More Big Contests Await In Sweet 16
I’ve always felt that the terminology we use in the world of sports is quite unique. Here we are at the second round of the GHSA Prep Football Championship run and we are calling it the Sweet Sixteen. Trust me, there is nothing sweet about the remaining 16 teams in each of the eight classifications fighting for the right to play a championship game on Dec. 13-14 at Georgia State Stadium in Atlanta.
The opening round is done and we are now looking forward to round two. As I predicted in my blog last week, there were some shocks and surprises in the opening round. Several higher-seeded teams fell to teams that were either the No. 3 or 4 seed in their region of play, which proves one very important point: the teams that win at this point in the season are the ones which are playing their best on the field of play, not the teams with the best record.
Heading into the second round, the weather is always going to be an important factor in playoff football. Most teams had not had to endure the type weather they played in last weekend.
Weather aside, there are some interesting matchups on this week’s slate of games. In Class A Public, ECI at Clinch County, Wilcox County at Pelham and Turner County at Mitchell County headline this week’s brackets.
In Class A Private, look for outstanding games from Mt. Paran at Darlington, Hebron Christian at Mt. DeSales of Macon, and one of the most interesting matchups in this divisions finds Savannah Christian Prep meeting cross-town rival Savannah Country Day for the second time this season.
In Class 2A, the intriguing matchups feature highly ranked Rockmart hosting Brooks County who might have played the toughest schedule in the classification. Other games of note finds Fitzgerald at Callaway, Swainsboro at Hapeville Charter and Toombs County at Rabun County.
Class 3A’s headline game has Calhoun at Peach County, while several other games of note are on the agenda: Dawson County at Jenkins of Savannah, Hart County at Pierce County and Appling County at Jefferson.
Class 4A gave us a few surprises last week and this week we can surely prepare for more as there are interesting games across the state in this classification. North Oconee at West Laurens, Marist at Carver-Columbus and Perry at Oconee County are just a few of the games where several surprise upset took place in last week’s action.
Class 5A’s second round of play has an outstanding slate of matchups. Buford at Ware County, Veterans at Carrollton, Dutchtown at Riverwood and the seemingly annual playoff rematch between Rome and Warner Robins, which this season will be held in Warner Robins.
Coffee at Mays could make things interesting in Class 6A, while defending champion Lee County from tough Region 1 will host Creekside. One of the most anticipated games has Valdosta traveling to play at Johns Creek.
The state’s largest classification, 7A has a couple of games that peak great interest in this the round of 16. Colquitt County, Region 1 runner-up to Lowndes, the division’s top-ranked team, travels to the Big Orange Jungle to meet Parkview, while Lowndes plays host to Norcross. Defending state champion Milton plays host to Marietta in another expected shootout in this classification.
So here we are at the Sweet Sixteen round of play and the winners advance to the quarterfinal round of play, or as I like to say … the Elite Eight!