For the second consecutive year the Cedar Grove Saints face a fellow Region 5-3A foe in the Class 3A high school football state championship game in Sandy Creek at Georgia State’s Central Parc Stadium at noon.
The No. 1 ranked and defending state champions Saints defeated Region 5-3A foe Carver (Atlanta) 56-26 for the title last year and now take on an explosive No. 3 ranked Sandy Creek Patriots (12-2) for the second time this season as they try to defend their title. The Saints defeated Sandy Creek 49-35 at Sandy Creek earlier this season and the two teams have three common opponents in Collins Hill, Carver (Atlanta) and Douglass which both went 3-0 against during the regular season.
Cedar Grove (11-2) is coming off a second straight playoff shutout victory of 23-0 over No. 9 ranked Oconee County last Friday night at Godfrey Stadium.
The Saints offense has been more run oriented the last couple of weeks led by junior running back Demarcus Smith (112 carries, 650 yards, 7 TDs) and sophomore quarterback EJ Colson (115 carries, 413 yards, 10 TDs). Cedar Grove put up 171 points (42.8 ppg) in its four playoff games.
The passing game has been there most of the season and with Colson (273-176-5, 2,599 yards, 29 TDs) leading the way. Senior receiver Barry Jackson (50 receptions, 856 yards, 8 TDs) is one of the top targets along with senior Ricky Lee (37 receptions, 643 yards, 7 TDs). Freshman Devin Carter has 28 receptions for 402 yards and 6 touchdowns and senior Miami Jones added 30 receptions for 314 yards and 6 touchdowns.
Sandy Creek’s defense has allowed just 56 points in its first four playoff games with a high of 21 against Savannah Christian led by a strong senior core. Senior defensive end William Lyles has 30 tackles (8 sacks, 7 TFL) and has caused three fumbles on the season to lead the way. Senior outside linebacker Mathis Haygood has 34 tackles (5 sacks, 11 TFL) teaming with senior middle linebacker Marcellius Pulliam with 39 tackles (4 sacks, 8 TFL).
The Patriots’ offense scored 190 points (47.5 ppg) in its four playoff games on the way to the championship game behind senior quarterback Geimere Latimer. Latimer has thrown for 2757 yards (302-166-10) and 37 touchdowns. Senior receivers Cameron Watts (44 receptions, 918 yards, 15 TDs) and Kaleb Cost (43 receptions, 740 yards, 10 TDs) are Latimer’s big go-to guys.
Latimer has also rushed for 576 yards and 10 touchdowns on 103 carries to go with a team high 648 yards (112 carries, 6 TDs) from freshman Amari Latimer.
Cedar Grove’s defense has allowed just 40 points (10 ppg) in its four playoff contests this season with a high of 33 in a 70-33 second round victory over Hebron Christian. Senior outside linebacker Adonijah Green leads the way with 63 tackles (10 sacks, 16 TFL) and junior defensive lineman Chase Kerns has 49 tackles (13 sacks, 19 TFL, 4 FC, 1 FR) to lead an aggressive front for the Saints. Senior safety Jakyre Horton ahs six interceptions to lead the secondary.
The two team’s first meeting was a shootout between the two high performing quarterbacks. Cedar Grove’s Colson threw for 361 yards (28-19-0) and six touchdowns while receivers Barry Jackson (6 receptions, 155 yards, 3 TDs) and Devin Carter (4 receptions, 109 yards, 1 TD) both went over the 100-yard receiving mark in the game.
Latimer threw for 248 yards and 5 touchdowns and ran for 96 in the loss. Cameron Watts caught three passes for 115 yards and three touchdowns.
Latimer had a pair of touchdown passes in the first quarter as the Patriots took an early 12-0 lead. Colson rallied the Saints in the second quarter with three touchdowns passes including Barry Jackson for 50, Ricky Lee for 35 and Devin Carter for 40 to put Cedar Grove up 21-12 at the half.
The pair traded touchdown passes early in the third quarter before Colson ran for a touchdown and then threw for another to make it 42-20 heading into the fourth quarter. Latimer hit Watts on a 70-yard pass play in the fourth quarter to close the gap to 42-28 before Colson struck on another touchdown pass to make it 49-28. Sandy Creek scored a late touchdown to close the gap to 49-34.
See link below for game notes on state championship:
Tickets to the game are $20 and must be purchased online at GoFan.co. and parking also must be purchased online as well at $25 at the following links:
DCSD FOOTBALL STATE PLAYOFFS SCHEDULE
Saturday, December 10
CLASS 3A STATE CHAMPIONSHIP
GEORGIA STATE UNIVERSITY – CENTRAL PARC STADIUM
Cedar Grove (11-2) vs. Sandy Creek (12-2), 12:00 pm