Who’s got the highest-scoring team in Class AAA? Raise your hand and give yourself a gold star if you guessed Washington County. The Golden Hawks are on a torrid pace as they prepare for Friday’s semifinal game against Ringgold at the House of Pain in Sandersville.
Washington County has scored 612 points in 12 games, all victories. The Hawks got cheated out of a game when a massive electrical storm prevented the completion of the season opener against Eagle’s Landing Christian.
That’s an average of 51 points per game and includes games of 62 against Swainsboro and Dodge County. The Hawks have averaged 52.6 points in their three playoff games.
“It’s all because of the extreme unselfishness on the part of the kids,” coach Joel Ingram said.
Washington County is led by junior quarterback A.J. Gray, who has passed for 1,500 yards, rushed for 1,200 yards and accounted for 38 touchdowns. Senior Melvin Hill has rushed for 1,600 yards and senior Danyale Wicker has added another 1,200.
“Not a lot of teams can say they have three kids with 1,200 yards rushing, but it’s because they’re so unselfish,” Ingram said. “I can’t tell you how much fun it’s been to coach this group because of their attitude and willingness to work hard.”
Here’s a look at the two semifinal games:
Ringgold (11-2) at No. 3 Washington County (12-0): Ringgold is the lone unranked team in the playoffs. The Tigers are led by senior quarterback Slade Dale, who was dinged up a little in last week’s quarterfinal game against Central Carroll. Washington County coach Joel Ingram said, “He’s got a charisma about him. He makes plays with his legs when there’s nothing there.”
Ringgold is capable of producing points, too. The tigers have scored 127 in three playoff games, including 55 in that first-round classic against North Hall.
This is the first time Ringgold has reached this stage of the playoffs. Washington County’s last trip to the semifinals was 2006, Ingram’s first year after taking the reins from Rick Tomberlin.
No. 5 Callaway (12-1) at No. 1 Buford (13-0): A very athletic Callaway team stands in the way of Buford making its seventh straight trip to the championship game. The Cavaliers feature quarterback Tez Parks and running back Eddie Culpepper. The Callaway defense is led by linebacker Keshun Freeman, a Georgia Tech commitment.
But Buford’s defense, led by Clemson commitment Korie Rogers, has been equal to the challenge all year. The Wolves have squashed both passing attacks (Gainesville’s Deshaun Watson) and running attacks (North Hall’s triple option).
The winners will play on Dec. 13 at 5:30 p.m. at the Georgia Dome.