AAAA semifinalists all above the gnat line

Quick observations on the AAAA semifinals: The gnat line is the dividing line between still playing and season over — the four semifinalists are the region champs from Regions 5, 6, 7 and 8 — and this is not the usual suspects.

Yes, Sandy Creek and Marist are playoff mainstays with two state championships each, all of those since 1998. Ridgeland and Monroe Area have numerous recent playoff appearances, but nothing in their past duplicates the success they’re enjoying this year.

The champions from Regions 7 (Ridgeland) and 8 (Monroe Area) have set school records for victories and have dynamic playmakers leading the way.

And now, something else new: Coin flips for home-field advantage.

In Monroe Area’s case, the coin flip for its game against No. 1 Sandy Creek is set for Sunday in Thomaston, when the two schools will hash out the details of the game. This was made necessary because neither school’s stadium has the required seating capacity of 4,000. Both are mulling their options.

Monroe Area has already made inquiries into having temporary seating brought in. GHSA rules allow this, but require that the host school bear the burden of the cost outside of using game revenue.

“It’s expensive,” said Monroe Area coach Matt Fligg. “But if we get a chance to host it, and we can’t because of the stadium capacity, that’d be a big deal in Monroe.”

Pick your poison: Ridgeland, meanwhile, just keeps putting up withering numbers on offense. The Panthers won their 12th straight game Friday behind 212 yards and four touchdowns from fullback Darrell Bridges, who surpassed 2,000 yards for the season. Key on him, and you’re facing the prospect of big-time prospect Vonn Bell running free.

“To be honest, we’ve been doing this all year,” said Ridgeland coach Mark Mariakis. “It puts a lot of stress on the defenses. They can’t focus on one kid.”

The Panthers won the coin flip with Marist Saturday morning and will host the semifinal game.

Ridgeland’s challenge? A Marist defense that has held 11 of 13 opponents to two touchdowns or less in regulation and has five shutouts. The War Eagles held Stockbridge to 31 net rushing yards Friday night in a 15-7 win, according to the Henry Herald. The Tigers’ touchdown came after Marist fumbled a punt to give Stockbridge the ball at the Marist 20.

Speed out: In Sandy Creek’s lexicon, the play that turned Friday’s game against Burke is called a “speed out”, and it illustrates how the Patriots keep opposing defenses honest. Junior receiver Demarre Kitt sprints downfield then cuts toward the sideline. With the ball delivered on time, Kitt spins back toward the middle of the field, and if there is no safety help and he has just one defender covering him, that defender faces a do-or-die play. Friday, it was die; Kitt spun away and raced the final 60 yards for the go-ahead score.

“They either make the tackle or they miss,” said Kitt. “Most of the time they miss.”

49 comments Add your comment

quick 6

December 1st, 2012
8:41 am

crow eating time for me great job ridgeland you manhandled us last night good luck the rest of the way as for my mp bulldogs we are young get in that weight room today you gotta chance to be great next year bring the tradition back. coach nelson and staff great job took basically a 6-4 team to the state quarterfinals to the players great job you busted your tail all year couldnt be more proud. MP is back georgia get ready!!!!!

badbrad

December 1st, 2012
8:51 am

Enjoying the sounds of silence this morning…no Burke blowhards on here spouting Da Truff. Truth is they played well for 3 quarters but alas the game is 48 minutes. Maybe the Burke backers are still asleep after their long tearful drive home.

WarEagle

December 1st, 2012
9:23 am

Really stinks for Monroe Area and Sandy Creek that the 4000-capacity rule will have this game on a neutral site. I have an idea — double header at Marist! Can we all agree?!

WarEagle

December 1st, 2012
9:29 am

Well dang — apparently Ridgeland won the coin toss. On the road again — this will be Marist’s 8th road game this season. Looking forward to the visiting Rossville.

Bird dog

December 1st, 2012
10:46 am

BC lost but we still going to the dome! To cheer on the creek!

burkeboyjp

December 1st, 2012
11:33 am

U guys won i am not a sore loser.congrats will not take anything away from your players but u can not honestly say that was a fair game those refs chested us so bad and if u were at the game u saw it but all is well take care of business and bring it on and mark my words burke will go 15-0 next year state champs no doubt bringing back 30 juniors only lost 5 seniors

KD

December 1st, 2012
11:39 am

Actually Monroe seating capacity is 4000, but because GHSA changed the per person width from 18 inches to 24, it drops it down to 3200 seating capacity, but this ususally applies to indoor seating for evacution purposes to exit a building, outside seating could be overlooked in certain situations.There were not full seating last night on both sides of the field.

Great

December 1st, 2012
12:44 pm

BC = 8 penalties, SC = 7 penalties. You sure got cheated!

syrupdawg

December 1st, 2012
12:53 pm

Let Monroe Area host the game and spot them 20 points. SC still win by 20. Monroe roll back to the AREA

Go Trojans!

December 1st, 2012
1:10 pm

I’m sure we could host the game in Carrollton….we have a decent stadium!

Burke County didn’t get cheated. They got beat. It was a little choppy online but looked like a good game. Speed kills.

Marist didn’t look that sharp last night on offense. They’ll need to play better O next week. Defense is always sound there although I’m not sure Stockbridge brought much.

Love High School Playoffs! Great job to all the teams last night and good luck to the winners!

First Down "Creeeekkk"

December 1st, 2012
1:54 pm

It was the timing of the penalties that I am sure BC is sore about today. Creek had penalties called against them too that could have been questioned. But that is part of the game. Gator Green is legit. But without him on the field on “O”, BC is average at best. And that hurt them against Creek. Being the starting safety, he could not be effective both ways all night. And that’s where Creek’s passing game did them in. Good, tough game for Sc. Revealed their character last night.

Looking forward to moving on to the semis and winning it all. ON A MISSION!!

First Down "Creeeekkk"

December 1st, 2012
1:59 pm

@burkeboyjp: Creek has 8 juniors with D1 offers. and our two srating tailbacks are sophomores! We look forward to hooking up with BC next season.

BTW, looking for all of the other BC fans who were online last week :)

badbrad

December 1st, 2012
9:05 pm

burkeboy, i was at the game; referees called just as many penalties on us as they did on you; if you really think you were beaten by the refs, you are delusional. Losers whine, but winners get to play next week. See you next year hopefully. In the meantime, keep on whining.

BigSCFan

December 1st, 2012
10:24 pm

I was at the SC/BC game and WOW, the whining in the parking lot from the Burke fans, sore sore losers… grown adults acting like child brats. There were plenty of penalties on both sides, SC got no better treatment that you did, take your medicine BC, and I hope you don’t teach your kids to be the same kind of sorer losers as you are.

the champ is here!

December 1st, 2012
10:44 pm

way to go ridgeland……from the jacket nation!!!!!!!hope ya’ll will be playing after us at the dome!!!!!

Wayne

December 1st, 2012
11:24 pm

Bears and Creek played a great game there were a few questionable calls but the better team won last night. I wish creek the best and the bears will be back next year. I will not make a bunch of excuses the fact is we are home and Creek is still playing.

itsonlywrite

December 2nd, 2012
1:30 pm

@BigSCFan same thing we went through last year in Gainesville… some of their fans came through the home side talkin all kinds of noise. but yet, they said we rude for our signs… smh… its always good to stay humble…

Patriot Power

December 2nd, 2012
2:55 pm

I sort of miss the Burke folks. Monroe Area just won’t provide the same level of bulletin board material.

Woodpecker

December 2nd, 2012
3:25 pm

Sandy Creek won the coin tossed this morning still not sure where are playing yet. GHSA said that SC doesn’t have the required seating to host this game. My guess would be Starrs Mills.

Taxpayer

December 2nd, 2012
3:28 pm

The GHSA needs to step up and provide seating for these games or get rid of the rule. Why can’t fans stand by the fence around the field? GHSA needs to quit raising ticket prices as a team advances in the playoffs. I think all GHSA cares about is the $ and not the fans, students or players.

KD

December 2nd, 2012
4:51 pm

AMEN, Taxpayer, and to syrupmaker….SHUT UP !!!!!!

First Down "Creeeekkk"

December 2nd, 2012
5:32 pm

@Woodpecker: My hope is SC works out a deal with Northgate H.S. Closer to Tyrone and they have hosted a semi-final game in the past, i.e Creekside vs Griffin when Eric Berry played at Creekside. Not sure Starr’s Mill has the 6,000 set capacity but I may be wrong. Either way, it beats having to travel 1.5 hours to play in Monroe Area’s backyard.

Patriot Power

December 2nd, 2012
6:48 pm

I am pretty sure it will be at The Battlefield.

NoDistrictLinesInDekalb

December 2nd, 2012
10:56 pm

Here is a novel idea the teams with the stadiums that are too small have someone figure out a way to add to them. Money is tight but safety is always an issue otherwise you would not have metal detectors and school police. It just takes 1 nut to stampede a crowd !
Now for Monroe they may have been caught off guard by the new ruling and a playoff team in the same year, but not Sandy Creek. Doesn’t look like the Pats are going to drop football anytime soon as much as some of their opponets would like them too. Somebody needs to take a leadership role and get on the ball.
You can always take a short drive and come up to rent Panthersville or Hallaford (with turf) in Dekalb. We have lots police, metal detectors with lots of space for bus and car parking. But really does it matter where Sandy Creek wins it?

sportsnut

December 3rd, 2012
7:32 am

Clayton is close and would provide them with Tara., Southern Crescent or 12 Oaks. Sorry, not 12 Oaks, Lovejoy will be home. Tara is ideal. More than enough seating and parking and new turf.

ALL TUCKERRED UP

December 3rd, 2012
9:39 am

Long way for Marist to travel, but good luck WAR EAGLES !!!!!!!!!

Football Fan 2

December 3rd, 2012
10:19 am

Good Job Marist! Still cheering for you guys from Region 6!!!

trojan power

December 3rd, 2012
10:51 am

Like i said before. The winner of the marist vs carrollton game would play sandycreek in the dome. Looks like my prediction is going to be correct. Marist D-line probably is the best in in AAAA. If u cant throw the ball you wont score. Sandycreek will destroy Monroe area. It will be 45-3!! Sorry monroe area. Yall havent seen nothing close to this!!! Spread is SANDCREEK -28 MARIST-3

McDawg

December 3rd, 2012
12:52 pm

very impressed by Marist Defensive Line-another great year for Coach Chadwick

MonroeFan

December 3rd, 2012
2:31 pm

@ Trojan Power… Monroe Area is not a push over team… SC will not have it so easy as they have in the past…

Christina Brant

December 3rd, 2012
3:27 pm

Good luck to all the boys playing Friday. To Marist we welcome you to our little town of Rossville. Go Get Em Panthers… Class of 1997..

Just a Fan

December 3rd, 2012
6:16 pm

I don’t think anyone is calling Monroe a pushover but we need to face the facts-A 4 point win over Stephens Co,a blowout loss to Eastside and trouble putting away #4 seed Shaw does not lead one to beleive that they are ready for Sandy Creek. I dont think it will be close but we will find out Friday.Anyone know where the game will be played? Will it be televised or streamed?

Woodpecker

December 3rd, 2012
6:23 pm

According to Monroe Area Head coach SC will be playing at the Battlefield. They are going to bring in the required seating.

Woodpecker

December 3rd, 2012
6:49 pm

Just got it confirmed SC will be playing at Battlefield this Friday.

Stone

December 3rd, 2012
6:57 pm

@Woodpecker…thanks for checking….See yall Friday night with my jugs..it still has 2009 on the side of it…LOL…Go Creek…..

Woodpecker

December 3rd, 2012
7:14 pm

@MonroeFan….Just like Just a Fan replied no is calling Monroe Area a pushover you haven’t played any team the caliber of Sandy Creek. They have speed all over the defense and the defense plays lights out. SC can beat you with run or the pass. I don’t think MA quarterback will be as dangerous as Burke County and honestly a team without passing game is doomed from the first snap. I don’t that anything can happen on any given night and that’s why the game is played but I think that SC is strong in all areas of the game.

rickeygross

December 3rd, 2012
8:01 pm

monore are had a change fri against sandcreek

DownByTheCreek

December 3rd, 2012
8:55 pm

Monroe Area is in trouble Friday night ROLL CREEK ROLL….

DownByTheCreek

December 3rd, 2012
9:02 pm

Last week we wrangler a gator I guess this week we have to subdue a hurricane or either a dust storm whatever fits.

Patriot Power

December 3rd, 2012
9:31 pm

Hope Monroe Area will bring a crowd. Say what you will about Burke fans, but they travel and rock out their side of the stadium.

DO NOT GO TO SANDY CREEK

December 4th, 2012
12:28 am

I’m giving all fans of Monroe Area or anyone else besides the Sandy Creek Homers fair warning. If you do not want to stand up the entire game, (not to mention there is NO PARKING other than jumping a curb if yo are lucky) Get there about 2 hours early or DO NOT GO. They will bring in cheap low level (about three rows high at MOST due to complications in transporting) stands that are not even worth trying to sit in. You will have to stand up and then can not see because you will still be at almost eye level to the field. The players on the sidelines numbers on their backs will be all you see clearly. It is the worst field in GA. to attend a game. And don’t forget: this week the price of attendance is $15.00 per ticket. You have been warned. Sandy Creek is good but their facility flat out BLOWS.

Monroe's First Redcoat

December 4th, 2012
10:01 am

Loving all the S*&%-talking from the creeksters…you’re right. My Hurricanes, so convinced by your blather, have decided to just save the gas and phone it in.

I don’t care about our schedule. They are made along time in advance. Sandy Creek really put a whipping on 0-10 Columbus, 5-5 Banneker, 5-7 East Coweta, 2-8 Fayette County, 3-7 Troup, 2-8 Alexander, or 6-6 LaGrange\. Powerhouses all those were, boys, but I don’t hear you bitching about YOUR weak-assed schedule.

The only facts that matter are that 13-0 meets 12-1 on Friday and it will be decided ON THE FIELD.

GO HURRICANES!!!!!!

FCFB

December 4th, 2012
11:52 am

Moneroe’s First Redcoat…I guess Friday night Monroe Area will be added to that weak schedule…See you at The BattleField!!!!! GO CREEEK!

95BCBear4Lyfe

December 4th, 2012
12:01 pm

I have to give the Creek their due. They are a really good team and I look forward to battling them again next year as Burke is only losing 5 seniors. You guys had the better team last Friday that is certain, but you can’t stop Gator, you can only contain him.

Patriot Power

December 4th, 2012
4:20 pm

If I understand correctly, some people don’t like our stadium. Let’s be honest. Nobody who plays against us likes our stadium because they lose there. We like our stadium because we win there.

Woodpecker

December 4th, 2012
5:53 pm

Don’t forgot 2010 Monroe Area 11-1 SC won 41-0

Woodpecker

December 4th, 2012
5:55 pm

This team my be better than the 2010 team.

Just a Fan

December 4th, 2012
7:33 pm

OK Redcoat-you got my attention. I cannot beleive that a supporter of a region 8 team would be criticizing region 5. Maybe you forgot what happened to Eastside the week after they beat down Monroe. I know what happened when Stephens Co came to Carrollton,and when Lagrange traveled to Chestatee.Seems like Monroe had a little trouble with the region 5 #4 seed Shaw also. If you want to trash another region you need to have one better and its sure not #8.It will all be settled Friday night .

Monroe's First Redcoat

December 4th, 2012
11:05 pm

Just a Fan: – not at all..

@Woodpecker: I remember 2 years ago as well. But these are to different teams. Monroe Area is vastly improved from the 2010 squad, as good as that one was.

And I support a Region 8 team because that’s where my roots are, win or lose. I bleed Purple and always will.

I respect SC. Its record speaks for itself. So does Monroe’s. No excuses for the Eastside game. We flat got our asses handed to us. Letdown after winning the region the week before? Maybe, but I don’t like any excuses. We looked horrible and played worse. Still trying to figure that one out. As for the others, Stephens has been a blood rivalry for a long time. Records go out the window on that one. As for Chestatee – overrated, period.

Not getting to a region urinating contest. You play who is in your ares, just like the Hurricanes do. Ought to be a great game Friday between two loaded teams. We’ll be bringing our “A” game and I know SC will, too.

Monroe Area’s boys don’t walk on water. But neither do the Creeks. Now let’s cut all the BS and see what happens Friday.