AA blog: What to look for Friday
Here’s what to look for Friday in Class AA:
- Through 12 games, the No. 6-ranked Benedictine Cadets have yet to be challenged. That is sure to change this week when they host the No. 5-ranked Calhoun Yellow Jackets, who have reached the state finals the last five seasons. The Cadets already have luck on their side, having won the coin toss that must be made when two No. 1 seeds meet, so they get to avoid the four-hour, 41-minute and 320-mile bus ride that Calhoun will have to make. The closest game Benedictine has played this season was a 39-6 win over Bryan County. Benedictine has outscored its competition 578-67 and have pitched five shutouts, including three straight to close out the regular season. The Cadets beat their two playoff opponents – Macon County and Fitzgerald – a combined 114-19. Benedictine hasn’t been undefeated this late in the season since 1982.
- The Yellow Jackets are 40-2 since 2011, including an undefeated state title run in 2011. They lost in the finals last year to Jefferson, 31-14. It was Calhoun’s fourth loss in the state finals in five times getting there. During the run of five consecutive state title appearances, the Yellow Jackets have twice traveled south in the playoffs. In ‘08, they traveled to Quitman to beat Brooks County 38-35. In ‘11, they beat host Dublin, 45-7. Calhoun has never played Benedictine.
- The defending state champion Jefferson Dragons are still alive, having outscored Heard County 61-57 to advance to the quarterfinals, where they’ll travel to play the state’s No. 1-ranked team, the Lamar County Trojans. The Trojans are coached by Franklin Stephens, in his second year with Lamar County after leaving Tucker, where he brought that school it’s first two state titles. In Stephens’ second year at Tucker, he won the state title. He’s looking to repeat that trend with the Trojans.
- It would be one thing if the unranked Bowdon Red Devils had simply upset the undefeated, No. 4-ranked Washington-Wilkes Tigers on the road. Instead, they won convincingly, 48-14. The Red Devils lost 66-28 to the Tigers last year. Maybe the Red Devils were seeking revenge and caught the Tigers taking the game for granted. Maybe the Red Devils are vastly improved. Either way, they have the attention of the No. 8-ranked Brooks County Trojans, who host Bowdon. The two teams have never played.
Before the playoffs started, I posted my predictions. For the first round, I correctly picked 13 of 16 games, underestimating winners Fitzgerald, Bleckley County and Bowdon. For the second round, I underestimated winners Calhoun, Bowdon, Jefferson and Laney. I have three teams whom I have picked to make the semifinals that are still alive – Lamar County, Lovett and Brooks County.
Adam Krohn covers all things Class AA football. Have a question or tip? Want to see more coverage of your team? Want to drop a line to compliment how awesome the Class AA beat coverage is? Send Adam a message on Twitter @AdamKrohnAJC and follow him for the latest in Class AA coverage.