The Georgia High School Football Daily’s Weekend Predictions: Who’s winning and losing in Playoffs First Round

By CHIP SAYE
For the AJC

Life in the playoffs isn’t easy for a No. 4 seed. It isn’t supposed to be.

Most of the 40 fourth-place teams that begin the playoffs tonight had to win a crucial game last week just to qualify for the postseason. All of them will be on the road this weekend, and all will face a region champion.

But there is reason for hope. Eight fourth-place teams won first-round games last year, including three each in Class AAAAA (Coffee, Woodstock and Lassiter) and AAAA (Hillgrove, Cedar Shoals and Mt. Zion-Jonesboro). And three of those teams went on to win in the second round, as well. Over the past five seasons, about six No. 4 seeds have won their first-round games each year. I’m picking only one this year, so I’ll probably be wrong on five or six of the 1 vs. 4 matchups.

Here’s a look at the one No. 4 seed I’m predicting will win, plus a few more that I think have a good chance.

Cook (at Northeast-Macon): The Hornets have been here before. Last year, they took their No. 4 seed to Appling County and came away with a 26-10 first-round victory. This year, they take on a Northeast-Macon team that finished in a three-way tie for first place with Henry County and Putnam County in a relatively weak Region 4-AA. Depending on how the tiebreakers had fallen into place, Northeast easily could have been a No. 3 seed. Cook’s 5-5 record is not impressive, but three of the losses were to the playoff teams from its strong region (Fitzgerald, Thomasville and Brooks County), and the others were to teams from higher classifications (AAAAA Tift County and AAAA Brunswick). I expect Cook to make it through to the second round and give Region 1-AA a first-round sweep.

Valdosta (at Newnan): The Wildcats’ next loss will be the final game at Valdosta for coach Rick Tomberlin, who was told after the team’s 57-15 loss to rival Lowndes that he won’t be returning in 2010. Valdosta hasn’t lost in the first round of the postseason since 1976, and it plays in the state’s strongest region. I’m going with Newnan, though, primarily because of its defense. The Cougars have allowed only 6.1 points per game and have recorded five shutouts.

Statesboro (at Lakeside-Evans): Statesboro isn’t used to being a No. 4 seed, but this Blue Devils team has not been as good as we’ve come to expect from Statesboro. Lakeside’s region went 0-4 in the first round of the playoffs last year, so its teams are suspect this time around. But Lakeside appears a bit better than those teams from last season and should hold off Statesboro.

Loganville (at Sandy Creek):
The Red Devils were a No. 1 seed last year when they were knocked off in the first round by Hillgrove, so here’s their chance to turn the tables. Running back Storm Johnson leads a strong offense that is averaging 36 points per game. Loganville fell behind the leaders in Region 8-AAAA with its 1-2 start and had to scramble to reach the postseason. The Red Devils face a Sandy Creek team that has a history of early exits from the playoffs, but I don’t expect it to happen this time.

Flowery Branch (at Ridgeland):
The Falcons have proved they can score, and that makes them dangerous. They averaged 44 points during the regular season and scored at least 34 in every game except their loss to No. 1-ranked Gainesville. The problem has been stopping people. The Falcons are allowing 25.6 points per game and gave up 51 and 49 in the past two games. Ridgeland had five shutouts in the regular season, and that defense will be severely tested tonight. But I’ll go with Ridgeland to survive.

Chattooga (at Lovett):
The good news for Chattooga was that by being the No. 4 seed instead of the No. 3, it got to avoid playing Buford. Now it just has to beat the team that beat Buford 28-21. Chattooga is 9-1, its only loss to No. 1 Calhoun, and has been under the radar all season. I expect this to be one of the better first-round games in any classifications, with Lovett advancing to the second round.

Also: Look for perennial Class A powers Lincoln County and Clinch County to struggle with Trion and Marion County, respectively, before moving on to Round 2.

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The weekend predictions
Last week: 145-35 (.806); Overall: 1,497-377 (.799)

Class AAAAA
Winner–Loser

Camden Co.–Newton
Colquitt Co.–Westlake
Grayson–Marietta
Lassiter–North Forsyth
Lowndes–East Coweta
M.L. King–Jenkins
McEachern–Brookwood
Newnan–Valdosta
North Gwinnett–Centennial
Northside-W.R.–Chapel Hill
Peachtree Ridge–Kell
Roswell–Collins Hill
South Gwinnett–Etowah
Stephenson–Bradwell Institute
Union Grove–Windsor Forest
Woodstock—Dacula

Class AAAA
Apalachee–Starr’s Mill
Banneker–Rockdale Co.
Brunswick–Hephzibah
Clarke Central–Mays
Griffin–Harris Co.
Hiram–Chamblee
Lakeside-Evans–Statesboro
Marist–Sprayberry
North Clayton–Bainbridge
Richmond Acad.–Glynn Acad.
Sandy Creek–Loganville
SW DeKalb–NW Whitfield
Thomas Co. Central–Alcovy
Tucker–Dalton
Ware Co.–Evans
Westside-Macon–Mt. Zion-Jonesboro

Class AAA
Baldwin–Northside-Col.
Cairo–Woodland-Stockbridge
Carrollton–Creekview
Carver-Col.–Burke Co.
Eastside–Towers
Elbert Co.–Dunwoody
Gainesville–Lakeview-Ft. Oglethorpe
Hart Co.–Grady
Jackson–Monroe
LaGrange–Liberty Co.
North Hall–Ringgold
Peach Co.–Spalding
Ridgeland–Flowery Branch
St. Pius–Franklin Co.
Washington Co.–Troup
Woodward Acad.–Worth Co.

Class AA
Appling Co.–Vidalia
Brooks Co.–Putnam Co.
Buford–Pepperell
Calhoun–Avondale
Callaway–Riverside Military
Charlton Co.–Dublin
Cook–Northeast-Macon
East Jackson–Manchester
Fitzgerald–Greene Co.
Jefferson–Heard Co.
Jefferson Co.–Tattnall Co.
Lamar Co.–North Oconee
Lovett–Chattooga
Swainsboro–McIntosh Co. Acad.
Thomasville–Henry Co.
Westminster–Armuchee

Class A
Bowdon–Washington-Wilkes
Brookstone–Miller Co.
Chattahoochee Co.–Seminole Co.
Clinch Co.–Marion Co.
Commerce–Landmark Christ.
Darlington–Warren Co.
ELCA–Athens Academy
ECI–Hawkinsville
Greenville–Pelham
Holy Innocents’–Social Circle
Lincoln Co.–Trion
Sav. Christian–Irwin Co.
Twiggs Co.–Sav. Country Day
Wesleyan–Whitefield Acad.
Wilcox Co.–Treutlen
Wilkinson Co.–Bremen

103 comments Add your comment

Knoxville Pilot station

November 12th, 2009
11:05 am

Sorry I will have to post later. Getting robbed by 3 punks with a pellet gun

Class A

November 12th, 2009
11:16 am

it’ll be interesting to see how Wesleyan handles the playoffs this year. A senior-heavy team that wasnt tested all season, in fact the starters didnt allow a touchdown on defense all season long.

Sportsfan31313

November 12th, 2009
11:39 am

Class A,

OH don’t you worry, Wesleyan, will all that they can handle in the post season. Just you wait, and see.

Rod

November 12th, 2009
11:54 am

Dont sleep on Mays high school…. But trust me we love being the under dogs.. SWDekalb after Clarke Central we coming for yowl!!! But please done sleep on us…

williambrado

November 12th, 2009
12:04 pm

Region 1AAAAA has just opened up a fresh can of whip tail for the 1st round playoffs. I know there are some non-believers out there in football land. Just as i told ya’ll that colquitt would give Ns Warner Robbins all they wanted so will this pediction be. I’m talking to sir and miss and also Sgt Chris. 1AAAAA is BBBBBBBad to the Bone. Now next week at Camden is going to be a thriller,because your looking at 2 wing T offenses that play it to the max.Go1AAAAA and Go you Mighty Vikes

G-Lion

November 12th, 2009
12:22 pm

C’mon Dunwoody, Towers, and Grady! Prove ‘em wrong for doubting.

Sportsfan31313

November 12th, 2009
1:15 pm

Rod,

Mays will be one and done…. See ya next year….

MhsRaider09

November 12th, 2009
1:27 pm

Mays will not be one and done… the second round im nt so confident about..but we will get out the 1st round

Rod

November 12th, 2009
1:41 pm

Mays will not be one and done and i am guarating the win we are the best un rated team in the state.. You will see tomorrow.. And when we win i’ll be right back on here to guarate the win against SWDekalb.. We are going to win state dis year and dats something you should look forward to!!!!!!!!!!!111
Sportsfan31313

BulldawgBite

November 12th, 2009
1:41 pm

i dont think there will be any upsets in AAAAA. collins hill roswell is the highest chance of an upset by a 3 seed

Say it Aint So

November 12th, 2009
2:00 pm

Rod you go spunk, stupid spunk that is. I wouldn’t tell anyone that Mays will win state this year after loosing to Alexander. I can see the Banneker but not the worst team in your region.

lion rick

November 12th, 2009
2:26 pm

Norcorss HS- good luck in the state playoffs from your friends at the Ridge. oops… nevermind.

lion rick

November 12th, 2009
2:27 pm

Norcorss HS- good luck in the state playoffs, from your friends at the Ridge. oops… nevermind.

ImaTitleTownBaby

November 12th, 2009
2:40 pm

Newnan vs. Valdosta will be the most interesting 1st round game…don’t count Valdosta out!!

MhsRaider09

November 12th, 2009
4:25 pm

say it aint so..

actually they warent the worst team in the region. nice try though. but i see what u saying. Rod.. calm on down buddy.. as much as I would love to see our raiders in big game, its nt gone happen.. we arent going to get past SWD with this years team. Had this been the team 2 and 3 years ago then i would at least agree with your enthusiasm. but its not. this team isnt going to get past SWD in the second round. jus calm down and get embarrasing us cuz the moment we lose, guess who they are coming after? U… we still have girls basketball

rwdekalbfan

November 12th, 2009
5:53 pm

“Rod” I would not be looking past Clark Central if I was you. You see the good teams really do take it one game at a time.

BROOKWOOD MOM

November 12th, 2009
6:00 pm

Chip: No love for my BRONCOS this weeek?? It aint over til the fat lady sings and I don’t hear her belting out any tunes yet!!

lowndesvikes01

November 12th, 2009
6:10 pm

GO VIKINGS GO!

eagleforlife

November 12th, 2009
6:44 pm

Goooo Northside!

MhsRaider09

November 12th, 2009
6:56 pm

exactly rwdekalbfan, we need to focus on clarke central FIRST AND FOREMOST… If u know your history about Mays and the playoffs, u would know this : We dont play well away from Lakewood ( 35-7 @ Hambersham Central 2007 and 21-3 @ East Paulding 2008) in the playoffs. So lets jus take this one game at a time.

MhsRaider09

November 12th, 2009
7:12 pm

u cant get on here just talking about stuff when u really have no idea.. to talk wit these guys u have to have um kinda knowledge and unbiased opinion because they will EAT U ALIVE

HomeFieldAdvantage

November 12th, 2009
7:57 pm

LOWNDES FANS -Tyler most likely will have to give up football. Bad news in Tallahassee.

SouthGARules

November 12th, 2009
8:00 pm

Congrats Chip: You have got BROOKWOOD MOM riled up. I agree with you that Region 1-AA gets a clean sweep and Region 1-AAAAA does not (3-1). I don’t know if anyone has seen the projected AAAAA teams for 2010-14, but there are only 52 teams with only 5 in South Georgia, 2 in Columbus & the rest in metro Atlanta. Good luck to whom decides the region breakdown. I see several teams having to play up in classification or a real nightmare for travel to put together a region.

yo

November 12th, 2009
8:24 pm

HomeFieldAdvantage I hate to hear that on Tyler Hunter.

Northwest Student

November 12th, 2009
8:25 pm

GO NORTHWEST WHITFIELD!!! BEAT SW DEKALB!!!!!

Callitlikeitis

November 12th, 2009
8:26 pm

Do not count out the boyz from the Vee. They are fighting for their play off lives. Ooo, did I mention they have a good team and could beat Newnan if they bring their A game with them.

36tcchs

November 12th, 2009
8:35 pm

well i dont like that know body said that central high school in thomasville ga going to be nothing but look were we are in da frist week of play off. they alson said that we was going to be 6 an 4 well seen to me we are 9 an 1 bet the number one team in our region was westside macon so now we region champs some that people said we was not going to get to well we made yall people look like yea they do have a good team

Pops

November 12th, 2009
8:42 pm

Chip Saye – No one will pick an upset in AAAAA??? And there was how many four seed winners last year. The whole concept behind your article? We should just pencil in the first round winners and not even play the games!
I will be making upset predictions tomorrow, Anyone else????????

cane fan

November 12th, 2009
9:11 pm

go fitzgerald purple hurricanes

ImaTitleTownBaby

November 12th, 2009
9:24 pm

Sorry to hear that bout Tyler…I know that’s eatin him up.

Woodpecker

November 12th, 2009
9:26 pm

Wesleyan will definitely be tested in the third round of the playoffs. No one wants to give the Greenville Patriots no love. They went 10-0 and their are 3 teams with one lose rank ahead them. When the smoke clears we will see who is still undefeated.

benadawg

November 12th, 2009
9:31 pm

I am telling ya’ll we lost only to calhoun on a rainy night when the light went out and an hour delay, watch for the speed to come to life in the Atl ……here come the Indians

SouthGARules

November 12th, 2009
9:53 pm

cane fan: I heard some Buford fans came out of Witness Protection & have started running smack on other blogs about Buford being the be-all, end-all team in AA. What do you think about that?

hard hitta

November 12th, 2009
10:12 pm

Banneker dont think you going to win rockdale is to strong for yall watch out !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

inthatrenches

November 12th, 2009
10:25 pm

No major upsets in AAAAA maybe a couple of three’s over two’s

D-town Falcons

November 12th, 2009
10:36 pm

Don’t count out Dacula!!!! We have been underdogs all year!!

packerfan

November 12th, 2009
10:36 pm

Go Colquitt County Packers!! Region 1AAAAA make us all proud! Lowmdes, Valdosta, Northside-Warner Robbins we are rooting for you until we meet again!!!

cobra-strike

November 12th, 2009
10:41 pm

Watch out for them cobras of twiggs county!!!!!

inthatrenches

November 12th, 2009
10:47 pm

Callitlikeitis it will take there “A” game and then some Newnan blunders…. Newnan will be focused Go Cougars…

hman

November 12th, 2009
10:55 pm

Wow did you see those reclassifications. IF it stays the same then region 6AAAA would be the strongest in GA HANDS DOWN. You got Southwest Dekalb, Tucker, Marist, Chamblee, and Stone Moutain. Then you add Stephenson, Union Grove, and possibly MLK. WOW. What a season that would be. Impossible for all those teams to make it out undefeated with the exception of possibly Stephenson. Hope it is this way.

BullDawg Rick

November 12th, 2009
11:01 pm

So UGA… The best thing that happened to Buford this season, was an early season loss. They’ve got their 3-Peat run lined up… Not sure where you get the witness protection thing but…. The Wolves of Buford will go thru AA like a hot knife thru butter…

SanityRules

November 12th, 2009
11:01 pm

Inthatrenches, it’s just wishful thinking, hoping beyond all hope that Newnan’s not that good. This time tommorrow,Tomberlin will be looking for his next job. Good luck Rick.

jjhenry57

November 12th, 2009
11:12 pm

Doctors are only human. God has the very last say so.

blu eagle

November 13th, 2009
1:12 am

Home field adv hate to hear that about Tyler Hunter especially after he has had a taste of big time high school football, hope he does well otherwise.Packer fan I agree with you about wishing Lowndes, Colquitt,
Valdosta, good luck in the playoffs, but in all honesty, we could do without not playing any of you again, however if everyone keeps winning it will be inevitable!

hustle boi ceo

November 13th, 2009
2:44 am

i would like to know wat happen to tyler hunter for lowndes?

BLACK GOLD

November 13th, 2009
3:18 am

GO PURPLE HURRICANES , KEEP IT 100 ALL THE WAY TO THE DOME. BUFORD WHERE YOU AT ON OTHER STATE BLOGS TALKING SH*******

BLACK GOLD

November 13th, 2009
3:19 am

BUFORD / CUT THROAT , YALL TIME UP ,YALL ST8 THROWBACK

SouthGARules

November 13th, 2009
8:30 am

BullDawg Rick: Not you specifically, but a lot of smack was run by Buford fans about being the best team in the state regardless of classification. There was a lot of talk about wanting a piece of Lowndes, NSWR, Camden, etc. It just seemed that after losing to Lovett, a lot of Buford people have not been on the blogs as much. As far as going through AA like a knife through hot butter, that remains to be seen. Good luck to the Wolves.

KD

November 13th, 2009
8:50 am

Who the heck is Tyler Hunter ?

Friday Night Patriot Screamers

November 13th, 2009
9:08 am

The Greenville Patriots are on a role. We finished our season 10-0. The Georgia Dome is in our sights and we will be there to CHEER on our Patriots tonight as we face Pelham in our first playoff game. We may be a small school with only 385 students, but we have alot of TALENT. Greenville residents come out and support our Patriots on our way to the Dome. Coach Williams we love and support you!!!