Landmark-Wilkinson game will be rare glimpse of Class A public-private powers

Landmark Christian, the Class A runner-up in 2011, has not played a public school since 2009. It’s perhaps ironic, then, than Landmark is playing Friday against Wilkinson County, one of the top public school teams in Class A.

That’s because there won’t be any state-playoff games between public and private schools, as the GHSA has decided to hold separate state championships.

‘’They didn’t have a game; we didn’t have a game,’’ Landmark coach Wayne Brantley said Thursday. “The fact that they were a public school had nothing to do with it. We were just looking for a real good team to play. Last season taught us a lesson. We went 8-2 and went to the state championship game. We might’ve could’ve picked our teams and gone 10-0, but this will prepare us better.’’

Brantley, who succeeded 2011 coach Kenny Dallas, also figured that Wilkinson would give Landmark an advantage in the new points system developed by the GHSA to seed playoff teams.

In Class A, teams get 10 points for a victory and one point for every victory won by their opponents. If Landmark beats Wilkinson, and Wilkinson goes 8-2, that would be 18 points. Even with a loss, Landmark would get eight.

The GHSA will seed the top 16 public and top 16 private schools for the playoffs based primarily on those points.

“The way the playoff system is set up now, I think it rewards you to play tougher opponents, even if you lose,’’ Brantley said. “Even before Coach Dallas left, when our season ended and everything started to change, we worked on the schedule together. We thought we might be better off losing to Calvary Day [Landmark’s opening opponent] or Wilkinson County than beating a team that might win only two or three games.’’

Friday’s game will be fun for those who like the public-private matchups. There won’t be many this season. This might be the only public-private game in Class A this season between ranked non-region opponents.

‘’I wish it was still public-private mixed and 32 teams playing for one state championship,’’ Brantley said. “But no matter what they do, you have to adjust and adapt. We all want to win a state championship. But the most important thing is developing young men into the right kind of people. If we can win some football games along the way, that’s great too.’’

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