Each of the Georgia’s survivors to the ‘final four’ in Class AAAAAA beat sine odds to make it this far.
Here is a look at how each defied one odd or another:
Colquitt County – The Packers were ranked No. 2 in preseason, so it’s no surprise they are here. But history is still being made. Colquitt is in the semifinals for the fourth straight season. The last school to do that in the highest classification was Valdosta (1968-71). What’s more surprising is that Colquitt is a No. 4 seed and won three playoff games on the road. A fourth seed makes the semis in the highest class more than in any other class, but Colquitt is still just the fifth to do it. The others were 1997 Colquitt County, 2002 East Coweta, 2006 Peachtree Ridge and 2011 Lassiter. Only Peachtree Ridge among those advanced to the final. Peachtree Ridge tied Roswell to share the title.
Lovejoy – Ranked seventh in preseason, Lovejoy also is no surprise to win its region or make the semifinals. The Wildcats were the Class AAAA runner-up in 2011. It’s rare for a team to move up and into the highest class and reach the semis, although Northside-Warner Robins did it in 2008. Where Lovejoy is making history is in its county. Lovejoy is the first Clayton team to make the semis in the highest class since Forest Park in 1995. No Clayton team has won the title since Morrow in 1987.
North Cobb – The Warriors are in the semifinals for the first time since 1959, when they beat Dade to reach the championship game of Class C. They had a losing season last year at 5-6. Going from a losing year to the semifinals is not so rare recently, as Lassiter did it in 2011 and Colquitt did it in 2009. What’s more unusual is a west Cobb team in the semis (using I-75 as the divider). There are 10 of them. The last west Cobb school in the final four was Harrison in 2000. No Cobb County Schools team has won a state title. Marietta, a city school, won in 1967.
Norcross – Opened in the 1950s, Norcross is playing in its first semifinal. That’s remarkable given the age of the school and the consistency of the football program under coach Keith Maloof, whose 15-year record at Norcorss is 106-48. He’s never had a losing season. Norcross (13-0) played its first game south of metro Atlanta on Friday and beat Camden County to remain the only unbeaten team in AAAAAA.