AAAA playoff preview: Five facts from each first-round game

Each day this week, we’ll look at the playoff draw for one of the five classifications above Class A, continuing today with Class AAAA. Here are five interesting facts about each of the 16 games, with an emphasis on playoff history. Which of these first-round games is a rematch of a historic 1967 state final? Find out below.

Favorite: Sandy Creek

Best draw: Westside-Macon

Worst draw: Griffin

Sleeper: Cairo

Best first-round matchup: Stephens County at Carrollton

South Effingham (6-4) at Westside-Macon (9-1)

- South Effingham, which opened in 1996, has made the playoffs five previous times (2002-06) but never won a playoff game.

- Westside is in the playoffs for the 10th time, the third as a region champion. Westside also was region champion in 2002 and 2008.

- Westside is 10-3 at home in the playoffs and 9-0 at home in the first or second round.

- South Effingham is 20th in scoring offense (29.0) and 31st in scoring defense (20.5) against a schedule that is ranked 66th among 77 teams in Class AAAA. Westside is fifth in scoring (40.2) and 29th in scoring defense (19.9) against a schedule that is 30th.

- This is the first meeting between these schools.

Jonesboro (9-1) at Westover (7-3)

- Jonesboro head coach Timothy Floyd is a graduate of Westover. He and Westover coach Octavia Jones are graduates of Albany State.

- Jonesboro has won two playoff games in its history. The first was a 41-6 victory over Lincolnton in a Region 3-C final. The other was an 18-17 victory over Hephzibah in the 2008 first round.

- Westover has won six state championships in boys basketball, the most recent in 2001. Westover didn’t make its first state tournament in football until 2003. Its best finish was the Class AAA quarterfinals in 2007, when it lost to Chamblee 41-26.

- Jonesboro is 11th in scoring offense (33.7) and 23rd in scoring defense (17.9) against a schedule that is ranked 26th among 77 teams in Class AAAA. Westover is 42nd in scoring (23.3) and 39th in scoring defense (22.8) against a schedule that is 34th.

- Jonesboro defeated Westover 34-12 in a regular-season game this season in the only previous meeting between the schools.

Shaw (6-4) at Monroe Area (9-1)

- Monroe Area won its first region title (8-AAAA) since 1969 and second in history this season.

- Monroe Area coach Matt Fligg, in his seventh season, has led Monroe Area to its first state playoff victory (2010) and its only nine-win seasons (2010, 2012) since 1970. The school, originally Monroe High School before consolidation, played a football game as early as 1914, according to the Georgia High School Football Historians Association.

- Under first-year coach Kyle Adkins, Shaw has clinched its first winning season since 2007, when the school’s streak of 10-win seasons was snapped at nine.

- Shaw is 33rd in scoring offense (25.8) and 30th in scoring defense (20.3) against a schedule that is ranked 53rd among 77 teams in Class AAAA. Monroe Area is fourth in scoring (42.5) and seventh in scoring defense (14.6) against a schedule that is 32nd.

- This is the first meeting between these schools.

Grady (8-2) at River Ridge (5-5)

- Grady, opened in 1947, is the oldest public high school in the city of Atlanta. River Ridge, opened in 2009, is the youngest public high school in Cherokee County. The schools have never played in football. Grady’s 31-mile, 43-minute road trip will be the shortest in the AAAA first round, and the only one that is less than an hour.

- River Ridge got a home game in the playoffs as the No. 2 seed for winning its subregion of Region 7 with a 4-0 record. Newton in Class AAAAAA is the only other 5-5 team with a home game in the first round (pending the draw in Class A).

- River Ridge was 8-2 last season but played a non-region schedule and did not make the playoffs.

- Grady won a state title in Class AA in 1953 under coach Erk Russell but did not win another playoff game until 2004. Under coach Ronnie Millen, who arrived in 2001, Grady is 9-5 in the playoffs and reached the AA semifinals in 2005.

- Grady is 21st in scoring offense (28.5) and sixth in scoring defense (14.5) against a schedule that is ranked 40th among 77 teams in Class AAAA. River Ridge is 41st in scoring (23.9) and 62nd in scoring defense (30.2) against a schedule that is 10th.

Perry (6-4) at Burke County (9-1)

- Burke County won its first state title in 2011 in Class AAA. Waynesboro, a predecessor school, won a Class C title in 1957. Burke opened in 1987.

- Burke County coach Eric Parker is the only coach this century to take two schools to two semifinals. Burke made it in 2010 and 2011, and Laney made it in 2002 and 2004.

- Perry has made the playoffs eight of the past 10 seasons but advanced only twice (2005, 2007) and made one quarterfinals (2007).

- Perry is 32nd in scoring offense (26.0) and ninth in scoring defense (14.6) against a schedule that is ranked 21st among 77 teams in Class AAAA. Burke County is second in scoring (43.3) and 13th in scoring defense (15.2) against a schedule that is 65th.

- This is the first meeting between these schools.

Monroe (7-3) at Griffin (9-1)

- This is Monroe’s seventh playoff appearance in 10 seasons. Monroe has advanced three times, but never past the second round.

- Griffin is 44-33-1 all-time in the postseason with a state championship in 1978.

- Griffin has won seven of its last eight first-round playoff games and is 11-2 at home in the state playoffs since 1980.

- Monroe is 28th in scoring offense (26.9) and 16th in scoring defense (16.1) against a schedule that is ranked 68th among 77 teams in Class AAAA. Griffin is eighth in scoring (37.3) and eighth in scoring defense (14.6) against a schedule that is sixth.

- This is the first meeting between these schools, although Griffin does have a history with Albany in football. Griffin played Albany High in Class B state championship games in 1942 and 1943, with each school winning once. That was before the GHSA ran statewide playoffs.

Eastside (7-3) at Sandy Creek (10-0)

- Eastside, which opened in 1996, is in the playoffs for the seventh time. Eastside is 7-6 all-time in the postseason and made the Class AAA semifinals in 2009.

- Sandy Creek enters the playoffs with a 10-0 record for the fifth consecutive season. This is the second time that Sandy Creek has entered the playoffs ranked No. 1. The other was in 2011, when Sandy Creek lost to Gainesville in the Class AAA quarterfinals.

- Sandy Creek has won 14 of its last 17 playoff games after winning only two of its first nine. Sandy Creek has won eight straight home playoff games.

- Eastside is 12th in scoring offense (33.2) and 24th in scoring defense (18.2) against a schedule that is ranked 61st among 77 teams in Class AAAA. Sandy Creek is first in scoring (45.9) and third in scoring defense (9.6) against a schedule that is 41st.

- Sandy Creek defeated Eastside 13-10 in 2011 and 30-10 in 2010 when the two schools were members of the same region. In the 2011 game, Sandy Creek nearly lost its 33-game winning streak (which made it to 41).

Dalton (7-3) at Carver-Atlanta (9-1)

- Dalton and Carver played in the 1967 Class AA championship game, with Dalton winning 14-12 for its only state title. The game, played at Grady Stadium in Atlanta, was historic in that all-black schools joined the GHSA for the first time in 1966. Carver was the first former Georgia Interscholastic Association school to reach a championship game in the GHSA.

- Carver didn’t win a state playoff game from 1967 until 2007, when the school reached the Class AAA quarterfinals. Carver did win a region championship game in 1986.

- Carver coach Darren Myles is 48-32 in eight seasons. Carver was 6-69 in the eight previous seasons.

- Dalton is seeking its first playoff victory since 2005, when the team made the Class AAAA quarterfinals. That’s the longest drought of its kind for Dalton since the school won its first playoff game in 1964.

- Dalton is 27th in scoring offense (27.4) and 38th in scoring defense (22.8) against a schedule that is ranked 36th among 77 teams in Class AAAA. Carver is 15th in scoring (31.5) and 27th in scoring defense (18.8) against a schedule that is 45th.

Riverdale (7-3) at Cairo (8-2)

- This is the first meeting between these schools. The four-hour, 207-mile trip to Cairo by Riverdale will be the longest in the Class AAAA first round.

- Riverdale is seeking its first playoff victory since 2001, when the Raiders upset Camden County in the first round. Riverdale’s best finish is the Class AAA semifinals in 1998.

- Cairo has won eight consecutive playoff games at home. Cairo is 12-2 in the first round since the GHSA expanded the playoffs to 32 teams in 1996.

- Cairo is 42-25 all-time in the postseason and won state championships in 1990 and 2008.

- Riverdale is 47th in scoring offense (22.0) and 26th in scoring defense (18.5) against a schedule that is ranked seventh among 77 teams in Class AAAA. Cairo is 19th in scoring (30.7) and fourth in scoring defense (13.2) against a schedule that is 47th.

Statesboro (8-2) at Mary Persons (8-2)

- Statesboro beat Mary Persons 41-14 in the Region 2-AA championship game of 1970 in the only previous meeting between the schools. The region had 16 teams in it, and they were split into nine- and seven-team subregions. Statesboro and Mary Persons are 150 miles apart.

- Statesboro is 44-29-1 all-time in postseason games. Statesboro has won five state championships, most recently in 2005.

- Mary Persons is 51-38 and won its only state championship in 1980.

- Mary Persons is playing its first home playoff game since 2003. Mary Persons has played its last eight playoff games on the road, winning twice. Mary Persons has not lost a playoff game at Dan Pitts Stadium since 1997, Dan Pitts’ final season as head coach. Mary Persons is 17-4 in playoff games at home over the past 25 years.

- Statesboro is 23rd in scoring offense (28.1) and fifth in scoring defense (14.1) against a schedule that is ranked 64th among 77 teams in Class AAAA. Mary Persons is 30th in scoring (26.8) and 12th in scoring defense (15.1) against a schedule that is 25th.

Washington (8-2) at Ridgeland (9-1)

- Washington is in the playoffs for the first time since 2008. Washington’s last playoff victory came in 2004, when the school reached the Class AAAA quarterfinals.

- Ridgeland is 2-10 all-time in the postseason. One of its victories came against Carver of Atlanta in 2008. Washington will be the second Atlanta school to play at Ridgeland.

- Washington coach Rodney Hackney has taken four schools to the playoffs in the past 10 seasons. The others are North Clayton, Mays and Riverdale.

- Washington is 13th in scoring offense (33.2) and 28th in scoring defense (19,5) against a schedule that is ranked 50th among 77 teams in Class AAAA. Ridgeland is third in scoring (43.2) and 14th in scoring defense (15.4) against a schedule that is 51st.

- This is the first meeting between these schools.

LaGrange (5-5) at Chestatee (8-2)

- This will be Chastatee’s first home playoff game. Chestatee, which opened in 2002 in Hall County, has played two previous playoff games and lost to Stephens County and Cartersville in 2005 and 2006.

- LaGrange is 54-28-1 in the postseason since 1948, when the GHSA began running statewide playoffs in all classes. LaGrange has won six state titles in that time and been runner-up three times.

- LaGrange needs a victory to avoid a third consecutive losing season, which would be a first since World War II.

- LaGrange is 16th in scoring offense (31.1) and 57th in scoring defense (28.1) against a schedule that is ranked 15th among 77 teams in Class AAAA. Chestatee is seventh in scoring (38.4) and 44th in scoring defense (25.0) against a schedule that is 69th.

- This is the first meeting between these schools. This will be the first team from south of metro Atlanta that Chestatee has played.

Worth County (4-6) at Stockbridge (9-1)

- Stockbridge has made the state playoffs for the third consecutive season. Stockbridge had never made the state playoffs until 2010. The Henry County school opened in 1964.

- Stockbridge has played only two playoff teams, the fewest of any team in the AAAA except Gilmer (0-2). But both of Stockbridge’s playoff opponents are ranked. Stockbridge beat Griffin 17-14 and lost to AAAAA M.L. King 23-0.

- Worth County lost eight of its last nine playoff games, all on the road. Worth hasn’t played a home playoff game since 1999.

- Worth County is 62nd in scoring offense (14.8) and 49th in scoring defense (26.2) against a schedule that is ranked 43rd among 77 teams in Class AAAA. Stockbridge is 37th in scoring (25.3) and second in scoring defense (9.5) against a schedule that is 11th.

- This is the first meeting between these schools. The road trip will be three hours for Worth. Only Riverdale to Cairo among AAAA first-round games will take longer.

Baldwin (6-4) at Wayne County (5-4-1)

- This will be Wayne County’s first playoff game at home since 1993, when it lost to Thomasville in the Class AAA quarterfinals.

- Baldwin has lost six of its last seven road playoff games, the only win coming in 2006 against Americus-Sumter.

- Wayne County won the Class AA championship in 1959. Baldwin has made the semifinals twice (1963, 2005) but never played for a state title. Baldwin is 6-2 in the first round over the past 10 years.

- Baldwin is 26th in scoring offense (27.5) and 33rd in scoring defense (20.9) against a schedule that is ranked fourth among 77 teams in Class AAAA. Wayne County is 29th in scoring (26.9) and 37th in scoring defense (22.6) against a schedule that is 19th.

- Baldwin beat Wayne County 33-0 in 2004 and 17-10 in 2005 when the two were members of Region 2-AAAA. The schools are about a three-hour drive apart.

Gilmer (8-2) at Marist (9-1)

- Marist has won 75 playoff games since 1978. So has Valdosta. Only Lincoln County with 105 has more in that time.

- Marist’s 28-game winning streak in home games was ended with last season’s first-round loss to Kell. Marist is 46-3 in home playoff games under coach Alan Chadwick.

- Gilmer has won four postseason games in its history but only one state playoff game, a victory over Crim in 1999. This is Gilmer’s second playoff game since then. Gilmer lost to Grady in the 2011 first round.

- Gilmer is 10th in scoring offense (34.4) and 19th in scoring defense (16.9) against a schedule that is ranked 59th among 77 teams in Class AAAA. Marist is 14th in scoring (33.0) and first in scoring defense (8.6) against a schedule that is 16th.

- This is the first meeting between these schools.

Stephens County (8-2) at Carrollton (7-3)

- Carrollton has won 81 postseason games, more than any other school in the AAAA playoffs.

- Carrollton has made the playoffs 24 consecutive seasons, including all 16 since the GHSA expanded the playoffs to 32 teams. Stephens County has made the playoffs in 15 of those 16 seasons, missing only in 2009.

- Stephens County is 1-14 on the road in the postseason since 1989.

- Stephens County is ninth in scoring offense (36.0) and 10th in scoring defense (14.7) against a schedule that is ranked 70th among 77 teams in Class AAAA. Carrollton is sixth in scoring (39.0) and 15th in scoring defense (16.1) against a schedule that is 31st.

- Carrollton beat Stephens County in early rounds of the 2006 and 2010 playoffs. Stephens County beat Carrollton 7-6 in the 1992 first round.

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20 comments Add your comment

BearsFan4Life

November 14th, 2012
9:24 am

1st!!! Go Burke Co Bears

FranchiseMe

November 14th, 2012
10:13 am

A lot of good teams going against each other this year. Some hard picks. This year will be a war in AAAA. It may come down to Burke-Sandy Creek in semis and Marist, Cairo will be in the mix. Can’t wait.

ALL TUCKERRED UP

November 14th, 2012
10:14 am

GOOD LUCK TO MARIST & CHEER THEM ON WAR EAGLE!!!!!!!

Carver Panther 1

November 14th, 2012
10:35 am

Let’s go Panthers!!!!

Bear_Backer

November 14th, 2012
11:16 am

Everybody keep overlooking the REAL Bears from Griffin. They know how to take care of business.

NSC baller

November 14th, 2012
12:17 pm

carver need go to the run and no passing this week. Just use #29 & #24 to get the job done. Lets go panther!!!!

tavaris

November 14th, 2012
12:18 pm

@ Bear_Backer they just know something you dont know. That Burke Co are the REAL BEARS!

NSC baller

November 14th, 2012
12:24 pm

Carver need to go to the run and use the strong running from #29 &24. Let’s go panther!!!

#purpnation

November 14th, 2012
1:28 pm

Excited to watch Gilmer this weekend. Go Bobcat’s!!!!!!!! Let’s play old fashioned, hard hitting, smash mouth ball this weekend.

WarEagle

November 14th, 2012
1:36 pm

“old fashioned, hard hitting, smash mouth ball”: Sounds like the Marist game plan every week — looking forward to it!

NYCDAWGFAN

November 14th, 2012
1:43 pm

@Bear_Backer… You can’t be considered “the real bears” when Burke County is a defending champion… Kiss the ring!!

Red and Black til Death

The Present

November 14th, 2012
3:44 pm

@NYCDAWGFAN — There is no 4A defending champion in the 4A field this year. Sorry, we don’t care about what happened in 3A last year.

Hondo17

November 14th, 2012
4:15 pm

the real Bears are from Campbell of Fairburn!!! oh wait that school closed in 1989. It was combined with Palmetto and is now Creekside (home of the great Eric Berry).

Max Sizemore

November 14th, 2012
7:46 pm

Todd, you say that Chestatee opened in 2002, but I have a friend who played basketball for Pace Academy in the mid-60s — just after it had opened — and he says he played against a Chestatee team in NE Ga. Maybe 2002 is when that school began playing football.

WarEagle

November 14th, 2012
8:45 pm

@Max — 2002 opening appears to be correct: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chestatee_High_School

Football Fan 2

November 14th, 2012
10:52 pm

Good luck to Region 6AAAA this weekend: Marist, Carver-Atlanta, Grady, and Washington! Safe travels and stay healthy! Will be cheering for you throughout the playoffs!!!

Bear_Backer

November 14th, 2012
11:01 pm

Griffin were the Bears when Waynesboro was still the Purple Hurricanes….dont tell me about it, I was Born in Waynesboro, then moved to Griffin to get a REAL high school education, while playing for those Mighty Golden Bears prior to going on to college….Mercer Bears, Ironically.. Folks from the Grip bow down to NO ONE..Your little Triple A ring means nothing to us, but I am sure y’all are real proud of it. I do have something you can kiss though.

itsonlywrite

November 15th, 2012
9:33 am

@Max Sizemore I can reassure you Chestatee wasnt around in the 60s… there weren’t that many high schools in Gainesville at that time…

Gaboy

November 15th, 2012
11:48 am

No one on this list is a match offensively or defensively for SANDY CREEK they will steamroll their way to the dome en route to a 3rd title in 4YEARS!!! # GOCREEK!!!

bigdawg

November 17th, 2012
8:56 pm

U really think so creek. bear for life