Jeff Haws’ Top 10 List

Headed into the third week of the playoffs, we can barely think of anything except high school football down at The List HQ.

So many favorites have rolled through their first two opponents, and a few surprises just add to the intrigue as we argue across the newsroom about who the semifinalists are going to be.

We know there are going to be more surprises, and the big question is where those are going to come from now. Can any of the 4 seeds make it into the semis? We’ll just have to wait to see, and we have zero patience.

In the meantime, we decided to look at the brackets and pick out the 10 most likely upsets waiting to happen this week.

10. Class A Private: 11 George Walton at 3 Walker

Can we be forgiven for wondering if Walker is for real? This is a program that had never won more than six games and has already won as many games this season as it had the previous four combined. Now, maybe new coach John East has just turned them into an overnight state power.  But this is a George Walton team that’s 2-1 against quarterfinalists, with the only loss being 21-20 at undefeated Athens Academy. The Bulldogs can play.

9. Class AAAAA: 3 Tucker at 1 Northside-Warner Robins

This one’s a slight stretch, but we always think a team with the speed and athleticism of Tucker has a puncher’s chance. And fans of both teams certainly remember what happened last year, when the Tigers went to Warner Robins in the semifinals and won 17-16 en route to the state title. Revenge factor, or omen for the present? No way to know … yet.

8. Class A Private: 9 Prince Avenue at 1 Athens Academy

The Wolverines may be in only their eighth year of existence as a program, but these guys aren’t new to the big stage. This is their third consecutive playoff appearance, and they were in the semifinals last year. And when they played Athens Academy a few weeks back, the undefeated Spartans only won 14-7.

7. Class A Public: 9 Wilkinson County at 1 Lincoln County

“What?” you say. “Lincoln County losing at home to a 9 seed? Never!” Oh, but consider this. First, Lincoln has lost in the quarterfinals each of the past three years, and four of the past five. Two of the past three have come at home. And just three weeks ago, the Warriors went into Lincolnton and lost by only two, 21-19. Keep an eye on this one.

6. Class AAAAA: 2 Stephenson at 1 Ware County

The argument against this is that Stephenson hasn’t been past the quarterfinals since 2005, despite having two or fewer regular-season losses each of the subsequent years. On the other hand, this Jaguars team was battle tested in arguably the state’s toughest region, and they’ve scored fewer than 28 just once. Ware has won 11 straight. Will it be 12?

5. Class AAAAAA: 4 Colquitt County at 3 Parkview

The Panthers got a lot of mileage out of the pretty shocking, dominating upset of then-No. 1 Grayson way back in September, coupled with starting 6-1. Since then, though, they’ve gone just 3-2, needing overtime to survive both of their first two rounds. Meanwhile, Colquitt has won six of seven, and looks to be confident playing on the road. The Packers haven’t bowed out prior to the semifinals since 2008.

4. Class AAA: 2 Washington County at 1 St. Pius

St. Pius has had a nice season, ranked all year, looking for only its second semifinal appearance since winning the state title in 1968, and first since 2006. But the Golden Hawks will be a tough out for anyone. Their only loss came 28-14 to undefeated, No. 1 Thomson, and they’ve won their following three games by a combined score of 132-7. They’re fully capable of getting this one done.

3. Class AAAAAA: 2 North Gwinnett at 1 Lovejoy

There may not have been a more impressive second-round win than North Gwinnett’s 28-10 victory over Grayson. The Rams had scored at least 41 points in each game since their early-season loss to Parkview, but the Bulldogs strangled them. Like Grayson, the Wildcats have piled up the points since an early loss. North Gwinnett has done it once, and we know the Bulldogs have the offense to win if the defense shows up again.

2. Class AAA: 2 Buford at 1 Carver-Columbus

There’s a lot to like about the Tigers, winning nine straight after an early 33-0 drubbing at the hands of Colquitt County. But this is a Buford team that has been in the finals five years in a row. They’re stung by having to forfeit two early games, and they want to show they can win at the AAA level just like they did in AA. We’ll believe they’re going to lose when we see it.

1. Class AAAAA: 2 Gainesville at 1 Harris County

The Tigers are a nice little story. In multiple overtimes, about to start 0-5, they rallied to beat Douglas County and then won the next seven games to notch a school-record eight wins and get here. Gainesville is pretty much the polar opposite, rolling on beautifully until stumbling with two straight losses to end the regular season, and the Red Elephants have won at least eight in 10 of the past 11 years. Gainesville scores a ton of points, and the clock may be striking midnight on Harris.

Now, we want to know what you think. Where do you see the upsets coming this week? Are the Cinderellas ready to head home from the ball yet? Are the traditional powers about to make their mark? Let us know in the comments here or on Twitter at @ajcprepsports.

50 comments Add your comment

Max Sizemore

November 28th, 2012
8:55 am

Northside-WR is out for revenge. Tucker isn’t the same team without last year’s coach. It won’t be close.

Big Fan

November 28th, 2012
9:00 am

Jeff,4. Class AAA: 2 Washington County at 1 St. Pius

“St. Pius has had a nice season, ranked all year, looking for only its second semifinal appearance since winning the state title in 1968, and first since 2006. But the Golden Hawks will be a tough out for anyone. Their only loss came 28-14 to undefeated, No. 1 Thomson, and they’ve won their following three games by a combined score of 132-7. They’re fully capable of getting this one done.”

Who’s fully capable of getting this done? Washington County is the favorite. Clarification please on your opinion..thanks very much…

Tiger4Life

November 28th, 2012
9:14 am

@Max

Northside is the same team from the years before with the SAME coach. 10-1 and 13-1 both losses coming at the MAC.

Tucker wins

We Got This Here
Our Work Is Not Done
WE ARE TUCKER
Run With Us or Run From Us

sportsnut

November 28th, 2012
9:20 am

It will take a mighty, mighty effort on North’s behalf to pull this victory out.

Outside looking in

November 28th, 2012
9:37 am

@ sportsnut… It looks as though lovejoy is being doubted again. Seems like the same story over and over again. Lovejoy can’t win. This team is better. That team has played a tougher schedule. This team, that team blah blah blah. How about they just play the game and see what happens in the end. It’s pretty amusing to read all the articles and blogs from people who have probably never been to twelve oaks stadium and watched them play. I know the kids from Marietta were impressed. I heard one of them say, “they did not look that big on film. And when they hit me I was ready to stop trying to tackling them.” But hey let’s let the talkers talk. We will see what happens by 11 pm Friday night. If NGHS wins then I will say good game. Like I do after every game.

I wonder fan

November 28th, 2012
9:45 am

High school football is the purest form of football there is because no one is getting paid and the kids play with all of the heart possible. They play for the love of teammates, family, school, and bragging rights. Now its win or go home…and going home is not an option for the remaining teams. Here are my predictions for 1A private:

George Walton Academy over Walker
Savannah Christian over Eagles Landing Christian
Prince Ave Christian over Athens Academy
Landmark Christian over First Presbyterian Day

Have a great football weekend and God Bless all players, coaches, and fans!
Enter your comments here

stooge

November 28th, 2012
11:31 am

Colquitt “looks to be confident playing on the road”. Agreed. I’m starting to thing that if we played at home we’d be jinxed. The team seems to thrive on it.

WarEagle

November 28th, 2012
12:25 pm

I am confused. According to the AJC, Colquitt is higher ranked than Parkview; WaCo is higher ranked than SPX; North Gwinnett is higher ranked than Lovejoy — these are only upsets if the AJC’s rankings are wrong.

sportsnut

November 28th, 2012
12:28 pm

@ Outside Lookingin == Yeah, same old thing. They will see though. It is hard to convince the masses. Lovejoy could win state and be ranked # 2 in the final poll. That would be fitting given the way they are looked at in the eyes of those who have the responsibility for the rankings. What Lovejoy brought to the table this year was not considered. If they win state, there will be many reasons as to why without giving the team credit. Also, it seems playing a soft schedule does not matter. Do what you are supposed to do and it will all work out. Talent plays much more of a roll than many here want to admit. I have said before that sometimes, the kids win on talent alone. Coaching can always be suspect, talent can not. We know this team is full of talent and in my opinion, no other team is as balanced as this one. Come friday, more will see.

Dum-Bass

November 28th, 2012
12:58 pm

Mr. AJC Writer, you do remember how Tucker beat Northside/WR don’t you? That was sheer luck!
It won’t happen again, besides NS is better this year than they were then. NS by at least 2 TD’s. Ask TCC, they were a good ballclub, gave Colquitt Co. all they could handle during the year.

sportsnut

November 28th, 2012
1:22 pm

North Gwinnett knows what they will find when they come to 12 Oaks. Their fan base might not know but their team does.

Seen a Few

November 28th, 2012
1:45 pm

War Eagle I agree with you. Just because you are a higher seed it doesn’t constitute a potential upset. The rankings determine that in my opinion. Washington County is the second ranked team. They are favored so therefore a St. Pius X victory would be an upset in my book.

High 5

November 28th, 2012
2:23 pm

Keep sleeping on LOVEJOY!!!

High 5

November 28th, 2012
2:27 pm

NSWR fans sound just like East Paulding fans! “We have a great team!” “We’re gonna blow you out!” Blah Blah Blah! All I have to say is DON’T TRY AND POUND THE BALL ON TUCKER!” You all better have a balanced attack! I tried to tell that to the undefeated RAIDERS but they did not listen.You all have been warned! PRIDE GOETH BEFORE A FALL!!!!

Tiger4Life

November 28th, 2012
3:31 pm

I keep hearing Northside people say “this team is better than last years” which means what? You still can lose and lose you shall !!!

Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity

WE ARE T_U_C_K_E_R

Run With Us or Run From Us

Tucker Tiger

November 28th, 2012
5:22 pm

NSWR still had 5 min left on the clock AND 2 more possessions last year needing ONLY to get in field goal range to win the game. THEY COULDN’T DO IT!!!!!!!!!!

graphite

November 28th, 2012
5:58 pm

Has coach Stephens been called for a consultation on this game?Are all of the Tucker kitties out of jail or off suspension?Have the busses good tires and are road worthy?It will be a much longer ride home dragging your tiger tails behind you…..

SOOHSO

November 28th, 2012
6:29 pm

ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

SPX33

November 28th, 2012
7:23 pm

This is a lazy column that assumes the higher seed is such a clear favorite that it would qualify as an upset if they loss. Instead put some effort into analyzing these games and write something that is more compelling than this. For example, if you evaluated the Pius/WACO game objectively you would likely conclude that WACO is the favorite

Big Fan

November 28th, 2012
8:04 pm

Hear hear, carry on

Cane Fan

November 28th, 2012
8:44 pm

Fitzgerald over Jefferson in AA…mark it down.

Hardhat

November 28th, 2012
9:32 pm

I think the writers idea is that the home team in a couple of these games can very easily be on the short end of the scoreboard. As I look at it at least 5 maybe 6 higher seeded home teams, not higher ranked teams could be out by the stroke of midnight.
I guess now all we have to do is wait and see what happens.

bigdawg

November 28th, 2012
9:37 pm

The only game I care about is Stockbridge beating Notre Dame prep school (Marist). I always love it when a public school beats a private school, esp. one as snooty as NDPS! And, please, keep our student-athletes safe by leaving your priests in the rectory!

Hairy

November 28th, 2012
9:49 pm

Funny how the Clayton County Stockbridgers are worried about priest but will elect a felon to office.

Dylan

November 28th, 2012
10:17 pm

Stephenson will beat Ware County, Tucker will beat NSWR. Stephenson will beat Tucker in the semi finals to go to State for their first title.

Bet on it.

Snooty

November 28th, 2012
10:28 pm

Glad to see bigdawg thinks child abuse is funny. Good job of throwing out a blanket statement against all Catholic priests. Does everyone in Stockbridge hate Catholics or just you? I’m sure your Minister and parents would be proud of you.

JAB

November 28th, 2012
11:41 pm

@ Dylan I with you on that…

NGHS 09

November 29th, 2012
4:43 am

Why is Colquitt getting such a strong nod to win?? Both Colquitt and Parkview have BARELY scraped by so far in the playoffs…compare their victory margins! This game will be a slugfest and don’t fool yourself into believing that it won’t.

NGHS 09

November 29th, 2012
4:49 am

@Outside looking in….

“I know the kids from Marietta were impressed. I heard one of them say, “they did not look that big on film. And when they hit me I was ready to stop trying to tackling them.”

Love the imagination LOL. Even if that were true by the longest stretch of the imagination, every team that NG plays is bigger than them…faster too. So enjoy the game and let your jaw hit the floor.

NGHS 09

November 29th, 2012
4:56 am

@ Sportsnut…

“North Gwinnett knows what they will find when they come to 12 Oaks. Their fan base might not know but their team does.”

Well I would hope NG fans are treated with hospitality…but who knows….I am impressed by the Wildcats, but nobody is scared of “12 Oaks”; much less even knows what the hell it is LOL. You get to test your theory out bout Lovejoy’s athletes being to much for NG’s superior coaching. Time will tell and it should be a slugfest. I must add though, you have been generous to NG with compliments all season, but the moment they have to play your team you begin the bombardment. Sounds to me like you are a little nervous LOL

NGHS 09

November 29th, 2012
5:01 am

@ Dylan…Good for Stephenson. I guess moving down in class does have its benefits LOL

Innocent Bystander

November 29th, 2012
7:29 am

Couldn’t care less, but Stockbridge is not in Clayton Co. .

sportsnut

November 29th, 2012
8:30 am

@ Hairy == Stockbridge is in Henry County

No Dog in The Fight

November 29th, 2012
8:34 am

@Tucker Tiger
NSWR still had 5 min left on the clock AND 2 more possessions last year needing ONLY to get in field goal range to win the game. THEY COULDN’T DO IT!!!!!!!!!!

The score was 16 to 10 with less than 2 mintues. NSWR had the ball on Tuckers 4 yard line 1st and goal. On missed hand off (no contact by a Tucker player)Tucker return a fumble 96 yards with less than 2 minutes. There were Tucker fans left to see it. They were in the parking lot.

sportsnut

November 29th, 2012
8:46 am

NGHS 09 == We are not allowed to cross over and there would be no problems anyway. We are civil. On the subject of 12 Oaks, it is simply where we play. There are only 3 stadiums in Clayton and one happens to be on Lovejoy’s campus. When I talk about talent and Lovejoy in the same sentence, it is for a reason. I think position for position, Lovejoy is the most talented team in the state. Come on down and you will get a chance to see why I feel this way. I am supposed to give credit where it is due and North has earned that from me. I am also supposed to pull for my team at all times. Do not take offense to my comments. They are not meant to degrade anyone in any way. I will pull for teams I like until they play the one I support. I go to every game, regardless of location and I get nervous only if there is reason. I think I have been nervous only once this year and that was against Alpharetta. Joshua Dobbs and Carlos Burse gave me a little concern, other than that, I have felt at ease all season.

sportsnut

November 29th, 2012
8:56 am

NGHS 09 == Simply trying to make a point that Lovejoy and North attended 7 on 7 camps together and figured they would know what Lovejoy brings to the table as far as the passing game is concerned.

Reeze

November 29th, 2012
9:05 am

@Sportsnut , good luck friday, this one won’t be close…..NG always chokes beyond the 2nd round.

eagle1

November 29th, 2012
9:14 am

Good luck to the Northside Eagles Friday night at the “MAC”!! We welcome the Tucker Tigers to the “MAC” for a night of great football! Taking care of business one game at a time! IT’S GREAT TO BE A NORTHSIDE EAGLE!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tiger4Life

November 29th, 2012
10:06 am

@no dog

Just click the link, it was well over 4 mins left in the game when the fumble occurred. And you can clearly see the ball was fumbled two yards deep into the end zone. The record shows a 100 yard fumble return. And the people you seen leaving were the natives of Warner Robins that sat on the visitors side. All the Tucker fans stay to the end to cheer our kids for the great effort and season they had.

http://m.youtube.com/?reload=3&rdm=me91f63ic#/watch?v=HBenWWhJAAE

“Just when you think you seen it all, you haven’t seen it all”

sportsnut

November 29th, 2012
10:24 am

Thanks Reeze. I am actually hoping for a good game and not what we are used to. I don’t want it too close but not a blow-out. I just really hope we are on the winning end of the final score.

WarEagle

November 29th, 2012
11:20 am

@bigdawg — LOL; I think Stockbridge’s players should be more worried about Marist’s defense.

No Dog in The Fight

November 29th, 2012
11:23 am

@Tiger4Life

This clearly shows your original account of the game was wrong. With 6 minutes left in the game Tucker took a safety because they could get away from the 1 yard nor did they want to punt. Turned out to be a good call by the coach. The score at that point was NSWR 16 Tucker 10. Tucker started to leave because Tucker only managed one offense TD the entire game. NSWR took the punt and drove it the Tucker 2 with 1st goal. Tucker fans had already left the stadium when the fumble occured. No stays around in hope of a fumble return to win a game.

85TigersFan

November 29th, 2012
11:29 am

Harris Co. is a very unique story indeed. One year to the date of November 16, 2012, Harris Co. High School and Football Stadium was was hit by a tornado. The football filed was filled full of shards of glass and metal, so the insurance comapny said the turff had to be completly scraped up for obvious liability reasons. The community, BOE, County Commish and school leadership pulled together and added SPLOST funds, insurance funds and other funds/donations to make a wonderful new stadium with a super artifical turff installed by the same company who put down the Dallas Cowboys stadium turff. Check out Maxx Preps for great video. November 16, 2012 was also the schools first Playoff win over Northgate.

Harris Co. may not win, but I would not be shocked if they did. Harris Co has a good D and a time consuming offense with big play capabilities.

Check out Harris Co. Alum Jordan Jenkins with UGA at the GA Dome! This years team is even better with several D1 Prospects.

No Dog in The Fight

November 29th, 2012
11:30 am

The BEST GAME this weekend is AAAA Sandy Creek and Burke County. I will be there. The NSWR and Tucker game will not be close. NSWR will dominate. I have seen both team. NSWR is more talented this year than last and Tucker is weaker this year. NSWR Offenseive and D line average 275. Tucker O line and D line is about 215. NSWR throws the ball to compliment the power run.

THE "CANNON RULES"!!

November 29th, 2012
1:04 pm

@ High 5 & Tiger4Life…

Just curious to see if either of you will be back in here on Friday night or Saturday morning after NSWR wins! Yes TUCKER has HAD a good season (as did EAST PAULDING) BUT EAST showed up flat and STEPHENSON came into the 2nd half and DOMINATED EAST! I pump up EAST all the time but after they got whipped AT HOME something that DOES NOT HAPPEN MUCH, I was right back in here taking my medicine and congratulating STEPHENSON!

Let’s see if either of you will do the same for NSWR…just curious!

TICK…TICK…TICK…BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM!!
CONGRATULATIONS RAIDERS…another good year!

Colquitt County Packers Love the Playoffs

November 29th, 2012
5:26 pm

@NGHS 09

The reason Colquitt is getting the nod is because of there playoff victories on the road the past 4 years. They didn’t say we would blow out Parkview, but we are proven winners on the road. It should be a great game.

Tiger4Life

November 29th, 2012
5:36 pm

I see that you are not so bright @no dog. We both can clearly read the previous post and see who was way off base with the time remaining in the game. So arguing with you would both of us we Todd it, so you have it. I’m more focused Fridays game.

@ Cannon, just when I was stating to miss you… SMH

Tellitlikeitis

November 29th, 2012
8:21 pm

Max Sizemore:

I think that you are right Northside Warner Robins is roll over Tucker!!! It won’t be close.

graphite

November 29th, 2012
10:56 pm

N.S. 35-7…..

Titletown USA

November 30th, 2012
2:31 pm

You have to admire what the Colquitt Co Packers have done in recent years in the playoffs on the road. People can hate on Rush all they want, but that dude can get a team clicking at the right time.

No real home team to root for w/Lowndes and Valdosta out, but all the other Region1AAAAAA and 1AA (we don’t any others) teams are doing the darn thing (Brooks,Fitz, Early). So good luck to Camden and Colquitt.