Is this for the state championship?
That’s what some fans might be saying about five quarterfinal games this week that match highly ranked opponents in games that would be good enough for a final.
Here is a closer look at each of those blockbusters:
*AAAAAA – Norcross at Camden County: These are two of the three region champions remaining in the draw. Lovejoy is the other. Norcross (12-0) is the only unbeaten team in the highest class and has defeated seven playoff opponents, all by eight points or more. Camden County (11-1) is a three-time former champion that was ranked No. 1 until upset by Colquitt County in the final game of the regular season, after Camden had clinched Region 1.
Is it for the title? No. This class is too talented to make bold predictions like that, but the winner is the team to beat entering the final four – though Norcross has never played in a semifinal, much less a state championship game. The computer Maxwell Ratings say the winner of this game is 59 percent likely to win the title.
*AAAAA – Tucker at Northside-Warner Robins: Northside and Tucker began the season 1-2 in the rankings. Tucker was the 2011 champion and beat Northside 17-16 in the semifinals. Tucker is 10-2 after getting nicked by Stephenson and M.L. King in this classification’s toughest region. Northside (12-0) is the only unbeaten team in AAAAA.
Is it for the title? No. Tucker is dangerous, but only a No. 3 seed. The computer Maxwell Ratings say the winner of this game is 51 percent likely to win the title.
*AAAA – Burke County at Sandy Creek: Sandy Creek (12-0), a state champion in 2009 and 2010, is ranked No. 1 and is the only unbeaten team in this class. Burke (11-1) won Class AAA in 2011 and is ranked No. 3. Its only loss is to Thomson, the No. 1 team in AAA.
Is it for the title? No. Second-ranked Marist can’t be overlooked. The computer Maxwell Ratings say the winner of this game is 67 percent likely to win the title.
*AAA – Buford at Carver-Columbus: Each of these teams has reached the quarterfinals each season since 2006. Buford is averaging 13.3 victories in that time. Carver is averaging 12.1. They were ranked 2-3 in preseason. They are ranked 2-3 now.
Is it for the title? No. The winner would face No. 1 Thomson or Cartersville, both of which are 12-0. The computer Maxwell Ratings say the winner of this game is 22 percent likely to win the title.
*AA – Brooks County at Calhoun: Calhoun is ranked No. 1. Brooks County is ranked No. 2. Both are 12-0. Their quarterbacks – Taylor Lamb of Calhoun and Malcolm Parrish of Brooks County – are probably the leading contenders for player of the year in this classification.
Is it for the title? Yes. Anybody can be beaten, but it would make headlines if Calhoun or Brooks County didn’t win the championship. The computer Maxwell Ratings say the winner of this game is 69 percent likely to win the title.
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