loss).
Defensive backs Antonio Taylor and Tee Denson both had four interceptions on the season.
This is Cedar Grove’s 10th consecutive playoff appearance and third as the Region 5-3A champions. The Saints have advanced to the Sweet 16 seven consecutive seasons and this is the first for Miguel Patrick as a coach after being promoted from defensive coordinator after the departure of two-time state champion coach Jimmy Smith.
Cedar Grove is the defending Class 3A state champion and has won two state titles in three seasons.