The Georgia High School Association state playoffs are down to the semifinals and four Northwest Georgia teams remain in the hunt for state championships. Rome in Class AAAAA, Cartersville in Class AAAA, Calhoun in Class AAA, and Rockmart in Class AA all won big on Friday night under less than ideal weather conditions in the state quarterfinals. Only Darlington, who lost 42-6 to Class A Private School powerhouse Eagles Landing Christian Academy, came up short.
Look for much closer games in this week’s semifinals. Calhoun, Cartersville, and Rockmart get to play at home while Rome travels to Middle Georgia to play Warner Robins.
The state championships will take place either on Dec. 7 and 8 or on Dec. 11 and 12—depending on how Atlanta fares in its two-game soccer playoff series at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Rome (13-0) at Warner Robins (11-2)
- Series History: Tied 1-1
- Last Meeting: Rome defeated Warner Robins 38-0 on December 15, 2017 in the Class AAAAA state championship game.
- Best Playoff Finishes: Rome won the Class AAAAA state championship in 2016 and 2017. Warner Robins won state championships in Class AAA in 1976 and in Class AAAA in 1981, 1988, and 2004.
- How Rome Got Here: The Wolves opened with non-region wins over Marietta 51-41 and North Clayton 35-0. Rome then went unbeaten and captured their third straight Region 7-AAAAA championship by defeating Kell 35-6, Carrollton 65-51, Cass 49-14, Woodland 48-7, East Paulding 62-14, Paulding County 68-7, Hiram 56-0, and Villa Rica 62-7. The Wolves have playoff wins over Maynard Jackson 62-14, Cedar Shoals 35-3, and Dutchtown 28-14.
- How Warner Robins Got Here: The Demons went 5-1 in non-region play with wins over Tift County 40-29, Locust Grove 50-40, and Baldwin 48-14, followed by a 41-14 loss to Colquitt County and wins of 39-34 over Northside of Warner Robins and 49-21 over Houston County. Warner Robins had to forfeit its Region 1-AAAAA opening 41-0 win over Harris County due to use of an ineligible player but then defeated Thomas County Central 42-10, Bainbridge 38-0, and Veterans 28-0 to win the region championship. The Demons have playoff wins over Locust Grove 27-7, Ware County 35-0, and Clarke Central 21-14.
- This is a rematch of last year’s Class AAAAA state championship game that Rome won on the road after snow and ice forced the postponement of six of the eight title games that were supposed to take place at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. This is Rome’s fifth visit to McConnell-Talbert Stadium in the past 15 years with much milder weather predicted for this Friday night. This should prove to be Rome’s biggest challenge in 2018. Rome wins by 13.
Bainbridge (8-5) at Stockbridge (12-1)
- Series History: First Meeting
- Best Playoff Finishes: Bainbridge won the 1982 Class AAA state championship. Stockbridge reached the Class AAAAA semifinals in 2014 and 2016.
- How Bainbridge Got Here: The Bearcats opened with non-region wins over Seminole County 35-0 and Cairo 15-7 and non-region losses to Lincoln (Fla.) 28-6, Brooks County 15-13, Crisp County 23-0, and Tift County 31-14. Bainbridge finished second in Region 1-AAAAA by defeating Veterans 27-14, losing to Warner Robins 38-0, and defeating Harris County 49-0 and Thomas County Central 44-11. The Bearcats have playoff wins over Jones County 40-13, Wayne County 26-19, and Buford 23-20.
- How Stockbridge Got Here: The Tigers had non-region wins over Arabia Mountain 34-22, Carver of Atlanta 41-0, and Columbia 42-0. Stockbridge finished second in Region 4-AAAAA with wins over Locust Grove 33-12, Eagle’s Landing 28-12, Ola 49-10, and Union Grove 35-0 followed by a loss to Dutchtown 21-14 and wins over Woodland of Stockbridge 35-21 and Jones County 17-10. The Tigers have playoff wins over Veterans 20-14, New Hampstead 25-6, and Carrollton 48-3. Stockbridge wins by 3.
Marist (11-2) at Cartersville (13-0)
- Series History: Marist leads 1-0-1
- Last Meeting: Marist and Cartersville tied 6-6 on October 17, 1930.
- Best Playoff Appearances: Marist won state championships in Class AAA in 1989 and in Class AAAA in 2003. Cartersville won state championships in Class AA in 1991 and in 1999 and in Class AAAA in 2015 and 2016.
- How Marist Got Here: The War Eagles had non-region wins over Lovett 40-20, Baylor (Tenn.) 33-14, and Westminster 24-7 and a loss to St. Pius X 17-0. Marist finished second in Region 7-AAAA with wins over White County 41-6, Chestatee 59-7, West Hall 51-14, Denmark 57-7, and Flowery Branch 20-0 and a loss to Blessed Trinity 10-7. Marist has playoff wins over Heritage 61-20, St. Pius X 24=8, and Mary Persons 10-7.
- How Cartersville Got Here: The Purple Hurricanes opened with non-region wins over Allatoona 35-0, Luella 55-3, McNair 70-0, and Cherokee 28-10. Cartersville won the Region 5-AAAA championship with wins over Cedartown 21-20, Central of Carrollton 45-10, LaGrange 45-7, Sandy Creek 7-0, Chapel Hill 51-0, and Troup 43-10. The Purple Hurricanes have playoff wins over Stephens County 34-7, Ridgeland 41-7, and Baldwin 42-13.
- The Cartersville Purple Hurricanes, who were upset in the second round of the 2017 playoffs, are seeking their third state title in four years. Marist and Cartersville last met on the football field in 1930. A tough test against defending state champion Blessed Trinity awaits the winner. Cartersville wins by 2.
Troup (12-1) at Blessed Trinity (13-0)
- Series History: First Meeting
- Best Playoff Appearances; Troup reached the Class AAAA semifinals in 2001. Blessed Trinity won the 2017 Class AAAA state championship.
- How Troup Got Here: The Tigers opened the season with non-region wins over Ridgeland 32-0, Columbus 47-14, Harris County 53-6, and Callaway 37-20. Troup finished second in Region 5-AAAA by defeating Chapel Hill 56-24, Sandy Creek 35-21, LaGrange 35-14, Cedartown 20-13, and Central of Carrollton 49-27 and losing to Cartersville 43-10. Troup has playoff wins over Oconee County 42-28, Pickens 53-14, and Cairo 20-17.
- How Blessed Trinity Got Here: The Titans opened with non-region wins over St. Pius X 35-13, South Forsyth 35-6, Woodward Academy 43-21, and Benedictine 38-7. Blessed Trinity won the Region 7-AAAA championship by defeating West Hall 45-3, Denmark 47-6, Flowery Branch 21-20, Chestatee 49-0, Marist 10-7, and White County 42-7. Blessed Trinity has playoff wins over Northwest Whitfield 55-16, North Oconee 35-10, and Eastside 42-15. Blessed Trinity wins by 10.
Peach County (11-2) at Calhoun (13-0)
- Series History: Calhoun leads 2-0
- Last Meeting: Calhoun defeated Peach County 10-6 on December 8, 2017 in the Class AAA state championship game.
- Best Playoff Appearances: Peach County won the Class AAA state championship in 2005, in 2006, and in 2009. Calhoun won state championships in Class C in 1952, in Class AA in 2011, and in Class AAA in 2014 and 2017.
- How Peach County Got Here: The Trojans were 2-2 in non-region play with a win over Northside of Warner Robins 27-24, a loss to Lee County 33-0, a win over Houston County 49-14, and a loss to Mary Persons 35-21. Peach County won the Region 4-AAA championship by defeating Kendrick 49-0, Pike County 42-6, Rutland 73-14, Central of Macon 50-8, Jackson 42-3, and Westside of Macon 28-12. The Trojans have playoff wins over Ringgold 48-7, Liberty County 47-8, and Westminster 21-3.
- How Calhoun Got Here: The Yellow Jackets opened with non-region wins over Ridgeland 45-21 and Therrell 52-6. Calhoun won the Region 6-AAA championship by defeating Sonoraville 38-0, North Murray 34-10, Ringgold 49-7, Adairsville 61-0, Murray County 56-0, Coahulla Creek 56-13, Haralson County 41-6, and Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe 49-0. The Yellow Jackets have playoff wins over Fannin County 55-17, Lovett 21-6, and Jenkins 24-12.
- This is a rematch of the 2017 Class AAA state championship game that ended in controversy and resulted in the addition of an extra official for the 2018 state playoffs following Calhoun’s 10-6 win. These two teams were able to play at Mercedes Benz Stadium before weather issues forced officials to postpone the remaining title games. The Trojans have had a strong showing against a tough schedule. Peach County wins by 10.
Pierce County (13-0) at Cedar Grove (12-1)
- Series History: Cedar Grove leads 1-0
- Last Meeting: Cedar Grove defeated Pierce County 47-0 on November 14, 2015 in the first round of the Class AAA playoffs. Cedar Grove won the 2016 Class AAA state championship.
- Best Playoff Finishes: Pierce County reached the quarterfinals in Class AA in 1982 and in Class AAA in 2014 and in 2016.
- How Pierce County Got Here: The Bears opened with non-region wins over McIntosh County Academy 48-14, Bacon County 49-0, Beach 38-0, Randolph-Clay 47-0, and South Effingham 42-0. Pierce County won the Region 2-AAA championship by defeating Brantley County 49-7, Long County 49-0, Tattnall County 49-22, Appling County 27-26, and Liberty County 29-26. Pierce County has playoff wins over Windsor Forest 49-21, Jackson 45-0, and Monroe Area 24-7.
- How Cedar Grove Got Here; The Saints opened with non-region wins over Summerville (S.C.) 21-7, Hewitt-Trussville (Ala.) 34-30, and Columbia 34-30 and a loss to McEachern 24-17. Cedar Grove won the Region 5-AAA championship by defeating Lovett 45-0, Redan 52-0, Towers 80-0, Westminster 30-3, Pace Academy 40-13, and Stone Mountain 71-0. The Saints have playoff wins over Hart County 49-0, North Hall 49-33, and Benedictine 55-0. Cedar Grove wins by 23.
Callaway (11-2) at Rockmart (13-0)
- Series History: Callaway leads 7-1
- Last Meeting: Callaway defeated Rockmart 40-35 on November 17, 2017 in the second round of the Class AA playoffs.
- Best Playoff Appearances: Callaway finished second in the state in Class AAA in 2013 and in Class AA in 2016. Rockmart won the 1950 Class A state championship.
- How Callaway Got Here: The Cavaliers opened with non-region wins over Opelika (Ala.) 35-21, LaGrange 14-0, and Cross Keys 50-0 and a loss to Troup 37-20. Callaway finished second in Region 5-AA by defeating Temple 49-0, Bremen 37-25, Lamar County 45-6, and Spencer 30-7 followed by a loss to Heard County 13-10 and a win over Jordan 56-0. The Cavaliers have playoff wins over Elbert County 27-14, Hapeville Charter 31-13, and Washington County 35-20.
- How Rockmart Got Here: The Yellow Jackets opened with non-region wins over Cedartown 20-14, Central of Carrollton 51-7, and Heard County 33-0. Rockmart won the Region 7-AA championship by defeating Armuchee 62-13, Dade County 48-0, Chattooga 56-0, Pepperell 40-10, Coosa 42-0, Gordon Central 52-11, and Model 61-6. The Yellow Jackets have playoff wins over South Atlanta 55-0, Bremen 35-23, and Jefferson County 48-13.
- The Rockmart Yellow Jackets are trying to do what know Rockmart team has done in 68 years by winning a state championship. This is the ninth time Callaway and Rockmart have met either during the state playoffs or the regular season in the past 13 seasons. Rockmart wins by 6.
Fitzgerald (10-3) at Heard County (11-2)
- Series History: Fitzgerald leads 3-0
- Last Meeting: Fitzgerald defeated Heard County 24-7 on November 20, 2015 in the second round of the Class AA playoffs.
- Best Playoff Finishes: Fitzgerald won the 1948 Class A state championship. Heard County finished second in the state in Class AA in 2017.
- How Fitzgerald Got Here: The Purple Hurricanes were 4-2 in non-region play with wins over Bacon County 45-7, Dooly County 27-26, Upson-Lee 28-24, and Worth County 50-13, and losses to Irwin County 16-10 and Dodge County 28-9. Fitzgerald finished second in Region 1-AA by defeating Berrien 50-20, Thomasville 36-21, and Early County 21-3, and losing to Brooks County 28-27. The Purple Hurricanes have playoff wins over Harlem 51-14, Swainsboro 27-12, and Rabun County 28-17.
- How Heard County Got Here: The Braves opened with a non-region win over LaGrange 10-3 followed by losses to Hapeville Charter 33-3 and Rockmart 33-0 and a win over Central of Carrollton 45-0. Heard County won the Region 5-AA championship by defeating Spencer 28-12, Temple 41-14, Jordan 58-6, Callaway 13-10, Lamar County 40-14, and Bremen 20-7. The Braves have playoff wins over Monticello 63-22, Douglass 27-6, and Dublin 18-3. Heard County wins by 1.
Lowndes (10-3) at Milton (11-2)
- Series History: First Meeting
- Best Playoff Finishes: Lowndes won state championships in Class AAAA in 1980 and in 1999 and in Class AAAAA in 2004, in 2005, and in 2007. Milton reached the Class AAAAAA quarterfinals in 2014.
- How Lowndes Got Here: The Vikings were 6-1 in non-region play with wins over Drew 66-7, Chamblee 62-0, East Coweta 37-12, Lincoln (Fla.) 51-15, Valdosta 71-35, and Ware County 37-16 and a loss to Parkview 39-27. Lowndes finished second in Region 1-AAAAAAA with a win over Camden County 28-27 and losses to Tift County 21-17 and Colquitt County 40-6. The Vikings have playoff wins over Cherokee 55-14, Westlake 24-0, and Grayson 20-15.
- How Milton Got Here: The Eagles opened with non-region wins over Archer 21-19, Alpharetta 37-27, and Cardinal Gibbons (Fla.) 42-17 followed by losses to Roswell 22-20 and Parkview 37-35. Milton won the Region 5-AAAAAAA championship by defeating West Forsyth 41-0, South Forsyth 35-21, Forsyth Central 30-3, Lambert 57-7, and North Forsyth 49-23. The Eagles have playoff wins over South Gwinnett 28-19, Mill Creek 24-3, and Hillgrove 20-19.
- Prediction: Lowndes wins by 7.
Archer (11-2) at Colquitt County (13-0)
- Series History: Colquitt County leads 2-0
- Last Meeting: Colquitt County defeated Archer 12-7 on November 24, 2017 in the Class AAAAAAA quarterfinals.
- Best Playoff Finishes: Archer finished second in the state in Class AAAAAA in 2014. Colquitt County won state championships in Class AAAA in 1994 and in Class AAAAAA in 2014 and in 2015.
- How Archer Got Here: The Tigers opened with a non-region loss to Milton 21-19 and wins over Spartanburg (S.C.) 51-17, Mill Creek 42-0, Norcross 37-0, and Buford 48-24. Archer finished second in Region 8-AAAAAAA by defeating Newton 40-14 followed by a loss to Grayson 41-14 and wins over Rockdale County 40-20, South Gwinnett 35-7, and Shiloh 35-7. The Tigers have playoff wins over Forsyth Central 56-0, Parkview 36-29, and Tift County 16-10.
- How Colquitt County Got Here: The Packers opened with non-region wins over McEachern 41-7, Trinity Catholic (Mo.) 42-14, Thomasville 50-3, Valdosta 48-13, Warner Robins 41-14, Grayson 26-14, and Alcovy 56-0. Colquitt County won the Region 1-AAAAAAA championship by defeating Camden County 38-9, Tift County 45-7, and Lowndes 40-6. The Packers have playoff wins over Etowah 34-5, McEachern 49-29, and North Gwinnett 45-0.
- Prediction: Colquitt County wins by 18.
Northside of Warner Robins (8-5) at Dacula (11-2)
- Series History: Northside leads 1-0
- Last Meeting: Northside defeated Dacula 21-3 on December 7, 2001 in the Class AAAAA playoffs.
- Best Playoff Finishes: Northside won state championships in Class AAAA in 2006 and in 2007 and in Class AAAAA in 2014. Dacula finished second in the state in Class AAAAA in 2005.
- How Northside Got Here: The Eagles were 3-3 in non-region play with wins over Centennial 38-14, Whitewater 41-3, and Baldwin 45-0 and losses to Peach County 27-24, Jones County 35-27, and Warner Robins 39-34. Northside finished third in Region 1-AAAAAA by defeating Coffee 30-20 and Houston County 41-6 and losing to Lee County 24-7 and Valdosta 46-44. The Eagles have playoff wins over Tucker 43-21, Bradwell Institute 35-0, and Sequoyah 30-6.
- How Dacula Got Here: The Falcons were 3-2 in non-region play with wins over Discovery 24-10, Central Gwinnett 40-6, andRockdale County 42-0 and losses to Mill Creek 49-21 and Mountain View 21-14. Dacula won the Region 8-AAAAAA championship by defeating Gainesville 37-7, Apalachee 34-21, Habersham Central 49-7, Lanier 23-0, and Winder-Barrow 28-21. The Falcons have playoff wins over Northgate 28-0, Allatoona 28-21, and Valdosta 56-21.
- Prediction: Northside wins by 6.
Lanier (10-3) at Lee County (13-0)
- Series History: First Meeting
- Best Playoff Finishes: Lanier reached the second round of the state playoffs in Class AAAA in 2013 and in Class AAAAA in 2015. Lee County won the 2017 Class AAAAAA state championship.
- How Lanier Got Here: The Longhorns were 3-2 in non-region play with wins over Peachtree Ridge 47-0, Clarke Central 17-14, and Lambert 30-16 and losses to Central Gwinnett 35-7 and Alpharetta 14-9. Lanier finished second in Region 8-AAAAAA by defeating Habersham Central 38-10, Winder-Barrow 38-20, and Apalachee 21-3 followed by a loss to Dacula 23-0 and a win over Gainesville 6-2. The Longhorns have playoff wins over Mays 20-12, Harrison 35-23, and Coffee 27-7.
- How Lee County Got Here: The Trojans opened with non-region wins over Dougherty 47-6, Dr. Phillips (Fla.) 35-3, Peach County 33-0, Americus-Sumter 49-7, Southwest of Macon 50-0, and Thomson 40-0. Lee County won the Region 1-AAAAAA championship by defeating Northside of Warner Robins 24-7, Valdosta 63-7, Houston County 45-0, and Coffee 38-7. The Trojans have playoff wins over Mundy’s Mill 48-13, Effingham County 54-0, and Creekview 42-20.
- Prediction: Lee County wins by 29.
Class A Private
Prince Avenue Christian (11-1) at Athens Academy (12-0)
- Series History: Tied 7-7
- Last Meeting: Prince Avenue Christian defeated Athens Academy 31-27 on September 28, 2018.
- Best Playoff Finishes: Prince Avenue Christian finished second in the state in the Class A Private School playoffs in 2012. Athens Academy finished second in the state in Class A in 2006 and in the Class A Private School playoffs in 2017.
- How Prince Avenue Christian Got Here: The Wolverines had non-region wins over Mount Vernon Presbyterian 55-27, Whitefield Academy 30-6, Wesleyan 49-28, Riverside Military Academy 56-12, and Lakeview Academy 55-6. Prince Avenue Christian finished second in the A subregion of Region 8-A by defeating Providence Christian 63-7, Athens Christian 48-0, and George Walton Academy 28-25 and losing to Athens Academy 31-27. The Wolverines defeated Riverside Military Academy a second time 48-27 in a region crossover game. Prince Avenue Christian has playoff wins over Wesleyan 42-27 and North Cobb Christian 48-20.
- How Athens Academy Got Here: The Spartans had non-region wins over Savannah Christian 20-7, Stephens County 28-7, Cherokee Bluff 35-14, Towns County 46-8, and Hebron Christian Academy 22-20. Athens Academy won the Region 8-A championship with wins over Prince Avenue Christian 31-27, George Walton Academy 35-28, Athens Christian 50-7, and Providence Christian followed by a 21-14 win over Commerce in the region championship game. The Spartan have playoff wins over Mount Vernon Presbyterian 27-13 and Calvary Day 25-19.
- Prediction: Prince Avenue Christian wins by 4.
Savannah Christian (11-1) at Eagles Landing Christian Academy (11-1)
- Series History: ELCA leads 2-0
- Last Meeting: ELCA defeated Savannah Christian 54-0 on November 17, 2017 in the second round of the Class A Private School playoffs.
- Best Playoff Appearances: Savannah Christian won Southeastern Association of Independent Schools state championships in Class AA in 1972, in 1978, and in 1979 and in Class AAA in 1981, in 1982, and in 1984. In addition, Savannah Christian win the GHSA 2011 Class A state championship. ELCA won the Georgia Independent Schools Association Class A state championship in 1996 and GHSA Class A Private School state championships in 2012, 2015, 2016, and 2017.
- How Savannah Christian Got Here: The Raiders opened with a non-region loss to Athens Academy 20-7 followed by wins over Greenside Collegiate Academy (S.C.) 54-14, Toombs County 49-28, and Wheeler County 51-0. Savannah Christian won the Region 3-A championship by defeating Calvary Day 24-21, McIntosh County Academy 42-6, Savannah Country Day 23-7, and Claxton 48-9 followed by a 29-14 win over Emanuel County Institute in the region championship game.
- How ELCA Got Here: The Chargers were 2-1 in non-region play with wins over Morrow 41-0 and Heritage of Conyers 56-0 and a loss to Pace Academy 17-16. ELCA won the Region 5-A championship by defeating Holy Innocents 48-14, Trinity Christian 61-0, Wesleyan 63-0, Our Lady of Mercy 77-3, Strong Rock Christian 52-7, Mount Vernon Presbyterian 42-21, and Landmark Christian 77-0. The Chargers have playoff wins over Trinity Christian 48-14 and Darlington 42-6. Prediction: Eagles Landing Christian Academy wins by 24.
Class A Public
Pelham (12-0) at Irwin County (12-0)
- Series History: Irwin County leads 6-0
- Last Meeting: Irwin County defeated Pelham 48-13 on November 12, 1999.
- Best Playoff Appearances: Pelham reached the state quarterfinals in Class B in 1965 and in Class A in 1977 and in 1982. Irwin County won the 1975 Class A state championship.
- How Pelham Got Here: The Hornets opened with a non-region win over Macon County 41-0. Pelham won the Region 1-A championship by defeating Randolph-Clay 57-0, Baconton Charter 63-0, Terrell County 65-0, Miller County 63-20, Stewart County 55-14, Chattahoochee County 48-6, Calhoun County 56-0, Seminole County 63-19, and Mitchell County 34-13. The Hornets have playoff wins over Emanuel County Institute 40-36 and Greene County 49-20.
- How Irwin County Got Here: The Indians opened with non-region wins over Berrien 41-7, Fitzgerald 16-10, and Mount Paran Christian 40-20. Irwin County won the Region 2-A championship by defeating Miller County 41-0 and Commerce 26-23.
- Prediction: Irwin County wins by 7.
Clinch County (11-1) at Marion County (12-0)
- Series History: Clinch County leads 1-0
- Last Meeting: Clinch County defeated Marion County 34-7 on November 13, 2009 in the first round of the Class A playoffs.
- Best Playoff Appearances: Clinch County won Class A state championships in 1988, 1991, 2002, 2004, and 2010 and Class A Public School state championships in 2015 and 2017. Marion County won the 2013 Class A Public School state championship.
- How Clinch County Got Here: The Panthers opened with non-region wins over Hebron Christian Academy 24-17, Brooks County 37-7, and Dooly County 40-6. Clinch County finished second in Region 2-A by losing to Irwin County 21-3 and defeating Wilcox County 36-12, Atkinson County 48-28, Turner County 41-12, Lanier County 55-8, Charlton County 40-14, and Turner County 42-9. The Panthers have playoff wins over Charlton County 38-14 and Mt. Zion 35-7.
- How Marion County Got Here: The Eagles had non-subregion wins over Schley County 28-7, Chattahoochee County 45-24, Bleckley County 41-39, and Taylor County 24-0. Marion County won the Region 4-A championship by defeating Pacelli 41-12, Manchester 40-21, Greenville 65-14, Brookstone 43-25, and Central of Talbotton 56-14 followed by a 21-6 win over Schley County in the region championship game. The Eagles have playoff wins over Montgomery County 48-21 and Schley County 34-27.
- Prediction: Clinch County wins by 11.