Class A: Four questions to ponder while waiting for the finals

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.

108 comments Add your comment

Swamp Lizard

December 8th, 2012
8:38 am

No disrespect to Prince Ave, but I’d have to say the George Walton / ELCA game will be hard to beat in the Dome. I think ELCA has had it’s “scare” and will come into the Dome focused to finish this deal off. As far as Prince Ave being a team of “destiny”, you have to admire the adversities they have faced and overcome this football season. That is a great credit to the coaching staff, the players buying in and them coming together and fighting hard all year. My hats off to them.

Swamp Lizard

December 8th, 2012
8:46 am

I’ll be the first to say, I didn’t give Dooly Co much of a chance against Lincoln Co. Congrats on beating them and the big win! Holding Lincoln Co to 44 yards rushing was very impressive. ECI has been rolling along taking care of business all year averaging 40 points a game. I think this one ( ECI / Dooly Co ) has the makings of a great game. ECI has to remain “focused” and finish what they’ve started. Dooly Co must be riding high going to Linconton and beating a state favorite … they too have to remain “focused”. I’m looking forward to this game.

Woverine

December 8th, 2012
8:50 am

No disrespect to the game you saw last night, but the game I saw in Athens was a great battle as well. I am sure that PACS is hoping that ELCA and their roster of cross town recruits and D1 prospects are taking them as lightly as you are. I know nothing about destiny, but this team is as well coached as any in the state. I promise you that nothing ELCA does will surprise PACS. PACS may be overmatched athletically but they are use to that. Looking forward to Friday’s game.

Swamp Lizard

December 8th, 2012
8:51 am

@ TCDAW25 … I’m happy for ya Man !! I’ll see ya at the Dome !! What size ELCA shirt you want? I need an XL ECI shirt !! ;)

Spelling Bee Champ

December 8th, 2012
8:52 am

It is Wolverine smart guy!

Swamp Lizard

December 8th, 2012
8:56 am

@ Wolverine … I know who your coaches are, I know they’re great coaches. ELCA will have the utmost respect for Prince Ave. I was not taking your team lightly and as I said, no disrespect. See you Friday ! With that said, don’t go running your mouth about cross town recruits and throwing mud at our program.

S. Thomas Coleman

December 8th, 2012
9:15 am

@Wolverine: Congrats to Coach Farriba, his staff and his players! Awesome job by all.

But go easy on the “recruiting” thing in terms of ELCA. I can tell you, I’ve gotten several emails from folks purporting to be from the Athens-Clark County-Oconee County-Oglethorpe County area who accuse PAC of the same thing you’re saying about ELCA. One e-mailer said (pasting his/her words here) “How is it that PAC got so good so quickly in an area where there are not that many great athletes but there are so many putblic and private schools to choose from? The GHSA or somebody or you need to look into that!”

I happen to think it’s because of Coach Farriba and his staff, and their dedication to discipline and detail, during the season and in the off season as well. So again, be careful with the “recruiting” accusations.

Thanks for reading and posting!

S. Thomas Coleman

Rick

December 8th, 2012
9:20 am

I just find it cowardly that the public single A schools wined until they didn’t have to play our skinny little private school boys………..chicken!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Todd Holcomb

December 8th, 2012
11:19 am

As a fan, I’d sure like to see the private and public school champions square off. That said, I understand the reason behind the split. It’s unfortunate that the most common argument about keeping them together in the same division is shame-based. ”Public schools are whiners, cowards and chickens.”

Meanwhile, private schools can still compete against public schools for state championships. Just apply for Class AA. Are they chicken? I don’t think so. They are looking for a level playing field just as the small public schools are.

It’s a shame that a debate so complicated that it is argued in almost every state in the country is marred by some many insults going back and forth. There are some each side that feel they are morally superior to the other. If this were so easy, then every state in the country would be in agreement on what to do. They aren’t.

TCDAWG25

December 8th, 2012
11:19 am

@ Swamp Lizard I need a 2X, and I’m happy for you guys too. What size shirt do you need. It was an awesome game we missed a couple of extra points and a two point conversion. But we dominated from beginning to end very proud of everyone who has anything to do with ECI football.

Swamp Lizard

December 8th, 2012
11:48 am

@ TCDAWG25 … you got it! I’ll take an XL. We had our hands full Friday night, GW has some big boys on the lines. I have to give them some love, if it wasn’t for the special teams play of ELCA it would have been a game down to the wire.

Factual errors

December 8th, 2012
12:14 pm

ELCA didn’t lead WACO 19-0 at the half, and Dooly didn’t beat Wilcox County.

Innocent Bystander

December 8th, 2012
12:39 pm

@ Woverine………What is a Woverine ??? I see you’re one of those guys. Swamp said nothing negative about your program, yet the 1st thing you do is jump on the recruiting deal. You even got in trouble by the Principal (STC). We ARE in a talent rich area here in Henry Co., but I’m pretty sure you’re NOT, so the earlier post inquiring as to how PACS jumped up so quickly is very reasonable. If you think it’s takes amazing coaching for PACS not to be surprised by anything ELCA does, you’re a real genius. I watched every one of PACS’s games on youtube . Why would ELCA even need to surprise you ??? We’re going to come into the DOME, bust PACS in the mouth & walk out with the Crown. ELCA 49- PACS 7 (if you’re lucky) ! End of story !!!

The Truth

December 8th, 2012
12:46 pm

Anyone that accuses PACS of recruiting hasn’t seen a PACS game or our roster. This team is led by 8 seniors who most have been going to Prince since K-5. Others came in around 6th-9th grade. There is not one Div

gh2o

December 8th, 2012
12:47 pm

@Swamp Lizard, there was a 17 point swing in special teams play. If it hadn’t been for special teams, GWA would have won the game. Not to disrespect your program, but we dominated the game on both sides of the ball. Of course, “should have won” doesn’t mean squat and props to your team for finding a way to win the battle. But the score really doesn’t indicate what happened on the field of play.

On another note, my son did say that your Purdue commit at RB was a class act, as was the Griffin kid. I’m sure a lot of the other kids were, as well. I was, however really disappointed with the number of blatantly late, away from the ball cheap shots and trash talk from ELCA players. It started the first play of the game and continued throughout. If it were just a “shove” here and there, it would be one thing. However, that was possibly the dirtiest game I’ve seen from a class A team. I hope that wasn’t indicative of the way they’ve played all season long. If so, you should seriously consider, as a parent, talking to the head coach and administration about how your school represents itself on the field. Again, it wasn’t all players. But those cheap shots are what cause serious injuries. The trash talk, unfortunately, has just become part of the game with some kids…. I will follow by saying I know a couple of parents at ELCA and their kids, who would NEVER participate in such.

Swamp Lizard

December 8th, 2012
12:58 pm

@ gh2o … you can count me as an ELCA parent that doesn’t condone that kind of play either. I watched every play and I’m sorry, but I didn’t see any dirty play. My son also said y’all had a first class team. I think it was just a tough fought game. I even took GW side on a couple of nice hits laid on ELCA players … I’m sorry and I will not buy into ELCA players being dirty … now trash talking … I don’t like it, but that’s the way it is these days.

Witness

December 8th, 2012
1:00 pm

gh20 – It was a great game for both teams and they should be congratulated for getting as far as they have. It was a great game. From my point of view, which was close to the GWA’s locker room there was serious smack talk coming from these players, some I am sure their parents would not be too proud of, they might think their kids would NOT participate in such activity. With all that said congrats to both teams for a great year of football.

The Truth

December 8th, 2012
1:00 pm

Sorry, hit enter by accident:

Anyone that accuses PACS of recruiting hasn’t seen a PACS game or our roster. This team is led by 8 seniors who most have been going to Prince since K-5. Others came in around 6th -9th grade, but these guys have played together since middle school. There is not one Division I or II player on this team. Heck, Carl Mattox is probably the only Division III player on the team. The QB and CB is barely 5′ 6″. There is a freshman starting at Safety and most of our players play both ways. This senior class who is down some players have been playing and starting since their Freshman year so they have taken some lumps and learned a lot. However what they do know is how to run the Wing T and they run it well. This offense is what gives them a chance against the bigger boys as the region and playoff record will attest over the last couple of years. One other huge advantage is having Coach Richard Bell with all his years of college experience run the defense. These boys would run through a brick wall for that man and they believe in what he tells them.

I would welcome a full GHSA, AJC, or Athens Banner Herald analysis of our roster because after this review this team will be celebrated as what can be accomplished with hard work, determination and consistency.

ELCA might win this game on Friday but they will know they have been in a game when they wake up on Saturday morning.

Swamp Lizard

December 8th, 2012
1:04 pm

@ gh2o … I’ll ask my buddy what his take was from the game … his son also plays at GW … & I’ll get back to you Monday. I just didn’t see any dirty stuff myself.

The Truth

December 8th, 2012
1:07 pm

I fully expect Coach Larry Campbell at Lincoln County will propose a resolution at the end of the year that schools from South Georgia have to play in a seperate division of Class A so his Red Devils can finally make the Dome again. I guess it wasn’t just those pesky private schools that could beat his team. This whole split single A championship deal between public and private is just stupid and sends the wrong message to the kids for when they get out into the real world.

Old Timer

December 8th, 2012
2:03 pm

Come on people. For two Christian schools to be trash talking doesn’t look very Christ-like. Saying everyone does it, that that is just the way it is now, is no excuse. Can’t people just cheer for their team without having to hate on the other? Todd Holcomb, I will give you an “Amen” to your post!

just a fan

December 8th, 2012
2:18 pm

how many player have pacs bought, the ones that did not perform they got rid of.

get a clue

December 8th, 2012
2:22 pm

for gh20 the last time I looked special teams points still count. And as to total domination 14 points at half and 14 points at the end of the game. The game is still 4 quarters and I have not seen a more dominate second half than the dominance of ELCA in the second half Friday night.

LanFan

December 8th, 2012
2:26 pm

First of all congrats to PAC for the win. Any of my thought about the game would just seem like whining but the facts are you made the big plays when you had a chance and you are moving on enjoy.

ELCA it was way closer than I expected. But, you definitely deserve to be there. Honestly I am confused over who to pull for the team that knocked us out or a rival.

I will stand by what I said last week. Now that they are past GW unless there are several major injuries or ELCA’s heads getting way to big I don’t see anything to stop them. I expect the scare to have put an extra punch their step this week. There is no disrespect to PAC just my feelings. If PAC coaches can come up with the plan that wins we will all owe you a tip of the hat.

Best wishes for all next Friday and we will Pray for everyone’s good health.

The Truth

December 8th, 2012
2:47 pm

@Just a Fan. The four kids that did not return, were 4 starters on both sides of the ball. In fact 3 of them played for North Oconee this year. They left due to rules violations. In fact one of the players was the coaches son. So if we bend the rules don’t you think we would have done if for the head coaches son? We do not offer scholarships and if our coaches recruit, they do a very very poor job if you look at our size, talent and speed. These kids have a lot of heart and have bought into the system. Again, there is not a Division I or II kid on this team.

Again, have the paper look at our roster and interview the kids and you will get the picture.

bucket

December 8th, 2012
2:47 pm

A tip of the hat to Landmark Christian that came to Brad Aiken Field last night and gave Prince a whale of a game. The game turned on just a couple of huge plays both ways, but Landmark has nothing to be ashamed of and they played with all of the heart that I expected to see out of them. BTW, Landmark doesn’t just have heart, they also have some very talented kids.

Obviously, I didn’t see the game between ELCA and GWA, but it sounds like it was as good of a game as I had predicted it would be. With that said, I agree with the assessment that Prince will be at a huge disadvantage going into the dome from a personnel stand point. But that isn’t anything new either. As Coach Farriba always tells everyone, “We don’t win alot of pre-game warm-ups!” ELCA should be favored to win and they might win big. However, I would hope that the 2 Christian schools that are left on the Private side of the bracket can represent Christ well and represent our schools well. As Christians we wear ( and bear) the name of Christ and we shouldn’t do or say anything that drags his name through the mud. We all love football or we wouldn’t be posting on a blog, but in eternity it won’t matter much who wins the 2012 Private School Championship.

In regards to the recruiting allegations that STC says his readers sent him all I can say is that is completely ludicrous. I have been watching all of those guys play together since the 7th grade. (And most of them have been going to Prince since K5) I can remember riding to a middle school contest several years ago between Prince and Towns Co and I told my wife that day if Prince could keep all of those boys together they would be good when they were Juniors and Seniors. They haven’t added any players to that mix of players since they were in middle school and have actually lost about 10 of them over the years for various reasons. So anyone that accuses Prince of recruiting doesn’t know the facts. With Coach Farriba and Coach Bell, Prince has 2 of the best coaches in the state of Georgia at any level. I don’t know how Prince ended up with them, but we are blessed to have them.

The Truth

December 8th, 2012
2:50 pm

@ LanFan It was a heck of a game last night and I was proud of the way both teams competed and showed true sportsmanship. With this new format, I am sure we will see you guys in the future.

Merry Christmas

just a fan

December 8th, 2012
2:54 pm

@ the truth Coach was just holding out his son thinking school would pay him more for his service.

The Truth

December 8th, 2012
3:00 pm

@ just a fan Yea, a Dad would do that and just forgo the opportunity to coach his son for his Senior year. If you just new…………..you have to be a delusional fan of Lincoln County or someone we have beaten over the last couple of years. The truth is hard to face, because you want it to be something else, but I have laid it out for you.

just a fan

December 8th, 2012
3:03 pm

@ the truth once a cheat always a cheat.

just a fan

December 8th, 2012
3:11 pm

@ The Truth see how saey it is for someone to say any school is cheating. I do not think your couch are school would do that. Just watch the stones you throw at other schools.

LanFan

December 8th, 2012
3:17 pm

@ just a fan What are you saying? And who are you for. I for one was impressed the Coaches kid was made to leave (that wouldn’t happen many places and the coach stay, maybe there is more to the story, not my business). If you have real facts you need to take proper action fist. If not I just ask that you be careful about the slippery slope you are on. One bad thing about the Internet and Blogs is it is a lot easy to hurt people than it is to fix it after you have. So, I just ask that you keep that in mind.

Everyone of us has something we thinks smells about someone else. Is it envy, sour grape, real problems or something else I don’t know but it is that kind of thing that got us two champions and I don’t want to see 3 or 4 for the smallest class in the state.

The Truth

December 8th, 2012
3:18 pm

@ just a fan. If you go back and read this blog, I never once accused anyone of cheating or recruiting. I was responding to Thomas Colemans comment that others have accused us of getting too good too fast.

just a fan

December 8th, 2012
3:25 pm

@ the truth it was woverine. you just was addressing you comments to me.

gh2o

December 8th, 2012
4:00 pm

@swamp: it started on the first play of the game. I’m not sure how you missed that one. It was flagged…20 yards behind the runner as he crossed the goal line. There many such off the ball hits that should have been flagged, but there was only 2 actually flagged. There’s just no excuse for that type of play. Again, the trash talk element may be the new norm, but I think it detracts from the sportsmanship element of “sports”. Sorry, just calling it as I see it. Again, it wasn’t all the kids and didn’t effect the outcome of the game. I am in no way saying this was some excuse for the loss. Congrats to ELCA, as a whole, and good luck in the Dome next week. I think it will be a fairly wide margin, but what do I know…?

gh2o

December 8th, 2012
4:10 pm

@Todd Coleman: I don’t see why a class A school should have to become AA to compete for a true state championship. That’s ludicrous. We have less than 400 kids in our high school and less than half of those are boys! Why should we have to play on a different level playing field than a similar class A public school? If there are some calling the public schools “chicken”, well, if the shoe fits…. The rules came from the public schools…not the privates. So, if you truly want to see them actually play a true state tournament, talk to the public school coaches who whined about being beaten by the privates. The really sad part is that our school just joined GHSA two years ago and got screwed by the public school coaches changing the rules. Now, we travel just as far as we did before joining the GHSA. But the GHSA got all the benefits of playing schools in closer proximity. It doesn’t need to be “tweeked”! The public schools need to suck it up and play ball!

PAC

December 8th, 2012
5:26 pm

I would gladly pay for any private investigator the GHSA would hire to investigate all 4 final four single A private schools and these allegations of recruiting. The ball was dropped by GHSA by approving the transfers without good knowledge of what they were approving. It’s who you know when it comes to hardship cases. GHSA could clean up this mess if they wanted to with a few stern rules and a backbone to enforce what rules they have in place.

gh2o

December 8th, 2012
5:30 pm

Sorry, ELCA was actually flagged for 3 personal fouls after the play was over…not two. Missed the one called on the sidelines when the kid grabbed Williams by the helmet and twisted it after the play. There were others not called, such as stepping on our qb when he was on the ground. Again, nothing to do with the game outcome. Just very disappointed to see it from a program like ELCA.

gh2o

December 8th, 2012
5:35 pm

@PAC, not a single kid I know has transferred to GWA as a hardship case. TWO have transferred out as hardship cases in the past two years. Just the facts.

LanFan

December 8th, 2012
6:08 pm

gh2o I agree with you but hate to tell you this but AA starts at 350. So just saying less than 400 puts you in AA.

Of the Semi final teams the school size numbers they were set in A on were:

Wilcox 296
Lincoln 280
Dooly 269
ECI 250

ELCA 266
GW 238
Landmark 174
PAC 171

I don’t think saying we should have to play schools that range from 350-650 is very fair either. I wanted to say that before someone start going with your point about moving up. At this point who cares. There is no way to make everything fair and equal and we are only a year away from more realignment. True State Champion is something that you watch Hoosiers for. We used to have 4 classes (I can only speak to the last 30 years) now we have 6 with 7 champions and no one has done anything about the City school or the really poor rural school or the fact that AAAAAA has a 1200 student difference between their school sizes. When does it stop and get back to the competition. I guess that is what Friday nights are about and this is what we do the rest of the time.

Anyone know what they finally did about debate and One act play competition they were supposed to be very important a year ago.

PAC

December 8th, 2012
6:19 pm

Gh2o
I’m sorry if i hit a nerve, that was not my intention. I would be willing to pay the investigative fees so that we could stop the bickering. That is all I would like to accomplish.

get a clue

December 8th, 2012
6:26 pm

saw the whole game thought gw was far more unsportsmanslike than elca just got the calls in their favor.

LanFan

December 8th, 2012
6:26 pm

And no matter what any of you say every public school has a kid or two people some say transferred or lives on the other side of the line and every private school has a player or two who someone besides his parents are paying for them to go there. And, every school has at least one kid who’s grades are suspect. Lets all be honest it is true and if you don’t think it is true you are just not in the know. Most all of it is innocent and someone trying to do best for a kid and I am sure some are not.

What it really comes down to is if you beat us I am sure you are doing something wrong and that is all that matters.

Innocent Bystander

December 8th, 2012
6:31 pm

@ gh2o……..you just won’t quit, huh ??? There were AT LEAST 3 personal fouls on G.W that didn’t even draw a flag ! I DON’T KNOW HOW ELCA WILL SURVIVE KNOWING THAT YOU ARE DISAPPOINTED IN THEM ! I GUESS WE WILL TRY TO GET THROUGH THE NEXT WEEK AND REFLECT ON WHAT WE CAN DO TO KEEP FROM DISAPPOINTING YOU………AFTER WE PLAY IN THE DOME !!!! SHUT UP ! IT’S PATHETIC !!!

nourstuff

December 8th, 2012
6:48 pm

Interesting to see that @Innocent Bystander now thinks it very reasonable to believe PACS may be guilty of recruiting since they have had success, being as they are generally located in the low-talent Athens area! What has happened to your “Until you have undeniable proof of the “recruiting”, it’s all opinion, and you know what people say about opinions.” attitude from earlier threads? Can you say hypocrite? Lord help anyone that questions ELCA though-a true example of irony…

TomDawg

December 8th, 2012
8:28 pm

Personally, i don’t understand any of you private schools having the word “christian” in your schools name. You all are probably the dirtiest teams and worst losers i’ve ever seen.

Larry Campbwll

December 8th, 2012
8:57 pm

Enter your comments here

Bulldog

December 8th, 2012
9:02 pm

ELCA’s #22 will do time eventually with his attitude. He’s good for a couple of cheaps shots at the dome. PAC defensive backs better keep their heads on a swivel.

Bulldog

December 8th, 2012
9:02 pm

Enter your comments here

Walker Fan

December 8th, 2012
9:59 pm

LanFan…I believe those numbers listed by GHSA are Freshman through Junior classes. For some reason in their count methodology, i thought they excluded the senior classes…I think