We have reached the most wonderful time of the year as prep football fans; the semifinals are finally here. It has been a long season for the 32 remaining teams in pursuit of a GHSA football title to be decided in two weeks.
For those teams which remain in the hunt, there is still much work to be done. After all, this is only week No. 17 of the regular season and the playoffs.
How proud all of the remaining teams which are vying for titles must be when they look back at the work they have put in over the past year to arrive at this point in the season. Weight room, 7-on-7, agility drills, heat, exhaustion, scrimmage after scrimmage and game after game. At this time of the year it is only a blur; years from now players will savor every moment they have invested in 2019.
Last week’s quarterfinal round of play saw the elimination of several favored teams and when this week’s semifinal round is completed, a few more favored teams might fall by the wayside. However, when a team reaches this point in the season, they belong in the Final Four.
Class 7A has a couple of powerhouse football games scheduled for this week. Preseason favorite, the Marietta Blue Devils (11-2) travel to Parkview (12-1) in one game, and North Gwinnett (12-1) takes the long trip to Lowndes (13-0) in the other game. North Gwinnett shocked previously unbeaten McEachern last week, 32-13 and are on a 12-game winning streak. Lowndes is unbeaten and ranked No. 1. There is no doubt that this year’s title game will be a classic matchup of great teams.
Class 6A has two great matchups as surprising Richmond Hill (9-3) hosts Allatoona (10-2-1). The Wildcats topped Valdosta, 16-14 last week in the quarterfinals. Top-ranked Dacula (13-0) hosts unbeaten Harrison (13-0) in the other semifinal.
In Class 5A, Jones County (12-1) hosts Buford (12-1) and Warner Robins (12-1) takes on Starr’s Mill (10-3).
Class 4A has a classic rematch scheduled for this weekend as Woodward Academy (13-0) hosts Blessed Trinity (12-1). Woodward topped the Titans, 13-10, in the regular season. The other semifinal has Oconee County (12-1) taking on Sandy Creek (12-1).
Class 3A finds Greater Atlanta Christian (12-1) at defending champion Cedar Grove (11-2) at Godfrey Stadium, and Crisp County (10-3) hosting Jenkins (12-1) in Cordele.
Class 2-A has Brooks County (9-4) at Callaway (12-1), and Dublin (12-1) at Thomasville (9-4).
Class A Private semifinals feature Wesleyan (11-2) at Fellowship Christian (12-0) and four-time defending champion Eagles Landing Christian Academy (11-1) at Holy Innocents’ (12-0).
Class A Public matchups include Clinch County (11-1) at Irwin County (12-0), and Pelham (11-1) at Marion County (10-2).
The preliminaries are almost done. This week it’s the semifinals, next week at Georgia State Stadium it’s Title Time!
May the best teams advance.