While it may be hard for football fans to admit, this is the final weekend for high school football in Georgia. For some teams, this is the final weekend before the third season, post season, starts with the goal of reaching Turner Field and the Championship Weekend for the GHSA. Some teams are clear in their standings, but for others, a brand new computer might be needed to figure out where they are playing on November 11th. With so much let to be decided, let’s look first at what is known going into the final weekend.
In Region 8-AAA, the Jefferson Dragons defeated the Jackson County Panthers 55-0 to finish with a perfect 6-0 record in the region and the Region 8-AAA Championship for 2019. The Dragon defense held Jackson County to less than 50 total yards for the contest.Jefferson will enjoy the week off this week, before starting post season play on November 15 against a representative from Region 6-AAA. “I am so proud of this football team for the effort that they have put into this season. This region is so much better top to bottom and they have answered the challenge each week,” according to Gene Cathcart, Jefferson’s Head Coach. When asked about having the week of, he said “ it is what it is, we’re playing really well and you have to wonder about losing that without having game action, but at the same time, the week off gives us a chance to rest and get healthy for the playoffs in two weeks.”
In Carnesville, the Hart County Bulldogs moved into a tie with Monroe Area in the loss column, thanks to a 28-7 win over Franklin County. The combination of Malecki Thomas and Jalen Lackey combined for 200 yards rushing and 4 touchdowns, while the Hart defense held Franklin to less than 60 yards of offense in the second half. Elsewhere in 8-AAA, Morgan County outlasted East Jackson by the score of 45 – 31 in a game played at East Jackson. Morgan County will host Hart County in Madison on Friday night, in a game with post season seeding on the line for both teams.
The Region 8-AAAA picture became clearer this past weekend, when the Warriors of Oconee County captured the Region Championship thanks to a 35 – 7 win over previously undefeated North Oconee. Oconee’s Max Johnson threw three touchdown passes, while the Warrior defense intercepted North Oconee on five occasions. Oconee closes out the regular season when they host Madison County on Friday, while North Oconee enjoys an off week. Speaking of Madison County, congratulations to the Red Raiders on earning a berth in the state football playoffs for the first time since 2017, thanks to a 35 – 33 come from behind win over Stephens County. Colby Smith completed a 19 yard pass to Martavian Cooper, with less than a minute left for the win.
Stephens County will conclude their season on Friday night in Toccoa, when they host St. Pius X from Atlanta, with a chance to force a three way tie for the playoffs with Madison County and St. Pius X. The Habersham Central Raiders fell to Winder-Barrow by the score of 41-40, eliminating the Raiders from post season consideration. Winder’s special teams blocked three PAT attempts in the game for the win.
The Elbert County Blue Devils used a strong ground attach to defeat Putman by the score of 56-7 to secure a spot in the AA post season playoffs. Elbert ran for over 600 yards against Putman. Elbert will close their regular season this Friday against Banks County in a game in Elberton. “We’re really beginning to play really good football, since the Rabun County game we’ve been doing a lot of things well. Our offensive line over the last two weeks has enabled us to rush the football for over 1,000 yards as a team. This is the way we can be successful going into the post season,” said Brad Waggoner, Elbert’s Head Coach. “This Friday is a big game for us, against Banks County for a couple of reasons. First it’sit’s a chance to continue to get better going into the post season and finish with a winning record for the year. It also is the final game at home for our seniors and a chance to say thank to them for their work this year.” Waggoner added that, “we are in the playoffs this year and we want to continue the work to get better as a team.”
The big game this weekend in Class AA is at Blairsville Georgia, where Union County plays host to Rabun County in a matchup of undefeated offensive juggernauts. The game matches two of the highest scoring teams in any classification, and two of the best quarterbacks in Georgia. Both teams average over 45 points per game this year, and come into the game four the Region Championship with identical records of 9-0. The games two quarterbacks, Gunner Stockman of Rabun County and Pierson Allen of Union County, have combined for over 4,000 yards through the air this year. Union is looking to stop a streak of six consecutive region titles for Rabun.
Down at Madison, it’s a match up of Bulldogs, when Morgan County and Hart County get together to close out the regular season. In 2018, Morgan County defeated Hart County by the score of 35-34 in overtime, and this game should be just as exciting. A Hart County win, would create a three way tie in the Region at 4-2, and then the tie breakers would determine seeds 2 through 4 for the region.
When the post season begins on November 15, teams from this area will take on teams from Region 6 in all classes. Let’s look at each of these Regions and the teams that will face teams from our area.
Region 6-AAA, which is in northwest Georgia has been claimed by North Murray from Chatsworth Georgia. The highlight of the year for North Murray was when they snapped a long winning streak for Calhoun High School, who had dominated the region for the past eighteen years. This is the only loss of the year for the Yellow Jackets, who occupy second place in the Region going into the final weekend of the regular season.
Harralson County, the current 3 seed in the region, fell to Calhoun in a matchup in October. Currently 2 schools, Sonoraville and Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe share the final spot in the region with a record of 4-3, with Adairsville one game back at 4-4. Sonoraville and Lakeview – Fort Oglethorpe close out the regular season facing the top two seeds from Region 6, North Murray and Calhoun. Loses by both would set a three way tie for fourth among these schools to be settled at the conclusion of the regular season.
In Region 6-AA, Hapeville Charter occupies the top spot with a region mark of 6-0, with Douglas one game back at 6-1. South Atlanta and BEST Academy share the third spot with records of 4-2 with one week left to play. South Atlanta has the head to head tie breaker with BEST Academy based on their 28-12 win on September 27.
In Region 6-AAAA, their is currently a three way tie for first place between Heritage, Ridgeland, and Northwest Whitfield. Heritage will take on Northwest Whitfield this weekend, while Ridgeland plays Southwest Whitfield. A NW Whitfield win would give them the Region Championship and the top seed entering the AAAA playoffs.
This is the final week of the regular season for 2019. There has been over 100 games played in our area since the season opening weekend in August. This is the end of the road for many of the teams, but others will go on into post season and start the journey to Atlanta and championship weekend.
Go out and enjoy what promises to be another exciting weekend of football in our area, and get ready for the start of postseason play.