Class A Blog: Projected first-round playoff pairings, top games of the week

By S. Thomas Coleman
For the AJC

Usually at this time we preview the best games of the week, and we’ll get to that in a minute. But first we take our first look at what some of the first round playoff match ups would be if the playoffs began this weekend, based on the latest Power Rankings.

This first set of games features first-round match ups based on the current Power Rankings (as of Oct. 16), without taking into consideration region champions, which haven’t been determined yet.

PUBLIC

No. 1 Lincoln County (5-1) hosts No. 16. Claxton (4-2)

No. 2 Wilcox County (4-2) hosts No. 15 Hancock County (3-3)

No. 3 Dooly County (5-1) hosts No. 14 Clinch County (3-3)

No. 4 Emanuel County Institute (6-1) hosts No. 13 Wilkinson County (4-2)

No. 5 Charlton County (4-3) hosts No. 12 Greenville (4-2)

No. 6 Irwin County (4-2) hosts No. 11 Turner County (5-2)

No. 7 Marion County (5-1) hosts No. 10 Commerce (4-3)

No. 8 Gordon Lee (5-1) hosts No. 9 Miller County (6-1)

Points of interest:

Irwin County and Turner County, potential 6-11 combatants, are currently tied for first place in Region 2. They will face each other next week, Oct. 26, at Turner County.

– Teams that are not in the top 16 in the Power Rankings that made the playoffs last season (and remain in Class A this season) include Seminole County, Johnson County, Mitchell County and Calhoun County.

Seminole County was the Region 1 champion last season and advanced to the third round. The Indians’ head coach, Alan Ingram, was one of the main supporters of the public-private split. Seminole is only one slot out of the top 16 public schools, so it still has a chance to make it into the tournament. The Indians are currently tied with Miller County for first place in the region. The two teams face each other Nov. 2 at Seminole County.

Johnson County (5-1) began the season 4-0. The Trojans also still have a chance to climb into the top 16. They are currently tied for the Region 3-Division B lead with ECI (6-1) and will host the Bulldogs in Wrightsville, Oct. 26.

Jenkins County (4-2) is not in the top 16 but the War Eagles, currently tied for first in Region 3-Division A, will face the three teams from their sub region that are in the top 16 over the next three weeks – at Calvary Day on Friday, at Savannah Christian on Oct. 26 and home vs. Claxton on Nov. 2.

PRIVATE

No. 1 Athens Academy (6-0) hosts No. 16 Our Lady of Mercy (4-3)

No. 2 Darlington (4-2) hosts No. 15 Athens Christian (3-4)

No. 3 Prince Avenue Christian (6-1) hosts No. 14 Mt. Pisgah (4-2)

No. 4 Aquinas (5-1) hosts No. 13 Landmark Christian (5-2)

No. 5 Savannah Christian (4-2) hosts No. 12 Brookstone (4-2)

No. 6 Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy (5-1) hosts No. 11 Calvary Day (5-1)

No. 7 Holy Innocents (4-3) hosts No. 10 George Walton Academy (5-1)

No. 8 First Presbyterian Day (4-2) hosts No. 9 Walker (6-0)

Points of interest:

– The 1-16 game could produce a huge upset. Athens Academy escaped with a 10-7 win over Our Lady of Mercy, back on Sept. 21. The Spartans scored on a 70-yard pass reception in the game’s final minutes to claim the win.

Athens Christian is the only team, public or private, with a sub-.500 record but still in the top 16. The Eagles’ non-region schedule is paying dividends in the Power Rankings. Landmark Christian has five wins and Banks County, Jackson County and North Oconee are all AAA teams. The foursome has been worth 37 points thus far for Athens Christian.

– The 4-13 game is a rematch from last season’s playoffs. Landmark beat Aquinas, 28-21, in the quarterfinals last season at the Big A in Augusta.

– The 7-10 game is another rematch from earlier this season. George Walton dominated Holy Innocents, 45-14, back on Sept. 14.

– Like Athens Christian, Holy Innocents is benefiting from its non-region schedule. The Bears have picked up a whopping 53 points from its games against Lakeside-DeKalb and Riverwood, both from Class AAAAA, Wesleyan in AA and George Walton. This tends to indicate that playing teams from much higher classifications might be the way to go next season, if the Power Ranking rules remain the same.

Now, here are the match ups when you factor in region champions. For the sake of argument, here at Class A Blog headquarters we have determined the region champions to be Miller (Region 1), Wilcox (2), ECI (3), Marion (4), ELCA (5), Darlington (6), Lincoln (7) and Athens Academy (8).

PUBLIC

No. 1 Lincoln hosts No. 16 Claxton

No. 2 Wilcox hosts No. 15 Hancock Central

No. 3 ECI hosts No. 14 Clinch

No. 4 Marion hosts No. 13 Wilkinson

No. 5 Miller hosts No. 12 Greenville

No. 6 Dooly hosts No. 11Turner

No. 7 Charlton hosts No. 10 Commerce

No. 8 Irwin hosts No. 9 Gordon Lee

Point of interest:

– Only the 1-16 and 2-15 games remain the same as when the teams are seeded using the current Power Rankings, not factoring in region champs.

PRIVATE

No. 1 Athens Academy hosts No. 16 Mercy

No. 2 Darlington hosts No. 15 Athens Christian

No. 3 ELCA hosts No. 14 Mt. Pisgah

No. 4 PAC hosts No. 13 Landmark

No. 5 Aquinas hosts No. 12 Brookstone

No. 6 Savannah Christian hosts No. 11 Calvary Day

No. 7 Holy Innocents hosts No. 10 GWA

No. 8 FPD hosts No. 9 Walker

Point of interest:

– Half of the match ups change when region title winners are considered. The 3-14, 4-13, 5-12, and 6-11 games are different.

Of course all of this is subject to change, and will change over the course of the regular season’s final three weeks, which include region play-in games in some instances. No one will know for sure how everything breaks down until after the Georgia High School Association’s four-man Wildcard Selection Committee meets to calculate final Power Ranking totals and officially seeds all 32 teams. This should be interesting.

Best Games of Week 9

And now, a quick look at some of the best games on the board for Week 9:

No. 1 Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy (5-1, 2-0 in Region 5) at Our Lady of Mercy (4-3, 1-2). Mercy has lost two straight since claiming win No. 199 for head coach Mike Earwood three weeks ago. ELCA will look to take another step toward its third consecutive region title.

Marion County (5-1, 3-0 in Region 4) at Dooly County (5-1, 3-0). Marion is going after its third consecutive region crown, while Dooly looks to claim its first since 1999.

No. 9 Wilcox County (4-2, 2-1 in Region 2) at Clinch County (3-3, 1-1). One of these two teams will try to take command of the most unpredictable region in Class A.

No. 6 Aquinas (5-1, 1-1 in Region 7) at Wilkinson County (4-2, 3-0). The Irish will try to bounce back from their first loss of the season last week to No. 5 Lincoln County, while Wilkinson attempts to remain unbeaten in region play.

Jenkins County (4-2, 2-0) at Calvary Day (5-1, 1-1). Jenkins has won four straight while Calvary Day looks to recover from last week’s close loss to Savannah rival and defending state champion No. 7 Savannah Christian (21-20).

Gordon Lee (5-1, 2-0 in Region 6-Division A) at Darlington (4-2, 2-0). This game will, for all intents and purposes, decide the sub-region winner.

Commerce (4-3, 0-3 in Region 8 ) at No. 3 Athens Academy (6-0, 3-0). The Tigers are reeling after winning their first four games of the season. The Spartan’s 14 seniors will look to take another step toward an undefeated season and a region title.

21 comments Add your comment

moto

October 18th, 2012
9:11 am

S. Thomas — My guess is that you are pretty close on your projections after factoring in region champions. However, if George Walton wins Region 8 instead of Athens Academy, which I think will probably happen, then every team above GWA drops down one place and changes the matchups significantly. Factor in an upset or two and you may really shake things up. I’m like you — should be real interesting to see how all this plays out.

An interesting scenario

October 18th, 2012
9:42 am

I, too, believe Walton will win Region 8 as they should since they, along with Athens Christian, actively
recruit players from other schools to play for them.
Prince is a talented team that will be trouble for their playoff opponent. OLM, along with Aquinas are teams that will be heard from come playoff time, as well.

S. Thomas Coleman

October 18th, 2012
9:54 am

@moto: You most certainly might be right about George Walton winning Region 8. I gave the edge to Athens Academy because the game is in Athens, but I wouldn’t be surprised if GWA won and blew all of those projections to smitherines!

As it is, GWA is a VERY DANGEROUS 10 seed, although I think they will move up by the time the final ratings are determined.

Thanks for reading and posting, moto!

S. Thomas Coleman
s.thomascoleman@yahoo.com

S. Thomas Coleman

October 18th, 2012
9:58 am

@interesting: Careful with the “recruiting” accusations! If Athens Christian is as guilty as you say they are, why are they below .500? As for the rest of your comments, I agree in reference to Prince Avenue, Mercy and Aquinas being tough outs once the playoffs start.

As I said, all of this should be fun to watch develop.

Thanks for reading and for posting!

S. Thomas Coleman
s.thomascoleman@yahoo.com

GAHSFBFAN24

October 18th, 2012
10:07 am

We will see what OLM and ELCA have this Friday night when they play in Fayetteville. I think ELCA being a 6 seed by the points ranking is a crazy when they are ranked in every other poll as the #1 team. The good thing is that we get to play to games to determine the real champion. I just hope that the real top 16 make it in.

Swamp Lizard

October 18th, 2012
10:24 am

STC …. please tell me where you are getting these rankings from. I was looking at georgiaprepcountry.com ( Football Matrix ) …. which states …. The official GHSA ratings that will be used to seed the Public & Private playoffs. I agree with GAHSFBFAN24 that I didn’t see ELCA as the 6th best team right now in any power ratings.

S. Thomas Coleman

October 18th, 2012
11:37 am

@GHSFBFAN24: The Power Rankings and the polls really don’t have much to do with each other. There is a schematic that is followed to come up with the points for each team where the polls are about your record, who you’ve beaten and that “eye test.” I think we all know that ELCA is far better than the sixth best private team in Class A.

S. Thomas Coleman
s.thomascoleman@yahoo.com

Swamp Lizard

October 18th, 2012
7:13 pm

OK … STC pulled his information from GHSA website with rankings being accumilated with help from MaxPreps. IF this is the way GHSA is going to do the seeding with the Class A playoffs it is ASHAME !! I do not see how they are coming up with these at all. Maybe some mistake was made because these rankings are pitiful and is in no way to seed the best teams 1 – 16.
I’m just going to use the Private rankings and the Top 10 in those rankings … ELCA the #6 team on the Private side? That is a joke !! Holy Innocents #7 ??? …. do you know what the difference between #6 & #7 is ?? …… 42-3 !! …. 42-3 in the 3rd qtr …. 42-3 after calling the dogs off !! The 5 teams in front of ELCA in order … Athens Academy, Darlington, Prince Ave, Aquinas, & Sav Christian are dang good teams, but your telling me they are flat out better than ELCA without question? NO WAY !! Darlington #2 ??? Have they beat ANYONE that is close to a Top 10 team?
STC … I’m not talking polls or “Eye Candy” or MY opinion …. the bottom line is to rank these teams 1 -16 & give Region winners the Top 4 seeds. This great system GHSA has come up with is a JOKE !!

Swamp Lizard

October 18th, 2012
7:34 pm

STC … I do understand HOW they are coming up with the rankings … or I think I do … 10 points for a win, 2 points for every class up they play, 1 point for wins that team you play accumilate during the season & whatever else they ( GHSA ) are doing. Maybe you could give our readers an example / breakdown of #2 Darlington points totals / power ranking and # 6 ELCA point totals / power rankings and compair the two ….. I know I’d like to see it.

augustafballer

October 19th, 2012
6:13 am

Any hope for Aquinas making a big playoff run took a big blow this week due to injuries. I guess injuries are the biggest fear of any small Class A school because of the lack of depth. Aquinas has 8 quality players that play both ways that allow them to compete with quality teams. Two of them now appear to be out for the year. #1 Garnett, the speedy sophomore RB and shutdown defender who was instrumental in the defeat of GW, tore his meniscus against Lincoln Cty and one of the best off/def lineman is out for the year. A big blow for a small school (only 3 seniors on whole team) that lacks quality depth. It willbe hard to compete against Wilkinson without them.

bucket

October 19th, 2012
9:41 am

@ augustafballer – we feel your pain @ Prince because we have had some devastating departures and injuries this year as well. I agree with some of the above posters that the region champ in Region 8 is far from settled as there are 4 private schools (Athens Academy, George Walton, ACS, and Prince) that still have a shot at the title. I understand that the matchup scenarios are based on how things look right now, but they may look a lot different depending on which teams win their region and the ‘thrown together after the fact power ranking system’.

S. Thomas Coleman

October 19th, 2012
12:12 pm

@Swamp: I am BY NO MEANS a math wiz, but I think you may have a legitimate beef. Using the GHSA/MaxPreps.com schematic, I come up with a Power Ranking of 15.62 for ELCA and 14.77 for Darlington.

Since both of them played teams from out of state, maybe I didn’t factor those games correctly. The GHSA is using its enrollment scale to decide in which class an out-of-town school belongs. Briarwood Christian of Birmingham, which ELCA beat, is classified as a 5A school in Alabama, but I’m not sure about the school’s population. If the Georgia and Alabama population scales are the same, playing Briarwood would be worth 8 points (2 points for each classification higher than Class A) before all the other factors kick in (outcome of the game, number of wins Briarwood has divided by the number of games it has played, etc.).

In the case of Darlington’s loss to Christian Academy of Knoxville, that school is classified as 2A in Tennessee, so Darlington would get 2 points for playing them before all the other factors are considered. Again, I’m not sure how the Tennessee student population scale compares to the GHSA/Georgia scale.

For the record, I have ELCA getting 20.85 points right now for the Briarwood game, while I have Darlington getting 12 points for the Christian Academy game.

Bottom line: I have no idea how the GHSA/MaxPreps.com came up with the totals they have. I’ll shoot a quick email over to the MaxPreps.com Georgia representative to see if they can straighten me out. As the rules state, when the final numbers are tabulated, teams will have 24 hours to appeal/dispute/protest their Power Ranking if they feel it is not correct.

Thanks for reading and posting, as always!

S. Thomas Coleman
s.thomascoleman@yahoo.com

ant

October 19th, 2012
1:24 pm

how is miller county not ranked and they beat the #8 team

jad

October 19th, 2012
2:00 pm

I think the Miller County Pirates are going to make some noise come playoff time. However, the Seminole county game will be even more critical this year. We need the W there. Ant go to lincolncountyreddevils.com for a good explanation of the power ratings for class A.

S. Thomas Coleman

October 19th, 2012
2:20 pm

@augustafootballer: Sorry to hear that about the Wolverines. However, as long as Brendan Douglas is able to suit up, you guys have a chance to beat anyone. Good luck the rest of the way and thanks for reading and posting.

S. Thomas Coleman
s.thomascoleman@yahoo.com

S. Thomas Coleman

October 19th, 2012
2:22 pm

@ant: You’d need to check in with Todd Holcomb to ask why the Pirates are not ranked. Look for his post under “Poll Watch” on Sunday afternoon to see if he has them ranked next week.

Thanks for reading and posting.

S. Thomas Coleman
s.thomascoleman@yahoo.com

S. Thomas Coleman

October 19th, 2012
2:24 pm

@augustafootballer: Sorry, I meant the Irish not the Wolverines!

S. Thomas Coleman
s.thomascoleman@yahoo.com

Swamp Lizard

October 19th, 2012
11:19 pm

@ STC … Thanks for the reply and explaination. STC, I have some good friends at OLM and think a lot of their program … I mean nothing negative towards them about what I’m about to say …. BUT …

GHSA …. how can a team that just beat a PLAYOFF team …. that’s you have seeded #6 ….. 49-0 ?? Your syatem is no good! YOU need to seed these teams from 1 -16 as the best teams! OLM is a good team …. better than a #16 seed. If they don’t make the playoffs it’s because of your jacked up system! I seen that team go toe to toe with Landmark Christian ….. who you don’t have seeded right. Then you have ELCA as a #6 seed? Are we living in the dark ages? You have to come up with something better than this!

S. Thomas Coleman

October 20th, 2012
12:54 am

@Swamp: No need to apologize, Swamp. I think it’s pretty evident that ELCA is clearly the best team in Class A, public or private. The Chargers might be the best team in AA and AAA, as you know they gave Washington County (now 8-0) all it could handle in Week 1.

But this is the system we have. It’s based off of the one that’s been used for years in Louisiana, where they also split public and private schools. We’ll just have to wait and see how things play out, but I’m sure ELCA will rise above a 6 seed. Still, unless the Chargers are seeded No. 17, I don’t know if there’s a team that will make the tournament that can beat them.

Thanks for reading and posting!

S. Thomas Coleman
s.thomascoleman@yahoo.com

Swamp Lizard

October 20th, 2012
5:34 pm

STC … thanks for the reply. OLM shouldn’t have much trouble the next two games, just hope that’s enough to get them in the playoffs.
I think what’s hurting ELCA’s power ranking is that Clinch Co & Briarwood Christian are down this this year. I went to lincolncoreddevils.com and they do give a good take on how the power ranking is taken ( calculated ) … it’s rewarding to beat good teams, but if your like OLM … three losses by 12 points against very good teams, it hurts you in the long run.

Again Thanks for keeping us Class A fans in the loop !!

tom jones

October 23rd, 2012
9:40 am

lets go brookstone cougars. give them some love