The Class AAA championship game between Greater Atlanta Christian, the top seed from Region 7, and Cedar Grove, the No. 2 seed from Region 5, will feature two of the most high-powered offenses in the state, led by two of the best pro-style quarterbacks in the nation.
Neither program has been successful in the final game of the year. Cedar Grove lost to Cartersville in 1991. GAC lost to Benedictine in 2014 and Buford in 2002. Last season, both programs lost in the semifinals, GAC to eventual champion Pace Academy, Cedar Grove to Westminster,
Earlier in the season one coach, who asked to remain anonymous, was asked what he saw when he was preparing to face Cedar Grove.
His response? “The Atlanta Falcons.”
The Saints have powered through the playoffs, outscoring opponents 193-41. For Greater Atlanta Christian to be successful, it will have to limit Cedar Grove’s explosive plays. GAC has outscored opponents 126-83 in the playoffs. Last week, Cedar Grove demolished an unbeaten Crisp County team 55-0. GAC defeated Peach County 13-7, but was held to its lowest points total in five years, and Peach held quarterback Davis Mills to the lowest point total of his career.
Cedar Grove quarterback Jelani Woods (6-foot-7, 230) is committed to Oklahoma State and has passed for 2,172 yards this season. Woods is listed as the No. 31 pro-style quarterback in the nation, according to 24/7sports.com.
The reason for such ease of scoring is the protection provided by linemen Netori Johnson (6-3, 348) and Justin Shaffer (6-5, 356), who are both committed to the University of Georgia. Wide receiver Jadon Haselwood, the No. 3 sophomore recruit in the state, anchors the secondary and has 42 catches for 703 yards this. Haselwood is joined by Tre Shaw (North Carolina commit) and Korey Hernandez (Arkansas commit).
Mills, who has committed to Stanford, is rated as the consensus No. 1 pro-style quarterback in the state. After missing the first two games due to an injury, he has turned it on in the second half of the season. During the first six games, Mills passed for 169.5 yards a game, but he has passed for 285.5 yards per game since.
When the passing game goes south, junior Kyler McMichael anchors the running game for the Spartans. McMichael has rushed for 1,416 yards and is listed as a four-star recruit on 24/7sports.com. He has received offers from Georgia, Georgia Tech, Florida, Tennessee and Auburn, to name a few. He is the No. 13 recruit in the state for the class of 2018.
The Maxwell projections has GAC as a 6-point favorite, but it really is too close to call. GAC will have to capitalize offensively and make a defensive stand to stop Woods and the high-powered Cedar Grove offense.