Updated: John McClellan’s high school playoff picks: Rome, Pepperell, Cartersville, Calhoun, Rockmart should advance to second round.

Updated: John McClellan’s high school playoff picks: Rome, Pepperell, Cartersville, Calhoun, Rockmart should advance to second round.

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By John McClellan
For Hometown Headlines

Northwest Georgia has produced many outstanding football teams over the years. Based on sheer numbers alone, the 2019 season may come close to setting the all-time record in terms of teams in the state playoffs. Rome, Pepperell, Model, Darlington (which has a first-round bye), Cartersville, Cedartown, Calhoun, Rockmart, Sonoraville, Chattooga, Adairsville, and Trion all will be in postseason play. Add Unity Christian, which lost this past Friday night in the GAPPS semifinals, and it has been a banner year for local high school football.

State playoff action begins this Friday night.


Class 5A

Lithonia (4-6) at Number 2 Rome (8-2)

  • Series History: First Meeting
  • Records Against Playoff Teams: Lithonia 1-2 (defeated Arabia Mountain and lost to Columbia and Southwest DeKalb); Rome 2-2 (defeated Kell and Hiram and lost to Marietta and Carrollton)
  • Last Playoff Appearances: Lithonia lost to Cedar Shoals 41-0 in the first round of the 2018 Class 5A playoffs; Rome lost to Warner Robins 45-28 in the 2018 Class 5A semifinals.
  •  The Lithonia Bulldogs opened the season with wins of 51-0 over Forest Park and 42-0 over Redan that they later had to forfeit for using an ineligible player. Lithonia lost four of its next six games before closing the season with victories over Miller Grove and Arabian Mountain to claim the Number 3 seed from Region 5-AAAAA and reach the playoffs for the second straight year. The Rome Wolves, who won Class 5A state championships in 2016 and 2017 and reached the semifinals in 2018, opened the year with a loss to Class 7A powerhouse Marietta before winning eight of their last nine games to earn the Number 2 seed from Region 7-AAAAA. The Wolves, whose only region loss came by four points in the closing seconds to Number 1 ranked Carrollton, are the top offensive team in the state in Class 5A.
  • The winner of this game will play the winner of the game between Number 3 Warner Robins and Jonesboro. Rome wins by 41.

Class 4A

Flowery Branch (7-3) at Number 1 Cartersville (10-0)

  • Series History: First Meeting
  • Records Against Playoff Teams: Flowery Branch 2-3 (defeated Clarke Central and Gainesville and lost to Blessed Trinity, Marist, and Denmark); Cartersville 7-0 (defeated Allatoona, Luella, Cherokee, Cedartown, Sandy Creek, and Troup)
  • Last Playoff Appearances: Flowery Branch lost to Ridgeland 34-14 in the first round of the 2018 Class 4A playoffs; Cartersville lost to Blessed Trinity 23-9 in the 2018 Class 4A state championship game.
  • The Flowery Branch Falcons opened the season with six straight wins and were ranked as high as Number 6 in the state in Class 4A before losing three of their last five games. The Falcons are the Number 4 seed from Region 7-AAAA following losses to Blessed Trinity, Marist, and Denmark. The Cartersville Purple Hurricanes, who lost in the Class 4A state finals a year ago to Blessed Trinity, wrapped up their fifth straight undefeated regular season Friday night with a 45-35 win over Troup. The Purple Hurricanes, who are the Number 1 seed from Region 5-AAAA, have won eight straight region championships.
  • The winner of this game will play the winner of the game between Thomson and Hardaway. Cartersville wins by 18.    

Cedartown (5-5) at Number 4 Marist (9-1)

  • Series History: Marist leads 6-4
  • Last Meeting: Marist defeated Cedartown 31-18 on November 17, 2017 in the second round of the Class 4A playoffs.
  • Records Against Playoff Teams: Cedartown 1-5 (defeated Troup and lost to Rockmart, Alexander, Bremen, Cartersville, and Sandy Creek); Marist 6-1 (defeated Lovett, Canyon Springs, NV, Westminster, St. Pius X, Denmark, and Flowery Branch and lost to Blessed Trinity)
  • Last Playoff Appearances: Cedartown lost to St. Pius X 38-6 in the first round of the 2018 Class 4A playoffs; Marist lost to Cartersville 17-14 in the 2018 Class 4A semifinals.
  • The Cedartown Bulldogs were 1-3 in non-region play before winning four of their final games to clinch the Number 3 seed from Region 5-AAAA. The Bulldogs, whose record included losses to Number 1 ranked teams from Rockmart and Cedartown, cemented their playoff berth Friday night with a 29-7 win over Chapel Hill. The Marist War Eagles were unbeaten and ranked Number 1 in the state for four weeks before losing their regular season finale Friday night to Blessed Trinity and fall to second place in Region 7-AAAA. The War Eagles have reached the playoffs a record 37 straight years.
  • The winner of this game will play the winner of the game between Carver of Columbus and Richmond Academy. Marist wins by 13.

Class 3A

Morgan County (7-3) at Calhoun (9-1)

  • Series History: Calhoun leads 2-0
  • Last Meeting: Calhoun defeated Morgan County on November 11, 2005 in the second round of the Class 2A playoffs.
  • Records Against Playoff Teams: Morgan County 1-3 (defeated Monroe Area and lost to Oconee County, Jefferson, and Hart County); Calhoun 4-1 (defeated Ridgeland, Sonoraville, Adairsville, and Haralson County and lost to North Murray)
  • Last Playoff Appearances: Morgan County lost to Lovett 40-7 in the first round of the 2018 Class 3A playoffs; Calhoun lost to Peach County 22-7 in the 2018 Class 3A semifinals.
  • The Morgan County Bulldogs ended the regular season Friday night with a 49-14 loss to Hart County to finish as the Number 3 seed from Region 8-AAA. The Calhoun Yellow Jackets saw their streak of 18 straight region championships come to an end as they lost their first region game since 2001 in a 31-7 defeat by North Murray. The Yellow Jackets, who were ranked third in the state in Class 3A before that loss, are the Number 2 seed from Region 6-AAA.
  • The winner of this game will play the winner of the game between Peach County and Brantley County. Calhoun wins by 22.

Sonoraville (5-5) at Number 4 Jefferson (8-1)

  • Series History: First Meeting
  • Records Against Playoff Teams: Sonoraville 2-4 (defeated Model and Adairsville and lost to Darlington, Calhoun, Haralson County, and North Murray); Jefferson 4-1 (defeated Gainesville, Hart County, Morgan County, and Monroe Area and lost to Oconee County)
  • Last Playoff Appearances: Sonoraville lost to Liberty County 28-14 in the second round of the 2016 Class 3A playoffs; Jefferson lost to Westminster 35-7 in the first round of the 2018 Class 3A playoffs.
  • The Sonoraville Phoenix, who opened the season with a win over Model and a loss to Darlington, went 4-4 in league play to finish in a tie for fourth with Adairsville and Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe in Region 6-AAA. The region tiebreaker gave the Phoenix the Number 4 seed. The Jefferson Dragons, whose September 13 game against Southside (S.C.) was canceled due to inclement weather, won eight straight games following a season-opening loss to Oconee County to win the Region 8-AAA championship.
  • The winner of this game will play the winner of the game between Appling County and Westside of Macon. Jefferson wins by 34.

Adairsville (5-5) at Number 7 Jenkins (9-1)

  • Series History: First Meeting
  • Records Against Playoff Teams: Adairsville 0-5 (lost to Chattooga, Haralson County, North Murray, Calhoun, and Sonoraville); Jenkins 3-1 (defeated Windsor Forest, Beach, and Benedictine and lost to South Effingham)
  • Last Playoff Appearances: Adairsville lost to Cedar Grove 48-13 in the first round of the 2017 Class 3A playoffs; Jenkins lost to Calhoun 24-12 in the 2018 Class 3A quarterfinals.
  • The Adairsville Tigers, who lost to Chattooga in their season opener, finished 5-5 overall and 4-4 in region play to take fifth place after the application of the tiebreaker in Region 6-AAA. The Tigers earned a wild card playoff spot in Class 3A. The Jenkins Warriors, whose lone loss was to Class 5A playoff team South Effingham by three points in August, dominated perennial power Benedictine 34-9 Friday night to win the Region 3-AAA championship.
  • The winner of this game will play the winner of the game between Westminster and Dawson County. Jenkins wins by 32.

Class 2A

Temple (6-4) at Number 1 Rockmart (10-0)

  • Series History: Rockmart leads 4-0
  • Last Meeting: Rockmart defeated Temple 52-6 on October 2, 2009
  • Records Against Playoff Teams: Temple 1-4 (defeated Putnam County and lost to Northwest Whitfield, Callaway, Heard County, and Bremen); Rockmart 5-0 (defeated Cedartown, Heard County, Chattooga, Pepperell, and Model)
  • Last Playoff Appearances: Temple lost to BEST Academy 34-27 in the first round of the 2017 Class 2A playoffs; Rockmart lost to Heard County 27-6 in the 2018 Class 2A championship game.
  •  The Temple Tigers held off Lamar County 28-26 Friday night to qualify for the playoffs for only the third time in school history. The Tigers are the Number 4 seed from Region 5-AA. The Rockmart Yellow Jackets, who reached the Class 2A state championship game in 2018, closed out their second straight perfect season and extended their regular season unbeaten streak to 26 games with a 27-0 win over Model. The Yellow Jackets are the Region 7-AA champions.
  •  The winner of this game will play the winner of the game between Brooks County and Washington County. Rockmart wins by 31.

Heard County (4-6) at Pepperell (8-2)

  • Series History: Heard County leads 2-0
  • Last Meeting: Heard County defeated Pepperell 41-28 on November 17, 2017 in the second round of the Class 2A playoffs.
  • Records Against Playoff Teams: Heard County 1-4 (defeated Temple and lost to Hapeville Charter, Rockmart, Callaway, and Bremen); Pepperell 4-2 (defeated Pickens, Heritage of Ringgold, Model, and Chattooga and lost to Darlington and Rockmart)
  • Last Playoff Appearances: Heard County defeated Rockmart 27-6 in the 2018 Class 2A championship game; Pepperell lost to Douglass 34-0 in the first round of the 2018 Class 2A playoffs.
  • The Heard County Braves, who are the defending Class 2A state champions, went winless in non-region play before winning four of their six region games. The Braves saw a nine-point lead over Bremen vanish in the final four minutes Friday night in a 17-16 loss that dropped them to the Number 3 seed from Region 7-AA. The Pepperell Dragons went 2-1 against a difficult non-region schedule and went 6-1 over the final seven games to earn the Number 2 seed from Region 7-AA. The Dragons’ only losses came to Class A Private Number 9 Darlington and Class 2A Number 1 Rockmart.
  • The winner of this game will play the winner of the game between Thomasville and Dodge County. Pepperell wins by 2.

Model (5-5) at Bremen (7-3)

  • Series History: Bremen leads 7-6-1
  • Last Meeting: Model defeated Bremen 42-30 on September 12, 2015.
  • Records Against Playoff Teams: Model 1-4 (defeated Chattooga and lost to Sonoraville, North Murray, Pepperell, and Rockmart); Bremen 3-3 (defeated Cedartown, Temple, and Heard County and lost to Rabun County, Bowdon, and Callaway)
  • Last Playoff Appearances: Model lost to Callaway 55-20 in the first round of the 2016 Class 2A playoffs; Bremen lost to Rockmart 35-23 in the second round of the 2018 Class 2A playoffs.
  •  The Model Blue Devils showed that they were one of the most improved teams in northwest Georgia as they won six of their last eight games and finished 5-5 after only winning three games in the previous two seasons. Model is the Number 3 seed from Region 7-AA. The Bremen Blue Devils, who lost 35 seniors to graduation from a year ago, opened the season with losses to playoff teams Rabun County and Bowdon, before going 7-1 over the closing weeks of the season. The only league loss for Bremen, who scored with 44 seconds left Friday night to defeat Heard County and capture the Number 2 seed from Region 5-AA, was a 20-14 defeat by Number 3 ranked Callaway.
  • The winner of this game will play the winner of the game between Dublin and Early County. Bremen wins by 24.

Chattooga (5-5) at Number 3 Callaway (9-1)

  • Series History: First Meeting
  • Records Against Playoff Teams: Chattooga 1-5 (defeated Adairsville and lost to Wesleyan, Heritage of Ringgold, Rockmart, Model, and Pepperell); Callaway 5-1 (defeated Troup, Temple, Bremen, and Heard County and lost to Opelika, Ala.)
  • Last Playoff Appearances: Chattooga lost to Rabun County 34-0 in the first round of the 2018 Class 2A playoffs; Callaway lost to Rockmart 28-22 in the 2018 Class 2A semifinals.
  • The Chattooga Indians went 1-2 in non-region play against a playoff laden schedule and went 4-3 in Region 7-AA play. The Indians, who lost Friday night 29-12 to Pepperell, are the Number 4 seed from Region 7-AA. The Callaway Cavaliers went 9-1 in 2019 with their only loss coming by a score of 10-7 in their season opener to Alabama Class 6A power Opelika. The Cavaliers, who are loaded with major college prospects, won the Region 5-AA championship.
  • The winner of this game will play the winner of the game between Bleckley County and Fitzgerald. Callaway wins by 38.

 


Class A Public

Trion (5-5) at Commerce (8-2)

  • Series History: Commerce leads 7-0
  • Last Meeting: Commerce defeated Trion 38-20 on September 21, 2007
  • Records Against Playoff Teams: Trion 0-5 (lost to North Cobb Christian, Christian Heritage, Darlington, Bowdon, and Mount Paran Christian); Commerce 2-2 (defeated Madison County and George Walton Academy and lost to Hart County and Hebron Christian)
  • Last Playoff Appearances: Trion lost to Schley County 40-13 in the second round of the 2018 Class A Public School playoffs; Commerce lost to Irwin County 26-23 in the 2018 Class A Public School quarterfinals.
  • The Trion Bulldogs opened the season with three straight wins and a 4-1 record and were ranked as high as seventh in the state at one time among Class A public schools. The Bulldogs lost their final four games of the year, including a 27-7 crossover defeat by Mount Paran Christian, and were 23rd in the final power ratings. The Commerce Tigers lost only to Class 3A Hart County and Class A playoff team Hebron Christian on the way to a record of 8-2 in which they were ranked between fifth and seventh all season among Class A public schools. The Tigers defeated George Walton Academy 22-21 Friday night to finish the year 10th in the power ratings.
  •  The winner of this game will play at Lincoln County in the second round. Commerce wins by 25.

Here are the predictions in all of the first round state playoff games:

Class 7A

  • Number 10 Mill Creek (8-2) over Newton (7-3) by 16
  • Roswell (7-3) over Wheeler (5-5) by 27
  • Number 6 Marietta (8-2) over Camden County (8-2) by 11
  • Number 9 Milton (7-3) over Central Gwinnett (3-7) by 33
  • Number 8 Archer (7-3) over Collins Hill (6-4) by 13
  • Westlake (6-4) over Cherokee (7-3) by 6
  • Number 3 Colquitt County (8-2) over North Cobb (7-3) by 24
  • Number 7 Parkview (9-1) over West Forsyth (4-5) by 20
  • East Coweta (5-5) over Etowah (5-5) by 9
  • Number 4 Grayson (9-1) over Mountain View (5-5) by 23
  • Norcross (5-5) over South Forsyth by (6-4) 5
  • Number 1 Lowndes (10-0) over Hillgrove (7-3) by 24
  • Walton (5-5) over Newnan (6-4) by 7
  • Number 5 North Gwinnett (9-1) over Shiloh (7-3) by 32
  • Brookwood (5-5) over North Forsyth (6-4) by 5
  • Number 2 McEachern (10-0) over North Paulding (6-4) by 27

Class 6A

  • Number 7 Allatoona (7-2-1) over Gainesville (5-5) by 18
  • Number 10 Stephenson (9-1) over Bradwell Institute (3-6) by 23
  • Number 6 Coffee (7-3) over Heritage-Conyers (5-5) by 24
  • Number 9 Mays (9-1) over Northview (6-4) by 23
  • Number 8 Lanier (9-1) over Sprayberry (6-4) by 5
  • Richmond Hill (6-3) over M.L. King (7-3) by 19
  • Number 4 Valdosta (8-2) over Lakeside-Evans (7-2) by 40
  • Alexander (6-4) over Number 5 Johns Creek (9-1) by 1
  • Glynn Academy (5-4) over Tucker (6-4) by 1
  • Number 1 Dacula (10-0) over Dalton (7-3) by 10
  • Creekside (6-4) over Alpharetta (7-3) by 10
  • Number 3 Lee County (9-1) over Greenbrier (2-8) by 57
  • Brunswick (5-5) over Morrow (6-4) by 2
  • Number 2 Harrison (10-0) over Winder-Barrow (3-7) by 32
  • South Paulding (8-2) over North Atlanta (7-3) by 13
  • Houston County (5-5) over Evans (7-2) by 10

Class 5A

  • Cedar Shoals (7-3) over Carver-Atlanta (7-3) by 6
  • Number 7 Jones County (9-1) over South Effingham (6-4) by 16
  • Bainbridge (7-3) over Number 9 Griffin (9-1) by 3
  • Number 10 Southwest DeKalb (9-1) over Hiram (5-5) by 8
  • Number 5 Buford (9-1) over Decatur (7-3) by 23
  • Number 4 Ware County (7-3) over Ola (7-3) by 16
  • Veterans (8-2) over Riverdale (7-3) by 6
  • Number 1 Carrollton (10-0) over Arabia Mountain (2-8) by 43
  • Stockbridge (8-2) over Wayne County (7-2) by 6
  • Clarke Central (7-3) over Maynard Jackson (5-5), Banneker (4-6) or Columbia (4-6)
  • Number 3 Rome (8-2) over Lithonia (4-6) by 41
  • Number 2 Warner Robins (9-1) over Jonesboro (5-5) by 32
  • Number 8 Dutchtown (9-1) over Statesboro (5-4) by 17
  • Riverwood (10-0) over Loganville (3-7) by 10
  • Number 6 Kell (8-2) over Columbia (4-6) by 19
  • Starr’s Mill (7-3) over Harris County (5-5) by 11

Class 4A

  • St. Pius X (5-5) over Heritage-Catoosa (8-2) by 18
  • Number 2 Woodward Academy (10-0) over Upson-Lee (4-6) by 18
  • Thomson (5-5) over Hardaway (7-3) by 8
  • Number 1 Cartersville (10-0) over Flowery Branch (7-3) by 18
  • Number 10 North Oconee (9-1) over Pickens (6-4) by 21
  • Number 7 West Laurens (9-1) over Luella (4-6) by 40
  • Cairo (8-2) over Baldwin (4-6) by 13
  • Number 3 Blessed Trinity (9-1) over Troup (6-4) by 10
  • Perry (6-4) over Hampton (5-5) by 16
  • Number 6 Oconee County (9-1) over Northwest Whitfield (7-3) by 33
  • Number 4 Marist (9-1) over Cedartown (5-5) by 13
  • Number 9 Carver-Columbus (9-1) over Richmond Academy (4-5) by 34
  • Mary Persons (5-5) over Eastside (7-3) by 3
  • Ridgeland (6-4) over Madison County (4-6) by 4
  • Number 5 Sandy Creek (9-1) over Number 8 Denmark (7-2) by 12
  • Burke County (8-2) over Americus-Sumter (5-5) by 12

Class 3A

  • Calhoun (9-1) over Morgan County (7-3) by 22
  • Number 1 Peach County (9-1) over Brantley County (5-5) by 49
  • Benedictine (7-3) over Monroe (4-6) by 26
  • Number 2 Cedar Grove (8-2) over Fannin County (6-4) by 56
  • Hart County (8-2) over Haralson County (8-2) by 15
  • Number 3 Pierce County (10-0) over Central-Macon (3-7) by 26
  • Cook (3-7) over Beach (6-3) by 5
  • Number 5 Greater Atlanta Christian (9-1) over Pace Academy (5-4) by 9
  • Number 8 Appling County (8-2) over Westside-Macon (6-4) by 11
  • Number 4 Jefferson (8-1) over Sonoraville (5-5) by 34
  • Lovett (7-3) over North Hall (7-3) by 1
  • Number 6 Crisp County (7-3) over Windsor Forest (5-5) by 24
  • Liberty County (6-2) over Jackson (7-3) by 9
  • Number 9 North Murray (9-1) over Monroe Area (7-3) by 5
  • Number 10 Westminster (6-4) over Dawson County (7-3) by 9
  • Number 7 Jenkins (9-1) over Adairsville (5-5) by 32

Class 2A

  • Douglass (9-1) over Elbert County (6-4) by 1
  • Jefferson County (8-2) over Vidalia (7-3) by 8
  • Fitzgerald (7-3) over Number 8 Bleckley County (7-3) by 14
  • Number 3 Callaway (9-1) over Chattooga (5-5) by 38
  • Number 10 Union County (9-1) over South Atlanta (7-3) by 6
  • Number 9 Metter (9-1) over Screven County (7-3) by 14
  • Washington County (7-3) over Number 7 Brooks County (6-4) by 1
  • Number 1 Rockmart (10-0) over Temple (6-4) by 31
  • Toombs County (7-2) over Hephzibah (7-2) by 14
  • Number 2 Rabun County (10-0) over BEST Academy (4-6) by 31
  • Pepperell (8-2) over Heard County (4-6) by 2
  • Number 6 Thomasville (6-4) over Dodge County (4-6) by 15
  • Swainsboro (7-3) over Harlem (7-3) by 8
  • Number 4 Hapeville Charter (9-1) over Putnam County (5-5) by 56
  • Bremen (7-3) over Model (5-5) by 24
  • Number 5 Dublin (9-1) over Early County (5-5) by 24

Class A Private

  • Wesleyan (8-2) over First Presbyterian Day (5-5) by 18
  • Savannah Christian (6-3) over Calvary Day (7-3) by 6
  • Hebron Christian (6-4) over Mt. Vernon Presbyterian (5-5) by 1
  • North Cobb Christian (7-3) over George Walton Academy (6-4) by 2
  • Aquinas (8-2) over Mount Paran Christian (5-4) by 12
  • Trinity Christian (7-3) over St. Francis (6-4) by 8
  • Prince Avenue Christian (8-2) over Stratford Academy (4-6) by 27
  • Whitefield Academy (7-3) over Brookstone (6-4) by 6
  • Teams receiving first round byes—Christian Heritage (9-1), Savannah Country Day (10-0), Mount de Sales (10-0), Fellowship Christian (10-0), Darlington (9-1), Holy Innocents (10-0), Eagles Landing Christian Academy (9-1), and Athens Academy (10-0)

Class A Public

  • Manchester (8-2) over Taylor County (5-5) by 20
  • Washington-Wilkes (6-4) over Chattahoochee County (6-4) by 5
  • Terrell County (7-3) over Warren County (6-4) by 10
  • McIntosh County Academy (4-6) over Emanuel County Institute (5-5) by 1
  • Commerce (8-2) over Trion (5-5) by 25
  • Schley County (6-4) over Claxton (6-4) by 19
  • Wilcox County (8-2) over Seminole County (5-5) by 35
  • Macon County (6-4) over Turner County (6-4) by 4
  • Teams receiving first round byes—Johnson County (8-2), Irwin County (9-0), Bowdon (8-2), Clinch County (9-1), Lincoln County (8-2), Marion County (8-2), Pelham (9-1), and Mitchell County (9-1)

 

 

 

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