– Can anyone stop Calhoun? Lamar County became the only team besides Ridgeland to come within a touchdown of the Yellow Jackets in the semifinals, 21-14. Defending state champion Calhoun has won 29 in a row since losing a third straight final to Buford in 2010. The Jackets’ average margin of victory, 45-14, is intimidating.
– Is this the year of the T? That’s Jefferson coach T. McFerrin, winner of more than 300 games in 38 years as a head coach. In a tenure including some hiatuses, he has only one state title, though, in the fifth of his six seasons at Elbert County in 1995. But since shirking five years of retirement to take over the Dragons in 2009, he’s never had a run like this. He’s reportedly won 12 region championships, had nine undefeated regular seasons and now is playing in a fourth state championship.
– Who’ll block Wesley Simonton? The Dragons linebacker snuffed Fitzgerald’s field goal attempt to force overtime in the quarterfinal, then added 14 tackles, including three for loss, in Friday’s 42-14 win over Greater Atlanta Christian in the semis. I suggest several be assigned to him.
– Who’s the better quarterback? Much focus is on Calhoun’s Taylor Lamb and Jefferson’s Bryant Shirreffs. Both are clutch guys. Lamb’s 3,638 yards last season was the most of any returning player, and his 3,166 and 34 touchdowns through the quarterfinals had him on track to top last year’s yardage by 16. Shirreffs ran for two TDs and 134 yards Friday, after his scoring pass and conversion toss dashed Fitzgerald in triple overtime.
– Do Jefferson folk even remember 1975 and ‘77? Those are the two times I could find the Dragons reached finals, about when many of Jefferson’s parents were entering high school. In ‘75, the Dragons (10-3-1) lost 39-13 to Irwin County, and in ‘77, they (10-4-1) fell 22-7 to Lincoln County. Current players haven’t been around for anything beyond the Dragons’ second-round appearances of 2003 and ‘07-09, until now.
– Dare the Dragons throw near Calhoun’s Donnell Anthony? The Rome News-Tribune reported the senior defensive back intercepted Lamar’s desperation pass in the end zone as time expired, and also picked one off at the end of the first half. Of the 10 turnovers Calhoun has caused in four playoff games, four have been Anthony interceptions, according to the News-Tribune.