As Class AAA heads into region play, there is an interesting back-story surrounding the Region 5 matchup between No. 1 Cedar Grove vs. No. 10 Westminster on Friday at Godfrey Stadium in Atlanta.
Cedar Grove has an opportunity to break the school record for consecutive victories. The Saints have not been beaten in 14 games.
The last loss? It came against Westminster (42-21) on Sept. 23, 2016.
In fact, the programs only have met twice, and Westminster has won both games. Cedar Grove won the state title last season, and Westminster won the title in 2015 after entering the playoffs with four regular-season losses. This season, the Wildcats are 1-3, but do not let that record fool you. Coach Gerry Romberg and Westminster have played an early season schedule that would have tested any team in the state.
Westminster lost to Class AAAA No. 4 Blessed Trinity, No. 2 Greater Atlanta Christian, and Class AAAA No. 7 Woodward Academy before gaining traction and defeating Redan 44-0 last week.
For a bit more history, Cedar Grove won 14 in a row in the 1991 season, when the Saints went undefeated before falling to Cartersville, 28-19, in the Class AA championship game. The Saints shut out eight opponents in the regular season while outscoring the competition 346-19 before entering the playoffs. Once in the playoffs, Cedar Grove moved past Archer, Jones County, Loganville and Mitchell County before the championship-game loss.
After last year’s loss to Westminster, Cedar Grove put together what could be one of the more dominant runs we have seen across all classifications in years. The Saints had shutouts against Towers, Pace Academy, Stone Mountain and McNair before giving up a touchdown to Redan in the final game of the regular season.
The current 14-game streak, however, spans two seasons, two teams and a vastly different, yet oddly similar, Class AAA landscape.
So with help from Cedar Grove statistician Michael Martin, let’s break down The Streak:
2016 vs. Towers (28-0 Final)
-- Held Towers to 56 yards of total offense (43 rushing, 13 passing).
-- (Georgia Southern) Grant Walker had 15 carries, 75 yards, 1 TD.
-- (Oklahoma State) Jelani Woods completed 14 of 28 passes for 189 yards, 2 TDs.
-- Eight of Woods' 14 incompletions were drops by receivers.
-- (So.) Jadon Haselwood had six receptions for 137 yards and two TDs.
-- (Fr.) Isaiah Ratcliff had nine total tackles, one tackle for loss, one fumble recovery.
-- Dennis Bell had a 25-yard interception return for TD.
2016 vs. Pace Academy: (49-0 Final)
-- RB Grant Walker had 16 carries, 201 yards, 2 TDs.
-- QB Jelani Woods was 8-of-13 passing for yards and rushed four times for 37 yards and two TDs.
--WR/S Jadon Haselwood had three receptions for 33 yards, a 45-yard Punt Return Touchdown; 1 Forced Fumble
-- DL Deangelo Malone made 8 Tackles, 1 TFL, 0.5 Sack
-- DB Tre' Shaw made 7 Tackles, 2 TFL, 0.5 Sack and a fumble Recovery
-- Cedar Grove's 2nd consecutive shutout and 3rd shutout of the season
-- Total Yards: Cedar Grove 477, Pace Academy 160
-- Rushing Yards: Cedar Grove 400, Pace Academy 80
2016 vs. Stone Mountain (55-0)
-- Jelani Woods was 17-of-19 for 221 Yards and 4 Passing TDs with 1 Rushing TD
-- Grant Walker had 9 carries, 106 Yards and 2 TD
-- Jadon Haselwood – had 4 receptions for 109 Yards and 3 TDs
-- Soph. LB Williams Jenkins made 8 Tackles with 1 TFL
-- DE/OLB Deangelo Malone had 1 Sack, 1 Forced Fumble and 2 TFL
-- Cedar Grove led 42-0 at half
-- Total Yards: CG 498; SM 89
-- Stone Mountain had 7 yards of offense in the first half
-- Cedar Grove's 4th shutout of the season
2016 vs. McNair (64-0 Final)
-- Jelani Woods was 11-of-14 passing for 136 Yards and 3 TDs
-- Grant Walker had 8 carries for 45 Yards and 1 TD
-- Jadon Haselwood made 2 receptions for 15 Yards, and 1 TD with a 79-yard Punt Return TD
-- Korey Hernandez returned a kickoff 90 yards for a TD
-- Dennis Bell made 1 reception for a 48 TD
-- Soph. LB Williams Jenkins made 6 Tackles with 3 TFL and 1 Sack
-- DE Roderic Forts had 2 TFL and 1 Sack
-- DB Tyrique Williams made a 28 yard interception return for a TD
-- Cedar Grove scored 50 points in the 2nd half after a slow start
-- Total Yards: CG 336; McNair 49
--McNair had -17 yards rushing in the game
-- Cedar Grove's 5th shutout of the season
-- Cedar Grove has won the last four games by a combined score of 196-0
2016 vs. Redan in the final regular season game (47-7 Final)
-- Cedar Grove's shutout streak ends at 4 games when Redan scores against reserves late in the 4th quarter
-- Cedar Grove had gone 19 consecutive quarters without allowing an opponent TD
-- Cedar Grove led 40-0 at halftime
-- Jelani Woods was 11-of-15 passing for 216 Yards and 4 TDs
-- Israel Spivey had 3 receptions for 46 Yards and 2 TD with a 65-yard punt return TD
-- Dennis Bell made 3 receptions for 79 Yards and 2 TDs
-- Grant Walker had 5 carries for 92 yards
-- LB Dezmond Harris made 10 Tackles with 3 TFL and 1 Sack
-- DE/OLB Deangelo Malone had 5 Tackles with 4 TFL and .5 Sack
Once in the playoffs, the Saints were never really challenged until the championship game. In the first round, Cedar Grove faced Union County and took a 63-17 victory.
2016 vs. Union County: (63-17 Final)
-- Grant Walker had 9 carries for 178 yards and 3 TD
-- Jelani Woods was 9-of-9 passing for 123 yards and 2 TD
-- Deangelo Malone made 7 Tackles with 2 TFL and 1 Sack
In the second round, the Saints held Jenkins to a field goal while scoring four touchdowns to move into the quarterfinals against Calhoun.
2016 vs. Jenkins: (28-3 Final)
-- Dezmond Harris made 6 Tackles with 1 Sack and 1 TFL
-- Grant Walker had 2 TD runs
-- Jelani Woods added 1 TD Run
-- Cedar Grove trailed 3-0 at half, won 28-3
The Saints moved past the Yellow Jackets 47-21, earning a spot in the semifinals.
2016 vs. Calhoun: (47-21 Final)
-- Grant Walker had 22 carries for 155 yards and 1 TD
-- Jelani Woods was 9-of-13 passing for 267 yards and 3 TD
-- Deangelo Malone made 11 Tackles for 2.5 TFL and 1.5 Sack
Crisp County, which was riding a 13-game win-streak entering the semifinal game and had home field advantage, could not handle the high-powered Saints offense and fell 55-0.
2016 vs. Crisp County: (55-0 Final)
-- Outgained Crisp 424-90
-- Grant Walker had 17 carries for 110 yards and 1 TD
-- Jadon Haselwood 4 catches for 108 yards and 2 TD
Cedar Grove now had an opportunity to win the first state title in program history against Davis Mills and Greater Atlanta Christian. We all know how it went, the Saints won, the title came, players were lost to graduation, 2016 gave way to 2017 and a new season dawned.
Class AAA championship game vs. Greater Atlanta Christian: (30-19 Final)
-- Grant Walker had 21 carries for 143 yards and 1 TD
-- Jelani Woods 12-of-18 for 144 yards and 2 TD
-- Tre' Shaw 5 catches, 71 yards, 1 TD, Defensive TD (Interception Return)
-- Deangelo Malone 11 Total Tackles, 1.5 Sacks, 2 TFL
This year, Cedar Grove has continued its winning ways and is 4-0 entering the game against Westminster. Let’s take a look at what Cedar Grove has done thus far in 2017.
2017 vs. Class AAAAAA Stephenson (34-13 Final)
-- Sr. QB Xavier Dennis was 15-of-19 passing for 123 yards and 2 TDs. Had 9 carries for 71 yards and completed passes to 9 different receivers, including one to himself on a tipped pass
-- Sr. RB Darrell Neal had 21 carries and 89 yards
-- Jr. LB William Jenkins made 9 Tackles and 1 TFL
-- So. LB Isaiah Ratcliff made 6 Tackles with 1 TFL and 0.5 Sack
-- Jr. DL Rashad Cheney (UGA Commit) had a 1 Yard Fumble Return TD
-- Jr. WR Jadon Haselwood (UGA Commit) played sparingly, but did have a TD catch
-- Stephenson was held to 66 yards of offense in the first half and 152 total for the game
-- Score was 34-7 when starters were pulled in 4th quarter
2017 vs. Class AAAAA Southwest DeKalb (37-7 Final)
-- Southwest Dekalb Offense held to 83 yards of total offense (-2 yards of total offense in the first half)
-- WR Jadon Haselwood had 3 receptions for 2 TDs
-- RB Darrell Neal had 12 carries for 89 yards and 2 TDs
-- QB Xavier Dennis accounted for 4 Total TDs (2 passing, 2 rushing)
-- DE Roderic Forts made 7 tackles with 3 sacks, 3.5 TFL and had 2 Forced Fumbles
-- LB Isaiah Ratcliff made 11 Tackles with 3.5 TFL, 1 Forced Fumble and 1 Fumble Recovery
-- LB William Jenkins made 10 Tackles and 1 Sack with 2.5 TFL
2017 vs. Class AAAAA Columbia (33-0 Final)
-- QB Xavier Dennis – 7-of-12 passing for 98 yards and 3 TDs
-- RB Darrell Neal – 7 carries for 79 yards and 1 TD
-- Held Columbia to 47 yards of offense, 26 rushing, 34 passing
-- 293 yards of total offense, 113 passing and 180 rushing
2017 vs. Lovett (41-14 Final)
- 14th straight win (ties school record)
- RB Darrell Neal had 18 carries for 174 yards and 1 TD with 2 2-point conversion runs
- WR Jadon Haselwood made 5 receptions for 34 yards and 1 TD
- QB Xavier Dennis was 8-of-14 passing for 82 yards and 1 TD. Had 4 carries for 31 yards and 2 TD
- LB Isaiah Ratcliff made 14 tackles and 0.5 sack with 1 TFL
- DE Roderic Forts had 9 Tackles and 3 Sacks
- DB Kortney Cox made 3 Tackles and had an interception return for a touchdown