Each day this week, we have been looking at the playoff draw for one of the five classifications above Class A, concluding today with Class AA. Here are five interesting facts about each of the 16 games, with an emphasis on playoff history.
Best draw: Jefferson
Worst draw: Calhoun
Sleeper: Greater Atlanta Christian
Best first-round matchup: Cook at Lamar County
Westside-Augusta (5-5) at Vidalia (10-0)
- Vidalia is 10-0 or the third time in the past 10 seasons. The others came in 2003 and 2004, when the team reached the quarterfinals.
- Westside has lost its last four games, all in Region 3-AA, but beat Dublin head-to-head to get the tiebreaker for the No. 4 seed.
- Vidalia is 38-30 all-time in the playoffs and won the Class B championship in 1969. Westside has one playoff victory in the past 20 seasons, a 34-3 win over Appling County in 2002.
- Westside is 39th in scoring offense (20.5) and 36th in scoring defense (24.4) against a schedule that is ranked 56th among 62 teams in Class AA. Vidalia is 14th in scoring (31.6) and third in scoring defense (8.9) against a schedule that is 19th.
- This is the first meeting between these schools, which are 104 miles apart.
Northeast (8-2) at Fitzgerald (8-2)
- Fitzgerald has made the playoffs each season since 2000 and is 9-2 in those first-round games.
- Northeast has won three playoff games in its history, most recently in 2002, and never advanced past the second round.
- Seven of Fitzgerald’s 10 opponents are in the playoffs, including those that beat Fitzgerald (Brooks County, Monroe). Northeast played only three playoff teams and was 1-2 against them.
- Fitzgerald has beaten Northeast in the playoffs twice – 31-6 in 2003 and 36-22 in 2001.
- Northeast is 21st in scoring offense (28.8) and fourth in scoring defense (10.3) against a schedule that is ranked 40th among 62 teams in Class AA. Fitzgerald is 17th in scoring (29.8) and 13th in scoring defense (14.0) against a schedule that is fourth.
Kendrick (5-5) at Jefferson (9-1)
- This is Kendrick’s first playoff game since 1999 and first five-win season since 2001. Kendrick’s most recent playoff victory came in 1995, an upset of defending champion Thomas County Central. Kendrick won a Class AAA title in 1991.
- Jefferson has made the playoffs 14 of the past 25 seasons but not advanced past the second round.
- Jefferson has won nine consecutive games since an opening loss to Commerce and went 5-1 against playoff teams. Kendrick was 0-4 against playoff teams.
- Kendrick is 40th in scoring offense (19.6) and 27th in scoring defense (19.9) against a schedule that is ranked 30th among 62 teams in Class AA. Jefferson is fourth in scoring (37.7) and fifth in scoring defense (10.6) against a schedule that is 47th.
- This is the first meeting between these schools, which are 169 miles apart.
Westminster (4-6) at Pepperell (6-4)
- Westminster has made the playoffs for the sixth consecutive season. In each of the past five, Westminster won in the first round and lost in the second.
- Westminster has a losing record in the regular season for the first time since 2005. All six losses have come to playoff teams that have been ranked this season. Westminster is 2-6 against playoff teams. Pepperell is 2-2.
- Pepperell has lost in the first round of the AA playoffs each of the past three seasons after making the quarterfinals in 2007 and 2008.
- Westminster is 46h in scoring offense (16.3) and 22nd in scoring defense (18.8) against a schedule that is ranked second among 62 teams in Class AA. Pepperell is 26th in scoring (24.6) and 19th in scoring defense (17.2) against a schedule that is 37th.
- Westminster’s 64-mile trip to Pepperell near Rome is the shortest trip in the AA first round. It should take one hour, 21 minutes, according to Google Maps.
Bacon County (6-4) at Screven County (9-1)
- Bacon County is seeking its first playoff victory since 1991 (vs. Waycross). That was a region playoff game. Bacon’s official record in the state playoffs is 0-4.
- Screven County is in the playoffs for only the fourth time since its Class AAA championship in 2002.
- Bacon County won a mini-game against Toombs County on Monday to qualify for the playoffs and to break a three-way tie for third place in Region 2-AA. Per GHSA rules, teams involved in mini-games are allowed to play their first-round playoff game on Saturday.
- Screven County was 2-0 against Bacon County when the two schools shared Region 2-AA in 1996-97. The schools are 107 miles apart.
- Bacon County is 31st in scoring offense (23.3) and 16th in scoring defense (15.8) against a schedule that is ranked 17th among 62 teams in Class AA. Screven County is sixth in scoring (36.9) and 23rd in scoring defense (19.1) against a schedule that is 48th.
Early County (7-3) at Bleckley County (8-2)
- Bleckley is 2-11 all-time in the playoffs, with both victories coming during a 2006 run to the Class AA quarterfinals.
- This is Early County’s first trip to the playoffs since 2007. That marks the longest playoff drought since the 1960s for a school that has reached Class AA championship games in 1977, 1998 and 2001.
- Early County beat Bleckley County 23-9 in a Region 1-AA semifinal in 1984. That was the only time that these schools have played.
- Bleckley County’s Tracy White is one of nine first-year head coaches in the AA playoffs. He is one of six in the AA playoffs coaching at his alma mater. The only other one to return to his alma mater this year and take his team to the playoffs is Lee Shaw of Rabun County.
- Early County is 25th in scoring offense (25.8) and 21st in scoring defense (18.0) against a schedule that is ranked 11th among 62 teams in Class AA. Bleckley County is 11th in scoring (33.5) and 10th in scoring defense (12.7) against a schedule that is 28th.
Rabun County (6-4) at Heard County (10-0)
- Rabun County has clinched its first winning season since 2000 and first playoff appearance since 1998 under first-year coach Lee Shaw, a Rabun County alumnus.
- Rabun was a frequent playoff participant before that but rarely successful. Rabun lost 16 consecutive playoff games from 1960 to 1998.
- Heard County, which began varsity football in 1972, is 10-0 for the second time. The other came in 2006. Heard has lost five consecutive first-round games since.
- Rabun County’s trip to Heard County will be one of two first-round destinations that requires more than three hours. The other is Bowdon at Washington-Wilkes.
- Rabun County is 19th in scoring offense (29.3) and 34th in scoring defense (23.4) against a schedule that is ranked 61st among 62 teams in Class AA. Heard County is second in scoring (44.7) and 29th in scoring defense (20.8) against a schedule that is 51st.
Model (6-4) at Greater Atlanta Christian (7-3)
- GAC has made the playoffs 17 of the past 20 seasons, although it did miss last season despite an 8-2 record.
- Model was 1-9 in 2011 but 6-4 under new coach Gordon Powers and has clinched its first winning season since 1999. This is the school’s second winning season in 30 years.
- Model won a state championship in 1979. GAC’s best finish is the Class AA final in 2002.
- GAC and Model were 1-1 in games played against each other in 1994 and ’95.
- Model is 32nd in scoring offense (22.9) and 18th in scoring defense (16.1) against a schedule that is ranked 55th among 62 teams in Class AA. GAC is 12th in scoring (32.9) and 30th in scoring defense (20.9) against a schedule that is eighth.
Macon County (4-6) at Brooks County (10-0)
- Brooks County is 5-0 against playoff teams. Macon County is 0-5.
- Brooks County is 5-1 in the series with Macon County but lost their most recent meeting 9-7 in 2005 in the Class AA second round. That’s the last road playoff victory for Macon County. The schools are 120 miles apart.
- This is Macon County’s first playoff appearance since 2008, the longest drought since the 1980s.
- Brooks County is ranked No. 2 and is seeded to face No. 1 Calhoun in the quarterfinals.
- Macon County is 29th in scoring offense (23.9) and 35th in scoring defense (24.1) against a schedule that is ranked 22nd among 62 teams in Class AA. Brooks County is seventh in scoring (35.3) and 11th in scoring defense (13.6) against a schedule that is fifth.
East Laurens (6-4) at McIntosh County Academy (8-2)
- East Laurens has clinched its first winning season since 2003 under third-year coach Gary Morton.
- McIntosh County Academy has won eight consecutive games since an 0-2 start.
- East Laurens is 3-9 all-time in the playoffs and has not advanced past the second round. MCA is 8-13 and made the Class A semifinals in 2000.
- East Laurens is 16th in scoring offense (30.8) and 17th in scoring defense (16.1) against a schedule that is ranked 38th among 62 teams in Class AA. McIntosh County Academy is 18th in scoring (29.8) and 14th in scoring defense (14.7) against a schedule that is 14th.
- This is the first meeting between these schools, which are 159 miles apart.
Wesleyan (4-6) at Calhoun (10-0)
- Calhoun and Wesleyan have the most recent state championships of any AA playoff teams. Calhoun won in 2011. Wesleyan won in 2008.
- Calhoun is 10-0 for the sixth time since 2002, but this marks only the second time that Calhoun will enter the playoffs ranked No. 1. The other was 2009. Calhoun won Class AA in 2011. Calhoun is seeded to face No. 2 Brooks County in the quarterfinals.
- Calhoun is 2-1 against Wesleyan all-time, winning playoff games in 2004 and 2006 and losing one in 2003.
- No AA team has more victories over playoff teams than Calhoun (6-0) or more losses against playoff teams than Wesleyan (1-6).
- Wesleyan is 33rd in scoring offense (22.0) and 39th in scoring defense (26.8) against a schedule that is ranked seventh among 62 teams in Class AA. Calhoun is first in scoring (47.9) and 15th in scoring defense (15.2) against a schedule that is 39th.
Bowdon (8-2) at Washington-Wilkes (9-1)
- Bowdon has made the postseason in 23 of the past 25 seasons, winning a Class A title in 1992 and finishing runner-up in 1989 and 2001.
- Washington-Wilkes has made the postseason 23 of the past 25 seasons, reaching state finals in 1988, 1995, 2000 and 2005.
- Bowdon beat Washington-Wilkes 49-35 in the 2009 Class A first round. Washington-Wilkes beat Bowdon 18-14 in the 2005 Class A semifinals.
- Bowdon’s 172-mile trip to Washington-Wilkes will be the longest of any AA first-round game. The drive is 3 hours, 23 minutes, according to Google Maps.
- Bowdon is eighth in scoring offense (34.4) and 20th in scoring defense (17.8) against a schedule that is ranked 49th among 62 teams in Class AA. Washington-Wilkes is third in scoring (39.1) and first in scoring defense (7.0) against a schedule that is 60th.
Cook (7-3) at Lamar County (9-0-1)
- Lamar County is 9-0 since a 3-3 tie in its opening game, which was the debut of former Tucker coach Franklin Stephens. Lamar County is 19-0-1 the past two years in the regular season.
- Lamar’s best state finishes are the quarterfinals in 2000 and 2011.
- Cook has won 10 road playoff games since 2000. Only Lovett, also with 10, can match that record. Four of Cook’s road wins have come in the first round.
- Cook beat Lamar County 27-26 in the 2000 Class AA quarterfinals in the only prior meeting between these schools.
- Cook is 15th in scoring offense (30.9) and 12th in scoring defense (14.0) against a schedule that is ranked 13th among 62 teams in Class AA. Lamar County is fifth in scoring (37.2) and second in scoring defense (7.4) against a schedule that is 27th.
Benedictine (7-3) at Laney (7-3)
- Benedictine has clinched its first winning season since 2007 and second in the past 10 seasons.
- Laney has won nine consecutive home playoff games. The last loss came in 1990.
- Benedictine won a mini-game over Toombs County on Monday to qualify for the playoffs and to break a three-way tie for third place in Region 2-AA.
- Benedictine is 22nd in scoring offense (28.1) and sixth in scoring defense (10.9) against a schedule that is ranked 18th among 62 teams in Class AA. Laney is ninth in scoring (34.2) and eighth in scoring defense (11.5) against a schedule that is 50th.
- Laney coach Lemuel Lackey and Benedictine coach Danny Britt are graduates of Georgia Southern. This is the first football game between them or their teams.
Coosa (4-6) at Lovett (6-4)
- This will be Lovett’s first home playoff game since 2009. Lovett is 26-5 in home playoff games since 1987.
- Lovett is 5-4 against playoff teams this season. Coosa is 0-5.
- Coosa won state titles in 1961 and 1969 but is 2-9 in the postseason since, with both wins coming during a 2004 run to the Clas AA quarterfinals.
- Lovett beat Coosa 14-7 in the Class B semifinals in 1964 in a game played at St. Pius. That is the only other time that these schools have met.
- Coosa is 49th in scoring offense (15.0) and 32nd in scoring defense (21.2) against a schedule that is ranked 41st among 62 teams in Class AA. Lovett is 41st in scoring (19.4) and 25th in scoring defense (19.2) against a schedule that is first.
Greene County (4-6) at Manchester (8-2)
- Greene County is looking for its first playoff victory since 2006, when Josh Nesbitt was the team’s quarterback. Greene County’s first-year head coach is Robert Edwards, the former Georgia and NFL star.
- Manchester is seeking to have its first nine-win season and playoff victory since 2006.
- Manchester’s Greg Oglesby (128-58-2) became the school’s all-time leader in coaching victories this season. He passed Juby Shiver (121-39), who coached the school from 1980 to 1993.Oglesby is a Manchester graduate who played for Shiver and won the school’s first state title in 1997.
- Greene County is 28th in scoring offense (24.2) and 48th in scoring defense (31.1) against a schedule that is ranked 52nd among 62 teams in Class AA. Manchester is 13th in scoring (31.8) and seventh in scoring defense (11.1) against a schedule that is 54th.
- This is the first meeting between these schools, which are 119 miles apart.
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