The Pride of Savannah
These are exciting times in Savannah, Georgia, for the Cadets of Benedictine Military School. The Cadets are the defending champs in GHSA Class AA having gone 15-0 last year. This year, the Cadets are on a very similar course, 11-0 right now, again Region Champs, ranked number one in Class AA, on a 26 game winning streak, and working hard to make it back to back state titles to go along with the one they won in 2014.
“The players have learned and continue to learn, about what it takes to be successful,” says head coach Danny Britt. “Our offensive line lost a lot of players to graduation last year. We had just one returning starter there in Austin Williams. Coach Coleman and Coach Fogerty have done an outstanding job in coaching the O-Line and those guys have played very well this year.”
The offense has piled up 438 points in 11 games- right at 40 points a game. When the Cadets run the football, Travis Blackshear, Terrick Smalls, and Rico Powers carry the payload and at the controls is senior quarterback Nick Iannone who can run it and throw it with the best.
“Nick is just a tremendous leader of our football team. He does a great job running the offense and he does a great job in making sure that everyone is where they are supposed to be and he is just great at making plays.”
Nick is one of the few Cadets who can even remember a loss. His sophomore season the Cadets went 12-1. And these Cadets can move the ball by land and by air. Some games, the Cadets have rushed for over 200 yards. Some games, they have passed it for over 200 yards.
“We don’t go into a game hoping to have a balanced offense. We just look to take advantage of what the opponent’s defense gives us and exploit that,” Coach Britt says.
Defensively, the Cadets return a ton of talent. The quarterback to the defense is safety Jonah Griffin.
Linebacker Luke Smith is a tackling machine and the defensive line has played great football all season long. The Cadets are giving up an average of just 9 points per game.
Next up for the Cadets will be Jefferson County who is having a great season, 10-1 overall, and coming off an impressive playoff win over Southwest Macon 48-14.
“Jefferson County has a ton of talent, a lot of athletic ability. Their quarterback is, like, 6-3 and 200 pounds and he can run and throw it with the best of them. They are a very good team and, as it should be in the playoffs, this game is going to be a big challenge.”
The Benedictine program has been a source of community pride in the city of Savannah.
“There are other teams still alive right now from the area, but come playoff time, everyone gets excited and enjoys and shares in the success we have had and everyone comes together and pulls for the team.”
Coach Britt has had a lot of success coaching the Cadets. In 7 seasons, his record at Benedictine Military School is 81-14. His record over the past 5 seasons is an even more sparkling 64-4. He would like nothing more than to win back-to-back titles with back-to-back perfect 15-0 seasons. But, as he talked to me, I knew he was also talking to his players:
“We are at the point of the season where you lose a game and you are done. You don’t learn anything from a loss at this time of the season. We have to keep pushing forward. We have to stay humble. We have to continue to work hard if we want to achieve our goals.”
Playoff time in Georgia is, just, my favorite time of the year. My colleague Jon Nelson is beside himself. He just can hardly wait for the Friday Night Lights to turn on. Round two of the GHSA playoffs is this Friday on the Road to the Championships as the Battle for the Benz continues.