Jeff Haws’ Top 10 List

As we stood transfixed, scared to death of Tiger Stadium at night on Saturday during the Alabama-LSU game, we couldn’t help but hearken back to the past at The List HQ.

See, five years ago, we took a look around the state at which teams have the most frightening home stadium, where they suddenly change from a good team to basically unbeatable over the previous 10 years.

Back in 2007, Marist was on top of the heap, winning 95 percent at home while not even eking out 75 percent on the road. So we were curious, how have the subsequent five years changed things? Who has the most LSU-like homefield advantage in the state?

With tireless research, we have the numbers. The teams are ranked based upon the biggest difference between their home and road winning percentages since 2003. Here are the top 10.

10. Warner Robins (McConnell-Talbert Stadium)

They play in what’s generally considered one of the toughest places for visitors to play in the state, and they certainly take advantage of it. It may not be their home alone, but they treat it like it feels that way.

Road winning percentage: .574

Home winning percentage .707

9. Marist (Hughes-Spalding Stadium)

They didn’t top the list like they did in 2007, but the Eagles are still a nightmare to play on their home field. There doesn’t seem to be anything particularly scary about the place … well, except for the way Marist plays there. The Eagles have been very good wherever they’ve played, but they’re always tougher on campus.

Road winning percentage: .759

Home winning percentage: .892

8. Jefferson (Memorial Stadium)

This stadium just hit its 50th anniversary, and there’s clearly some magic here for the Dragons. It’s not a new place, and it’s not the fanciest setup, but it appears to do its job. Jefferson has been a solid team wherever it’s played, but there’s a definite difference on the home field.

Road winning percentage: .632

Home winning percentage: .780

7. Jackson (Red Devil Hill)

One of just three teams to make both the 2007 and 2012 lists, the Red Devils must have something going on at Red Devil Hill, as they move up from No. 10 five years ago. At the time, they were in the middle of the best 10-year stretch in school history. The past 10 years haven’t been quite as kind, but they’re still devils at home.

Road winning percentage: .620

Home winning percentage: .770

6. Woodward Academy (Colquitt Stadium)

They have one of the nicest campuses in the state, and the stadium is right in the middle of it. If anyone thinks a private school won’t be as tough at home, Woodward shows there’s nothing soft about going in to Colquitt. The Eagles are only a little over .500 on the road, but they’re a handful in their own place.

Road winning percentage: .571

Home winning percentage: .722

5. Walton (Raider Valley)

As Cobb County continues to seek that first state title in more than 40 years, this Walton program is one of the best hopes of getting that done. Even more so with their success at home, where they’re unquestionably one of the best in the state.

Road winning percentage: .672

Home winning percentage: .845

4. Fitzgerald (Jaycee Stadium)

Can anyone tell us what makes Fitzgerald so good at home? Don’t get us wrong. It’s a nice facility, with a field house on one end. But what accounts for winning a staggering 91 percent of their games there? The Purple Hurricanes are pretty good wherever they play, but this is one that’s wild.

Road winning percentage: .733

Home winning percentage: .910

3. Hillgrove (Cobb Energy Hillgrove Stadium)

OK, yeah, they don’t have an entire 10 years to go on. But quite a start, eh? They’ve settled into their home stadium rather quickly and made it into a true advantage already. The Hawks have won a lot of games in a short time, but they’ve done lots more damage at home than elsewhere.

Road winning percentage: .676

Home winning percentage: .862

2. Rome (Barron Stadium)

We’re nearly at the top, and Barron Stadium is obviously one of the most difficult places to come into and win in the state. Rome is a proud program that hasn’t been quite as good as they’d like recently. But the Wolves have only been under .500 at home once in the past 10 years.

Road winning percentage: .646

Home winning percentage: .833

1. Commerce (Tiger Field at Ray Lamb Stadium)

Who saw this coming? Under Steve Savage and Marvin Justice, the Tigers haven’t even really been all that good the past 10 years. But if you’re going to line up against them, you definitely want them away from home, where they’re well under .500, while they somehow become a 70-plus percent juggernaut in their home stadium. They moved up from No. 6 in 2007, so this is no fluke. Maybe it’s the fabled “Run down the hill.” Maybe it’s that the population of Commerce doubles every Friday night. We don’t get it, but we still kind of love it.

Road winning percentage: .448

Home winning percentage: .702

And now, we want to know what you think. What makes these stadiums special? Does anyone ever win at Jaycee Stadium? What in the world is making Commerce so much better at home? Let us know in the comments here or on Twitter at @ajcprepsports.

11 comments Add your comment

WarEagle

November 7th, 2012
11:03 am

Marist is the War Eagles; not just the “Eagles”. This is not Philadelphia!

Bill

November 7th, 2012
11:03 am

According to the GHSFHA Web site Fitzgerald’s home winning percentage is 66%.

Jeff Haws

November 7th, 2012
11:18 am

Bill – That’s all time. I’m looking at only the past 10 years.

BullDawg Rick

November 7th, 2012
12:40 pm

How can Buford not be on this list??

Have lost one (1) home regular season game in 12 years (Gainesville this year)

Have an overall record of 72-3 since ‘07 (77-6 if including this season)

Buford has won EVERYWHERE they play!!

Jeff Haws

November 7th, 2012
12:43 pm

BullDawg Rick – You answered your own question when you said “Buford has won EVERYWHERE they play!!” That’s the point. These are the 10 teams that have the largest positive difference between their home record and away record over the past 10 years. The idea behind that is that these teams seem to get the biggest bump from playing on their home turf; they’re not just teams that are simply going to beat you no matter where you play them. As you said, Buford has won everywhere. This isn’t a list of the 10 best programs of the past decade (though that could be another potential topic to explore). If it were, Buford would be on it.

THE "CANNON RULES"!!

November 7th, 2012
3:35 pm

Hello Jeff…

So I guess that’s why EAST PAULDING and “THE BONEYARD” isn’t on your list!!!

TICK…TICK…TICK…BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM!!!
GO RAIDERS!!!

John

November 7th, 2012
3:47 pm

McConnell-Talbert simply has an intimidating atmosphere. Hughes-Spalding at Marist is an old stadium where ghosts seem to come out of nowhere to help Marist make big plays. There is nowhere for visiting fans to sit at Hillgrove and this gives the home team a big advantage. Barron Stadium doesn’t have intimidating crowds but has certain traditions that definitely let a visiting team know they are on the road when they go up there.

Jacketaxe

November 7th, 2012
6:55 pm

winning on the road and the difference between winning at home made this writing dumber. winning at home should be the list, end of story.

Monroe's First Redcoat

November 8th, 2012
1:29 am

I’ve covered playoff games at McConnell-Talbert, and it is a special place indeed. But I have to agree that Buford HAS to be in there somewhere, and so should Lincoln County’s home field. Covered a quarterfinal game there a couple of years ago. Classic small-town feel, and they fed us like KINGS in the pressbox, with home-made goodies, no less. They even set me up with a laptop when mine went down. GREAT place, but a loooong drive to the middle of nowhere in east Georgia….

Jefferson

November 8th, 2012
11:55 am

Calhoun has not lost at home a couple/3 times in 12 years. They have lost more games in the dome than home in the last 4 years.

Todd Holcomb

November 8th, 2012
2:32 pm

Good stuff, Jeff.

Maybe the reason that Hillgrove is so good at home is because they don’t have visitors stands. There is literally no back for road teams. :) Hillgrove is getting that fixed as we speak, btw. The Hillgrove-McEachern game Friday is at McEachern, even though Hillgrove technically is the home team.