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Lamar Co. – Benedictine preview

By Ken K. Green Lamar County hosts Benedictine this week in the second round of the GHSA Class AA state playoffs. The Trojans (10-0-1) are champions of Region 4-AA while the Cadets (8-3) are the number three seed from Region 2-AA. When and Where: Friday 7:30 p.m. at Trojan Field. Tickets: All tickets $12 per the Georgia High School Association. There are no discounted tickets and only infants in arms, GHSA members and working media with official passes will be admitted at no charge. What’s at stake: The winner advances to the state quarterfinals to take on the winner of the Manchester/Lovett game which will be played in Atlanta. The Trojans would host Manchester but would have to flip a coin to decide who hosts if Lovett wins. Weather: Mostly clear with temperatures in the upper 50s at kick off, dropping to the mid 50s by the end of the game. ADVISORY: A catergory 10-0-1 blue thunderstorm continues to strengthen as it rolls through the playoffs destroying everything in its path. Last week: Lamar County beat Cook 51-13. Benedictine beat Laney 24-20. Benedictine’s other opponents: The Cadets beat Effingham County 27-7, Long County 39-0, Metter 32-7, Atkinson County 48-6, Bryan County 21-9, Bacon County 33-26 and Jeff Davis 41-0. They lost to Vidalia 12-7, Toombs County 14-12 and McIntosh County Academy 28-21. Benedictine also beat Bacon County and Toombs County in a mini-playoff to earn the third seed from Region 2-AA. Series: First meeting. Cadet offense: Scoring 27.7 points per game. (Lamar yields 7.9 ppg) Cadet defense: Allows 11.7 points per game. (Lamar scores 38.7 ppg) Top players: #1-Stevie Powers, So. QB, #11-Brad Stewart, So. WR, #33-Casey Hughes, So. RB, #-30-Andrew McNulty, Sr. LB, #8-Joseph Ireland, Sr. DB and #99-Nicholas Koncul, Sr. DL. Benedictine Head Coach: Danny Britt is 13-9 in his 2nd season at Benedictine and 45-31 in his 7th season overall. He spent five seasons at Calvary Day where his teams went 32-22 including 10-2 in 2003). Britt is 3-3 in the post season. He was a teammate of Trojan Coach Franklin Stephens at Georgia Southern. Rankings: Lamar County is ranked 3rd by Max Preps, 4th by the Associated Press, 5th by the Atlanta Journal Constitution and 6th by Maxwell Ratings. Benedictine is ranked 15th by MaxPreps and 14th by Maxwell. The Cadets are not ranked by the AP or the AJC Top Ten Poll. Prediction: Maxwell Ratings has the Trojans a 13 point favorite. CalPrep projects a 31-14 Lamar County win. Game notes: The Cadets run a spread offense and are very efficient throwing the ball favoring the short, underneath pass vs. zone coverage. Sophomore Stevie Powers has completed 58% of his passes for 1,400 yards and 11 touchdowns since taking over at quarterback the fourth game of the season. Fellow sophomore Brad Stewart is his favorite target. The 6′ 1″, 185 pound wide receiver has caught 36 balls for just under 700 yards and 13 TDs. When they do run the ball, sophomore Casey Hughes is the go to guy with 111 carries for 600 yards. Benedictine’s stout defense is led by a trio of seniors in linebacker Andrew McNaulty (140 tackles), defensive back Joseph Ireland (85) and defensive lineman Nicholas Koncul (57). What you should know: Benedictine is a private, 400 student, all male, Catholic military school 210 miles away from Barnesville in south Savannah. They dropped from Class AAAAA to AA in the GHSA’s reclassification. Last year they lost to McEachern in the first round of the state playoffs and have a post-season record of 10-22 in their 23rd appearance. The school was established in 1902 and the Cadets have been playing football since 1908 accumulating an all-time record of 505-308-32. Other AA and area second round games: Fitzgerald at Vidalia, Westminster at Jefferson, Early County at Screven County, Greater Atlanta Christian at Heard County, McIntosh County Academy at Brooks County, Washington-Wilkes at Calhoun and Mary Persons at Cairo.

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