The regular season is behind us and now we head into the five-week sprint toward Georgia State Stadium on Dec. 13-14. Did the past regular season offer surprises? Yes, it did, but wait until the next four weeks are completed and the competing teams are headed for the finals by their play on the field. The real surprises are just beginning; the playoffs are totally different than the regular season. 

In my blog this week I will offer up a few thoughts about several classifications and at the end of it, I would suggest that you take a sheet of paper and write down your choices of the teams in each of the eight classifications that will meet in Atlanta.

Class 7A has several teams that are title worthy. Lowndes, the No. 1 team in the GPB poll is considered the favorite as we head into the first round. There are several super-good teams on the right-hand side of the Vikings’ bracket, and the left side has Marietta and defending champion Milton to contend with, as well as Region 1 runner-up Colquitt County.

Class 6A has Lee County back to defend its 2018 title, with several new faces in pursuit. Dacula has flexed its muscle to move into the top spot in this classification. Both of these teams are on the right side of the brackets, so if they meet it would be in the semifinals. Valdosta, from Region 1 is on the left side of the bracket with powers such as Stephenson and Johns Creek, so the 6A final promises to be a great game.

In Class 5A, the Bainbridge Bearcats return to defend their title. The ‘Cats made an improbable run a year ago and will have to repeat their outstanding playoff run on the road to be in the final again. Buford, red-hot Ware Count, and Carrollton are all in the same left side of the bracket with Bainbridge, while Warner Robins and Clarke Central are looming on the right hand side as favorites, along with Dutchtown.

The Class 4A favorite has to be Blessed Trinity. The Titans are loaded with talent and are on the left side of the bracket away from their region foe Marist. However, on the lower left side of the brackets is one of the better South Georgia football teams, the Cairo Syrupmakers. Middle Georgia is well represented in that same bracket by West Laurens, one of the best kept secrets in Class 4A. Sandy Creek, Carver-Columbus, Marist and Denmark also have a shot at a playoff run from the right side of the bracket.

Greater Atlanta Christian, Pierce County, Peach County and Jenkins of Savannah are just four of the teams that have a chance to capture the Class 3A title this year. Peach County, Pierce County, GAC and Calhoun are all on the left side of the bracket, while Jenkins, North Murray, Jefferson, and Appling County try to advance on the right-hand side of the bracket.

Class 2A is loaded with quality teams again this year. Region 2 has four of the contenders: Vidalia, Swainsboro, Toombs County and region champion Metter. Region 1 has Brooks County, Fitzgerald, region champion Thomasville and Early County for starters. Toombs County and Thomasville are on the right hand side of the bracket while Metter and Brooks County are on the left-hand side. 

Heading into the first round, Callaway, Dublin, Rabun County and Hapeville Charter are all considered favorites to challenge for the Class 2A crown.

In Class A Private, Eagle’s Landing Christian and Athens Academy, Holy Innocents’, Savannah Country Day and Fellowship Christian are the early favorites.

In Class A Public, Irwin County, Clinch County, Pelham and Mitchell County, along with Bowdon, are the contenders to capture the trophy.

The time has arrived. Take out that sheet of paper and write down your eight champions for 2019.  We’ll take a look at it on Dec. 12!