Washington County ready for semifinal shootout

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.

32 comments Add your comment

Son Of Waco

December 5th, 2013
11:17 am

Man I just can’t see a team driving 5 hours to WACO and winning a game on our field. The first few plays of the game they will have to feel the pain for joking about our stadium name on their news interview. I read that Ringgold coach thinks a team can get better at tackling from round 1 to round 4.. What world he lives in and a funny quote from him was “Ringgold fastest player wouldn’t make WACO’s top 20″. So that means you got to play ball control offense to limit us, but they play a spread offense so we will have a running clock by 2nd half…

So Who Afraid of The Big Bad Wolves???

big bad wolves

December 5th, 2013
11:47 am

i hope waco wins this week,then you will get what everybody else has got this year a good ole fashion beat down,we call this big boy football and waco has not seen what we have to offer,good luck you will need it

Mid. Ga fan

December 5th, 2013
11:53 am

Two 29 point favorites in the semi finals wow. How did the AJC not have WACO ranked # 2. If WACO can limit mistakes they maybe able to give Buford a game.

Big Fan

December 5th, 2013
12:18 pm

Mid. Ga fan
December 5th, 2013
11:53 am

Two 29 point favorites in the semi finals wow. How did the AJC not have WACO ranked # 2. If WACO can limit mistakes they maybe able to give Buford a game.

LinkReport this comment

Wow

ELCA fan

December 5th, 2013
12:19 pm

Washington County may have won the first game. I bet they would not have scored 51 points that night. I am a huge waco fan now. Hope we keep playing every year. They are a class program.

P 4/13

December 5th, 2013
12:42 pm

PRAISE GOD FOR THE SEASON W/C HAS HAD THIS YEAR…Ringgold good f/b team WACO VERY GOOD F/B TEAM…TO MEET BUFORD IN THE TITLE GAME WOULD BE AN HONOR FOR W/C. A BUCKET LIST ITEM FOR SURE. WHO WOULD WIN? …BUT THAT IS FOR NEXT WEEKS COMMENTS…THIS WEEK IT’S THE TIGERS…RESPECT THEM? YES…BUT HERE KITTY KITTY…

brookcy

December 5th, 2013
12:46 pm

How can a team be CHEATED out of a game if an electrical storm kept the game from being completed. Are the kids supposed to play in lightning. Please be more careful with your statements. Safety comes first my friend.

ELCA fan

December 5th, 2013
1:38 pm

What was the score in the game they were cheated in and how much time was left in the game?

Son Of Waco

December 5th, 2013
1:40 pm

@ELCA Because it was the first game of the season and y’all aren’t a push over team, but if it was game 3 we would have got at least 42…I know our fan base would love to reschedule y’all again too, but our head coach love to find new teams to play every two years..

Cheated because a state champion wanted to get revenge on WACO who gave them their only loss last season and WACO wanted to start the year off with a big win over a state champion..

RexDogma

December 5th, 2013
1:43 pm

Hey Waco what are you talking about?

big bad wolves

December 5th, 2013
1:45 pm

tell your head coach to call ours we are looking for another cupcake to play

Bwolves

December 5th, 2013
4:44 pm

I’ll just say congratulations to the final 4 remaining teams on great seasons. You’ve earned the right to be here. Hope for a break in the weather and no serious injuries. It really doesn’t matter what you’ve done all year to get here, but just what you do Friday night.

Swamp Lizard

December 5th, 2013
5:08 pm

@ Son of Waco …. you have a great football team and many ELCA fans are pulling for y’all ( like myself ). But the bottom line is, WaCo “could” have lost that game just as much as they “could” have won it. Now go out and take care of business this week and we will see you at the Dome …. we do have back to back games the 13th ….. I HOPE !!

BringThePain478

December 5th, 2013
7:39 pm

Don’t be good WACO, be GREAT!
#PopStrong

ron

December 5th, 2013
8:33 pm

Son of Waco I have to agree with you, too long of a ride and prepare for a game will be taxing for the team. Ringgold will be mentally drained and by the second quarter Waco should be ready to start their assault. I look for a runaway.

d tony

December 5th, 2013
11:18 pm

I came off I-20 this evening and guess what I seen buses that said Ringgold, welcome to our area

Theh Truth

December 6th, 2013
9:25 am

Son Of Waco – I hope you guys win so you can face Buford. All those points per game won’t mean squat against arguably the best defense in the state over the last 5 years. Just ask Gainesville. They ran up all those points against average teams and got spanked by the Wolves. Go ahead and start making excuses. Enjoy this win because it will be your last for this season.

WolfDawg

December 6th, 2013
10:31 am

SOW – You really made me LOL… Your comment,
“WACO wanted to start the year off with a big win over a state champion..”
You thump your chest like you think you are Buford, beating the defending class AAAAA state champion in their house, with the state’s best QB.
You do realize they were a defending class A state champion, right?? (Not flaming ELCA)

With that being said…. Best to Washington Co. this evening so we can clash in the Dome next Friday night.

And safe travels to all…. It’s going to be a balmy 70 degrees with 85% humidity in Buford..

Bark at the Moon!

Big Fan

December 6th, 2013
10:39 am

I said this last year…If I’m the coach at WACO I’m finding SOW and telling the library in Sandersville to stop letting him use their computer. He is bulletin board material for all of WACO opponents.

Son Of Waco

December 6th, 2013
11:07 am

@Truth what’s the difference between Gainesville region and Buford region?? You should say best defense in AAA not in state because you haven’t played enough top teams in the state to go that far, but Buford fans always go their with it so “Do You”.

@Lizard if we make it to the dome I know a few WACO fans who was coming early to watch y’all game because we respect every team that give us a good game..

ELCA fan

December 6th, 2013
12:01 pm

@ son of waco if we are their we will be pulling for you all too.

Burke co down wit waco.good luck son of waco

December 6th, 2013
3:37 pm

Enter your comments here

Son Of Waco

December 6th, 2013
6:18 pm

Ringgold brought about 6 buses of fans I heard.. I hope we don’t blow them out in the first QT because it was a 5 hr drive down here…

tmac78

December 6th, 2013
8:06 pm

i called it when the playoffs started that Waco and Buford could end up in title game and Buford will lose cause they cannot handle a team of Waco’s caliber. no way they can slow down three 1,000 yd rushers.. i just don’t see it. not only that, Buford plays in a weak region and all they do is recruit. get tired of seeing these custom built teams in the playoffs while everyone else team is pretty much homegrown. they will be exposed next Friday if they make it past Callaway which i hope they do. this the game i’ve been waiting on all season since it started.

Mid. Ga fan

December 6th, 2013
8:34 pm

Ringgold getting boat raced

ron

December 6th, 2013
9:18 pm

Just what I thought,having to travel 5 hours for a game Ringgold would be ready for the taking by the 2nd qtr. Adrenaline can carry you only so far, looks as though Ringgold has given out at half.

Mid. Ga fan

December 6th, 2013
9:56 pm

Well this is what we have all been waiting for Buford vs WACO. Speed vs Power. Should be a great game

Rob

December 6th, 2013
9:59 pm

Poor Ringgold. They gave it a good try and had the best season they have ever had. Great season Tigers!!

Big Fan

December 6th, 2013
10:01 pm

Looking and pulling for WACO to beat The U of B!!!
only if SOW just goes away….

ron

December 7th, 2013
3:35 am

Did Waco implement the “mercy rule” after half-time? 37-0 was probably their lowest scoring game during the playoffs.

WacoRev

December 7th, 2013
9:07 am

Ron- The running clock did not start until the 4th quarter. WaCo just got really conservative but also Ringold’s defense made some adjustments. Ringold’s offense came out in no hurry to score, so before you knew it we were in the 4th quarter playing back ups.

BringThePain478

December 7th, 2013
11:38 am

It was a first half TKO. The dogs or should i say the hawks were called off in the second half. The back ups escorted them right on out The House of Pain.