Class A Blog: Championship weekend schedule; Four more interesting match ups

By S. Thomas Coleman
For the AJC

Class A took a break this weekend and will join in other classifications in the round of 16 next week. Here is a look at the championship schedule Dec. 13-14, as well as a deeper look at four more interesting match ups in the first round:

Dome Schedule

For fans of those playoff favorites who have no fear of the power of a “jinx,” as well as fans who are thinking positive thoughts about their dark horse team’s chances of making it to the Georgia Dome, the Georgia High School Association is helping you plan ahead with the announcement of the times for the championship games.

The private school title game will lead Championship Weekend, Friday, Dec. 13 at 2:30 p.m. The Class AAA (5:30 p.m.) and AAAAA (8:30 p.m.) games will follow. The public school championship will launch Saturday’s four-game lineup at 11:30 a.m., followed by AA (2:30 p.m.), AAAA (5:30 p.m.) and AAAAAA (8:30 p.m.).

PUBLIC

No. 9 Charlton County (6-4) at No. 8 Commerce (7-3). These two storied programs have never met before, most likely due to the distance between them. Charlton County will make the five-hour trip from Folkston in the state’s southeast corner, to Commerce in the northeast corner. After struggling a bit the past few seasons, Commerce won seven games during the regular season for the first time since 2006 under first-year head coach Michael Brown. The Tigers went 2-2 in their non-region games , beating two bad teams Class AAA East Jackson (1-9) and AAA Banks County (0-10), while losing to two very good AA teams, defending champion Jefferson (9-2) and surging Rabun County (8-3). Charlton finished with a sub-.500 record last season for the first time in the 23-year tenure of head coach Rich McWhorter. The team improved this season and is looking to avoid another first round KO, after losing to Marion County last season, 31-12.

No. 11 Mitchell County (8-2) at No. 6 Hawkinsville (7-3). This is also a first-time meeting for two teams with proud traditions. Both missed the post season last year. Mitchell County began the year 1-3 but reeled off five straight wins before falling to No. 1 public school seed Seminole County (10-0), 18-12, for the Region 1 championship in the regular season finale. The Eagles hope to advance past the first round for the first time since 2003, when the school was known as Mitchell-Baker High School, after merging with Baker County from 1981 to 2006. The last time Mitchell County went past the first round was 1980. Hawkinsville is back in the post season after a two-year absence. The Red Devils are one of the hottest teams in Class A, having won their last four games, including a 14-10 victory over Region 4 champion Marion County, the No. 2 seed on the public side. The last time the Red Devils made it past the first round was 2006.

PRIVATE

No. 12 Brookstone (6-4) at No. 5 Prince Avenue Christian (9-1). Last year’s private school runners-up, Prince Avenue, has not missed a beat under new coach Jeff Herron. His version of the wing-T, which he brought with him from Camden County, has been held under 40 points just twice this season while the Wolverine defense is yielding just 10 points per game. Prince Avenue is the Region 8 champion for the second time in three seasons. Brookstone, one of the state’s most consistent programs, is in the playoffs for the third consecutive season. The Cougars from Columbus hope to advance past the first round for the first time since an 11-1 finish in 2008. Brookstone and Prince Avenue have never met.

No. 14 Savannah Christian (5-4-1) at No. 3 Aquinas (10-0). The Irish are one of four undefeated teams in Class A – No. 1 Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy and No. 2 Mount Pisgah Christian on the private side, and No. 1 Seminole County on the public side. Aquinas has shown that it was not the Brendan Douglas show, now that the bruising linebacker/running back is running over people for UGA in the Southeastern Conference. Junior Ruben Garnett has become the main weapon on the field, while first-year head coach James Leonard has effectively stepped in for Matt Lezotte, who established a winning tradition at the program in just four seasons. Savannah Christian won the last combined state championship in 2011 when the Raiders finished 15-0. They started the season 2-0-1, which included a 17-9 win over Prince Avenue, the Wolverines’ only loss this season. Savannah Christian lost four in a row in the middle of the season but closed strong with three straight victories. The Raiders are 2-0 all-time against Aquinas – 28-12 in 1990 and 14-3 in 1991.

39 comments Add your comment

R. LINK

November 16th, 2013
1:41 pm

So….the off week for Class A is the first week of the playoffs, which means it affects 32 basketball team by not getting their players back for 2 full weeks. And if half of those (16) had any games scheduled…it will affect 16 more teams who lose a game.
They did it this way last year also, so that all finals could be played on the same day.
Here is something I suggested last year and got no answer:
Why not make the off week the week before the finals occur? Then only 4 teams out of 32 would have the 2 week delay before their basketball season begins. Half of these playoff teams will lose the 1st game…but still will have only about 4-5 days of practice before they play.
Several coaches have said: “They will never go that route…because it makes too much sense.”
WOW!

Swamp Lizard

November 16th, 2013
2:50 pm

@ R. LINK …. I can tell you why … because a majority of fans don’t care about basketball like they do football …. football will always be first in the state of Georgia. I’m not being a jerk to you, just telling you the way it is here ( Georgia ).

Swamp Lizard

November 16th, 2013
3:05 pm

Sav Christian Fans …. WHAT HAS HAPPEN? Did Sav Christian lose a bunch of players to them quitting / suspensions ?? Are they back? You just don’t beat a quality team like Prince Ave ( the first game of the season ) and then fall apart ( four stright losses ) without some reason. Coach Crumley & staff are too good without something major happening.

Single A Fan

November 16th, 2013
11:37 pm

Well I have just been doing alot of listening lately and not posting. As we enter the final frontier moving towards the dome the excitement begins. The longest toughest high school sport comes to an end of the season and the gladiators are ready to clash in single A for a shaot at the dome and the single A championship. In the first round these will be our winners:

ELCA
Aquinas
OLM
Darlington
Landmark
PAC
Mt. Pisgah
Calvary Day

Last 4 teams standing will be:
ELCA Vs. Calvary Day or OLM
Landmark Vs, Aquinas

ELCA will have no trouble getting back to the dome. However I cant call the Landmark/Aquinas game that will be a tough one. Good luck to all of the teams and congrats on making the post season! I love single A football!!

Tiger Patpaw

November 17th, 2013
7:06 am

Private bracket:
There are three “quick picks”: Chargers, Wolverines, Fightin’ Irish
Two “hesitates”: Patriots, Cavaliers
And three tough “pick ‘ems”: Tigers, Bobcats, Golden Bears
HI over LCS: Does 3 weeks of prep make you stale?
OLM over MPC: Both lost close games to good teams. One on a roll. Vengeance involved?
DS over CHS: MY DREAM SCENARIO (rev. 3) Never pick with your heart?

Will smith

November 17th, 2013
9:15 am

Answer swamp lizard for SC people: Kids now want to go to other schools. Check BC and Calvary records this year. 4 private schools in Sav. So they have choices.

Tiger Patpaw

November 17th, 2013
9:31 am

Public bracket:
There are four “quick picks”: SC Indians, IC Indians, CC Panthers, Marion Co. Eagles
Two “hesitates”: JoCo Trojans, HHS Red Devils
And two tough “pick ‘ems”: CHS Tigers, DC Bobcats
DCS over LCS: Flip it game. Schedules & Stats so close. Did I factor enough Home?
CHS over DCS: Hard pick! Is the ride too long?

Tiger Patpaw

November 17th, 2013
11:08 am

@ BigDave

Having perspired through the previous two battles, I can’t disagree with you picking the Lions. With the defenses and special teams’ comparison being a push, the game will come down to offensive execution. As Christian Heritage maintains balance and performs the precise sideline passing game, while Darlington’s one dimensional ground & pound is predominantly featured, miss-steps or slips could lead to a blow-out. To be sure, yellow hand producing bone headed errors must be eliminated. We should witness another exciting game.

Best wishes to yours Friday night.

bucket

November 17th, 2013
5:48 pm

@ will smith – I’m sure your post answers why SCPS has fallen off talent wise over the last couple of years, but it doesn’t answer what happened during the season. I was at the Prince vs. SCPS game. Prince was playing without 3 key starters, but the defense for SCPS was very aggressive and played in Prince’s backfield all night. The Prince runners would break free and then they were met with another wave of defenders.

Joco fan

November 17th, 2013
6:13 pm

Joco vs eci playoffs win or go home thoughts on this game friday anybody??

Innocent Bystander

November 17th, 2013
6:54 pm

@ Sam Roney………..You’ve posted a lot about Rueben Garnett on here lately. I watched film of your Aquinas squad & they look pretty good, but if you think Garnett is going to run on ELCA, if they face each other, like he did on that Rec.League schedule they played this season, you are in for a real surprise ! Lincoln Co. is half the size & has a fraction of the speed that ELCA has, so do yourself a favor & don’t get too excited about that ! IT WILL NOT HAPPEN !

Single A Fan

November 17th, 2013
7:16 pm

@Tiger Patpaw

It will be a fight on the lower half of the draw but I believe the war eagles will dispatch the Bears at home no problem, then most likely Mt. Pigsah who have gone undefeated this season with weak teams and not a lot of intense real battles. The real battle will be over in Augusta with Aquinas which lost to Landmark a few years back on a late game play against a team that had monster player Brendan Douglass who all but defeated Landmark on his own. I am mixed on this too because OLM is really tough and they could beat Aquinas if they play flawless

Upper bracket could possibly be ELCA and Calvary. Nobody believes in this team but themselves. They have lost some fierce battles but this is the new season and what all have played hard for ten games for Going to Henry Cty is always tough as well as defending that QB for ELCA.

So lets go by what we know to be true and not what our heart says. Some teams know the trenches because week in and week out they have had to fight hard to win or come up short. There are teams that will approach the post season with no real battles against good teams that are true and battle tested. If these teams a clicking on all cylinders this post season with be something to watch.

Will smith

November 17th, 2013
8:57 pm

@bucket I’m not sure but telling you SC lost 2-3 games after to bad teams. Either PA had a really bad night or that region is weak, I’m not sure. I honestly think SC was in their head bc the year beforentheynreally beat them down in the semis down here. The teams to watch from here are Calvary and Bc (aa) they are stacked. Playoff time so we will find out! That same SC team calvary had 35or so in the first quarter so if think they are fast….

JSP

November 17th, 2013
11:31 pm

Single A Fan, while Mount Pisgah’s region schedule (besides Mount Paran) was relatively weak, they still beat OLM, Paran (both intense games), Model (who finished 7-3 in AA before losing in the playoffs last week), and Wilson (AAAA Alabama HS who went 5-5). Point being if Pisgah does advance past Pacelli to play HI/Landmark, I would expect a hard fought, “intense” game.

dap01

November 18th, 2013
11:48 am

I hope JoCo wins against ECI. Win or lose, I hope ECI leaves all of that fighting stuff in Twin City. Let’s have a good game.

Swamp Lizard

November 18th, 2013
12:59 pm

@ JSP … if St Anne Pacelli can keep it with 30 of Mt Pisgah I will be “shocked”. Glad they made the playoffs and wish them well in the future, but they are new to all this and still have a ways to go to compete.

Swamp Lizard

November 18th, 2013
1:07 pm

@ Tiger Patpaw …. I like how you broke down your picks …. “quick picks”, hesitates”, “pic’ems”, etc …. I ight have to go that route !!

Afan

November 18th, 2013
3:58 pm

Mt Paran played Landmark and OLM prior to region play Landmark game went to last play of game and Paran lost 14-7, blew out OLM. Pisgah and Paran went to last 38 seconds, Brookstone game went to final seconds also with Paran winning. Paran played 6 games against playoff teams this season, I’d call that “battle tested.” Cant wait to see game Friday!

Cold Hard Facts

November 18th, 2013
3:59 pm

FYI: here are some classification changes affecting some high profile Class A schools: Darlington, Holy Innocents, Pace move to AA. ELCA to remain in Class A.

Cold Hard Facts

November 18th, 2013
4:12 pm

@Afan….Landmark is battle tested also. They were 4-2 against playoff teams this year.
Win vs Calvary Day
Win vs Athens Christian
Win vs Mt Paran
Win vs OLM
Loss vs HIES
Loss vs ELCA
Dont count them out when it’s playoff time!

Afan

November 18th, 2013
4:25 pm

@cold hard facts..certainly will not count them out, so tough and extremely well coached and great fans! I would say they are probably the most tested team seems like every game they played was close and they pushed themselves through. Great coaching!

Tiger Patpaw

November 18th, 2013
8:24 pm

@ Swamp Lizard

Use it! There is no patent, just a 4:43 am Sunday morning inspired moment.
You know, one of those when you wake with BLUE 54X! BLUE 54X! …
Ringing in your head.

Tiger Patpaw

November 18th, 2013
9:08 pm

@ Single A Fan

I have a ton of respect for this Landmark Christian team. Certainly an impressive season. But the waning weeks and 3 weeks of prep for Coach Livezey who is 3-1 heads up. Looked long, but had to make that pick.

Good luck to the War Eagles, prove me wrong.

Tiger Patpaw

November 18th, 2013
9:19 pm

@ Cold Hard Facts

We may all be better off in AA. Darlington, Holy Innocents, Pace and a couple other Class A teams may thrive.

One thing I do know, Class A will always be my first love. Will make conjugal visits in the future.

Swamp Lizard

November 18th, 2013
9:26 pm

@ Tiger Patpaw …. I hear ya! I think both of us are ready to see our kids kick it off. I’m sure Friday will have a couple of surprises for us …. both on the Public & Private side …. got a few good games on tap.

Tiger Patpaw

November 18th, 2013
9:55 pm

@ Afan
I agree, MPC is a good and tested team, but the Eagles have yet to win a GHSA post season game.

Good luck from a Region 6 brother. Win one against a team on a roll.

Tiger Patpaw

November 18th, 2013
10:02 pm

@ Swamp Lizard

Football Fridays are all about fun and surprises.

I know my family is chomping at the bit.

Swamp Lizard

November 19th, 2013
5:56 am

@ Tiger Patpaw …. wish you and your team well Friday …. maybe we’ll see each other the following week.

Tiger Patpaw

November 19th, 2013
7:26 am

@ Swamp Lizard

Won’t look past round one.
All the best Friday night.

bucket

November 19th, 2013
10:32 am

@ Tiger Patpaw – not overlooking the first round opponent is good advice for everyone on here. In my opinion there is only 1 “stone cold lock” pick in the first round and all the other games could go either way based on game circumstances. It has been my experience that it is very difficult to beat a team twice in the same season, especially if the talent is anywhere near being equal. There are several rematches in the first round this week, so we will see if my past observation holds true.

Afan

November 19th, 2013
12:00 pm

@Tiger Patpaw– the boys will give it all they got and see what happens, first time for everything and hopefully this is MPC first playoff win! Good luck to you also, I trust in our Darlington man coach Jordan to get us through!

Sam Roney

November 19th, 2013
12:16 pm

Innocent Bystander..You could be right on what you say. I wont be bold enough to say until I actually
see ELCA. You may be wrong about Reuben Garnett too though. He’s very good, but is not our only
weapon. We have a very good passing attack, but it hasn’t been needed too much. We also have at
least another rusher who’s good too. You should be careful not to measure Aquinas by what you view as mediocre opponents. Many of those have been very good in recent past years, but took a bad turn this year. We schedule like any others..In advance, and as close to home as possible. It’s
not Aquinas’ fault if some are down this year. I looked at ELCA’s schedule, and it has it’s share of
patsies also, unless you’re totally into the Reg. 5 Kool-Aid, as I’d guess you may be. We came within an eyelash of beating Landmark two years ago, with a much lesser team than Aquinas has
this season. That game, we had only one weapon, Brenden Douglas, which was almost enough, but
not near as good as our balance this year. Even you should admit that some of those run-it-up ELCA
scores this year was against lesser competition. We’ll see.

arubadave

November 19th, 2013
1:29 pm

@Sam Roney…Those “run-it-up ELCA scores” were pretty much first half scores. ELCA rarely scored in the second half because 2nd or 3rd string and even JV were playing by then.

bucket

November 19th, 2013
3:09 pm

Is R. Link the head basketball coach @ ACS?

Tiger Patpaw

November 19th, 2013
6:27 pm

@ Afan

Coach Jordan left us before my grandson got to the high school level, but I understand you have a respected coach and better man.

I’m sure your/his team will do you/him proud.

Eagles1

November 20th, 2013
7:29 pm

MPC will be ready to face OLM for a second time. I can guarantee that, I am not guaranteeing we will win, but Coach Jordan will have the team prepared. OLM will be a lot better than last time. I expect a hard fought game. We have lost two games by a total of 11 points, played 6 playoff teams. I do expect to win. Go Eagles!

region8

November 20th, 2013
11:05 pm

@bucket Their coach’s name is Ron Link so I would guess so

Eagles1

November 21st, 2013
10:00 pm

Enter your comments here

Eagles1

November 21st, 2013
10:12 pm

It makes me laugh to see how no one gives MPCS a chance to beat OLM. We beat them 36-7 opening week and beating was worse than the score indicates. Did we catch them off guard with a new offense? Probably. Could they adjust to stop it? No. Have that played a hard schedule? Yes. Have they improved? Yes. All year I have given them credit and told people to watch out for them. MPCS will be ready, I hope OLM is reading this and thinks it will be an easy win. My sophomore fullback, who has played since he was 6 and advanced to 4 superbowls says NO WAY! Those who know our team now know who I am so Go Eagles! go E!