John McClellan’s high school football playoff picks: Lopsided wins for Rome, Cartersville, Calhoun, Rockmart. Eagles Landing will be too tough for Darlington.

John McClellan’s high school football playoff picks: Lopsided wins for Rome, Cartersville, Calhoun, Rockmart. Eagles Landing will be too tough for Darlington.

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By John McClellan
For Hometown Headlines

Five Northwest Georgia teams in five separate classifications remain alive as the Georgia High School Association state playoffs enter the quarterfinal round. Calhoun will be at home Friday night, while Rome, Cartersville, Rockmart and Darlington all will be on the road. The only two local teams who lost on Friday night were Chattooga, which went down to defeat 34-0 to Rabun County in Class AA, and Trion, which lost 40-13 to Schley County in Class A.

Here is a look at state playoff games involving local teams:

Class AAAAA

 Rome (12-0) at Dutchtown (12-0)

  • Series History: First Meeting
  • Records Against Playoff Teams: Rome 6-0 (defeated Marietta, Kell, Carrollton, East Paulding, Maynard Jackson, and Cedar Shoals); Dutchtown 7-0 (defeated Creekside, Crisp County, Jones County, Stockbridge, Locust Grove, Harris County, and Griffin)
  • Last Playoff Appearances: Rome defeated Warner Robins 38-0 in the 2017 Class AAAAA state championship game; Dutchtown lost to Starr’s Mill 31-28 in the first round of the 2017 Class AAAAA playoffs.
  • The Rome Wolves, who are on a state leading 39-game winning streak, completed a second straight unbeaten season on their way to the Region 7-AAAAA championship. Rome defeated Cedar Shoals 35-3 Friday night to advance to the quarterfinals. The Dutchtown Bulldogs, who came into the 2018 season with only three winning records and two playoff appearances in the school’s 14-year history, gave up only 57 points during the regular season en route to an unbeaten season and the Region 4-AAAAA championship. Dutchtown broke open a 7-0 game late in the third quarter to defeat Griffin 28-7. This is one of the most anticipated matchups during the state quarterfinal round. Georgia Public Broadcasting will televise Friday night’s game statewide. The winner of this game will play the winner of the game between Warner Robins and Clarke Central. Rome wins by 20. 

Class AAAA 

Cartersville (12-0) at Baldwin (7-5)

  • Series History: Cartersville leads 1-0
  • Last Meeting: Cartersville defeated Baldwin 41-10 on November 21, 2014 in the second round of the Class AAAA playoffs.
  • Records Against Playoff Teams: Cartersville 7-0 (defeated Allatoona, Cherokee, Cedartown, Sandy Creek, Troup, Stephens County, and Ridgeland); Baldwin 6-5 (defeated Greenbrier, Richmond Academy, Thomson, Burke County, Perry and Columbus and lost to Washington County, Jones County, Veterans, Warner Robins, and Northside of Warner Robins)
  • Last Playoff Appearances: Cartersville lost to Blessed Trinity 21-17 in the second round of the 2017 Class AAAA playoffs; Baldwin lost to Mary Persons 39-14 in the second round of the 2017 Class AAAA playoffs.
  • The Cartersville Purple Hurricanes, who have the longest regular season unbeaten streak in the state, dominated in every game but two on their way to a 10-0 record and the Region 5-AAAA championship. Cartersville defeated Ridgeland 41-7 to move into the quarterfinals. The Baldwin Braves opened the year with five straight losses—four of them losses to Class AAAAAA and Class AAAAA playoff teams—before winning five in a row on their way to the Region 3-AAAA championship. Baldwin shut out Columbus 21-0 on Friday night. The winner of this game will play the winner of the game between Mary Persons and Marist. Cartersville wins by 28. 

Class AAA

Jenkins (9-3) at Calhoun (12-0)

  • Series History: First Meeting
  • Records Against Playoff Teams: Jenkins 3-3 (defeated Windsor Forest, Appling County, and Pike County and lost to New Hampstead, Southeast Bulloch, and Benedictine); Calhoun 7-0 (defeated Ridgeland, North Murray, Ringgold, Haralson County, Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe, Fannin County, and Lovett)
  • Last Playoff Appearances: Jenkins lost to Greater Atlanta Christian 51-14 in the 2017 Class AAA quarterfinals; Calhoun defeated Peach County 10-6 in the 2017 Class AAA state championship game.
  • The Jenkins Warriors, who went undefeated a year ago for the first time in school history, lost two of their final three games to finish third in Region 3-AAA. Jenkins survived a close playoff game for the second week in a row in defeating Pike County 16-9. The Calhoun Yellow Jackets continued their 21st Century dominance of Region 6-AAA by going undefeated in league play for the 17th year in a row. Calhoun, who had dominated Fannin County in the first round of the playoffs, found the going on offense tougher Friday night before finally defeating Lovett 21-6. The winner of this game will play the winner of the game between Peach County and Westminster. Calhoun wins by 22. 

Class AA 

Rockmart (12-0) at Jefferson County (10-2)

  • Series History: First Meeting
  • Records Against Playoff Teams: Jefferson County 6-2 (defeated Harlem, Hephzibah, Screven County, Early County, and Dodge County and lost to Swainsboro and Washington County); Rockmart 7-0 (defeated Cedartown, Heard County, Chattooga, Pepperell, Coosa, South Atlanta, and Bremen)
  • Last Playoff Appearances: Jefferson County lost to Benedictine 70-21 in the second round of the 2017 Class AA playoffs; Rockmart lost to Callaway 40-35 in the second round of the 2017 Class AA playoffs.
  • The Jefferson County Warriors overcame an 0-2 start in non-region play to end the year on an eight-game winning streak and finish first in Region 4-AA. Jefferson County defeated Dodge County 27-13 to move into the quarterfinals. The Rockmart Yellow Jackets dominated the competition on their way to their first unbeaten season since 1989 and the Region 7-AA championship. Rockmart, who had shut out South Atlanta in the first round of the playoffs, overcame an early deficit before defeating Bremen 35-23. The winner of this game will play the winner of the game between Callaway and Washington County. Rockmart wins by 14. 

Class A Private

Darlington (9-2) at Eagles Landing Christian Academy (10-1)

  • Series History: ELCA leads 2-0
  • Last Meeting: ELCA defeated Darlington 24-10 on November 29, 2013 in the Class A Private School quarterfinals.
  • Records Against Playoff Teams: Darlington 6-2 (defeated Pepperell, Coosa, Christian Heritage, Trion, Whitefield Academy, and Aquinas and lost to Mt. Zion and North Cobb Christian); ELCA 5-1 (defeated Holy Innocents, Trinity Christian, Wesleyan, Mount Vernon Presbyterian, and Trinity Christian a second time and lost to Pace Academy)
  • Last Playoff Appearances: Darlington lost to Prince Avenue Christian 31-18 in the 2017 Class A Private School quarterfinals; ELCA defeated Athens Academy 41-3 in the 2017 Class A Private School state championship game.
  • The Darlington Tigers lost only to Mt. Zion and North Cobb Christian, who both still are in the playoffs, on their way to an 8-2 regular season and a third-place finish in the A subregion of Region 6-A. Darlington defeated Aquinas 28-12 to move into the quarterfinals. The ELCA Chargers, whose only loss came to Class AAA playoff team Pace Academy in the second game of the season, were the most dominant Class A team in the state on their way to the Region 5-A championship. ELCA, who had defeated Trinity Christian 61-0 in the regular season, also won its rematch with Trinity on Friday night 48-14. The winner of this game will play the winner of the game between Savannah Christian and Fellowship Christian. Eagles Landing Christian Academy wins by 20. 

In other quarterfinal games:

Class AAAAAAA

Lowndes (9-3) at Grayson (10-2)

Series History: Grayson leads 2-0

Last Meeting: Grayson defeated Lowndes 28-17 on November 18, 2011 in the second round of the Class AAAAA playoffs.

The Lowndes Vikings, who finished second in Region 1-AAAAAAA, defeated Cherokee 55-14 and Westlake 24-0. The Grayson Rams, who won the Region 8-AAAAAAA championship, defeated South Forsyth 38-6 and Norcross 37-17. Grayson wins by 5.

Milton (10-2) at Hillgrove (12-0)

Series History: First Meeting

The Milton Eagles, who won the Region 5-AAAAAAA championship, defeated South Gwinnett 28-19 and Mill Creek 24-3. The Hillgrove Hawks, who won the Region 3-AAAAAAA championship, defeated Pebblebrook 21-7 and Walton 23-20. Hillgrove wins by 1.

Tift County (8-4) at Archer (10-2)

Series History: First Meeting

The Tift County Blue Devils, who finished fourth in Region 1-AAAAAAA, defeated Roswell 42-7 and East Coweta 24-17. The Archer Tigers, who finished second in Region 8-AAAAAAA, defeated Forsyth Central 56-0 and Parkview 36-29. Archer wins by 9.

North Gwinnett (10-2) at Colquitt County (12-0)

Series History: Tied 2-2

Last Meeting: North Gwinnett defeated Colquitt County 19-17 on December 15, 2017 in the Class AAAAAAA state championship game.

The North Gwinnett Bulldogs, who are the defending Class AAAAAAA state champions and who won the Region 6-AAAAAAA championship, defeated Central Gwinnett 49-0 and West Forsyth 41-7. The Colquitt County Packers, who won the Region 1-AAAAAAA championship, defeated Etowah 34-5 and McEachern 49-29. Colquitt County wins by 10.

Class AAAAAA

Valdosta (8-4) at Dacula (10-2)

Series History: First Meeting

The Valdosta Wildcats, who finished second in Region 1-AAAAAA, defeated Lovejoy 70-29 and Glynn Academy 35-24. The Dacula Falcons, who won the Region 8-AAAAAA championship, defeated Northgate 28-0 and Allatoona 28-21. Valdosta wins by 6.

Northside of Warner Robins (7-5) at Sequoyah (10-2)

Series History: First Meeting

The Northside Eagles, who finished third in Region 1-AAAAAA, defeated Tucker 43-21 and Bradwell Institute 35-0. The Sequoyah Chiefs, who finished second in Region 6-AAAAAA, defeated Alpharetta 34-30 and Creekside 50-49. Northside wins by 14.

Coffee (9-3) at Lanier (9-3)

Series History: First Meeting

The Coffee Trojans, who finished fourth in Region 1-AAAAAA, defeated Stephenson 45-17 and Richmond Hill 20-7. The Lanier Longhorns, who finished second in Region 8-AAAAAA, defeated Mays 20-12 and Harrison 35-23. Coffee wins by 12.

Creekview (12-0) at Lee County (12-0)

Series History: First Meeting

The Creekview Grizzlies, who won the Region 6-AAAAAA championship, defeated Pope 38-14 and Habersham Central 65-48. The Lee County Trojans, who are the defending Class AAAAAA state champions and who finished first in Region 1-AAAAAA, defeated Mundy’s Mill 48-13 and Effingham County 54-0. Lee County wins by 29. 


Class AAAAA 

Bainbridge (7-5) at Buford (10-2)

Series History: First Meeting

The Bainbridge Bearcats, who finished second in Region 1-AAAAA, defeated Jones County 40-13 and Wayne County 26-19. The Buford Wolves, who won the Region 8-AAAAA championship, defeated Miller Grove 35-14 and Kell 44-11. Buford wins by 20. 

Carrollton (10-2) at Stockbridge (11-1)

Series History: Carrollton leads 2-0

Last Meeting: Carrollton defeated Stockbridge 24-14 on November 29, 2013 in the Class AAAA quarterfinals.

The Carrollton Trojans, who finished third in Region 7-AAAAA, defeated Riverwood 41-30 and Loganville 29-6. The Stockbridge Tigers, who finished second in Region 4-AAAAA, defeated Veterans 20-14 and New Hampstead 25-6. Carrollton wins by 3.

Clarke Central (8-4) at Warner Robins (10-2)

Series History: Warner Robins leads 8-4

Last Meeting: Warner Robins defeated Clarke Central 11-10 on September 12, 1997

The Clarke Central Gladiators, who finished third in Region 8-AAAAA, defeated Arabia Mountain 35-13 and East Paulding 24-7. The Warner Robins Demons, who won the Region 1-AAAAA championship, defeated Locust Grove 27-7 and Ware County 35-0. Warner Robins wins by 22. 


Class AAAA

Marist (10-2) at Mary Persons (12-0)

Series History: Marist leads 1-0

Last Meeting: Marist defeated Mary Persons 45-21 on November 20, 2015 in the second round of the Class AAAA playoffs.

The Marist War Eagles, who finished second in Region 7-AAAA, defeated Heritage of Catoosa 61-20 and St. Pius X 24-8. The Mary Persons Bulldogs, who won the Region 2-AAAA championship, defeated Richmond Academy 59-0 and Woodward Academy 65-21. Mary Persons wins by 14. 

Blessed Trinity (12-0) at Eastside (12-0)

Series History: First Meeting

The Blessed Trinity Titans, who are the defending Class AAAA state champions and who won the Region 7-AAAA championship, defeated Northwest Whitfield 55-16 and North Oconee 35-10. The Eastside Eagles, who won the Region 4-AAAA championship, defeated Hardaway 41-23 and Burke County 42-35. Blessed Trinity wins by 13. 

Troup (11-1) at Cairo (10-2)

Series History: Cairo leads 1-0

Last meeting: Cairo defeated Troup 48-0 on November 14, 2008 in the first round of the Class AAA playoffs.

The Troup Tigers, who finished second in Region 5-AAAA, defeated Oconee County 42-28 and Pickens 53-14. The Cairo Syrupmakers, who won the Region 1-AAAA championship, defeated Henry County 44-0 and Thomson 38-14. Troup wins by 3. 


Class AAA 

Monroe Area (12-0) at Pierce County (12-0)

Series History: First Meeting

The Monroe Area Purple Hurricanes, who won the Region 8-AAA championship, defeated Pace Academy 38-22 and Dawson County 49-17. The Pierce County Bears, who won the Region 2-AAA championship, defeated Windsor Forest 49-21 and Jackson 45-0. Monroe Area wins by 11. 

Cedar Grove (11-1) at Benedictine (11-1)

Series History: First Meeting

The Cedar Grove Saints, who won the Region 5-AAA championship, defeated Hart County 49-0 and North Hall 49-33. The Benedictine Cadets, who won the Region 3-AAA championship, defeated Tattnall County 45-0 and Westside of Macon 43-36. Cedar Grove wins by 16. 

Westminster (8-4) at Peach County (10-2)

Series History: Peach County leads 2-0

Last Meeting: Peach County defeated Westminster 45-15 on November 24, 2017 in the Class AAA quarterfinals.

The Westminster Wildcats, who finished third in Region 5-AAA, defeated Jefferson 35-7 and Greater Atlanta Christian 44-34. The Peach County Trojans, who won the Region 4-AAA championship, defeated Ringgold 48-7 and Liberty County 47-8. Peach County wins by 14. 


Class AA

Fitzgerald (9-3) at Rabun County (11-0)

Series History: Fitzgerald leads 1-0

Last Meeting: Fitzgerald defeated Rabun County 35-16 on November 25, 2016 in the Class AA quarterfinals.

The Fitzgerald Purple Hurricanes, who finished second in Region 1-AA, defeated Harlem 51-14 and Swainsboro 27-12. The Rabun County Wildcats, who won the Region 8-AA championship, defeated Spencer 65-0 and Chattooga 34-0. Rabun County wins by 7.

Heard County (10-2) at Dublin (11-1)

Series History: First Meeting

The Heard County Braves, who won the Region 5-AA championship, defeated Monticello 63-22 and Douglass 27-6. The Dublin Fighting Irish, who won the Region 3-AA championship, defeated Toombs County 49-14 and Thomasville 23-7. Dublin wins by 9. 

Washington County (10-2) at Callaway (10-2)

Series History: Washington County leads 2-0

Last Meeting: Washington County defeated Callaway 31-7 on November 21, 2014 in the second round of the Class AAA playoffs.

The Washington County Golden Hawks, who finished third in Region 3-AA, defeated Vidalia 31-25 and Brooks County 34-30. The Callaway Cavaliers, who finished second in Region 5-AA, defeated Elbert County 27-14 and Hapeville Charter 31-13. Callaway wins by 3. 


Class A Private

 Calvary Day (10-1) at Athens Academy (11-0)

Series History: Athens Academy leads 1-0

Last Meeting: Athens Academy defeated Calvary Day 30-8 on September 1, 2000.

The Calvary Day Cavaliers, who finished second in the A subregion of Region 3-A, defeated Holy Innocents 52-12. The Athens Academy Spartans, who won the Region 8-A championship, defeated Mount Vernon Presbyterian 27-13. Calvary Day wins by 7.

North Cobb Christian (10-1) at Prince Avenue Christian (10-1)

Series History: First Meeting

            The North Cobb Christian Eagles, who finished second in the A subregion of Region 6-A, defeated Brookstone 20-17. The Prince Avenue Christian Wolverines, who finished second in the A subregion of Region 8-A, defeated Wesleyan 42-27. Prince Avenue Christian wins by 12.

Fellowship Christian (10-1) at Savannah Christian (10-1)

Series History: First Meeting

The Fellowship Christian Paladins, who finished second in Region 6-A, defeated Riverside Military Academy 35-28. The Savannah Christian Raiders, who won the Region 3-A championship, defeated Hebron Christian Academy 14-7. Savannah Christian wins by 12.


Class A Public

Commerce (10-2) at Irwin County (11-0)

Series History: Irwin County leads 1-0

Last Meeting: Irwin County defeated Commerce 28-7 on December 5, 2014 in the Class A Public School semifinals.

The Commerce Tigers, who finished second in Region 8-A, defeated Seminole County 42-6 and Mitchell County 35-33. The Irwin County Indians, who won the Region 2-A championship, defeated Miller County 41-0. Irwin County wins by 29.

Greene County (9-2) at Pelham (11-0)

Series History: Greene County leads 1-0

Last Meeting: Greene County defeated Pelham 55-40 on November 18, 2016 in the second round of the Class A Public School playoffs.

The Greene County Tigers, who won the Region 7-A championship, defeated Chattahoochee County 37-22. The Pelham Hornets, who won the Region 1-A championship, defeated Emanuel County Institute 40-36. Pelham wins by 13.

Schley County (9-2) at Marion County (11-0)

Series History: Marion County leads 11-2

Last Meeting: Marion County defeated Schley County 21-6 on November 2, 2018 in the Region 4-A championship game.

The Schley County Wildcats, who finished second in Region 4-A, defeated Trion 40-13. The Marion County Eagles, who won the Region 4-A championship, defeated Montgomery County 48-21. This is the third time the teams have played each other in 2018. Marion County wins by 5.

Clinch County (10-1) at Mt. Zion (10-1)

Series History: Clinch County leads 1-0

Last Meeting: Clinch County defeated Mt. Zion 23-20 on December 1, 2017 in the Class A Public School semifinals.

The Clinch County Panthers, who are the defending Class A Public School state champions and who finished second in Region 2-A, defeated Charlton County 38-14. The Mt. Zion Eagles, who won the Region 6-A championship, defeated Dooly County 21-0. Clinch County wins by 14.

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