With little suspense, Class AA's top two teams advanced to the state title game as expected on Friday with two lopsided wins. The top-ranked Benedictine Cadets ended Callaway's magical playoff run in jolting fashion with a 49-10 win over the Cavaliers in Savannah. One-hundred-and-fifty miles west in Fitzgerald, the No. 2 Purple Hurricane protected their home field with a 42-21 win over the Hapeville Charter, ending the Hornets' best season in their brief program history.
Now it's down to the highly-anticipated 1-2 matchup of the Cadets (14-0) and Purple Hurricane (13-1) for all the marbles. The showdown, a rematch of last year's quarterfinal matchup dominated by Fitzgerald, is scheduled to take place next Saturday at 1 p.m. at the Dome.
To stamp their ticket to the title game, the Cadets leaned on four John Wesley Kennedy touchdowns and led 27-3 at halftime before blowing the game wide open by outscoring the Cavaliers 23-7 in the third quarter.
(Go here to read Dennis Knight's write up on the Callaway-Benedictine game for the Savannah Morning News.)
The loss for Callaway brings to an end a 13-0 run that tallied the most wins in program history. Their wins in Rounds 1 and 2 were of the come-from-behind variety, including a dramatic 35-34 win last week at Screven County in the game's waning seconds. On Friday, the Cavs fell too far behind to rally and instead could only watch as Benedictine continued to pour on the points.
Meanwhile, the Purple Hurricane jumped on Hapeville early, going on a 21-0 first quarter run that turned into a 35-6 lead by halftime. AJC Super 11 selection JD King turned in another sterling performance with 160 rushing yards and two touchdowns according to the Tifton Gazette.
(Go here to read Becky Taylor's write up on the Hapeville-Fitzgerald game for The Tifton Gazette.)
Fitzgerald's win meant the Hornets (10-4) saw their historic run end, but not before collecting the most-ever wins for the program, their first region title and their first playoff wins. The Hornets' first-ever playoff game was a 42-0 shutout of Monticello. In the second round they edged a Jefferson County team considered one of the state's best heading into the playoffs before beating Chattooga in the quarterfinals.
Check back next week as the title game is looked into further.
Follow the AJC’s Class AA coverage on Twitter.