John McClellan’s high school football predictions: Close wins for Cedartown, Calhoun this Friday — which means the state championships are next.

John McClellan’s high school football predictions: Close wins for Cedartown, Calhoun this Friday — which means the state championships are next.

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The Darlington Tigers saw their 11-game winning streak and mission for a state championship come to an end in a 56-7 loss on the road to Number 1-ranked Trinity Christian. Meanwhile, Calhoun and Cedartown both moved onto the 2021 state semifinals. Calhoun will host region foe Blessed Trinity in the Class 5A semifinals with the winner playing either Warner Robins or Creekside for the state championship. Cedartown will travel down U.S. 27 to face Carver in the Class 4A semifinals with the winner to play either North Oconee or Benedictine for the state title.

Only three teams ranked Number 1 in the final regular season Georgia High School Football Daily list—Buford in Class 6A, Irwin County in Class A Public, and Trinity Christian in Class A Private—remain alive in the playoffs. The state championships are scheduled Dec. 9, 10, and 11 at Center Parc Stadium (the old Turner Field) in Atlanta. The Class 4A game will be played on Dec. 10 at 3:30 p.m. and Class 5A on Dec. 11 at 3:30 p.m.

Class 5A

Number 9 Blessed Trinity (9-4) at Number 6 Calhoun (11-2)

  • Series History: Blessed Trinity leads 2-1
  • Last Meeting: Calhoun defeated Blessed Trinity 32-27 on October 8, 2021.
  • The Blessed Trinity Titans, who finished third in Region 7, were 3-2 in non-region play with wins over Woodland 34-6 followed by losses to Marist 28-13 and St. Pius X 17-14 and wins over Charlotte Catholic (NC) 28-10 and Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy 24-21. The Titans also were 3-2 in region play with a win over Woodland 40-3, losses to Calhoun 32-27 and Cartersville 49-21, and wins over Hiram 56-24 and Cass 34-13. Blessed Trinity defeated Southwest DeKalb 41-20, Woodward Academy 28-13, and Villa Rica 49-7 in the playoffs.
  • The Calhoun Yellow Jackets, who finished second in Region 7, were 4-1 in non -region play with a win over Dalton 42-35, a loss to McCallie (TN) 38-20, and wins over Ridgeland 56-7, Woodstock 56-16, and Cedartown 31-7. The Yellow Jackets also were 4-1 in region play with wins over Hiram 63-17, Blessed Trinity 32-27, Woodland 52-6, and Cass 35-14 and a loss to Cartersville 21-14. Calhoun defeated Decatur 35-21, Ware County 49-42, and Clarke Central 31-7 in the playoffs.
  • This is one of three semifinal games that is a rematch from the regular season. Calhoun wins by 2.

On Dec. 11, the winner plays one of the following:

  • Number 4 Warner Robins (12-1) at Number 5 Creekside (11-2)
  • Series History: Warner Robins leads 1-0
  • Last Meeting: Warner Robins defeated Creekside 34-21 on November 12, 2004, in the second round of the Class AAAA playoffs.
  • The Warner Robins, who finished second in Region 1-5A, have playoff wins over Jonesboro 64-20, Cartersville 24-17, and Jones County 49-21. The Creekside Seminoles, who finished second in Region 3-5A, have playoff wins over Coffee 28-18, St. Pius X 41-34, and Whitewater 20-13. Warner Robins wins by 23.

Class 4A

Number 4 Cedartown (11-1) at Number 3 Carver of Columbus (11-1)

  • Series History: First Meeting
  • The Cedartown Bulldogs, who finished first in Region 7, were 3-1 in non-region play with wins over Denmark 7-3, New Manchester 35-7, and Heard County 42-0 and a loss 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, Cairo 48-14, and Perry 39-25 in the playoffs.
  • The Carver Tigers, who finished first in Region 2, lost to Lee County 25-22 and defeated Spring Valley (SC) 28-15 in non-region play. The Tigers were unbeaten in region play with wins over Kendrick 38-0, Shaw 43-7, LaGrange 42-27, Jordan by forfeit, Troup 36-0, Columbus 60-6, and Hardaway 38-7. Carver defeated West Laurens 22-7, Hapeville 52-12, and Dougherty 16-14 in the playoffs.
  • This is Cedartown’s first semifinal appearance since 2001. Cedartown wins by 6.

On Dec. 10, the winner plays one of the following:

Number 5 North Oconee (10-3) at Number 2 Benedictine (11-2)

  • Series History: Benedictine leads 2-0
  • Laat Meeting: Benedictine defeated North Oconee 48-17 on September 10, 2021.
  • The North Oconee Titans, who finished first in Region 8, have playoff wins over Miller Grove 56-21, Spalding 37-0, and Bainbridge 29-24. The Benedictine Cadets, who finished first in Region 3, have playoff wins over Thomas County Central 59-0, Luella 63-7, and Marist 24-21. Benedictine wins by 15.

THE STATE’S OTHER SEMI-FINALS

Class 7A

Number 9 Walton (8-3) at Number 3 Milton (11-1)

Series History: Walton leads 14-5

Last Meeting: Walton defeated Milton 42-9 on October 23, 2015.

The Walton Raiders, who finished third in Region 3, have playoff wins over Colquitt County 41-17, Archer 34-7, and Brookwood 52-35. The Milton Eagles, who finished first in Region 5, have playoff wins over Duluth 45-14, Marietta 38-21, and Mill Creek 36-27. Walton wins by 2.

Grayson (9-3) at Number 1 Collins Hill (13-0)

Series History: Grayson leads 6-2

Last Meeting: Grayson defeated Collins Hill 38-14 on December 30, 2020, in the Class 7A state championship game.

The Grayson Rams, who finished second in Region 4, have playoff wins over East Coweta 48-14, Denmark 35-21, and Roswell 24-14. The Collins Hill Eagles, who finished first in Region 8, have playoff wins over Lambert 56-13, Pebblebrook 48-6, and Lowndes 49-7. This is a rematch of last year’s Class 7A state championship game. Collins Hill wins by 23.


Class 6A

Dacula (9-4) at Number 3 Langston Hughes (12-1)

Series History: First Meeting

The Dacula Falcons, who finished second in Region 8, have playoff wins over Pope 30-12, Brunswick 29-21, and Johns Creek 35-0. The Hughes Panthers, who finished first in Region 4, have playoff wins over Glynn Academy 42-14, Shiloh 28-8, and Northside of Warner Robins 48-7. Langston Hughes wins by 10.

Number 7 Carrollton (12-1) at Number 1 Buford (12-1)

Series History: Buford leads 2-0

Last Meeting: Buford defeated Carrollton 24-21 on November 29, 2019, in the Class 5A quarterfinals.

The Carrollton Trojans, who finished second in Region 5, have playoff wins over Creekview 47-28, Alcovy 43-21, and Westlake 37-32. The Buford Wolves, who finished first in Region 8, have playoff wins over Kell 38-14, Lovejoy 44-7, and Lee County 27-0. Buford wins by 15. 


Class 3A

Number 6 Appling County (12-1) at Number 5 Cedar Grove (10-3)

Series History: First Meeting

The Appling County Pirates, who finished second in Region 1, have playoff wins over Johnson of Savannah 42-8, Cherokee Bluff 34-20, and Thomson 21-7. The Cedar Grove Saints, who finished first in Region 5, have playoff wins over White County 79-0, Southeast Bulloch 46-10, and Crisp County 28-6. Cedar Grove wins by 18.

Number 8 Carver of Atlanta (11-2) at Number 3 Pierce County (11-2)

Series History: Pierce County leads 1-0

Last Meeting: Pierce County defeated Carver 51-18 on December 11, 2020, in the Class 3A quarterfinals

The Carver Panthers, who finished second in Region 5, have playoff wins over North Hall 56-17, Liberty County 53-6, and Burke County 46-14. The Pierce County Bears, who finished first in Region 1, have playoff wins over Windsor Forest 42-0, Dawson County 49-0, and Peach County 35-30. Pierce County wins by 2.


Class 2A

Number 4 Fitzgerald (11-2) at Number 10 Swainsboro (11-2)

Series History: Fitzgerald leads 3-1

Last Meeting: Fitzgerald defeated Swainsboro 27-12 on November 16, 2018, in the second round of the Class 2A playoffs.

The Fitzgerald Purple Hurricane, who finished second in Region 1, have playoff wins over Dodge County 15-6, Fannin County 28-14, and Putnam County 21-7. The Swainsboro Tigers, who finished first in Region 2, have playoff wins over Laney 48-6, Columbia 41-14, and Northeast 12-9. Fitzgerald wins by 2.

Number 7 Callaway (10-2) at Number 2 Thomasville (12-1)

Series History: Callaway leads 1-0

Last Meeting: Callaway defeated Thomasville 34-21 on December 11, 2020, in the Class 2A quarterfinals.

The Callaway Cavaliers, who finished second in Region 5, have playoff wins over Pepperell 29-22, Bleckley County 35-14, and South Atlanta 39-22. The Thomasville Bulldogs, who finished first in Region 1, have playoff wins over Washington County 42-7, Heard County 42-16, and Rabun County 49-24. Thomasville wins by 11.


Class A Public

Number 8 Wilcox County (10-3) at Number 1 Irwin County (11-2)

Series History: Irwin County leads 16-13

Last Meeting: Irwin County defeated Wilcox County 14-0 on December 4, 2020, in the second round of the Class A Public School playoffs.

The Wilcox County Pirates, who finished first in Region 4, have playoff wins over Charlton County 36-26, Trion 23-22, and Manchester 20-14. The Irwin County Indians, who finished first in Region 2, have playoff wins over Johnson County 35-6, Lincoln County 51-27, and Macon County 28-15. Irwin County wins by 24.

Number 2 Brooks County (10-2) at Number 4 Metter (13-0)

Series History: Brooks County leads 1-0

Last Meeting: Brooks County defeated Metter 35-6 on November 29, 2019, in the Class A Public School quarterfinals.

The Brooks County Trojans, who finished second in Region 2, have playoff wins over Montgomery County 49-13, Washington-Wilkes 61-28, and Warren County 51-30. The Metter Tigers, who finished first in Region 3, have playoff wins over Seminole County 42-14, Schley County 33-6, and Turner County 60-21. Brooks County wins by 3.


Class A Private

Number 1 Trinity Christian (13-0) at Number 5 Eagles Landing Christian (7-6)

Series History: ELCA leads 4-1

Last Meeting: Trinity Christian defeated ELCA 34-3 on October 1, 2021.

The Trinity Christian Lions, who finished first in Region 4, have playoff wins over Athens Christian 48-14 and Darlington 56-7 after receiving a first round bye. The ELCA Chargers, who finished first in Region 2, have playoff wins over Heritage of Newnan by forfeit, Athens Academy 56-7, and Holy Innocents 35-28. Trinity Christian wins by 8.

Number 3 Prince Avenue Christian (12-1) at Number 4 Fellowship Christian (12-1)

Series History: Fellowship Christian leads 3-2

Last Meeting: Fellowship Christian defeated Prince Avenue Christian 31-28 on December 2, 2016, in the Class A Private School semifinals.

The Prince Avenue Christian Wolverines, who finished first in Region 8, have playoff wins over King’s Ridge Christian by forfeit, Brookstone 52-0, and First Presbyterian 41-22. The Fellowship Christian Paladins, who finished first in Region 6, have playoff wins over George Walton Academy 42-7, St. Anne-Pacelli 30-7, and Calvary Day 24-14. Prince Avenue Christian wins by 14.

 


            The historical data used in these previews is compiled by the Georgia High Football Historians Association. Georgia High School Football Daily compiles the rankings for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

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