Semifinal previews: Class A

Public

Dooly County at Lincoln County

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Buddy Bufford Field, Lincolnton

Records, rankings: Dooly County is 10-2, the No. 5 seed and unranked; Lincoln County is 11-1, the No. 1 seed and ranked No. 4.

Last meeting: Lincoln County won 34-8 in the 1998 Class A quarterfinals.

Three things to know: 1. Lincoln County RB Mike McIntire is the focus of his team’s offense with 1,315 yards rushing and 18 touchdowns, the most for a Red Devil since 2008, but QB Ben Jones had a big game in the quarterfinal victory over Wilkinson County, passing for 232 yards. He has thrown for 1,348 yards on the season. WR Jalen Franklin caught eight passes for 128 yards against Wilkinson. 2. Dooly County QB A.J. Smith threw for a season-high 291 yards and four touchdowns in the 34-27 victory over Seminole County last week. Smith has thrown for 1,920 yards on the season. Other players to watch are sophomore RB Chanin Hamilton (1,288 yards rushing), junior WR Cortney Clark (38 catches, 783 yards, 11 touchdowns) and DL Montravius Adams (team-leading 78 solo tackles, 5.5 sacks). 3. This will be Lincoln County’s 26th semifinal game under coach Larry Campbell, first since 2008. Lincoln County is 18-7 in those games. This is Dooly County’s third semifinal and first since 2002. Dooly is the last school to beat Lincoln County on the road in a semifinal (1983). Lincoln County won its next seven home semifinals until the semis were moved to the Georgia Dome for more than a decade.

Maxwell Ratings’ projection: Lincoln County by 15

Emanuel County Institute at Wilcox County

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Donnie Clack Stadium, Rochelle

Records, rankings: Emanuel County Institute is 11-1, the No. 3 seed and ranked No. 2; Wilcox County is 10-2, the No. 2 seed and ranked No. 5.

Last meeting: Emanuel County Institute won 41-21 in the 2007 Class A final.

Three things to know: 1. ECI’s leading rushers are Gregory Purcell (910 yards) and James Brown (880). Each has 11 touchdowns. They also are ECI’s leading receivers. Purcell has 13 catches – seven for touchdowns – and 343 yards. Brown has 16 receptions for 271 yards and four touchdowns. 2. The monster seasons from Wilcox County’s Makail Grace and Jonathan Howard continue. QB Grace threw for 352 yards and rushed for 125 in the quarterfinals against Marion County. He has thrown for 3,054 yards and 29 touchdowns and rushed or 861 yards and 13 touchdowns in only 11 games. WR Howard tied a season high with 13 receptions last week and has 99 catches for 1,421 yards and 17 touchdowns. 3. Both schools became state contenders again in 2006 and have averaged 11 wins since. ECI’s last playoff victory had been in 1998. Wilcox County’s last playoff win had been in 1993. Beginning in 2006, ECI is 79-10 with one state championship (2007). Wilcox is 78-13 with one state championship (2009). Only Lincoln County (84-12) and Savannah Christian (78-14) in Class A have comparable records in that time.

Maxwell Ratings’ projection: Emanuel County Institute by 5

Private

Landmark Christian at Prince Avenue

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Brad Akins Field, Bogart

Records, rankings: Landmark Christian is 9-3, the No. 12 seed and unranked; Prince Avenue Christian is 10-2, the No. 9 seed and unranked.

Last meeting: This is the teams’ first meeting.

Three things to know: 1. Landmark Christian, the lowest remaining seed in either of the Class A brackets, rushes for 264.1 yards per game, and the majority of it comes from junior Jeremiah Kirkland, who has 1,980 yards on 248 carries. Kirkland rushed for 226 yards in a 38-24 victory against First Presbyterian last week and had a season-high 284 against Holy Innocents’ on Nov. 2 in the regular season. 2. Prince Avenue has two 1,000-yard rushers for the first time in its seven-year history of varsity football. They are WB Carl Mattox (1,294 yards, 17 TDs) and WB/FB Bryce Huff (1,092, nine TDs). Key players on defense are all-state DE Tyler Parrish (eight sacks), LB Sam Kennon (103 tackles) and TE/LB Christian Payne (108 tackles). 3. Landmark and Prince Avenue are both playing in the semifinals for the second consecutive season and second time in school history. Prince Avenue lost to Savannah Christian 27-0 in the semifinals last year. Landmark beat Eagle’s Landing Christian 14-7 in the 2011 semifinals before losing to Savannah Christian 20-3 in the championship game.

Maxwell Ratings’ projection: Prince Avenue Christian by 6

George Walton Academy at ELCA

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Commitment Field, McDonough

Records, rankings: George Walton Academy is 9-3, the No. 11 seed and unranked; Eagle’s Landing Christian is 11-1, the No. 2 seed and ranked No. 1.

Last meeting: Eagle’s Landing Christian won 35-21 in the second round of the 2010 Class A playoffs.

Three things to know: 1. George Walton Academy averages 263 yards per game rushing, led by Stanley Williams, a junior who has committed to Georgia. Williams has rushed for 1,796 yards and 22 touchdowns and has 448 yards and six touchdowns in two playoff games. 2. Eagle’s Landing Christian QB Dalton Etheridge missed the regular-season finale with a sprained ankle, but he has accounted for more than 550 yards of offense, including 252 rushing, in two playoff games. ELCA has averaged 46.5 points per game this season, tied with Calhoun (AA) for the most among the remaining playoff teams. 3. George Walton won four Georgia Independent School Association championships, most recently in 2009. It is making its first semifinal appearance since joining the GHSA in 2010. Eagle’s Landing Christian won a GISA title in 1996 and reached the final in 1997, but it has not played in a championship game since joining the GHSA in 2004. This will be ELCA’s second consecutive semifinal appearance.

Maxwell Ratings’ projection: Eagle’s Landing Christian by 17

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58 comments Add your comment

moodswing

December 6th, 2012
8:48 am

Max Ratings has ELCA by 17! Is this the same rating system that picked Walker by 3 over GWA?

bucket

December 6th, 2012
9:06 am

I haven’t seen ELCA play, but have no reason to doubt what I have heard about how talented they are. However, I have seen George Walton take on Prince and they are a dangerous team when everyone is healthy. They have a strong leader @ QB that doesn’t get rattled and Williams is the real deal. GWA also has a strong line on both sides of the ball. Not sure about their depth compared to ELCA, but GWA should give ELCA a great game.

Surprise! Surprise!

December 6th, 2012
9:18 am

Single A gets split between public and private schools and Wlicox, ECI, and Lincoln County are all back in the Final Four where God intended them to be! Coincidence?

Swamp Lizard

December 6th, 2012
9:40 am

Landmark / Prince Ave should be a great game. Two teams a lot a like …. both like to run the ball and play get after you on defense. This game should be ‘tight” til the end.
George Walton / ELCA has the makings of a good game. It’s my opinion GW has been the most impressive ( best wins ) and “hottest” team in the playoffs thus far. It will be an interesting match up with Williams ( RB ) & Rice ( QB ) against an ELCA “D” that hasn’t given up anything all year.
Dooly Co / Lincoln Co …. wonder if ( DT ) Adams & the Dooley Co “D” can slow down Lincoln … or if Dooly Co can put up enough points to pull out a win.
ECI / Wilcox Co has all the makings of a great game. I personally think it’s going to be a shoot out kind of game ( high scorig ). ECI has to go on the road, play as a favorite ( by 5 according to Maxwell ) and come up with a way to stop Grace ( QB ) & Howard ( WR ) …. if my son wasn’t playing, I’d be at this game tomorrow night !!
BEST OF LUCK TO ALL TEAMS !!

Ray Goff

December 6th, 2012
11:00 am

Funny how in 5 years, not much has changed. ECI will take the same type team to Wilcox as they did in 2007. Nothing has changed with the style of play from Wilcox, either. Some big questions leading up to this game: Have Wilcox receivers been hit like they will be hit Friday by a very good and hard hitting ECI defense? Can the talented ECI DB’s contain the big time WR Howard and come up with a couple of picks? Can ECI get pressure on Grace and keep him from killing them in the air and on the ground? Can Wilcox defense stop the big ECI OL and that bruising ECI rushing attack?

I know there were many in 2007 that questioned whether or not ECI could hang with the high octane Wilcox passing attack. We all know what happened in that game. This game may come down to who can get a few defensive stops and who can be disciplined enough to limit mistakes and penalties. All the makings of a great game.

bucket

December 6th, 2012
11:16 am

I agree that the Prince vs Landmark game should be a great one. Landmark obviously has a lot of talent and a lot of heart as evidenced by how tough they played SCPA last year in the final and how many road games they have won in the last couple of years in the playoffs. The game may come down to who can stop the run and/or get a play in the passing game. I am really looking forward to seeing how well Prince’s linebackers compete against the running game of Landmark.

bucket

December 6th, 2012
11:21 am

Meant to add “late” to the sentence: “The game may come down to who can stop the run and/or get a play in the passing game late.” I’m sure no one cares, but it makes me feel better!

Innocent Bystander

December 6th, 2012
12:05 pm

@ moodswing……………..probably is and it’s wrong again. ELCA will win by at least 28 probably 35. If you haven’t seen ELCA play you may doubt that. If you have seen ELCA play you totally understand !!!

Innocent Bystander

December 6th, 2012
12:07 pm

@ Bucket…………I know you haven’t seen ELCA, but believe me, what you’ve heard probably doesn’t begin to explain the way they play. Im sure G.W is talented and well coached, but ELCA is a totally different Animal. They will uncork it on G.W.

Innocent Bystander

December 6th, 2012
12:17 pm

@ Bucket………..What’s your take on the Landmark rushing game ? It’s been mentioned a lot on these posts and I was wondering what they did with it all year. ELCA held them to 1 YD RUSHING IN THE REGION CHAMP. GAME. Thought maybe they had been wearing it out since then ???

Prince

December 6th, 2012
12:48 pm

@ Innocent Bystander …… ARE you a Father of one of the ELCA Boys?

Swamp Lizard

December 6th, 2012
12:53 pm

@ Innocent Bystander … Easy Big Boy, pull the harnesses back on those HORSES !! ELCA is loaded, and I think they could be very “special” team ….. let’s just get through one game at a time. Then we’ll look back on how good they were ….. or heavens forbid …. how good they could have been.

Swamp Lizard

December 6th, 2012
12:54 pm

@ Prince ….. I think he’s just ready for soem Friday Night Football !! ;)

Innocent Bystander

December 6th, 2012
12:58 pm

@ Prince………Yes Sir. I sure am. How’d you guess ?

bucket

December 6th, 2012
1:19 pm

@ Innocent Bystander – My only take on the Landmark running game is what I have read: “Three things to know: 1. Landmark Christian, the lowest remaining seed in either of the Class A brackets, rushes for 264.1 yards per game, and the majority of it comes from junior Jeremiah Kirkland, who has 1,980 yards on 248 carries. Kirkland rushed for 226 yards in a 38-24 victory against First Presbyterian last week and had a season-high 284 against Holy Innocents’ on Nov. 2 in the regular season.” Context is everything, but those are not bad numbers, especially Kirkland’s numbers.

As far as the GWA vs ELCA game: Again, I have not seen ELCA play, but no one thought Landmark would beat ELCA in the semifinal last year and they did. ELCA may beat George Walton as bad as you suggest, but I personally believe the game will be a lot closer than 4 touchdowns.

GAHSFBFAN24

December 6th, 2012
1:52 pm

I think the ELCA v GWA game will be a close one. GWA has too much D-1 talent and a huge O-line for it to be a blowout. @bucket, you are correct. ELCA did get ahead of itself last year and a tough well coached Landmark team came to play and put it to ELCA when it mattered the most. A team with their backs to the wall is a dangerous team and at this point in the season it’s win or go home. The playoff are different than the regular season game for this reason. It’s easy to see in the playoff already how hard it is to beat a team 2 times. GWA has already done this in round 1 against Aquinas avenging an early season loss.

Innocent Bystander

December 6th, 2012
1:59 pm

@ Bucket………….You may very well be right and I would really like to see a team push ELCA. I know the G.W kids have a lot of fight in them or they wouldn’t still be in it. I’m just going by what I’ve seen and so far I haven’t seen a team that could score much on ELCA’s D or stop their offense. A lot of people thought Savannah Christian was the team to do it, even after graduating all those great players last yr. Maybe G.W is the team to do it. I’m super excited about Friday and really do wish G.W & all their fans good luck and safe travels. I really just like to get some good firey debates going on here but you’re just way too nice and diplomatic. Do you have a kid playing for G.W ?

Innocent Bystander

December 6th, 2012
2:00 pm

@ Prince…………Are you really a Prince ? or the Prince (Purple Rain)?

Innocent Bystander

December 6th, 2012
2:08 pm

@ GAHSFBBR549…………You too may be correct, but again, last year is over ! Last yr was a great lesson for ELCA but this is this year. Do you think they will have a let down after losing in this game last season ? They will be well prepared. Please inform me of the D-1 talent G.W has. I know about the RB, but who else is a D-1 recruit. I know ELCA has at least 6, possibly 9 D-1 kids. It may be a very close game, but that’s what every other team thought before ELCA blew em out !

Scout

December 6th, 2012
2:24 pm

@Innocent Bystander…besides Stanley Williams…Jr. LB Josh Holton has D-1 offers, Sr. LT Chad Howell has been visited by D-1 coaches, not sure if he has offers or not. Fr. ATH Demetrios Mason should have D-1 offers a year from now, he is a stud. There are a handful of guys on this team that can play college ball somewhere but likely will focus on baseball/basketball.

Scout

December 6th, 2012
2:39 pm

@Innocent Bystander…oh and the Soph. Kicker is solid. He has at least 3 FG’s over 45 yards this season.

bucket

December 6th, 2012
2:40 pm

@ Innocent – That’s funny that you ask because my kids actually go to Prince so I don’t really have a dog in that fight! I almost posted a few minutes ago that gh2o needed to show up quick because I was tired of trying to carry the water for GWA! lol I saw the posters from last week that thought SC was going to beat ELCA and after seeing Prince beat them earlier in the year I knew there was a world of difference between SC last year and this year. Trust me, after seeing them both play Prince this year ELCA is facing a HUGE step-up in competition this week. Savannah Christian has a great coaching staff and a great fanbase and they will be back, maybe next year, but this year they were not ready for the top teams after losing so many seniors.

bucket

December 6th, 2012
2:42 pm

@ Scout – you are correct about the kicker. I thought Prince had stopped a GWA drive just before halftime and that field goal he hit was a huge factor in the game. (And was the difference in the game as it turned out.)

Prince

December 6th, 2012
2:48 pm

@Innocent Bystander …….. No Sir. I am just a Innocent Bystander!!

Innocent Bystander

December 6th, 2012
3:06 pm

@ Prince………I like it, I like it a lot !

Innocent Bystander

December 6th, 2012
3:14 pm

@ Scout……..thats pretty solid. I wasn’t aware of the other guys, but that is great. I love seeing kids get looked at by D-1, 2, 3 or any division. Not many kids get to keep playing after high school. I’m hoping my Soph. will benfit from all ELCA’s Jr. & Sr. talent, and I really think he will if he hasn’t already by battling 2 Notre Dame guys everyday. Well this may just be a Doozie Friday night ! Can’t wait for it ! I’m still sticking with my pick

S. Thomas Coleman

December 6th, 2012
3:18 pm

The Class A Blog is now up with fresh quotes/perspective from head coaches Larry Campbell of Lincoln County, Mark Ledford of Wilcox County, Mark Farriba of Prince Avenue Christian and Jonathan Gess of ELCA.

Here’s the link: http://blogs.ajc.com/georgia-high-school-sports/2012/12/06/class-a-coaches-in-semis-talk-keys-to-game-other-factors/?cxntfid=blogs_georgia_high_school_sports

S. Thomas Coleman

LanFan

December 6th, 2012
3:23 pm

I am good with getting ELCA’s heads as big as we can. Last year I did pick us over them in the playoffs. If you saw Landmark/ELCA in the regular season you could see the way to a possible victory (with some hope) and it worked out. This year I didn’t see it. So my hope is lets crown this this week and see what we can do next week. I just wish we could get us some D1 talent. I must be nice.

LanFan

December 6th, 2012
3:24 pm

LONG LIVE ELCA.

Innocent Bystander

December 6th, 2012
4:27 pm

@ Lanfan…………If you saw hope in last yrs. regular season game vs ELCA, what did you see in this yrs. game ??? The one where ELCA didn’t even use a QB all night. That must have given you tons of hope & promise. Once again, this is not LAST YEAR. Sounds like you’re already looking past Prince Ave. Witty banter welcomed.

LoveFridayFootball

December 6th, 2012
4:37 pm

@LanFan…. Your post was really confusing. You might want to worry about THIS Friday night and not look at thinking you have a plan to beat ELCA. I really don’t get your logic of “since we beat ELCA last yr we can do it again this yr”….. You better hope GWA beats ELCA if you make it back to the Dome. Maybe juuuuuust maybe you can get more than TWO first downs IN THE WHOLE GAME vs them….

gh2o

December 6th, 2012
4:51 pm

@bucket: sorry to disappoint! You’re doing a fine job. It would be nice to see you guys in the dome. But I think we both have our work cut out for us this week! I do recall ELCA’s baseball team having high hopes, thinking GWA was merely a bump in the road. That’s as far as I will get to smack talking. ;-)

Swamp Lizard

December 6th, 2012
6:06 pm

I don’t like smack talking … I prefer smash mouthing. We’re just about 24 hours to kickoff and I know we’re all fired up and excited. I have close friends at GW, I’ve seen them play this year, I’ve seen the talent, and I’ve watched about 8 hours of film on them this week …. I know how good they are. Now with all that, I know what kind of football team ELCA has too. I’m looking forward to Friday night!

Beat Elca

December 6th, 2012
7:29 pm

Innocent, Wasn’t the same 6 or 9 D1 prospect you have on the same team last year that Landmark beat? Or did you recruit all of them this year? If you knew anything about football and watched last year you would have noticed that ELCA scored two big TD in the 2nd qtr and were held in check for the 2nd half. If was a such a beat down, Landmark shouldn’t have showed up for the playoff game.

ELCA had the most talent last year and should have won it last year. They should also win it this year and this is the most talent on a Single A team I have seen in a long while. But that being said talent doesn’t always win you the game.

Innocent Bystander

December 6th, 2012
8:14 pm

@ Beat ELCA…………Here we go again, last year, last year, last year ! Is that all you got ??? How bout THIS YEAR ! HOW BOUT 43-0, HOW BOUT 2 FIRST DOWNS, HOW BOUT 1 YD RUSHING, HOW BOUT YOUR SIGN ON THE BLEACHERS ???????? Should I keep going ????? If you knew anyting about football you’d know that WE scored 5 TD’s on Landmark ! That means we scored more than Landmark ! It doesn’t matter when you score them, it’s that you actually do score them. If youy want to play that dumb game, last year Landmark scored in the last 2 mins to win, so I guess it doesn’t count. Like this year, when Landmark scored……oh, my bad ! They didn’t score a single point ! Keep living in the past loser & see where that gets you. Our D-1 players are all academically eligible, much unlike your star from last yr. as plenty of people know. You worry about Prince Ave. You’ll be lucky to get by them. And what’s all this talk about how Landmark played Savannah Christian so tough in the Dome LAST YEAR ? That was an absolute beat-down and you barely gained more yards on them than you did on us this year. I hope and pray we get to see Landmark at the Dome. I also hope Gess feels like making another statement. Like THIS YEAR !!!!

MCMBAA

December 6th, 2012
8:33 pm

LanFan can take up for himself, and will I’m sure. However, in the interest of clarification, I believe what he is saying is that he saw a way that LCS could have beaten ELCA even when they lost their regular season game at home. In other words, he didn’t witness an unwinnable blowout.

I was at that regular season game and the play was indeed a lot closer than the score indicated, so OK, he may have a point about that game….but then again that’s now the past. HOWEVER, in this year’s Region 5 Championship game it was an undeniable stomping that ELCA put on LCS and there’s no amount of statistics or prognostication that can mitigate that.

How will we fare against GWA? I’m betting the farm on ELCA. Other than a VERY strong AAA Washington County, nobody has gotten close enough to ELCA to even see them, much less catch them.

LanFan

December 7th, 2012
2:34 am

OK Guys. Did you read what I said. I said last year I saw hope and it worked out. This year I didn’t see any so the only thing we (and anyone else still in it) can do is make your heads big enough that you don’t fit in your helmets. I am not taking this week for granted. All I was saying is if anyone was going to have a chance we all needed to make you to confident starting now. But, My guess is you didn’t even get to that line or you didn’t understand it. Y’all may want to lay off the RedBull or something.

LanFan

December 7th, 2012
2:51 am

Innocent Bystander I think it is kind of low to go after a kid who has problems. We all understand that one of the things that make High School fun is that the boys grow and move on. You don’t know them at all let them live their lives. So that makes you a big man. As you said last year is last year. But the thing that seems to stay the same is that some grown men who have to pound there chest to make sure everyone knows they are better. Savannah was the same way last year. Swamp Lizard thanks for the civility you show for your team and everyone else. I hope you know I was really trying to say you have the team that everyone else has to chase. Good luck in another 18 hours. I think it is kind of low to go after a kid who has problems. Innocent Bystander I just hope the pest for your kid if you have one.

LanFan

December 7th, 2012
2:53 am

that should be Best not pest.

LanFan

December 7th, 2012
3:02 am

One last thing. I think you have to give me that no ones seems to talk about our great talent and the big colleges that want all of our boys. All that is said is they have heart. I was just saying I would like a couple more studs in the future. I am sure some of you will find a way to be offended at that also. On that good night.

Innocent Bystander

December 7th, 2012
5:33 am

@ Lanfan…………..It’s low to say Landmark played an academically ineligible player all year, but it’s O.K for you to ask if we recruited all our studs this year ??? You need to worry about putting together a string of sentences that we can all understand. I’m not sure you’re academically eligible.

Innocent Bystander

December 7th, 2012
6:49 am

@ Lanfan………..Here’s a crazy idea. How about you say what you mean. Don’t start a post accusing ELCA of recruiting then 4 posts later say it was meant to be a compliment. My post about your star was pointed directly at the Landmark coaches and administrators that let it slide all year. Thanks for the well wishes for my kids. Keep working on your grammar and get back to us when you figure it out.

Swamp Lizard

December 7th, 2012
6:56 am

@ Lan Fan … I really enjoy getting on here an hearing everyone’s “takes” and even giving mine, but we all have those that get to us a little. I hate hearing “recruiting” alligations against the team I pull for, I would never bash a player, and even though I have strong feelings towards some coaches I try to never call them out. “We” have kids that play on Friday nights, and we see how hard they work, how much time and effort his teammates and coaches put in. It’s just not right to call them out for working so hard toward their goals. I will tell you this, I love the HEART & FIGHT Landmark has, and I wouldn’t beat against them tonight. Wish y’all the best !!

LanFan

December 7th, 2012
7:27 am

Here is a problem I have and I am under the weather so if I said it and I missed it let me know. But, when did I say anything about recruiting. I don’t think that ever came into my mind. Where did that come from.

@ Lanfan

December 7th, 2012
7:41 am

@lanfan………My sincerest apologies, it was Beat ELAC that made the recruiting comment. Everything else stands.

@ Lanfan

December 7th, 2012
7:42 am

i meant ELCA…. Wow, this day is not starting out right. I take back everything I ever said on here !

LanFan

December 7th, 2012
7:50 am

Thanks for the clarification. I knew it wasn’t me. Lets all just shut up and let the Boys have a good time on the field tonight. Best to everyone and lets pray everyone comes home safe and sound tonight.

Swamp Lizard

December 7th, 2012
8:09 am

@ Lan Fan ….. No, No, No ….. I was just agreeing with you ….. I’m on your side. You haven’t said or done anything wrong.

Innocent Bystander

December 7th, 2012
8:21 am

AMEN ! Good luck to all 4 teams and hope to see yall at the DOME !

moodswing

December 7th, 2012
9:46 am

GWA 24 ELCA 14!