Jeff Haws’ Top 10 List

It’s finally here. State title week. And, like you, we haven’t been this excited since the birth of our first child/our wedding/the most recent time we ate bacon.

At The List HQ, this is our favorite time of the year. We can’t wait to see all the big games. All the big-time programs trying to continue their dominance, while the upstarts look to win their first titles in forever.

And with seven title games, that’s two more opportunities for drama than we’ve had the past several years. Thinking about that got us talking about the best title games of the past decade. There have been some great ones, and here they are (hint: Buford and Calhoun figure prominently):

10. 2004 AAAAA Lowndes 17, Parkview 14

Lowndes got the deciding score in the third quarter and went into the fourth figuring it needed to play stout defense to stay in the lead. But they say the best defense is a great offense, don’t they? So all the Vikings did was basically churn out the final nearly nine minutes with an 8:45 drive, mostly on the ground, to hold on for the win.

9. 2008 AAAAA Camden County 21, Peachtree Ridge 14

The Wildcats scored 21 points in the third quarter to erase a halftime deficit, breaking a 14-14 tie for the winning score with fewer than 90 seconds left in the third. Then, the Camden defense did its part, holding off Peachtree Ridge over the final quarter and intercepting a pass at the end to seal it Camden’s first of two straight titles.

8. 2006 AAAAA Roswell 14, Peachtree Ridge 14

While this game was obviously close – we’re not experts at math, but we’re not sure it could get any closer – and was evened up late on a Zack Graham touchdown and 2-point conversion by Peachtree Ridge, it’s notable just as much for the confusion that ultimately resulted. That confusion – along with a matching tie between Dublin and Charlton County in AA – led to the GHSA mercifully putting an end to state-title ties.

7. 2010 AAA Sandy Creek 14, Carrollton 7

This one had overtime written all over it. Carrollton’s offense kept marching in pursuit of a tying score, and Sandy Creek kept turning the Trojans away. The final denial came with 1:59 left, when Jamal Ware forced Telvin Brown to fumble at the goal line, and Sandy Creek recovered to hold on for the win.

6. 2004 A Clinch County 14, Hawkinsville 14

This one gets downgraded a bit for being a tie, but it did have a wild finish. Both teams got within striking distance of the winning score during the final 4:30 of a scoreless fourth quarter. The game finished when Clinch’s Boris Lee saw his 32-yard field goal attempt sail left of the upright, leaving both teams and fans a bit bewildered in the face of the first state-title tie in 13 years.

5. 2009 AA Buford 13, Calhoun 10

In these teams’ first title-game clash, Buford’s defense held an electrifying Calhoun offense to just 10 points. While the Wolves offense struggled most of the game, one final five-minute drive that ended in an Eric Barr 1-yard touchdown run with less than a minute left gave Buford the close win and a third of four straight titles.

4. 2007 AAA Carver-Columbus 16, Cairo 13

Trailing 13-9 with 3:11 left after a Cairo touchdown, the Tigers needed quarterback DeRon Furr to lead one more drive. That’s just what he did, posting 74 total yards on the 80-yard march, including a 24-yard scamper with 1:01 left on the clock to carry Carver to its first state title.

3. 2009 AAA Peach County 13, Gainesville 12

It was Peach’s third state title in five years, and it was by far the toughest. The Trojans could only manage one touchdown against the Elephants’ defense. Then, when Gainesville scored a touchdown with no time on the clock, the Elephants made sure this wasn’t going to be the third tie of the state title season. They went for two, and Peach County linebacker Luke Crowell knocked down the pass to preserve the win.

2. 2010 AA Buford 31, Calhoun 24 OT

Going for their fourth straight title, the Wolves led 24-7 four minutes into the third quarter, and Calhoun looked done. But the Yellow Jackets’ high-powered offense came to life, rallying to tie the score and send it to the first overtime in GHSA championship history, but they couldn’t match Buford’s extra-time touchdown. They would get another chance one year later, though.

1. 2011 AA Calhoun 27, Buford 24 OT

It was Calhoun’s fourth consecutive title-game shot at the Buford juggernaut, and it was the third straight time the Yellow Jackets gave the Wolves every bit of fight they could handle. This time, it was Buford who rallied back after trailing 24-10 with just 3:07 left. But the Wolves fumbled it away to Calhoun on their first overtime possession, and a 32-yard Adam Griffith field goal gave the Jackets their first title since 1952.

Now we want to know what you think. What are the best title games you’ve seen? Did any of the ones mentioned above break your heart or send you into a euphoric goal post-carrying celebration? Can any of you seriously get Buford and Calhoun to play another title game just for the heck of it? Let us know in the comments here or on Twitter at @ajcprepsports.

56 comments Add your comment


December 12th, 2012
9:26 am

You are off 1 game in the Calhoun/Buford series, they played 4 years in a row. They met in 2008 and Buford took that one strait up.


December 12th, 2012
10:09 am

Have Calhoun play Buford Sunday after the Falcon’s game.

Metro Fan

December 12th, 2012
10:42 am

Beginning in 2007, the GHSA implemented overtime rules for championship games… Gainesville could have kicked the PAT to force OT against Peach in 2009 but chose to play for the win on the 2-pt. conversion. They lost the Region 8-AAAAA championship to Flowery Branch this season the same way.

football fan

December 12th, 2012
10:58 am

Maybe a year off BUT 2001 Northside 7 Parkview 12 played at McConnel-Talbert stadium Northside driving late in game and lights went out gave Parkview chance to regroup plus Northside fumble.Great game with a lot of great players Parkview’s Jeff Francour Northside’s Chansi Stuckey plus others.


December 12th, 2012
10:58 am

Watch out for St. Pius-Buford game, this one should be close right down to the wire!


December 12th, 2012
11:05 am

Statesboro – Northside 2005 Paulson Stadium. “Classic” Best I’ve seen!!!!!


December 12th, 2012
11:25 am

Not in the last ten years , but the 1980 Class A State Championship at Freeman Stadium in Greenville, Ga. The Greenville Patriots defeated Clinch County 12-10.

Greenville took over on their own 17 with 1:17 left on the clock and Darryl Ogletree threw a halfback pass to Melvin Robertson to get the ball to the Clinch 42. With 10 seconds left , Ogletree again launched a “Hail Mary” towards the end zone. The ball was tipped twice before falling into Robertson’s hands as he lay flat on his back in the end zone!.

Summit Dawg

December 12th, 2012
11:27 am

Where’s Class A??? Seems they get no respect……Go E.C.I.

Just for the Record

December 12th, 2012
11:29 am

Ridgeland is in the final game and Calhoun beat Ridgeland earlier in the year. That is good for a lower classification school.

Northside Dawg

December 12th, 2012
11:34 am

Rumor has it that someone associated with the Warner Robins Demons had something to do with the lights going out in that Parkview title game since Northside was driving for the probable winning td.

The Truth

December 12th, 2012
12:05 pm

Great list Jeff! Brings back some great….and painful memories.

Wolves fan

December 12th, 2012
12:19 pm

Hard to beat last years Buford/ Calhoun game It was a classic. I think the Ridge/ Roswell game should be ranked higher. It would have been a classic if OT rules were in place. The way it ended just kind of left everyone looking for more.


December 12th, 2012
12:47 pm

In your 4th best, I do believe Cairo are the Syrupmakers? Might want to adjust this one a little bit


December 12th, 2012
12:53 pm

TCC/Thomasville 1993 I believe it was. The first time ever two cross town rivals played for the state championship in Ga. The Jackets stopped the Dogs on the now famous goal line stand from the one yard line to preserve the victory by a point!! This game is the best state championship game in ga history IMO!!!!!!!!!


December 12th, 2012
12:55 pm

Ohhhhhh my bad, I just went back and read the article in its entirety….you’re talking about best title games in the last decade…my apologies!


December 12th, 2012
12:59 pm

I was a sophomore in 06 and a senior in 08 for those two championship games. Both were very exciting. But you forgot to mention that PRHS had the longest run play from scrimmage in GA Dome history in that game. And then Camden County followed that with the longest pass play from scrimmage in GA Dome history.

HS Fan

December 12th, 2012
12:59 pm

As a high school football fan, I usually watch all the games at the dome. The Buford Calhoun match ups have topped my list with the 09 Peach Gainseville game being next. Interesting thing is in 2010 calhoun’s Griffith a over 40yd FG to send that game to OT and made 4 FGs the next year. The 09 Gainesville Peach game, Gainseville missed an extra point earlier in the game and chose to go for 2pt on the next TD. Goes to show that teams need a reliable kicker.

Good luck to all teams this year. Hope there are more great games. Can’t wait!


December 12th, 2012
1:08 pm

Wow great games. Want to add another to the list. 2008 Tucker v Marist Game. Marist dominated Tucker during the regular season game, but the 15-3 Tucker win in the dome for the schools 1st State Championship Title was a classic heaveyweight bout.

Ga Dawg!!!!

December 12th, 2012
1:12 pm

1996 WACO VS Americus…. WACO won 22-21… The best high school game ever… Both teams 14-0 Americus was up 21-0 mid way thru the 3rd quarter and WACO came back and won the game 22-21 on a Terrence Edwards 2pt conversion!!! Im shocked that game is not on the TOP 10 best games… Can someone explain to me why not!!!!!

Max Sizemore

December 12th, 2012
1:31 pm

In 1989 Marist defeated Worth County in Sylvester for its first state championship and one of the key plays was a fumblerooski (a play which is now I believe illegal) which assistant coach Dan Perez called from the pressbox. A guard, can’t recall his name, scored the amazing touchdown: triple right, intentional fumble, guard around the left end and down the sideline.


December 12th, 2012
1:47 pm

Ga Dawg!!!! the reason is “… of the last decade.” Think you missed by a little. Reading is fundamental


December 12th, 2012
2:40 pm

yeah… the 09 Gainesville vs Peach Co. was CRAAAAZY!!! Peach Co. came out strong and G’ville started out slow. Both came out with slow offenses but the game picked up in the last seconds of the 4th qtr when Gainesville finally got progress out of its passing attack. The running game was slowed down for G’ville b/c of an injury to one of the RBs I think. But the last drive of the game when G’ville scored to make it 12-13, it was unbelievable… seemed like history was about to be made… BUT!!! the QB should have chose another receiver on the 2-pt conversion play b/c EVERYBODY knew he was throwing it to Tai-ler Jones. But it’s ok, we gotta chance to make up for that this year since we dont have a “one man” receiving core.


December 12th, 2012
2:44 pm

good job summit dog

Flo - Ri - Duh

December 12th, 2012
2:49 pm

The 14/14 tie between Hawkinsville and Clinch County would have been much different if Hawkinsville’s 3 time All State RB Marshall had not gotten his knee torn up on the second play of the game. After that Hawkinsville had to move their FB to RB but still gained more yardage than ALL of Clinch Counties opponents combined against Clinch County. Towards the end of the game Hawkinsville’s QB actually dropped the ball while running to set up Clinch’s final score. A great game.


December 12th, 2012
2:56 pm

Being a Calhoun grad and fan I’d have to swap the top two..I think the 2010 game was an Awsome football game and a REAL heart breaker..but both were very very exciting football games.Haven’t been around that much electricity in the air since that Sid Bream slide at home…….Here’s wishing for another GREAT one against Jefferson Saturday….GO JACKETS!!!!!

Flo - Ri - Duh

December 12th, 2012
2:56 pm

Yes the game between Hawkinsville and Clinch County in 2004 was great but Hawkinsville may have had their best team the year before (2003) when they were undefeated and Lincoln County was undefeated and they beat Lincoln 18 – 10 for the state championship. The star on that team was DE Charles Johnson who is now starting for the Carolina Panthers in the NFL. Both teams were called the Red Devils, both were undefeated, both had a head coach named Campbell!


December 12th, 2012
3:42 pm



December 12th, 2012
3:57 pm

Griffin Valdosta in 1978 7 7 tie

Jeff Haws

December 12th, 2012
4:02 pm

Thanks for a couple of small corrections, guys. Appreciate you keeping me honest.

Definitely keep coming with the suggestions on other games, even if they’re outside the 10-year requirement I put on here. Love hearing about some of the old games I wasn’t around here to see.

Jeff Haws

December 12th, 2012
4:04 pm

Also, the extra details some of you guys are bringing from the games I did mention are awesome. I tried to squeeze some stuff I knew into the space I had, but some of you are really bringing it alive with what you remember from actually being there. Love it.

Ralph Page

December 12th, 2012
4:15 pm

2000 Swainsboro 6 Fitzgerald 0


December 12th, 2012
4:24 pm

2001 Cedartown/Lagrange was the most exciting game I ever witnessed. Cedartown led the entire game and Lagrange scored to go ahead with 26 seconds left on a 4th and goal pass into the end zone.


December 12th, 2012
5:25 pm

The lagrange cedartown game was a good one. The sandy creek/Carrollton game still hurts.


December 12th, 2012
6:00 pm

Bufordites decided to get out of Calhoun’s class as they saw the wrting on the wall…..they lost with their best team and decided they wanted no more of Calhoun. Good thing for them as this year we would have clown stomped all over their backsides.


December 12th, 2012
9:54 pm



December 12th, 2012
9:58 pm

I kind of thought last year’s was the best ever! ;-) :-)


December 13th, 2012
12:09 am

2005 Charlton County 34 Greene County 33…..Best Dome game ever

the truth

December 13th, 2012
12:55 am

The best Dome game in my opinion was one between Marist and Thomas County Central. I don’t remember the year but it was when the semi finals were in the Dome. TCC scored with just a little time on the clock and went for 2 to win the game. That was a classic!


December 13th, 2012
1:44 am

Northside W.R vs Ware County in 2007 was a good intense hard hitting game …..Had to be there though…This one flew under the radar ,If you were there then you would know this one should be #1

cat doc

December 13th, 2012
7:00 am

For me it was the 2008 Peachtree vs cats. The long pass was dead on. The play was ran 2 times back to back with the blocking falling apart on the first try. Peachtree long run awesome. The interception turned that game. Next was Camden vs Northside but you had to be a Camden fan, it was lites out from the very start. The finals are allways great. Good luck to all.


December 13th, 2012
9:09 am

1988 AAA state title. Thomasville 12, Stephens County 7. Stephens led 7-6 most of the game on this frigid North Georgia night. But the visiting Bulldogs rallied with a drive and scored the winning touchdown with about 30 seconds left in the game.


December 13th, 2012
9:12 am

1977 AA championship game. Southwest DeKalb 16, Gainesville 13. Gainesville had a punt return for a touchdown late in the game called back for clipping.


December 13th, 2012
2:16 pm

I was at the Griffin/Valdosta game in 78….the FG that Griffin tried late was GOOD….the refs flat out missed it. I had a perfect endzone view right under the upright…..


December 13th, 2012
2:42 pm

Outside of the scope. I’d say the 1992 AAA State Championship between Peach County and Thomas County Central. Thomas County Central scored two touchdowns in the first quarter to take the lead 14-0. Peach County scored two touchdowns in the 4th quarter and went for a failed two point conversion after the second TD. TCC won the game 14-13.

Just a Fan

December 13th, 2012
5:06 pm

Calhouner-is it too much to ask that you either comment on the subject of the article or just stay quiet? The “Buford left class AA” crap is classless.


December 13th, 2012
5:27 pm

That Southwest DeKalb-Gainesville championship game was actually 1972. It was extremely foggy in Gainesville that night. It was a hard fought game and exciting until the last second.


December 13th, 2012
6:49 pm

Calhouner: Buford 3, Calhoun 1. End of Story. Anyone disagree with my math?


December 13th, 2012
7:09 pm

Thanks NcDawgFan. It was 1972. Having one of those senior moments. But you are right, it was a great game right until the end. Great crowd, great atmosphere.

gwinnett fan

December 13th, 2012
7:19 pm

Any one else wonder how Calhoun and Buford could possibly play in 4 straight state championships?

If the brackets rotate properly shouldn’t they have played in the semi finals at least once?

Any one else wonder why region 7/8/1 play each other so often in the playoffs the last few years?

Is some one manipulating the brackets ?????????


December 13th, 2012
8:47 pm

Carrollton should have won that game. If coach Teague would have called for the field goal unit instead of throwing aimlessly into the end zone every time the Trojans were inside Sandy Creeks 25 yd line, then they would have won 16-14. They had a pretty good kicker and he was booming the ball that day in warmups. Makes no sense…you kick field goals all season and then you abandon what you’re good at when it really matters. I was in attendance for this letdown. Surprisingly he wasn’t fired.

Last year’s title game win over Booford was the best one I’ve seen since the Parkview days. Not only did Booford lose, but Calhoun proved itself a powerhouse by finally getting that elusive state title. It was like I was die-hard Calhoun fan for 3 hours LOL.