John McClellan’s high school football playoff: Four Northwest Georgia teams expected to continue championship run this weekend.

John McClellan’s high school football playoff: Four Northwest Georgia teams expected to continue championship run this weekend.

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Seven local teams moved on to Week 2 Friday and Saturday during the first round of the 2020 Georgia High School association playoffs. Rome in Class 6A, Cartersville and Calhoun in Class 5A, Cedartown in Class 4A, Rockmart in Class 3A, Model in Class 2A, and Darlington in Class A Private all will play at least one more week as Georgia’s eight classes move on to the top 16. The weekend was not so fortunate for Adairsville in Class 3A and Pepperell and Chattooga in Class 2A as their 2020 seasons came to an end.

Only Cedartown and Rockmart get to play at home this weekend. For the other teams, they have road trips ranging from as nearby as Woodstock to as far away as Athens and the northeast Georgia mountains. The luck of the playoff draw really begins to affect the outcomes of games beginning in the second round. Rockmart and Darlington are paired against Number 1 ranked teams as they take on Cedar Grove and Prince Avenue Christian with Pepperell paired against Number 2 ranked Rabun County. 


Class 6A

 Rome (8-3) at Number 5 River Ridge (10-0)

Series History: Rome leads 2-0

Last Meeting: Rome defeated River Ridge 55-6 on October 2, 2015.

Best Playoff Accomplishments: Rome won Class AAAAA state championships in 2016 and 2017. River Ridge lost in the first round of the 2012 Class AAAA playoffs.

The Rome Wolves opened the 2020 season with a 28-21 win over Class 3A playoff team Rockmart before losing back to back games to Class 7A playoff teams Cherokee 21-15 and Collins Hill 28-14. The Wolves opened Region 5-6A play by defeating South Paulding 22-20 before losing to Carrollton 34-12. Rome then won five straight region games over Dalton 24-8, East Paulding 14-3, Alexander 31-14, Douglas County 16-15, and Paulding County 56-27 to earn the Number 2 seed from the region. The Wolves defeated Habersham Central 35-14 in the first round of the playoffs.

The River Ridge Knights opened the season with non-region wins over Lassiter 49-21, Woodstock 22-17, and Etowah 38-7. The Knights then defeated Region 7-6A opponents Chattahoochee 52-35, Riverwood 21-14, Creekview 20-17, Centennial 31-7, and Sequoyah 35-9. River Ridge’s game against Johns Creek was canceled due to COVID-19 before the Knights closed out the season beating Cambridge 29-21 to win the region championship. The Knights defeated Kennesaw Mountain 35-34 in overtime in the first round of the playoffs.

The winner of this game will play the winner of the game between Lee County and Brunswick. Rome wins by 12.


Class 5A 

Number 4 Cartersville (9-1) at Number 8 St. Pius X (9-1)

Series History: Tied 1-1

Last Meeting: St. Pius X defeated Cartersville 31-19 on November 22, 2013 in the second round of the Class AAA playoffs.

Best Playoff Accomplishments: Cartersville won state championships in Class AA in 1991 and 1999 and Class AAAA in 2015 and 2016. St. Pius X won the 1968 Class AA state championship.

The Cartersville Purple Hurricanes went 4-1 in non-region play with wins over Morrow 42-0, Class 7A playoff team West Forsyth 28-17, Class 6A playoff team Alexander 35-3, and Class 5A playoff team Creekside 21-18 before losing to Class 7A playoff team Cherokee 14-12. Cartersville opened Region 7-5A play with wins over Cass 59-0 and Hiram 51-26 before its game with Blessed Trinity was canceled due to COVID-19. The Purple Hurricanes closed out the regular season with wins over Woodland 47-0 and Calhoun 31-14 to earn the Number 2 seed from the region. Cartersville defeated Maynard Jackson 56-6 in the first round of the playoffs.

The St. Pius X Golden Lions went 2-1 in non-region play with wins over Flowery Branch 38-28 and Cedar Shoals 25-3 before losing to Class 5A playoff team Westminster 27-24. St. Pius X went undefeated in Region 5-AAAAA by defeating Northview 42-7, Southwest DeKalb 34-18, Lithonia 42-12, M.L. King 35-6, Stone Mountain 39-14, and Decatur 28-9. The Golden lions defeated Loganville 31-6 in the first round of the playoffs.

The winner of this game will play the winner of the game between Creekside and Ware County. Cartersville wins by 14.

 


Number 7 Calhoun (8-3) at Number 9 Clarke Central (8-2)

Series History: First Meeting

Best Playoff Accomplishments: Calhoun won state championships in Class C in 1952, Class AA in 2011, and Class AAA in 2014 and 2017. Clarke Central won state championships in Class AAA in 1977 and 1979 and Class AAAA in 1985.

The Calhoun Yellow Jackets went 4-1 in non-region play with a win over Dalton 41-14, a 38-22 loss to Tennessee state finalist McCallie, and wins over Class 4A playoff team Cedartown 14-7, Ridgeland 60-0, and Woodstock 35-14. Calhoun was the Number 3 seed from Region 7-5A with a 47-27 win over Hiram, a 35-21 loss to Blessed Trinity, a 38-0 win over Woodland, a 44-14 win over Cass, and a 21-14 loss to Cartersville. The Yellow Jackets defeated Lithia Springs 46-21 in the first round of the playoffs.

The Clarke Central Gladiators were 1-2 in non-region play with a 10-3 win over Class 4A playoff team Cedar Shoals and losses of 24-7 to Class 4A playoff team Oconee County and 47-0 to Class 6A playoff team. Clarke Central won the Region 8-5A championship by defeating Apalachee 28-0, Jackson County 38-10, Eastside 35-34, Walnut Grove 30-7, Greenbrier 56-21, and Loganville 35-19 before its final game against Johnson of Gainesville was canceled due to COVID-19. The Gladiators defeated M.L. King 41-20 in the first round of the playoffs.

The winner of this game will play the winner of the game between Starr’s Mill and Coffee. Calhoun wins by 6. 


Class 4A

 North Oconee (5-5) at Number 7 Cedartown (7-2)

Series History: First Meeting

Best Playoff Accomplishments: North Oconee reached the Class AAAA quarterfinals in 2014. Cedartown won the 1963 Class AA state championship.

The North Oconee Titans went 0-4 in non-region play with losses to Class 3A playoff team Oconee County 27-7, Class 5A playoff team Ola 37-30, Class 6A playoff team Cambridge 34-10, and Class 4A playoff team Benedictine 49-35. North Oconee finished third in Region 8-4A with wins over Madison County 41-26 and Chestatee 44-0 followed by an overtime loss to Flowery Branch 42-35 and wins over East Hall 48-7 and Cedar Shoals 31-7. The Titans’ final regular season game with Jefferson was canceled due to COVID-19. North Oconee defeated Fayette County 41-35 in the first round of the playoffs.

The Cedartown Bulldogs went 2-2 in non-region play with losses to Class 3A playoff team Rockmart 21-10 and Class 5A playoff team Calhoun 14-7 and wins over Class 5A playoff team New Manchester 24-0 and Class 2A playoff team Heard County 48-14. Cedartown won the Region 7-4A championship by defeating Pickens 52-21, Northwest Whitfield 44-8, Ridgeland 56-12, and Central of Carroll 34-7 before its final regular season game against Heritage of Catoosa was canceled due to COVID-19. The Bulldogs advanced to the second round of the playoffs after Arabia Mountain forfeited due to COVID-19.

The winner of this game will play the winner of the game between Bainbridge and Islands. Cedartown wins by 11. 


Class 3A 

Number 1 Cedar Grove (2-4) at Number 7 Rockmart (9-1)

Series History: First Meeting

Best Playoff Accomplishments: Cedar Grove won Class AAA state championships in 2016, 2018, and 2019. Rockmart won the 1949 Class A state championship.

The record of the Cedar Grove Saints is misleading. Cedar Grove, who was not permitted by DeKalb County to start its season until October, had wins on the field over Class 7A layoff team Milton 14-7 and Region 5-3A teams Carver of Atlanta 35-12, Redan 70-0, and Greater Atlanta Christian 33-6 that it had to forfeit due to using an ineligible player. The Saints then defeated Westminster 24-10 and had games against Douglass and Sandy Creek canceled due to COVID-19 before earning the Number 3 seed from the region. Cedar Grove defeated Monroe Area 28-12 in the first round of the playoffs.

The Rockmart Yellow Jackets were 1-1 in non-region play with a 28-21 loss to Class 6A playoff team and a 21-10 win over Class 4A playoff team Cedartown. Rockmart won the region 6-3A championship by defeating Coahulla Creek 42-6, Sonoraville 68-7, North Murray 49-42, Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe 45-14, Murray County 49-0, and Adairsville 45-7 followed by a COVID-19 cancellation against LaFayette and a 35-12 win over Ringgold. The Yellow Jackets defeated White County 48-35 in the first round of the playoffs.

The winner of this game will play the winner of the game between Richmond Academy and Crisp County. Cedar Grove wins by 18. 


Class 2A

 Model (7-4) at Number 2 Rabun County (10-1)

Series History: First Meeting

Best Playoff Accomplishments: Model won state championships in Class B in 1953 and 1954 and Class AA in 1979. Rabun County reached the 2017 Class AA state championship game.

The Model Blue Devils went 2-2 in non-region play with a 20-14 loss to Sonoraville, wins of 21-20 over Class 3A playoff team LaFayette and Trion 31-0, and a 49-7 loss to Class 2A playoff team Haralson County. Model finished third in Region 7-2A with wins over Coosa 34-6 and Dade County 27-0, losses to Fannin County 42-7 and Pepperell 14-7, and wins over Chattooga 49-7 and Gordon Central 28-7. The Blue Devils defeated Washington 28-14 in the first round of the playoffs.

The Rabun County Wildcats were 6-1 in non-region play with wins over Ridgeland 35-0 and Class A playoff team Prince Avenue Christian 38-31, a loss to Class 4A playoff team Jefferson 28-14, and wins over Class 2A playoff team Bremen 48-34, East Jackson 70-36, Pope 63-17, and Columbia Academy (Tenn.) 42-6. Rabun County won the Region 8-2A championship by defeating Banks County 71-0, Elbert County 63-7, and Union County 63-14. The Wildcats defeated Haralson County 35-7 in the first round of the playoffs.

The winner of this game will play the winner of the game between Early County and Bleckley County. Rabun County wins by 34.

 


Class A Private 

Darlington (7-4) at Number 1 Prince Avenue Christian (9-1)

Series History: Prince Avenue Christian leads 2-1

Last Meeting: Prince Avenue Christian defeated Darlington 31-18 on November 24, 2017 in the 2017 Class A Private School quarterfinals.

Best Playoff Accomplishments: Darlington won the 1998 Class A state championship. Prince Avenue Christian reached the 2012 Class A Private School finals.

The Darlington Tigers were 4-2 in non-region play with wins over Class A playoff team Lakeview Academy 32-7 and St. Francis 41-9, a loss to Class 2A playoff team 35-30, wins over Class 4A playoff team 20-7 and Class A playoff team Kings Ridge Christian 27-0, and a loss to Class 2A playoff team Bremen 21-20. Darlington went 2-2 in Region 7-A Private region play by defeating Mt. Paran Christian 30-28, losing to Christian Heritage 31-24 and North Cobb Christian 28-10, and defeating Walker 46-7. The Tigers defeated Mt. Pisgah Christian 28-21 in the first round of the playoffs.

The Prince Avenue Christian Wolverines were 5-1 in non-region play with a win over Class A playoff team Calvary Day 42-7, a loss to Class 2A playoff team Rabun County 38-31, and wins over Providence Christian 73-0 and Class A playoff teams Holy Innocents 35-25, Wesleyan 52-26, and Hebron Christian 63-14. Prince Avenue Christian won the Region 8-A Private School championship by defeating Athens Academy 41-7, George Walton Academy 41-7, and Athens Christian 55-9 with a game against Loganville Christian canceled due to COVID-19. The Wolverines defeated Hebron Christian 63-28 in the first round of the playoffs.

The winner of this game will play the winner of the game between Eagles Landing Christian Academy and Stratford Academy. Prince Avenue Christian wins by 32.


Here are the predictions for all the second-round state playoff games:

Class 7A

  • Number 4 Lowndes (8-1) over Number 8 North Cobb (10-1) by 11
  • Number 7 Milton (10-0) over Number 10 Archer (7-4) by 9
  • Number 6 Collins Hill (9-2) over Denmark (6-4) by 19
  • Parkview (6-3) over Number 5 East Coweta (9-10 by 5
  • Number 3 Norcross (11-0) over Roswell (8-2) by 7
  • Number 2 Colquitt County (8-0) over Walton (6-5) by 32
  • Number 1 Grayson (10-0) over Harrison (4-5) by 27
  • North Gwinnett (8-3) over West Forsyth (8-3) by 25

Class 6A

  • Number 6 Valdosta (5-4) over Evans (9-2) by 23
  • Number 10 Carrollton (7-2) over Sprayberry (6-4) by 11
  • Number 2 Buford (9-1) over Cambridge (6-5) by 39
  • Number 7 Hughes (10-1) over Glynn Academy (8-3) by 2
  • Rome (8-3) over Number 5 River Ridge (10-0) by 12
  • Number 1 Lee County (9-1) over Brunswick (8-3) by 23
  • Number 3 Westlake (9-2) over Number 9 Richmond Hill (9-2) by 11
  • Number 8 Dacula (7-3) over Number 4 Allatoona (10-0) by 4

Class 5A

  • Number 3 Ware County (10-1) over Creekside (7-2) by 18
  • Number 4 Cartersville (9-1) over Number 8 St. Pius X (9-1) by 14
  • Number 7 Calhoun (8-3) over Number 9 Clarke Central (8-2) by 6
  • Number 5 Coffee (8-2) over Number 6 Starr’s Mill (9-1) by 5
  • Number 1 Blessed Trinity (7-0) over Decatur (7-1) by 29
  • Number 2 Warner Robins (9-1) over Woodward Academy (7-4) by 33
  • Number 10 Jones County (8-3) over Griffin (7-4) by 15
  • Eastside (9-2) over New Manchester (6-3) by 11

Class 4A

  • Number 4 Benedictine (7-2) over Cairo (5-4) by 3
  • Riverdale (7-2) over Northwest Whitfield (8-2) by 21
  • Number 2 Jefferson (9-0) over Number 9 Hapeville Charter (5-3) by 25
  • Number 3 Carver of Columbus (8-0) over Baldwin (5-1) by 4
  • Number 7 Cedartown (7-2) over North Oconee (5-5) by 11
  • Number 6 Bainbridge (8-3) over Islands (7-1) by 20
  • Number 8 Perry (7-4) over LaGrange (8-3) by 16
  • Number 1 Marist (9-0) over Number 5 Flowery Branch (9-2) by 27

Class 3A

  • Number 8 Appling County (8-1) over Upson-Lee (6-5) by 18
  • Number 5 Greater Atlanta Christian (10-0) over North Hall (7-4) by 27
  • Number 2 Oconee County (9-0) over Dawson County (6-5) by 27
  • Number 3 Peach County (8-1) over Number 10 Thomson (9-2) by 24
  • Carver of Atlanta (5-4) over Cherokee Bluff (10-1) by 15
  • Number 6 Pierce County (9-1) over Central of Macon (6-3) by 29
  • Number 4 Crisp County (9-1) over Number 9 Richmond Academy (10-1) by 27
  • Number 1 Cedar Grove (2-4) over Number 7 Rockmart (9-1) by 18

Class 2A

  • Number 3 Thomasville (7-4) over Number 9 Dodge County (5-3) by 2
  • Number 8 Callaway (8-1) over Number 4 Lovett (8-2) by 1
  • Number 2 Rabun County (10-1) over Model (6-4) by 34
  • Bleckley County (7-3) over Number 6 Early County (7-2) by 1
  • Number 7 Fannin County (9-0) over Heard County (7-4) by 8
  • Number 1 Fitzgerald (10-0) over Northeast of Macon (8-2) by 19
  • Number 5 Jefferson County (8-2) over Jeff Davis (9-1) by 1
  • Bremen (7-4) over South Atlanta (8-3) by 10

Class A Public

  • Number 1 Metter (11-0) over Mitchell County (5-3) by 14
  • Number 6 Macon County (9-1) over Warren County (8-2) by 14
  • Number 4 Commerce (10-1) over Gordon Lee (10-1) by 5
  • Number 5 Irwin County (8-3) over Wilcox County (9-2) by 6
  • Lincoln County (6-4) over Hancock Central (7-0) by 10
  • Number 7 Pelham (6-1) over Number 9 Clinch County (7-3) by 3
  • Number 3 Brooks County (10-1) over Number 2 Dublin (10-1) by 5
  • Number 8 Washington-Wilkes (8-1) over Bowdon (7-4) by 6

Class A Private

  • Number 8 Savannah Christian (9-1) over St. Anne-Pacelli (7-3) by 22
  • Number 9 North Cobb Christian (8-2) over Number 5 Wesleyan (9-2) by 1
  • Number 1 Prince Avenue Christian (9-1) over Darlington (7-4) by 32
  • Number 2 Eagles Landing Christian Academy (8-3) over Stratford Academy (8-2) by 22
  • Number 6 Christian Heritage (8-1) over Number 10 George Walton Academy (8-2) by 9
  • First Presbyterian (7-4) over Calvary Day School (7-4) by 4
  • Number 7 Trinity Christian (9-2) over Whitefield Academy (6-4) by 5
  • Number 3 Fellowship Christian (9-0) over Mt. Vernon Presbyterian (6-4) by 25

The rankings used in these predictions are the final regular season rankings compiled by Georgia High School Football Daily for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The historical information is compiled by the Georgia High School Football Historians Association and may be found at www.ghsfha.org.

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