Each day this week, we’ll look at the playoff draw for one of the five classifications, resuming today with Class AAAA. Here are five interesting facts about each of the 16 games, with an emphasis on playoff history.
Which school has won 25 region titles but never a state title? Find out below.
Best draw: Carver (Columbus)
Worst draw: Cairo
Best first-round matchup: Creekview (9-1) at Carrollton (9-1)
Spalding (5-5) at Peach County (10-0)
- Spalding played Peach County in its last playoff game, the 2003 semifinals at the Georgia Dome. Peach won 28-3.
- Spalding has never played a road (non-neutral) playoff game.
- Peach County has lost in the first round each of the past two seasons after winning state titles in 2005 and 2006.
- Peach County is 25-9 at home in the playoffs and 34-21 overall.
- Peach County has never finished a season unbeaten.
Troup (6-4) at Washington County (9-1)
- Washington County defeated Troup 48-6 on Sept. 18.
- When playing at home, Washington County is 31-3 in the playoffs and 10-1 in the first round.
- Troup has lost its past five playoff games, two of them to Washington County in 2004 and 2006.
- Troup has played seven playoff teams, more than any other school in the draw, and won two of them (Callaway, Dunwoody).
- Washington County is 42-18 all-time in the postseason, with 40 of those victories coming since 1990.
Franklin County (5-5) at St. Pius (10-0)
- This will be Franklin County’s 11th consecutive playoff game on the road. Franklin was 3-7 in the previous 10.
- St. Pius averages 39 points per game, third-highest in AAA.
- Franklin County averages 16 points per game, second-lowest among AAA playoff teams.
- St. Pius won its first region title since 1968 and completed its first 10-0 regular season.
- St. Pius has not won a home playoff game since defeating Thomasville 16-15 in the 1968 semifinals.
Ringgold (8-2) at North Hall (8-2)
- North Hall, which started football in 1957, won its first state playoff game ever in 2004, in coach Bob Christmas’s fourth season.
- North Hall is 8-2 at home in the playoffs and 0-4 on the road.
- North Hall has won seven straight games since losses to state powers Buford (35-7) and Gainesville (55-12).
- Ringgold has made the state playoffs once (2003) and the region playoffs three times (1982, 1983, 1989) but never won a postseason game.
- This is the second time that the two oldest Catoosa County schools – Ringgold and Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe – have been in the state playoffs in the same season. The other year was 2003. Both are more than 60 years old.
Monroe (7-3) at Jackson (10-0)
- Jackson has gone 10-0 each of the past two seasons.
- According to the Maxwell Ratings, Jackson played the easiest schedule among AAA playoff teams.
- Jackson was winless in the playoffs (0-11) from 1963 to 1998 but is 7-7 since.
- Monroe is 2-0 this decade in the first round when playing at home, 0-4 when playing on the road.
- Jackson coach Mike Parris is the second-longest tenured coach at one school in the AAA playoffs behind Steve Pardue of LaGrange.
Liberty County (7-3) at LaGrange (8-2)
- LaGrange’s Steve Pardue, in his 16th season, has been at his school longer than any other Class AAA coach.
- LaGrange has won 114 games this decade, the most of any AAA school.
- LaGrange is 8-1 this decade in the first round, including 7-0 at home.
- Liberty County has played one playoff game in its history – a 26-0 loss at LaGrange three years ago.
- Liberty County got the third seed in its region by winning one-point overtime games against West Laurens and Burke County.
Towers (7-3) at Eastside (8-2)
- Towers is 0-3 all-time in the state playoffs and 1-13 in the postseason, its only victory over Lakeside of Atlanta in 1989.
- Towers is 0-3 against playoff teams this season.
- Newton County schools have won three region titles – Eastside in 2007 and 2008 and Newton in 1987.
- Eastside’s losses this season are to the other Newton County schools – Alcovy and Newton, which both made the playoffs in higher classifications.
- These schools are 30 miles apart, making them the closest first-round rivals in AAA.
Creekview (9-1) at Carrollton (9-1)
- Creekview has never won a state playoff game.
- Carrollton is 44-28-1 in the state playoffs and 6-4-1 in state finals.
- Creekview averages 38 points per game, fourth-highest in AAA.
- Carrollton averages 36 points per game, fifth-highest in AAA.
- Both teams run the Wing-T offense.
Lakeview-Ft. Oglethorpe (7-3) at Gainesville (10-0)
- Gainesville has won more region titles (25) than any school that has never won a GHSA state championship.
- Gainesville leads AAA in most points per game (47) and fewest allowed (six).
- Both schools started football more than 60 years ago, but they’ve never played each other.
- Gainesville is 3-0 vs. playoff teams – Franklin County (41-0), North Hall (55-12) and Flowery Branch (49-17).
- Lakeview is 0-2 vs. playoff teams – Ridgeland (34-0) and Ringgold (26-0)
Elbert County (7-3) at Dunwoody (6-4)
- Dunwoody’s Michael Youngblood is one of two new head coaches in the AAA draw. The other is Scotty Ward of Worth County.
- Elbert County has lost eight of its past nine state playoff games dating to 1996.
- Both won state titles in the 1990s – Dunwoody in 1993 in AAAA and Elbert County in 1995 in AA.
- Neither ranks in the top half among AAA playoff teams in scoring offense or scoring defense.
- Elbert County and Dunwoody have never played each other.
Northside, Columbus (5-5) at Baldwin (8-2)
- According to the Maxwell Ratings, Northside’s chances of winning the state title are 564 trillion to 1.
- According to the Maxwell Ratings, Baldwin played the toughest schedule of any AAA playoff team (second overall to Perry).
- Northside, which opened in 2004, is making its second playoff appearance in history. In its first, in 2005, Northside beat Monroe and lost to Peach County.
- Baldwin’s best finishes in history are the semifinals in 1963 and 2005.
- This will be the longest road trip Northside has ever made.
Woodland, Stockbridge (7-3) at Cairo (7-3)
- Woodland traveled 202 miles to play Lowndes and 156 to play Worth County this season. Cairo is 209 miles away.
- Cairo is the defending AAA champion.
- According to the Maxwell Ratings, Cairo played the second-toughest schedule of any AAA playoff team, behind Baldwin.
- Cairo averages 15 points per game, the lowest of any AAA playoff team.
- Woodland played East Jackson in the first games for both those new schools on Aug. 31, 2007. Both made the playoffs for the first time this season.
Flowery Branch (7-3) at Ridgeland (9-1)
- Flowery Branch defeated Ridgeland 21-14 in the second round in 2008.
- Flowery Branch averages 42 points per game, the second-highest behind Gainesville (47) in AAA.
- As an underdog, Ridgeland has beaten Carrollton in consecutive seasons to win Region 6-AAA. Those are Ridgeland’s first two region titles.
- Flowery Branch has never won a region title but reached the AAA title game last season, falling to Cairo.
- After five straight first-round losses, Ridgeland won its first state playoff game last season, beating Carver of Atlanta.
Grady (9-1) at Hart County (8-2)
- Grady and Hart County were GHSF Daily preseason picks to win their regions.
- Grady is one of two city of Atlanta schools in the playoffs. The other is Mays in AAAA.
- Grady’s lone defeat is to unbeaten St. Pius (37-13).
- Grady hasn’t won a playoff game on the road since winning the 1953 Class AA title in Macon against Lanier. Grady’s coach then was Erk Russell.
- Hart County has made the postseason each year since 1993. That’s the third-longest streak among AAA teams behind Carrollton (1990) and Peach County (1991).
Burke County (7-3) at Carver, Columbus (9-1)
- At mid-season, Carver was ranked No. 4 and Burke County was ranked No. 5.
- Burke is 3-0 against playoff teams from AAAA (Ware County, Statesboro, Brunswick) but 0-3 against playoff teams from AAA (Baldwin, Liberty County, Washington County).
- Burke is 1-7 on the road in the state playoffs.
- Before coach Dell McGee arrived in 2005, Carver was 1-7 in the postseason, its lone victory a stunning upset of No. 1-ranked Valdosta in 1987.
- Since McGee’s arrival, Carver is 11-2 in the postseason.
Worth County (5-5) at Woodward Academy (7-3)
- Worth County’s Scotty Ward is the only new coach in AAA to lead a team into the playoffs that didn’t make it the year before.
- Worth County averages 16.9 points per game, third-lowest in the AAA draw.
- These schools have played each other once. Worth won 28-21 in the 1997 first round.
- Worth County is 30-19 all-time in the postseason.
- Woodward Academy is 34-31 all-time in the postseason.
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