Monroe Area is one of five schools making the state semifinals for the first time. Whiteater, Ridgeland , Lamar County and Norcross are the others.
But Monroe Area is probably the most Cinderella-like. In 2010, the Purple Hurricanes became the third team in history to go from 0-10 to a 10-win season. This season, they won their first region title since 1969.
Football was played at old Monroe High back to the 1920s, but there hasn’t been a season quite like this.
‘’A good word for the town and community right now would be they’ve gone zonkers,’’ Monroe Area coach Matt Fligg said. “They’ve given us such big-time support. It’s really neat for a small town like this to get on the bandwagon and ride with us through this title chance.’’
Monroe Area plays at No. 1-ranked Sandy Creek on Friday in the Class AAA.
Monroe’s pride is actually double. Another Monroe team, George Walton Academy, a private school that joined the GHSA in 2010, is in the Class A final four.
George Walton Academy coach Don Williams said the town is supporting both teams since they are in different classifications and are not natural rivals.
”The business is a buzzing around here,” Williams said. “All the windows are painted up this week. Monroe has always been good to George Walton.’’
George Walton won state titles in 1979, 1991, 2003 and 2009 in the Georgia Independent School Association.
Other cities with two teams in the semifinals are Norcross (Greater Atlanta Christian, Norcross), Atlanta (St. Pius, Marist) and Gainesville (North Hall, Gainesville).