1A Division II UIL Football State Championship Preview: Benjamin (13-0) vs. Loraine (13-1)

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Benjamin (13-0) vs. Loraine (13-1), 11 a.m. Wednesday at AT&T Stadium in Arlington

The 2022 UIL Texas high school football state championships kick off Wednesday morning with the smallest schools taking the big stage, with Benjamin and Loraine — two schools with an combined enrollment of 84 students — match up.

It’s the lone rematch in the state championships this year, as these two teams met in non-district play in Week 6, and if anything, the previous matchup only adds to the intrigue. Benjamin won the first meeting 61-30 in Loraine, handing the Bulldogs their lone loss of the season…but it was by far the most competitive that anyone had played the Mustangs, as evidenced by the fact that it was the only Benjamin game not to end by the 45-point mercy rule.

Benjamin has gone wire-to-wire as the No. 1 team in the smallest classification, and the dominance has been unmistakable thanks in large part to super sophomore Grayson Rigdon. A year after winning the title game Offensive MVP for leading Strawn to a title as a freshman, he’s been even better this season with 60 total touchdowns.

Loraine’s defense has been the story for the Bulldogs, suffocating opponents en route to their first trip to the title stage as a six-man program, and their two-headed rushing attack of AJ Williams and Davion Walthall will do most of the heavy lilting for the Bulldogs. This was a 31-point game less than three months ago; how much has the gap closed?

- Greg Tepper




Grayson Rigdon - The reigning state title game offensive MVP at Strawn, the super-sophomore is the most dominant player in six-man football, accounting for 60 total touchdowns and eight interceptions on defense. If he has a big game, Benjamin’s perhaps impossible to beat.

Nicholas Stovall - The leader of what has been, statistically, the best defense in 1A Division II, Stovall is a game-breaking defensive talent, racking up eight sacks, three forced fumbles and an interception to go along with a team-high 59 tackles.


AJ Williams - The workhorse of this Bulldogs offense, the speedy Williams averages 13 yards per carry and has hit paydirt 35 times on the ground. Loraine doesn’t pass much, but if they do, Williams will be the one to do it — he’s thrown for 449 yards and 10 touchdowns on the season.

Davion Walthall - A true two-way star, Walthall does a little bit of everything — he’s the second-leading rusher, second-leading receiver, second-leading tackler and special teams dynamo. If there’s a big play to be made, he’s probably on the other end of it.

- Greg Tepper






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