John McClellan’s high school football playoff predictions: Darlington, Cedartown to stumble; Calhoun should move to next round.

John McClellan’s high school football playoff predictions: Darlington, Cedartown to stumble; Calhoun should move to next round.

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Three teams moved on and three teams saw their seasons end in Friday night’s playoff action in Northwest Georgia. The Number 1 ranked Class 5A Cartersville Purple Hurricanes were unable to score on five plays inside the five-yard line in the final two minutes in a 24-17 loss to Warner Robins. The Trion Bulldogs went into overtime in a Class A Public showdown at Wilcox County before losing on a two-point conversion 23-22. The Unity Christian Lions saw their dream of repeating as state champions end in a 40-20 semifinal loss at Johnson Ferry Christian. Darlington, Calhoun, and Cedartown still are alive headed into a Thanksgiving weekend of quarterfinal play.


Class A Private

Number 8 Darlington (11-1) at Number 1 Trinity Christian (11-0)

  • Series History: First Meeting
  • The Darlington Tigers, who are seeking their first state championship since winning the Class A title in 1998, finished first in Region 7-A Private. After an opening season loss to Whitefield Academy 14-13, Darlington defeated St. Francis 35-14, Heard County 20-7, Heritage of Catoosa 28-7, King’s Ridge Christian 21-14, and Bremen 40-33 in non-region play. The Tigers were unbeaten in region play with wins over Mount Paran Christian 49-21, Christian Heritage 28-24, North Cobb Christian 35-23, and Walker 43-13. Darlington defeated Hebron Christian 42-17 and Tattnall Square 24-14 in the playoffs.
  • The Trinity Christian Lions, who have never won a state championship, finished first in Region 4-A Private. Trinity Christian was 7-0 in non-region play with wins over Athens Academy 59-7, Mount Vernon Presbyterian 54-3, Fellowship Christian 56-20, Claxton 56-14, Landmark Christian 51-0, Eagle’s Landing Christian 34-3, and Whitefield Academy 63-14. The Lions went undefeated in region play with wins over Brookstone 55-14, Heritage of Newnan 44-0, and St. Anne-Pacelli 63-7. Trinity Christian received a first round bye before defeating Athens Christian 48-14 in the second round of the playoffs.
  • The winner will play the winner of the game between Eagles Landing Christian and Holy Innocents. Trinity Christian wins by 28.  

Class 5A

Number 6 Calhoun (10-2) at Clarke Central (10-2)

  • Series History: Calhoun leads 1-0
  • Last Meeting: Calhoun defeated Clarke Central 33-14 on December 4, 2020, in the second round of the Class 5A playoffs.
  • The Calhoun Yellow Jackets, whose last state championship came in Class AAA in 2017, finished second in Class 7-5A. Calhoun went 4-1 in non-region play with a win over Dalton 42-35, a loss to Tennessee state finalist McCallie 38-20, and wins over Ridgeland 56-7, Woodstock 56-16, and Cedartown 31-7. The Yellow Jackets defeated Hiram 63-17, Blessed Trinity 32-27, Woodland 52-6, and Cass 35-14 in region play before losing to Cartersville 21-14. Calhoun had playoff wins over Decatur 35-21 and Ware County 49-42.
  • The Clarke Central Gladiators, who last won a state championship in 1985 in Class AAAA, finished first in Class 8-5A. Clarke Central opened the season with non-region losses to Buford 16-3 and Oconee County 21-2 with its only non-region win over Cedar Shoals 42-21 in the ninth game of the season. The Gladiators were undefeated in the region with wins over Apalachee 31-17, Jackson County 34-30, Eastside 13-6, Walnut Grove 40-7, Greenbrier 76-34, Loganville 27-24, and Johnson of Gainesville 55-3. Clarke Central defeated Maynard Jackson 46-6 and Starr’s Mill in the playoffs.
  • The winner will play the winner of the game between Villa Rica and Blessed Trinity. Calhoun wins by 14. 

Class 4A

Number 4 Cedartown (10-1) at Number 7 Perry (11-1)

  • Series History: First Meeting
  • The Cedartown Bulldogs, whose lone state championship came in Class AA in 1963, finished first in Region 7-4A. Cedartown opened the season with non-region wins over Denmark 7-3, New Manchester 35-7, and Heard County 42-0 before losing to Calhoun 31-7. The Bulldogs were unbeaten in region play with wins over Pickens 31-0, Northwest Whitfield 57-23, Ridgeland 50-6, Central of Carrollton 34-7, and Heritage of Catoosa 49-0. Cedartown defeated Hampton 55-14 and Cairo 48-14 in the playoffs.
  • The Perry Panthers, who have never won a state championship, finished first in region 4-4A. Perry was 4-0 in non-region play with wins over Houston County 36-13, Crisp County 21-0, Veterans 34-14, and Washington County 27-24. The Panthers opened region play by defeating Rutland 49-7 before losing to Spalding 25-23 and winning over West Laurens 32-0, Westside of Macon 45-0, Howard 35-0, and Baldwin 40-8. Perry defeated Hardaway 31-12 and Flowery Branch 42-7 in the playoffs.
  • The winner will play the winner of the game between Carver of Columbus and Dougherty. Perry wins by 2. 

Here are the predictions on all 32 quarterfinal state playoff games: 

Class 7A

  • Number 4 Mill Creek (11-1) over Number 3 Milton (11-1)
  • Number 7 Brookwood (10-2) over Number 9 Walton (8-3) by 3
  • Grayson (9-3) over Number 10 Roswell (10-2) by 4
  • Number 1 Collins Hill (10-0) over Norcross (9-3) by 28

 

Class 6A

  • Johns Creek (9-3) over Dacula (8-4) by 1
  • Number 3 Langston Hughes (11-1) over Northside of Warner Robins (9-3) by 9
  • Number 5 Westlake (10-2) over Number 7 Carrollton (11-1) by 10
  • Number 1 Buford (11-1) over Number 2 Lee County (11-1) by 7

Class 5A

  • Number 5 Creekside (10-2) over Number 10 Whitewater (11-1) by 17
  • Number 4 Warner Robins (11-1) over Jones County (10-2) by 26
  • Number 9Blessed Trinity (7-4) over Villa Rica (9-2) by 22
  • Number 6 Calhoun (10-2) over Clarke Central (10-2) by 14

Class 4A

  • Number 3 Carver of Columbus (11-1) over Dougherty (7-4) by 15
  • Number 7 Perry (11-1) over Number 4 Cedartown (10-1) by 2
  • Number 2 Benedictine (10-2) over Number 1 Marist (10-1) by 1
  • Number 10 Bainbridge (8-3) over Number 5 North Oconee (9-3) by 1

Class 3A

  • Number 5 Cedar Grove (9-3) over Crisp County (9-3) by 13
  • Number 6 Appling County (11-1) over Number 4 Thomson (11-0) by 5
  • Number 8 Carver of Atlanta (10-2) over Burke County (10-2) by 9
  • Number 3 Pierce County (10-2) over Peach County (8-3) by 6

Class 2A

  • Number 10 Swainsboro (10-2) over Number 8 Northeast of Macon (11-1) by 10
  • Number 4 Fitzgerald (10-2) over Number 5 Putnam County (11-0) by 13
  • Number 7 Callaway (9-2) over South Atlanta (10-2) by 10
  • Number 1 Rabun County (11-1) over Number 2 Thomasville (11-1) by 11

Class A Private

  • Number 5 Eagles Landing Christian (6-6) over Number 6 Holy Innocents (11-1) by 11
  • Number 1 Trinity Christian (12-0) over Number 8 Darlington (11-1) by 28
  • Number 2 Calvary Day (12-0) over Number 4 Fellowship Christian (11-1) by 17
  • Number 3 Prince Avenue Christian (11-1) over Number 10 First Presbyterian (10-2) by 21

Class A Public

  • Number 1 Irwin County (10-2) over Number 3 Macon County (11-0) by 13
  • Number 8 Wilcox County (9-3) over Manchester (7-4) by 1
  • Number 4 Metter (12-0) over Turner County (6-6) by 17
  • Number 2 Brooks County (9-2) over Warren County (9-3) by 28

 

 

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