Georgia High School Football Weekly (12/6/17)

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Lee County overcomes 38-21 deficit in 4th Quarter to defeat Glynn Academy in semifinals

It is championship weekend at the Mercedes-Benz Dome in Atlanta as each classification will be crowning champions.  Here are the results from last week’s semifinal games:

  • Class 7A
    • Colquitt County 31, Brookwood 14
    • North Gwinnett 38, McEachern 17
  • Class 6A
    • Coffee 14, Tucker 3
    • Lee County 42, Glynn Academy 38
  • Class 5A
    • Rome 45, Buford 7
    • Warner Robins 31, Carver-Atlanta 7
  • Class 4A
    • Marist 35, St. Pius X 14
    • Blessed Trinity 28, Mary Persons 7
  • Class 3A
    • Peach County 28, Greater Atlanta Christian 23
    • Calhoun 14, Cedar Grove 6
  • Class 2A
    • Rabun County 23, Brooks County 12
    • Hapeville Charter 28, Heard County 21
  • Class 1A (Private)
    • Eagle’s Landing Christian 55, Prince Avenue Christian 0
    • Athens Academy 14, Mount Paran Christian 7
  • Class 1A (Public)
    • Clinch County 23, Mount Zion-Carroll 20
    • Irwin County 38, Emanuel County Institute 35

Here is the schedule for this week’s state championship games:

  • Class 7A – Colquitt County vs. North Gwinnett (Saturday at 8 pm)
    • Colquitt County probably shocked a lot of Atlanta area folks with their win over Brookwood.  The Packers outscored the Broncos 21-0 in the second half.
    • Colquitt County is seeking their fourth state championship.  They last won it in 2015.
    • North Gwinnett is looking for their first title.
    • Colquitt County leads the series 2-1.
    • Last year:
      • Colquitt County lost to Grayson in the quarterfinals
      • North Gwinnett lost to South Gwinnett in the first round.
    • Championship Game Records:
      • Colquitt County (3-2)
        • 1991 – lost to LaGrange 17-16
        • 1994 – defeated Valdosta 23-10
        • 2010 – lost to Brookwood 52-38
        • 2014 – defeated Archer 28-24
        • 2015 – defeated Roswell 30-13
      • North Gwinnett (0-2)
        • 2007 – lost to Lowndes 34-6
        • 2013 – lost to Norcross 31-14
  • Class 6A – Coffee vs. Lee County (Friday at 8 pm)
    • Coffee took advantage of key Tucker turnovers to advance to their first state championship game.  Lee County trailed 38-21 in the fourth quarter but four turnovers by Glynn Academy helped the Trojans make a dramatic comeback to win.
    • Coffee leads the all-time series 4-2.  The two teams come from the same region.  Lee County won their regular season meeting 23-7.
    • Last year:
      • Coffee lost to Dalton in the quarterfinals
      • Lee County lost to Mays in the second round
    • Championship game records:  First game for both teams
  • Class 5A – Rome vs. Warner Robins (Friday at 4:30 pm)
    • Rome ended Buford’s state record of 10 semifinal wins as they dominated the Wolves.  Warner Robins had key interceptions, the final one by Ke’Shawn Duvall for a 55-yard touchdown.
    • Warner Robins is looking for their fifth state title.
    • Rome won the title last year.
    • Rome has outscored its opponents 223-30 in the playoffs.
    • Warner Robins won the only meeting between the schools in the 2004 quarterfinals.
    • Last year:
      • Rome defeated Buford for the state title
      • Warner Robins lost in first round
    • Championship game records:
      • Rome (1-0)
        • 2016 – defeated Buford 16-7
      • Note:  Rome was created in 1992 merging East and West Rome.
      • Warner Robins (4-1)
        • 1976 – defeated Griffin 34-0
        • 1981 – defeated Newnan 21-0
        • 1985 – lost to Clarke Central 21-7
        • 1988 – defeated Brookwood 33-6
        • 2004 – defeated Statesboro 34-13
  • Class 4A – Marist vs. Blessed Trinity (Saturday at 4:30 pm)
    • Marist broke open a tight game in the second half when QB Chase Abshier connected with Matthew Houghton for a 55-yard TD pass.  Blessed Trinity continued their amazing roll through the playoffs since their upset over Cartersville by avenging their loss to Mary Persons in last year’s quarterfinals.
    • Marist is playing in their 11th state final.  They have won two titles (1989 and 2003).
    • Blessed Trinity is playing in their second state final.  They lost the 2015 title to Westminster.
    • The all-time series is tied at 1-1.  Marist won the regular season meeting 25-24.
    • Last year:
      • Marist lost to Sandy Creek in first round
      • Blessed Trinity lost to Mary Persons in quarterfinals
    • Championship game records:
      • Marist (2-8)
        • 1948 – lost to Lanier (Macon) 15-14
        • 1979 – lost to Redan 17-14
        • 1980 – lost to Woodward Academy 14-10
        • 1983 – lost to Mitchell County 21-13
        • 1984 – lost to Thomson 27-17
        • 1987 – lost to Worth County 26-15
        • 1989 – defeated Worth County 30-8
        • 2003 – defeated Statesboro 21-6
        • 2006 – lost to Northside (Warner Robins) 30-6
        • 2008 – lost to Tucker 15-3
      • Blessed Trinity (0-1)
        • 2015 – lost to Westminster 38-31
  • Class 3A – Peach County vs. Calhoun (Friday at 1 pm)
    • Peach County jumped out to an early lead over Greater Atlanta Christian as QB Antonio Gilbert passed for over 300 yards.  Calhoun ended Cedar Grove’s 23-game winning streak.  Both teams a very familiar with playing in December.
    • Peach County is playing in their eighth state title game.  They are 3-4.
    • Calhoun is playing in their 10th having won the title in 1952, 2011 and 2014.
    • Calhoun won the only previous meeting – a 20-14 win – in the 2015 second round.
    • Last year:
      • Peach County lost to Greater Atlanta Christian in semifinals
      • Calhoun lost to Cedar Grove in quarterfinals
    • Championship game records:
      • Peach County (3-4)
        • 1992 – lost to Thomas County Central 14-13
        • 1998 – lost to Dougherty 27-7
        • 2003 – lost to LaGrange 16-7
        • 2005 – defeated Dougherty 35-14
        • 2006 – defeated Shaw 28-7
        • 2009 – defeated Gainesville 13-12
        • 2011 – lost to Burke County 28-14
      • Calhoun (3-6)
        • 1952 – defeated Fort Valley 19-14
        • 1953 – lost to Hawkinsville 27-6
        • 2005 – lost to Charlton County 27-21
        • 2008 – lost to Buford 45-21
        • 2009 – lost to Buford 13-10
        • 2010 – lost to Buford 31-24
        • 2011 – defeated Buford 27-24
        • 2012 – lost to Jefferson 31-14
        • 2014 – defeated Washington County 27-20
  • Class 2A – Rabun County vs. Hapeville Charter (Saturday at 1pm)
    • Rabun County QB Bailey Fisher connected with Austin Jones on a 74-yard touchdown pass with 3:25 left to put the game away against Brooks County.  Hapeville Charter’s Marcus Carroll scored on a TD run with five seconds left in their win over Heard County.
    • This is the first state title appearance for each school.  This will be the first meeting between the schools.
    • Last year:
      • Rabun County lost to Fitzgerald in quarterfinals
      • Hapeville Charter lost to Fitzgerald in semifinals
    • Championship game records:  First game for both teams
  • Class 1A (Private) – Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy vs. Athens Academy (Friday at 11 am)
    • ELCA dominated Prince Avenue Christian on the ground with 458 yards and seven touchdowns.  Their passing game – not so great with two attempts for -3 yards and one interception.  Athens Academy broke up their semifinal game with Mount Paran Christian in the third quarter scoring two touchdowns within 26 seconds.
    • ELCA is looking for their third straight title and fifth overall.
    • Athens Academy is playing for their first title.
    • ELCA won their only previous meeting in the 2009 playoffs.
    • Last year:
      • ELCA defeated Fellowship Christian for state title
      • Athens Academy lost to Mount Paran Christian in second round
    • Championship game records:
      • ELCA (4-2)
        • 1996 – defeated John Hancock Academy 41-23
        • 1997 – lost to Bulloch Academy 21-20
        • 2012 – defeated Prince Avenue Christian 33-0
        • 2014 – lost to Mount Paran Christian 49-7
        • 2015 – defeated Aquinas 35-14
        • 2016 – defeated Fellowship Christian 34-27
      • Athens Academy (first appearance)
  • Class 1A (Public) – Clinch County vs. Irwin County (Saturday at 11 am)
    • Clinch County blocked a field goal attempt by Mt. Zion in the closing seconds to win their semifinal game.  Irwin County got a 10-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter then held on for the win over ECI.
    • Homerville will shutdown once again as Clinch County will be playing in the state finals for the ninth time.  The Panthers have won it six times (1988, 1991, 2002, 2004, 2010 and 2015).
    • Irwin County last won the state title in 1975.  This is their seventh appearance in the final.
    • Irwin County leads the all-time series 21-20-1.  They won the regular season meeting 21-7 on September 15th.   Clinch County beat Irwin County 24-7 in the 2015 state championship game.
    • Last year:
      • Clinch County lost to McIntosh County Academy in semifinals
      • Irwin County lost to ECI in quarterfinals
    • Championship game records:
      • Clinch County (6-2)
        • 1980 – lost to Greenville 12-10
          • Note:  Clinch County lost this game in the closing seconds when Greenville won on the high school version of the “immaculate reception” when pass was deflected off a defender into the hands of a Greenville receiver who raced to the end zone.
        • 1988 – defeated Palmetto 34-14
        • 1991 – defeated Lincoln County 11-8
        • 2002 – defeated Dooly County 50-14
        • 2004 – tied Hawkinsville 14-14 (GHSA counts this as a win)
        • 2006 – lost to Lincoln County 21-14
        • 2010 – defeated Savannah Christian 24-14
        • 2015 – defeated Irwin County 24-7
      • Irwin County (1-5)
        • 1953 – lost to Model 25-19
        • 1968 – lost to Roswell 32-6
        • 1975 – defeated Jefferson 39-13
        • 1997 – lost to Manchester 28-7
        • 2014 – lost to Hawkinsville 15-6
        • 2015 – lost to Clinch County 24-7

BLOWOUT OF THE WEEK:

Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy 55, Prince Avenue Christian 0 – ELCA rushed for 458 yards and scored seven touchdowns.  ELCA is looking for their third straight title.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK:

Lee County QB Jase Orndorff had 355 yards passing in their dramatic win over Glynn Academy.

NOTES FOR THE WEEK:

  • Warner Robins is the 28th team to make it to the state finals after a losing season.  In 1986, Villa Rica did it after going 4-5-1 the previous season.
  • Colquitt County began the 10th team in history to win four state playoff games on the road and advance to the state final.
  • Coffee, Lee County, Rabun County, Hapeville Charter and Athens Academy are making their first appearance in the state finals.
  • Lee County overcame a 31-14 deficit at halftime to defeat Glynn Academy.  Dashawn King returned a fumble 78 yards for the winning touchdown with less than three minutes left.
  • Rome and ELCA are the only remaining teams that are attempting to repeat as state champions.
  • ELCA will be going for their third straight title.  Buford was the last team to win it as they won four straight from 2007-2010.
  • This first GHSA state champion was Lanier in 1947.
  • Valdosta has won the most state titles (24).

TEAM SPOTLIGHT:

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The Coffee Trojans started playing football in 1970 under coach John Stephens.   They won their first game on September 25, 1970 over Groves (12-7).  The Trojans are 286-224-6 in their 48 seasons of football. Coffee has made the playoff 22 times.  Before this current season, their best finish was in 1981 when they made it to the semifinals losing to Warner Robins.  The Trojans’ biggest rival is Ware County.  They have played each other 45 times.  Coffee leads the series 26-19.  Bonwell Royal is the team’s winningest coach with a record of 165-105-5 over 26 seasons (1972-2004).   The most notable players are WR Tyreek Hill now with the Kansas City Chiefs and LB Willis Crockett who played with the Dallas Cowboys in 1990.  The Trojans play at Jardine Stadium in Douglas, Georgia.

THANKS TO THE GEORGIA HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL HISTORIANS WEBSITE FOR SOME VALUABLE STATISTICS.

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Georgia High School Football Review: State Champions Crowned

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The last Georgia High School Association (GHSA) state championship games were played in the Georgia Dome over the weekend.  Two teams repeated as state champions (Cartersville and Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy) and two teams (Rome and Cedar Grove) won their first title in school history.

Here is a recap of what happened:

Class 7A – Grayson 23, Roswell 20 (ot)

Roswell led until 1:04 left  when Grayson quarterback Chase Brice connected with Jaquavius Lane for a 35-yard touchdown pass.  They made a two-point conversion to take a 20-13 lead.  Roswell drove down the field and with five seconds left, Malik Willis hit Kentrell Barber on a 20-yard pass and the extra point sent the game into overtime.  On Grayson’s first possession of the overtime, they scored on a 25-yard field goal by Will VanPamelen.  Roswell was unable to answer the Grayson score as they missed on a field goal attempt giving Grayson the first Class 7A title and their second overall.

Class 6A -Valdosta 17, Tucker 7

It was back-to-the-future as the Valdosta Wildcats finally won their first state title since 1998 as the Wildcats built a 17-0 lead at halftime and held on to beat Tucker.  The Wildcats’ defense frustrated Tucker’s comeback attempt.  After Tucker scored with 2:30 left in the third quarter, the Tigers could not get in the end zone the rest of the way.  The win for Valdosta is their 25th title in school history.

Class 5A – Rome 16, Buford 7

In the “battle of wolves” as we heard all game long from the announcers, Rome overcame an early 7-0 deficit just minutes into the game when Buford’s Anthony Grant returned the opening kickoff 95 yards which set up a 1-yard touchdown run by T.D. Roof.  After that score, the Rome defense took over to hold Buford scoreless the rest of the game.  Knox Kadum scored on a 28-yard run in the third quarter to give Rome their first lead in the game.  The win give Rome their first state title in school history.

Class 4A -Cartersville 58, Thomson 7

Carterville’s Trey Creamer scored to first quarter touchdowns along with a 20-yard touchdown pass from Trevor Lawrence to open the second quarter as the Purple Hurricanes cruised to a convincing win.   Cartersville repeated as state champions and back-to-back 15-0 seasons.

Class 3A – Cedar Grove 30, Greater Atlanta Christian 19

The tone for this game was set early when Greater Atlanta Christian quarterback Davis Mills was taken out from a forearm of a Cedar Grove defender on the first drive of the game.  Surprisingly there was no penalty or ejection for the hit.  Mills never returned.  Cedar Grove took a 23-3 lead before the end of the half but GAC stormed back in the fourth to close the lead to 23-19 on a 32-yard field goal by Sean Henderson.  Cedar Grove delivered the final blow scored on a 17-yard touchdown pass from Jelani Woods to Dennis Bell with 2:16 left for their first state title.

Class 2A – Benedictine 49, Fitzgerald 26

Fitzgerald scored first on a 36-yard touchdown run by J.D. King to take the early lead but Benedictine scored the next 35 points to take a 35-6 lead in the second quarter.  The Purple Hurricanes mounted a comeback in the third quarter as they closed the gap to 35-26, but the Cadets answered with a 7-yard run by Tyleek Collins then the defense closed it out with a 43-yard interception return for a score with 1:36 left.

Class 1A (Public) – Macon County 35, McIntosh County Academy 0

Macon County outgained McIntosh County Academy 346-159 in total yardage and forced four fumbles in the game.  A 21-point fourth quarter put the game away as Macon County quarterback K’Hari Lane had four touchdown passes in the game which broke Huston Mason’s record of 54 touchdown passes in a season.

Class 1A (Private) – Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy 34, Fellowship Christian 24 (ot)

Josh Mays scored on a 1-yard run to give ELCA the lead in overtime.  On fourth down, Fellowship Christian’s Jack Hardin was forced out of the pocket and unable to complete the pass which gave the Chargers their second consecutive state title.  Fellowship Christian had taken the lead when Merrick Haigler scored with 2:08 left but the Chargers drove down the field and set up Alex Usry with a 34-yard field goal with six second left to send the game into overtime.