By S. Thomas Coleman
For the AJC
The Class A finals are set.
On the private school side, No. 9 Prince Avenue Christian held off No. 12 Landmark Christian School, 32-22, while Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy, the No. 2 seed, downed George Walton Academy, 27-14. The private school championship will feature Prince Avenue Christian (11-2) vs. Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy (12-1), Friday at 2:30 p.m. at the Georgia Dome.
On the public school side, No. 5 Dooly County upset No. 1 Lincoln County, 10-7, and No. 3 Emanuel County Institute outlasted No. 2 Wilcox County, 38-27. The public school final will be Dooly County (11-2) against Emanuel County Institute (12-1), Saturday at 11 a.m.
We’ll have detailed previews later this week.
Until then, here are four questions to ponder while waiting on the games to start:
Can Dooly’s defense slow Emanuel County Institute’s offense?
Lincoln County had been averaging more than 30 points per game before running into Bobcat All-State defensive tackle Montravius Adams and his mates. Lincoln failed to score an offensive touchdown for the first time this season. Lincoln had been averaging nearly 180 yards rushing per game. Dooly held them to just 44.
Emanuel County Institute comes into the final averaging 40 points per game, behind the rushing of seniors Greg Purcell and James Brown, and junior Michael Sutton, who have rushed for over 2,300 yards and 34 touchdowns. Bulldog senior quarterback Caleb Pressey has also thrown for nearly 1,000 yards and 14 touchdowns this season.
Do common opponents matter?
In both cases, there has been just one common opponent – Wilcox County on the public school side and George Walton on the private side.
Wilcox split with ECI and Dooly. ECI defeated Wilcox in the semi finals, Dooly fell to the Patriots 28-14, way back on Sept. 14. On the private school side, Prince Avenue lost a close one to George Walton, 17-14, the last game of the regular season on Nov. 9.
Was the private school title game already played?
At the beginning of the playoffs most felt ELCA was the clear favorite to win it all, with George Walton, though the Bulldogs were an 11 seed, thought to be one of the only teams capable of playing with the Chargers.
Indeed, in Friday’s semi finals, George Walton held ELCA to its lowest point total since the Chargers lost to AAA Washington County in the season opener, 24-19, a game they led 19-0 at halftime. And as mentioned previously, George Walton defeated Prince Avenue earlier this season.
But is Prince Avenue the “team of destiny?”
The Wolverines lost four of their best players before the season even began, when they left the team and the school due to an incident that occurred over the summer. One of those players was running back/defensive back Rob Farriba, a rising senior and son of Prince Avenue head coach Mark Farriba.
On top of that, the Wolverines moved quarterback Carl Mattox to wing back and moved defensive back Zach Graham to quarterback. But through all of that upheaval, Prince Avenue is in the Georgia High School Association finals for the first time in school history.