Things to watch: Good, better, best

Now that the wheat has been separated from the chaff, the real business of the state football playoffs can begin. Each one of the eight region champions survived the first round and only two of the No. 2 seeds were picked off. None of the state’s ranked teams were beaten on the first week.

That leaves this week’s schedule with some outstanding football games. Here’s how they rank in order of quality.

The best games

No. 3 Buford (10-1 on the field, 8-3) at No. 8 North Oconee (10-1): North Oconee has the sort of versatile attack that could challenge Buford’s defense. Kawon Bryant is an exceptional running back and Nick Colvin does a lot of different things at quarterback. But Colvin hurt his shoulder last week against Ringgold and may not play. If he can’t go, North Oconee’s chances diminish considerably. The big challenge is for the North Oconee defense, as Buford has scored 41 or more points in eight of its last nine games. Prediction: Buford:

No. 4 Washington County (10-1) at No. 10 Callaway (10-1): This is the ideal chance for Callaway to show the world how good it really is or the perfect opportunity for Washington County to unmask the Cavaliers as pretenders. This has the potential to be an offensive shootout, with each team having an outstanding quarterback running the offense. Washington County’s William Walker threw for 185 yards and six touchdowns last week. Callaway’s Tez Parks ran for two touchdowns and threw for another against Tattnall County. May the best signal caller win. Prediction: Washington County.

No. 9 Blessed Trinity (9-2) at No. 6 Cartersville (11-0): Blessed Trinity got a taste of facing a strong passing attack last week against White County and survived. This week the challenge grows exponentially against a Cartersville club that loves to throw it around. The Purple Hurricanes have an unflappable leader in QB Brooks Barden, who threw six touchdown passes in the 56-21 playoff opener against Jackson County. Barden threw for 218 yards and ran for another 100 against Jackson. BT quarterback Spencer McManes had one of his better games (256 yards passing) last week, but the Titans will likely need their defense to rise up and get enough stops to keep it close. Prediction: Cartersville.

The good games

No. 5 Peach County (10-1) at Pierce County (10-1): This may be the biggest game they’ve seen in Blackshear in years. Peach County, the runner-up in Class AAA last year, is led by quarterback Greg Williams, who had 162 yards and two touchdowns last week. Clemson commitment Demarcus Robinson remains one of the top receiving threats in the country. The Trojans also have perhaps the best defense that Pierce has faced this season. Pierce beat Central Carroll in overtime and got away with turning the ball over nine times last week; it can’t afford half that many this week or it will be a rout. Prediction: Peach County

Morgan County (9-2) at North Hall (9-2): North Hall may be the best non-ranked team in the state. Quarterback Bradley Brown and tailback Kevin Christmas lead an offense that tagged Woodward Academy for 388 yards last week. Morgan was having trouble stopping Gordon Central in the opener, but persevered and was able to take advantage of some mistakes at the end of the game. Prediction: North Hall

Hart County (6-5) at No. 7 St. Pius (9-2): The St. Pius offense had a school-record 525 yards rushing in its opening 72-28 win against Dawson County, despite playing the fourth quarter with a running clock. Quarterback Jack Spear (148 yards), fullback Ryan Braswell (127 yards, four TDs) and tailback Branden Mitchell (103, two TDs) led an offense that averaged 10.6 yards per snap. In its 32-11 win over Adairsville, Hart looked more like the team that won five straight games than the one that lost its final two games of the season. Prediction: St. Pius

The others

Rockmart (6-5) at No. 2 Carver Columbus (10-1): Kudos to Rockmart for traveling to Baxley and nocking off a one-loss Appling County team. But the Yellow Jackets will need even more magic if they have hopes to knocking off a Carver team that’s won eight straight games. Carver quarterback Torrance McGee (two TD runs, one TD pass last week) and Marqui Hawkins are one of the state’s top passing combinations. And the Tigers can rely on a stable of running back and focus on the one with the hot hand. Prediction: Carver

Johnson Savannah (5-6) at No. 1 Thomson (11-0): Johnson historical run (the Atomsmashers won their first state playoff game last week) should end at The Brickyard, meaning quarterback Shyheim Roberts (three TD passes, one TD run last week) isn’t likely to get the chance to do his Superman pose. Thomson has too much offense, even in quarterback Chris Tutt misses the game with a bad ankle. The Bulldogs still have an outstanding pair of backs in player of the year candidate Chris Jordan and Torrie Battle. Prediction: Thomson

35 comments Add your comment

Fan In Athens

November 20th, 2012
8:49 am

If Colvin could be a factor, North Oconee would give Buford all they wanted. Doesn’t look good from what I hear….so there ya go. It was another very good season!

BullDawgRick

November 20th, 2012
9:44 am

Da Wolves are licking their chops!!

Health is a factor this time of the season.. As is depth..

Go Buford!!!

Wolves fan

November 20th, 2012
11:39 am

Buford has some key injuries as well. Lets hope for a well played game with no more injuries to either side. We look forward to traveling and bringing a passionate crowd. The fans who like to sit on their duffs during home games can stay at home. Go Wolves!

Slinger

November 20th, 2012
11:51 am

North Oconee lost to SPX by 36. This one may be closer, maybe just 35.

Seen a few

November 20th, 2012
12:20 pm

That was early in the season. Don’t count on it.

Marshall Dillion

November 20th, 2012
1:46 pm

Buford has the best team money can buy! Depth is no issue for them as they are not a “real” team…but a hand picked team from hundreds of thousands of boys in their area! Even if a normal school like North Oconee…or any other “normal” school hand picked kids from around their rural county? They still wouldn’t have much to pick from. It’s really a joke that any Buford fan pokes out their chest and acts like they have done something special…playing in AA and AAA with AAAAAA talent. You haven’t done anything. I can beat my 6 year old in any game too!!! I don’t feel special because of it! So go on out to the country Friday night…play another AAA team put together in the “normal way”….beat them..MAYBE….but don’t think you are special because you ARE NOT!

sportsmommy74

November 20th, 2012
4:56 pm

Marshall, sounds like sour grapes. Don’t complain about what they do. Beat them with what you have.

T-Town Glory

November 20th, 2012
6:30 pm

UPSET ALERT!!!! Blessed Trinity will beat Cartersville. Every other game will go to the better ranked team.

Gridiron

November 20th, 2012
6:42 pm

Marshall Dillion – I agree with your comments!

PEACH COUNTY

November 20th, 2012
8:52 pm

This game will be over at the half. Trojans rout the bears

Greenbacks

November 20th, 2012
9:18 pm

Just saw something over on one of the other blogs looks like Roswell fired their FB head coach. Well can’t have Coach Mac back especially after BT beats the purple haze. GO TITIANS

PEACH COUNTY

November 21st, 2012
1:51 am

Trojans will put 35 points on bears before the half. Running clock will be in effect right after the half. We will drum the bears at their place.

Oxbo Man

November 21st, 2012
9:00 am

Greenback u need to git over yo boy Coach Mac…he quit at Roswell after 2007 then he hires a Roswell Assist Co at bt who quit on Roswell an took his qb son wit him in 2010 in reg champ game v Lassiter!… aint nobody from the Nest lookin to take yo boy back..good luck v Prup Canes but stik to AAA football …

BullDawgRick

November 21st, 2012
9:14 am

Marshall Dillon is Fester !!!

BullDawgRick

November 21st, 2012
9:16 am

Fester = Festus… LOL

Trojan Sailor

November 21st, 2012
6:36 pm

Did I just read that Pierce County had NINE…NINE…NINE!!!!!….turnovers last week?!?!?! C’mon man!!!! You can’t be serious! If the Bears have 3 turnovers against Peach County, then it’s gonna get ugly…

Trojan Sailor

November 21st, 2012
6:41 pm

I TOTALLY agree with Dillion…

I don’t see Buford getting past both Carver (not likely) and Thomson (I’d bet my paycheck on Thomson), but if they do, then I reeeeally hope that the Trojans get them in the dome. Our players are much smaller, but they are F-A-S-T and will bring the wood to the Wolves in a way that Atlanta schools are afraid to do.

Not all Buford fans are obnoxious, but some of them are disillusioned by thinking that their ‘team’ competes on a even playing field, yet boast about thumping schools with homegrown talent.

oldschoolrt

November 22nd, 2012
1:04 pm

Once again sir your schools are county school and Buford is a city school, the rules are not the same. Kids can live outside the school area and pay to go to school here, they can not do that at your county school check the transcripts and Georgia High School Rules and after you do that” Stop Your Needless Complaining and Wainning People” like I always say ” You Build It And They Will Come ” until then just Suck It Up and keep working thats all I’m saying, oh by the way ” GO BUFORD WOLVES ” Proud Buford Dad

Golden Isles Fan

November 22nd, 2012
1:57 pm

Buford is a JOKE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Golden Isles Fan

November 22nd, 2012
1:59 pm

Buford you want to gloat??????

move to region 1-6A……….or with grayson for that matter…..week in week out they will not compete with the schedule,,,,

oldschoolrt

November 22nd, 2012
4:31 pm

We would but it wouldn’t be fair sir. You are all mighty in you class congrats to you and colonies, will you never stop pissing in the wind about it sir, you have far more students then we have, so be a little more realistic and honest with self sir now go and Fact Check That BIG Boy I know your smart enought to know that so what’s your point, honestly you can’t come down to AAA and we can’t come up to AAAAAA so in reality we will never know. I’m not upset that you are doing great in AAAAAA what’s with all the hatetred Mr. Golden Isles Fan can you honestly answer that sir I don’t think so sir, Oh Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family have a Blessed Holiday sir.

POOMAN

November 22nd, 2012
5:32 pm

BUFORD move to AAAAAA…….with 850-900 students. Sounds fair to me. There is a lot of schools int he state that take tuition STUDENTS. Gainesville, Elbert County to name just a few. But every CITY school in the state of Georgia can and does take tuition STUDENTS. Where BUFORD excels is the 3 a’s and 1 L…..ARTS, ACADEMICS, ATHLETICS and the biggest reason….LOCATION! Buford can’t help the location they are in, BUFORD hasn’t always been this blessed but Gwinnett County hasn’t always been this BIG either. Advantage, yes. Can we do anything about it, no. Buford has always taken tuition students, even in my time at BUFORD and that was in the mid 80’s (high school). Kids move all over the place now days, I remember a few years back a star basketball player from East Hall, went to Berkmar…….now thats strange. But hey, it is what it is. What it is is parents wanting the BEST for thier kids! If BUFORD is the best for my child, then that’s where I send her. Right now, the wife and I feel the school she is in is tops. If that changes, BUFORD will be looked at…..bank on that. Right now she is in World Language Academy in Chestnut Mountain. Hard to beat that school. Any who, you people who do not understand the BUFORD situation need to really do your homework instead of talking out your rear ends just because your jealous or what ever reason it is.

Rizzo

November 22nd, 2012
9:34 pm

Pooman, great post, thanks.

Golden Isles Fan

November 22nd, 2012
10:00 pm

To all the Buford jokes I have one word to sum all of your fears

MARIST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

SO GOBBLE GOBBLE!!!!!!

Golden Isles Fan

November 22nd, 2012
10:01 pm

YOU guys are so ignorant…..you can move UP, but not down……

Golden Isles Fan

November 22nd, 2012
10:04 pm

Come play with the BIG BOYS???????

you will never be to the likes of any of our south ga 1-6A teams you want respect play up……

oldschoolrt

November 22nd, 2012
10:42 pm

See Pooman this the intelligence that we’re trying to show ourpoint to Just Another Hopeless Individual. Thanks for your point POOMAN well said sir and well played also, sounds like some know and understands Georgia High School Rules and Regulations other than some one else Hello Golden Boy in all you get please get understanding and knowledge sir please sir know what you are talking about before you open that trap of yours sir “GoodDay Mate”

POOMAN

November 23rd, 2012
8:06 am

People who do not know the rules, nor do they understand the BUFORD situation always bash the school system. I have watched this BUFORD school system go from a joke to a top notch academic program. BUFORD has always had good athletics, not superior athletics, but good enough to compete a do very well in thier regions. In the late 90’s we had two individuals (Dexter Wood and Jess Simpson) who wanted to bring the athletic program to a top tier. Those two men and the backing of the school system have done this, now BUFORD is working on the band. Yeah, BUFORD has won a few state titles in football, softball, basketball and a single baseball title. What people fail to relize is that 93% of the tuition STUDENTS don’t even play a single sport at BUFORD. I don’t know if it’s jealousy, envy, or what. All I know is this……what the school board has done with BUFORD CITY SCHOOLS is simply amazing. Let’s go back 20+ years, the academics at BUFORD were a JOKE……I can say that cause I was in the BUFORD system then. Now at BUFORD, lets just say there isn’t many above BUFORD in the public school sector. If people would just do thier homework before they bash the school it would be fine, cause they couldn’t find anything wrong with BUFORD to bash about. Look at the facilites as well…..look at the administration. There isn’t many better in the state of Georgia. BUFORD pays the teachers very well, if a teacher don’t make the grade, BUFORD don’t hesitate to fire that teacher and search for a teacher that has the same beliefs and that teacher must believe in the 3 A’s. Mr. Bitterman plays a HUGE role and Bitterman is a Brookwood grad. Brookwood has an academic program that is TOPS in the state as well. Thanks Brookwood, we really like Bitterman. I guess I’m on here to say that every parent has the opportunity to send thier child to any school they choose, BUFORD is VERY, VERY attractive to parents wanting the most for thier children in the 3 A’s. Like I said before about my daughter, once the World Language Academy is over (i think 5th grade), BUFORD is in my daughter future. I know she will not be just let into BUFORD schools, she will be evaluated by the administration. She is a perfect student, she does not play sports (yet). Sports is not pushed in my house, but academics is pushed to a max. Grades are the front runner in my house and BUFORD has my attention. Even if I am an alumni of BUFORD, that has no bearing on my daughters future. I want her in the best public academic school we can put her in. By far, BUFORD has the best academics program in my area. With that said, GO WOLVES beat the crap out of NORTH OCONEE……I’ll be there as usual, cheering them WOLVES on. And I ECHO the comment another WOLF fan said…….FOR THOSE WOLF FANS WHO WOULD RATHER SIT ON THIER DUFFS AND TALK STARBUCKS, STAY HOME. AWAY GAMES ARE FOR THE REAL FANS!

Trojan Sailor

November 23rd, 2012
9:01 pm

OK, I’ll admit that I’m not up on the latest urban school transfer rules. But I will say that those transfers give those schools an unfair advantage on the playing field. A few years ago, Gainesville fielded a team of super athletes designed to win a state title. The kids were from all over the place, but they all merged at Gainesville to win the state title. It was all done within the rules and as such deemed within “fair” play, but when you have 5 and 6 kids who eventually sign with major college programs moving to one school, then it disturbs the competitive balance. Fortunately, that behemoth of a team was upset in the AAA title game by Peach County.

But back to Buford, I think it’s great that they have beefed up the academics and the arts. But in beefing up the athletics, and especially in such a small school, what they’re doing is potentially ruining the work ethic of their players who undoubtedly practice just as every other team, but with wins coming so easily against “regular” teams, it runs the risk of skewing what competition and overcoming adversity is all about.

Just my opinion guys.

Golden Isles Fan

November 23rd, 2012
11:17 pm

GO CAMDEN COUNTY WILDCATS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

pooman

November 24th, 2012
9:38 am

Trojan Sailor, it’s not about games being won easy. It’s about the mentoring they get from the coaching staff at Buford. Yes, the games come easy at times. The region Buford plays in is rather weak on the football side. The biggest thing I see and hear from parents is the one on one mentoring these coaches give to the football players. You WILL NOT see any kid on the BUFORD football team not call you sir or ma’am. They learn the upmost respect from these fine coaches. IT IS DEMANDED OF THE PLAYERS. If you are a trouble maker or disrespectfull, you will find yourself off the TEAM. It’s all about the TEAM. No “I’s”!! A few years back we had two very good running backs, Cody Getz (5′6″, 140lbs soak an wet) and Storm Johnson (6′1″, 210lbs). Cody had the mannerism, the guts, the heart and was a much better RB than the God given athletic Storm. Because Storm did not get the ball all the time, his parents moved him to Loganville. Do you think the kids on the Buford football team cried when Storm left before his senior season. Heck no…..Storm and his parents were a disease to the BUFORD family. The football players helped Storm empty his locker. Storm was all about “ME”, not “TEAM”! You would see Storm complaining on the sidelines, his Dad yelling at the Coaching staff during the games. That will not be tolerated at BUFORD. Me personally, I would have loved to have seen Storm one more year at BUFORD, he was a beast and a good RB. His up bringing killed his athletic ability. Look what happened to Storm at Miami!!! I bet my last dollar it was his additude!!! Buford has one kid this year like this, that kid is off the team now! It’s about teaching our young men how to be MEN and prepare themselves for life after HIGH SCHOOL! It’s not about winning or losing football games or what calssification Buford plays in. IT’S ABOUT THE KIDS and how the people they are around effect thier young lives.

All Day Canes

November 24th, 2012
1:30 pm

So that upset that everybody was talking about for the blessed trinity vs Cartersville what happened oh yea we to deep. You know whats even better your head coach is looking like a retard for not tying the game when he could have tough luck for all those blessed trinity fans. 24-23. only got 23 cause with two seconds left we felt bad and gave you the two.

North Hall Trojans

November 25th, 2012
11:10 pm

Hmm, T-Town Glory… what was that you mentioned?

itsonlywrite

November 25th, 2012
11:12 pm

@Trojan Sailor … Gainesville only had 2 guys that weren’t from the area that were key players on the team… and that was Blake Sims and Tai-ler Jones. Other than that, it was homegrown.

@GoldenIsleFan … I wouldn’t put this Buford team in 1-6A, but a couple of the teams from past recent years could definitely play wit em…

Trojan Sailor

November 26th, 2012
9:08 pm

“itsonlywrite”: Not sure where you get your info from, but the 2009 Gainesville team had at LEAST 6…SIX….players who were starters with major college talent that transferred into the school at either their junior or senior season. Definitely Sims and Taylor, but right off hand, I also remember reading article stating that two of the LB’s, and one of the DB’s. I know that #34 Sprague, the ILB played at North Hall before transferring into Gainesville.

I recall a Bruce Miller (Gainesville Head Coach) interview where he stated explicitly that the 2009 team was built to win a state championship. BUILT to win…which to me implies that there were more than two transfer players.