For this week's Football Fridays in Georgia podcast, hosts Hannah Goodin and Jon Nelson look at the high school football semifinals. They also talk with Todd Holcomb, editor and publisher of the Georgia High School Football Daily newsletter.



Jon Nelson: Welcome to another round of the Football Fridays in Georgia podcast here at Georgia Public Broadcasting. Thanks for accessing us, however you are doing so: large device, small, your favorite pod catcher, and there's like 7,000 of them. Make sure that you've saved the Football Fridays in Georgia podcast in your settings so that you know whenever there is a new one with me and Hannah. Hello, Hannah.

Hannah Goodin: Hey, Jon.

Jon Nelson: Semifinals are done.

Hannah Goodin: They are. Semifinals are in the books. It's almost Championship Week right after the holidays. We just had our media days yesterday where we got to talk to all the coaches. So we have some fun stories to tell you all later in the show.

Jon Nelson:  OK, so what are your takeaways from the semifinals? I guess let's start with our game, where we got to see Buford and Valdosta: two teams, storied programs, 36 state championships between them — never played until last Friday night on GPB.

Hannah Goodin: Yeah, unbelievable. Could not believe those two storied programs had not played each other. If you guys did not watch the game, this was a wildcat beatdown

Jon Nelson: I mean, well, whew.

Hannah Goodin: And a Wolves big-time win over one of the top teams and coaches in the state and the nation: Rush Propst. And head coach Brian Appling, I got to talk to him at media days and he was all smiles. Jon, one of his playmakers who had an outstanding game was wide receiver Victor Venn, great player. The final score on that one was 45 to 26.

Jon Nelson: And I think that a lot of folks out of the blocks were shocked at how it was 21-nothing, like [SNAPS] that.

Hannah Goodin: Like that! A score on the first play of the game!

Jon Nelson: Well, because that was, you know, obviously that was something that they had seen on film. And you see the run fake draws everybody in, receiver goes, great touch on the pass to — out of the blocks for a 70-yard touchdown to make it 7-nothing. Then you get the turnover. And then it was a fourth and 1 decision that — or fourth and short decision that didn't go right for Valdosta. Short field, 21 to nothing very, very quickly. And it was an uphill battle for Valdosta all night long.

Hannah Goodin: So a 19-point margin of victory for Buford and the rest of my scoreboard this week goes along that same theme. Some surprising margins of victory again in the semis. Grayson shut out Norcross 28 to nothing. And we had Norcross Blue Devils on our air and they looked fantastic, clicking on all cylinders. So that was a surprise for me. PAC defeated Wesleyan 50 to 3. Coach Vandergriff said they've played them many times, so they kind of knew what to expect. So that's why the score was what it was. Brooks County won 42 to nothing over Clinch and Irwin County beat Metter 44 to 10.

Jon Nelson: Yeah. And also on the board, you know, we had Warner Robins putting up a big number against Jones County. I know that a lot of folks in central Georgia were looking at that one. And if they could kind of see what was going on at the Mack — McConnell Talbert Stadium — they could keep an eye on that one, 56-21. So Warner Robins goes to the last game of the year for the fourth year in a row.

Hannah Goodin: Wow.

Jon Nelson: And considering their pedigree, where they have two national titles, state championships under coach Robert Davis. And we caught up with Big Marv a couple of weeks ago to find out and to remind everybody about what football means to Warner Robins. They get to make it to the last game of the year as well. Lee County was in a tight one with Westlake. It was 14-14 at one point. Then Lee County just put the pedal down, won by 21. 35-14 in that final. Cartersville was in a tight one with Coffee. That one goes to Cartersville 24-17. That one was a back and forth. And I know that we’ll get into these games also with Todd. But Jefferson was in another shootout. It's just, you know, you look at Malaki Starks in that offense and Jean Cathcart —

Hannah Goodin: one of our media days stories after we talk to Todd, is about him.

Jon Nelson: OK, so let's just go ahead and bring Todd into the discussion to find out what Todd thinks about all the championship games coming up.

Todd Holcomb: Well, I say for Grayson in the game, although Collins Hill is really good and they're playing good defense. And I think Travis Hunter, the wide receiver, might be having as good to see this any player in the state. But I think Grayson’s defense would probably be the difference there. They play a really, really good team defense, very fast. And I think they'll be able to hold down Horn and Hunter and the really good passing game and beat them again, as they did in the regular season.

Hannah Goodin: Yeah, I'm not choosing a team here, but Jake Garcia has proven to be extremely tough in these playoff games. And I think that Grayson is going to be tough to beat. All right. 6A: it's Buford versus Lee County. The Wolves remain in contention for its second consecutive title and 13th overall. Lee County, the No. 1 ranked team, moves closer to a third state title in four seasons. Todd, this one's a good matchup.

Todd Holcomb: Yeah, it's one of the toughest to predict for sure. In fact, I got to you know, we have a guy, a computer guru, Lauren Maxwell, who did our projections. And he sent me an email —

Jon Nelson: He’s just like, “Uh-uh, I ain’t touching that one!”

Todd Holcomb: And he says, “Note that the Buford/Lee County game is probably the closest state championship projection in history with only 0.04 points difference between them.” So, you know, I don't know what's going to happen in that game. I really like the way Lee County is playing. You know, they're really, really hot here lately. And they've got, what’s the guy? McDowell — Caleb McDowell. I mean, he's been on fire in the playoffs and they're playing really good. Who am I going to pick here? I'm going to say Lee County. I just think they're playing maybe a little better, but Buford’s really good. I mean, they blew out Valdosta and were way up on them last week and have a good all-around team and two really good running backs and then — but I'm going to — I think I'll pick Lee in a close one.

Jon Nelson: 5A gives us Cartersville and Warner Robins, Cartersville with Conor Foster, the legacy, who's there as the coach now, and Warner Robins back in the finals again after being in the finals game again and again and again. It's like Mike Chastain, Marquese Westbrook, Warner Robins. They are solidifying themselves of being in the last game of the year against a Cartersville team that had a really tough matchup with Coffee to get to the last game of the year.

Todd Holcomb: Yeah, two great teams. You know, I think Cartersville — I didn't necessarily think of them as a state championship team this year. I knew they would be good, as they always are. But then now they have a quarterback who came in midseason, Carlos Del Rio, and he's playing well. And it gives them — that just takes them to another level. So they definitely have a chance to win. And they won a couple of really close playoff games in the last two weeks.

I think Warner Robins, though, is probably a little better. Their quarterback, really good too, Jalen Addie. He was 16 of 18 for 309 yards and six touchdowns last week. And yeah, and then they have a really good defense; probably the best defense they've had in this four-year run. So I would think they're a little bit of a favorite.

Hannah Goodin: Quad A, it's Jefferson versus Marist. You have four-year head coach Gene Cathcart against veteran coach Alan Chadwick.

Jon Nelson: And this game will be over with in about an hour and 22 minutes.

Hannah Goodin: The Dragons reached its first state final since 2012. And something to note, this is a final against the only unbeaten teams left.

Todd Holcomb: That's right. Great matchup. You know, the both of them lead running the ball and pitching the ball and running an option. And I guess they'll both kind of know how to defend it. So maybe it'll be somewhat of a lower scoring game because that — well, it has to be a low scoring game if Marist is playing because they shut out eight teams. And, uh, did some research here —

Jon Nelson: It’s absolutely crazy what they've done defensively.

Todd Holcomb: Yeah this day and time. I mean, you have to remember, you know, this isn't 1972. You know, so to have that many shoutouts right now, that's the most shoutout the team has had since 2011 Lovejoy.

Jon Nelson and Hannah Goodin: Wow.

Todd Holcomb: And so if you're playing that good on defense, I think you're probably the favorite. But Jefferson, I mean, they put up 42 points last week, they had Malaki Starks’ 321 yards rushing last week. I mean, he's incredible. He doesn't pass very much.

Jon Nelson: I mean, if you don't need to then there's no point.

Todd Holcomb: Right. Don't need to, no. And I guess every pitch is sort of a pass, but that's about the closest they come.

Jon Nelson: When you look at Triple A, you're looking at Oconee County, who's going back to the last game of the year after seeing them last year. And then Pierce County — first time for Pierce County to make it to the last game of the year. And it's great to see what Ryan Herring has done in his handful of years down there in Blackshear. Oconee County and Travis Noland, an old veteran at getting to the last game of the year. But we've got two teams here who really lit it up in the regular season.

Todd Holcomb: Yeah, they did. I mean, Pierce County’s never won a state title, Oconee County won one in, I guess, ’91. So, you know, both teams are pretty hungry. I think Oconee County is a little bit better overall. But I think the big story here is just how — their semifinal games, Oconee County, went two overtimes. They had a fourth-and-16 in the second overtime. And if you don't convert that, you lose the game. They threw a 20-yard pass and then scored a touchdown and win.

And then Pierce County was losing by a point. And Crisp passed the ball and Pierce forces a fumble and recover it, run it 70 yards for a touchdown to take the lead in and went like that. So those were the two best semifinal games. So the both of these teams have got to be thrilled at how that went and to be playing each other.

Hannah Goodin:  Double A: Callaway versus Fitzgerald, and the Cavaliers looking for their first state title, I always love a story like that. So what do you think about this matchup?

Todd Holcomb: Yeah, another pretty good one. You know, Callaway, they lost the game this season to Haralson. It made some people kind of write them off as a state championship. Not that Haralson is not good, but, you know, they've had teams with players like Tank Bigsby that couldn't win it. So that made you a little skeptical. But then they beat, you know, Rabun County and Gunner Stockton. And I had a coach there that played Callaway, and he said that he thought they could stop Rabun’s passing game and could cover those wide receivers one on one. And sure enough, they, you know, they did and had a great win; beat him 41-17.

I would still favor Fitzgerald. I think they have the best all-around team and they won't be passing as much. I don't know if that matters, but a very different kind of team than Rabun County. But they play such good, you know, defense. And of course, Fitzgerald, they last won in 1948.

Jon Nelson: Class C, I want to say, if I remember correctly.

Todd Holcomb: Yeah, they were a small town then. They're small now, but they were really small, I'm sure. And then by shutout last week. Seems like it's their time. I think they've beaten about five or six Top 10 opponents, played a really tough schedule as well.

Jon Nelson: Class A-Private. I know a lot of folks have been looking at Prince Avenue Christian, our interviewer with the stars and a good and got to catch up with Brock Vandagriff early this year.

Hannah Goodin: I did.

Jon Nelson: And we got to catch up with him and see what it's been like at PAC and another one of the cool stories that we got to see this season is what we're seeing with Trinity Christian and Kenny Dallas. I mean, a lot of folks remember Coach Dallas with his time at Landmark before he went to Trinity. And there are some other Dallases that are on the roster at Trinity. So it's a real family affair going up against a juggernaut in PAC.

Todd Holcomb: Yeah. I mean, clearly, Prince Avenue is going to be heavily favored. They're ranked No. 1 and Trinity Christian is somewhat of a — well, probably maybe the Cinderella in it, although I would have to say they've probably been underestimated. You know, we had that — they were ranked — they've been ranked since the first game of the season.

And it's a team that only has two senior starters. And they had some injuries midseason. The quarterback, David Dallas, was out for a month. And so it looked like they were just a pretty decent Top 10 team. But all of a sudden they get their players back and Dallas gets hot as a quarterback. You know, his brother, I guess they're twins, I believe.

Jon Nelson: Yeah.

Todd Holcomb: And he's a good receiver placed on his back. And they got a bunch of other good players as well. And so they're actually — they're underrated. They're good. They're not just here, you know, to show up. It reminds me of Fellowship Christian a few years ago when they were in against ELCA and people hadn’t heard so much about ’em, they didn't think it would be a close game and it went down to the wire. So it could be a surprise like that. But Prince Avenue’s loaded. I mean, the statement they made with shutting out ELCA pretty much says it all. You know, they can score, but if they can shut out ELCA and shut down Athens Academy and things like that, and — this is one of the best class A private teams that's been around in a while.

Hannah Goodin: Yeah, it's not easy to shut down a five-time state champion.

Jon Nelson: And you give Wesleyan the first three points of the game and then you score fifty unanswered to win it 50 to 3.

Hannah Goodin: Unreal.

Jon Nelson: Absolutely crazy. What's going on in Single A-Public?

Hannah Goodin: All right. Finally. It's Irwin County versus Brooks County. The Indians are the defending state champion. The wonderful story with Buddy Noble's last season. That game is going to be hard to top when it comes to full body chills-wise. The Trojans were the class 2A runner-up last season. They're within one victory of their first state title since 1994. But, Todd, this is a rematch. The Trojans looking for some revenge earlier on earlier this season.

Jon Nelson: Region rivals going at it!

Todd Holcomb: Yeah, I mean, what a great region that is. You know, I guess Clinch the other team in that region as well. I mean, you could have three of the best teams that really could go either way. And, you know, the other story there is, you know, Brooks County, of course, they were the runner up last year in 2A and now they're down and they're as good as they were last year if not better. So they're loaded. And Irwin County had, last year, one of the most dominant state championships ever in class A and most of their guys were back. So that's probably, as you know, is a pretty, pretty strong final. Believe it or not, they're not just, you know, run-of-the-mill teams. They're both really good and worthy of being state champions.

I guess, Irwin, they won the first one and they’re defending champs. They've been there. So I might favor them, but it should be a pretty good one. Now, another cool thing about Brooks County, you mentioned they had last won in ’94. And, you know, they had the same coach that they had then. He's back again. So I'm — not back again, I think he took some time off and he's back — been with them for a while now, but an alumnus. And so, yeah, should be a tight one as well. I mean, most of these games are tight. And I'm not just saying that to hype them up. I mean, they're I mean, there's only — well, not many at all that would have a big point spread if you're going in that direction.

Jon Nelson: And that's what that's what Lauren Maxwell is all about when it comes to it. We'll ask him about point spreads and things like that. When it comes to the season in general — Todd Holcomb of the GHSF Daily hanging out with us here for another couple of minutes on the Football Fridays in Georgia podcast — when it comes to the season in general, what have been some of the stories and storylines that have stuck with you and Chip, say, over there at the GHSF Daily the most? What are some of the stories that have resonated with you when it comes to teams, programs, and people?

Todd Holcomb: Well, I think once we've gotten to the playoffs, things have been surprisingly, you know, predictable. There haven't been that many upsets. Most of the better teams have gotten through that comes off a regular season that was totally unpredictable, was not just with upsets, but with so many cancellations and and things like that. I mean, I'm just surprised the playoffs have gone smoothly. I mean, the last four weeks, everybody's shown up and answered the bell and played. So that's you know, that's one of the interesting things.

The other one, you know, one of the stories has been — that will continue to play out for one more week in the finals — is you've had some you know, these transfers that — I think we had three of them were major D-1 prospects who have transferred, become ineligible, and then gone elsewhere and gotten eligible. And then you're going to see, you know, two of them, Carlos Del Rio, now at Cartersville and Jake Garcia at Grayson, who could win, you know, state titles with their new teams and that's been pretty interesting as well. And and, yeah, those are two of the main things. And I kind of look also at players, what players did. Most of the players you thought were going to be good were good. You know, Vandagriff had a great year and so did Gunner Stockton. His team's not here, but most of these guys that were kind of favorites for Player of the Year lived up to their billing, I would say.

And, you know, and I was mentioning those quarterbacks too, you know, you've got a lot of them in the finals that are really good. And the other guy, Sam Horn for Collins Hill. So you've got four, you know, major D-1 recruits in the finals that are quarterbacks. That doesn't happen all the time. You know, it's kind of cool if you're televising the game, you know, to look at these high-profile guys. And it's not always like that. I did a little research and found that there's only been like four of these 4-star, 5-star kind of quarterbacks that have won state titles in the last 20 years. I mean, you had Deshaun Watson, you had Trevor Lawrence and Harrison Bailey last year in Marietta. And the fourth one was Blake Mitchell at LeGrange.

Jon Nelson: Oh, wow.

Todd Holcomb: So you know, so it's not that, you know, a lot of times these big quarterbacks, you know, they'll go out early. So you've got these four guys that’ll all be playing in the SEC, ACC, and they're going to be playing, you know, next week, leading their teams to state titles, hopefully.

Jon Nelson: All right. Time for the blatant plug for those that want to keep up with everything — and I still have saved every single edition of the Georgia High School Football Daily in my email, because there's always a piece of information that I can reference from these things. For anybody that wants to look at it on a daily basis, subscribe to it on a daily basis, because it is one of the true Bibles here in the state of Georgia. How do they do it?

Todd Holcomb: Well, just look us up on Twitter. We post our stuff from time to time at Georgia High School Football Daily on Twitter. And at the top, I posted a tweet there. We'll show you how you can sign up and it's free and just shows up in your email every morning, usually before you get up.

Jon Nelson: Yes, at 4:01 a.m. That's when it usually shows up in my email account.

Todd Holcomb:  You gotta get up get up pretty early in the morning.

Jon Nelson: No kidding. But, Todd, thanks as always for hanging out with us during another season of the Football Fridays in Georgia podcast. Your insights are invaluable. You guys do tremendous work there at the Daily. Thanks for hanging out with us here on the show. And we will catch up with you down the road. Enjoy the championships and a Merry Christmas.

Todd Holcomb: Thank you. And, yeah, look forward to the games and hearing you guys broadcast them.

Hannah Goodin: Thanks, Todd.

Todd Holcomb: Sure.

Jon Nelson: Always good to catch up with Todd, and I'm serious when I say this: I have saved every single Georgia High School Football Daily they have ever produced. I'm not kidding. I have each and every one of them.

Hannah Goodin: What do you do? Do you just, like, go back and pick a random day and say what happened in Georgia high school football on this date and time?

Jon Nelson: Well, what I do, like, you know, for championship week.

Hannah Goodin: Yeah. Oh, yeah. They're I mean, they're amazing. They are, like you said, the Football Bible for us.

Jon Nelson: And at the same time, you know, if there's ever something like if you want to look back at the championship games past, pick a year, you can go back, say, like with Warner Robins, you can go back and check the last four years of what it's been like for them to get to the last game of the year. And you can look at the analysis that they've had and all of the — all the setups and previews and things like that. So it's a good historical reference point for me when it comes to all this kind of stuff. But yes, I've saved every single one.

Hannah Goodin:  I don't even want to know how many that is.

Jon Nelson: Eleventy billion.

Hannah Goodin: Your favorite number.

Jon Nelson: It is my favorite number because it's a big round number and it means a lot. They've produced a lot of these episodes daily during football season and they do tremendous work. So what’s your Gene Cathcart story?

Hannah Goodin: So we split up the interviews randomly for who got who. So I did eight interviews and Jon did eight interviews. So Cathcart was my last interview of the day. And he was by far the funniest. You wouldn't — he's hilarious!

Jon Nelson: He really is.

Hannah Goodin: So the Dragons haven't won a title since 2012 under Coach Tim McFarren.

Jon Nelson: Tim McFarren. Yeah.

Hannah Goodin: So it was his first time being there and he was excited. He had sparkles in his eyes. And so we were getting through the interview and he goes, you know, I don't look like a football coach. He goes, “I know I don't look like a football coach. I look like a professor. But we're out here getting it done.” And he was poking fun of himself in the whole interview. And he is just a lot funnier than what I expected.

Jon Nelson: Yeah, we had Jefferson on Football Fridays during the regular season when they played Flowery Branch and he wears —

Hannah Goodin: Those round spectacles.

Jon Nelson: Yeah, he has the thick-lensed glasses.

Hannah Goodin: And they’re kind of small.

Jon Nelson: Well, but the thing is, it's like when we were out there in the game against Flowery Branch, he's wearing a mask and he's wearing the glasses. And when you wear glasses with a mask, the glasses fog up so you cannot see anything in front of you. And so he was having to do an interview with me in the end zone while his glasses are fogging up, wearing a mask, talking about the game against Flowery Branch. But I also loved how he told you that they had to drive to the equator to go play Benedictine last week, to get those kinds of things. But yeah, Gene Cathcart, he is very, very cool. One of the great ambassadors of football here in the state. Alan Chadwick, chasing after win No. 400. I think he's at 398.

Hannah Goodin: Yeah. You talked to him. What did he have to say?

Jon Nelson: For me, it's just good to catch up with him and find out how things were different from the last time that they had won a state championship back in 2003. That was one of the things that's there. How much of a challenge — and this is a point that you and I both wanted to get into with coaches — how much of a challenge it's been for them in this environment to get to this point.

Hannah Goodin: Yeah.

Jon Nelson: Where you're scheduling games on the fly. I think that Marist had their game of Holy Innocents’ scheduled on the fly. I think it was another 48 hours’ notice. It's like, OK, we lose an opponent, we’d like an opponent, and then they just hook up and Holy Innocents’ said, yeah, let's go ahead and play. And so they played. And so that was once again ways for them to keep the kids playing and keep their rhythms as teams. So that was, you know, a good one for me. Catching up with a guy like Ryan Herring from Pierce County who comes in a suit and tie.

Hannah Goodin: He was looking sharp. The only one in a suit.

Jon Nelson: Well, but I think that, you know, it's their first time. And when you're going to interview for television, you're thinking, OK, let's interview for TV. And so Ryan came in in a suit and tie.

Hannah Goodin: And the other coaches are in T-shirts, sweatshirts.

Jon Nelson: Well, sweatshirts, jackets, you know, those kinds of things. It was great to catch up with Pete Wiggins at Callaway. They were 0-and-4 in semifinals until Sunday. Or until Friday night, it was Sunday when we caught up with them. But just to see how excited Pete was because he's been there, I want to say — 15 years, I want to say? He's been here since like 2005, I think? But he's been there for a while. And to see the excitement on his face that Callaway had finally gotten off the schneid and they've gotten to the finals for a change, to see that excitement I thought was really cool.

To see you interview Tucker Pruitt from Fitzgerald, because, you know, Fitzgerald, they've been that the last game of the year for a while, chasing after that title, like Todd said. And 1948 was the last time that a team from Ben Hill County won a state championship. You know, you got to catch up with Coach Vandagriff from Prince Avenue Christian. And, you know, it was cool to see that, to catch up with Kenny Dallas from Trinity Christian. You know, Todd mentioned the Cinderella there. Casey Soliday, from Irwin County; good to catch up with him. And you got to catch up with Coach Freeman.

Hannah Goodin: I did. I did. Of course, I asked about the hammer.

Jon Nelson: Oh, yeah.

Hannah Goodin:Yeah. I mean, you have to.

Jon Nelson: Yes, you do.

Hannah Goodin: He was a great interview, as always. We had him on… what was that now?

Jon Nelson: A couple of weeks ago.

Hannah Goodin: A couple weeks ago.

Jon Nelson: Yeah.

Hannah Goodin: Yeah, I asked him about the hammer and he said, “Oh, you know, we're bringing it, Hannah. You know.”

Another interview that stands out to me is Grayson coach Adam Carter. Right. A lot younger than I thought. We talked about shutting out Norcross in the semis and drowning out all the Jake Garcia national headline noise.

His interview kind of encompasses their whole season to me because he was just very stoic, very matter-of-fact. He seems like a no-nonsense coach. And I really feel like that's how Grayson has played this whole season. And he even said every time I asked him a question, he goes, “Hannah, we just talked about that as a team canceling out the noise.” How to stay grounded, how not to be reading any of the stuff on the Internet and it's worked and they're here, so —

Jon Nelson: I’d love to know how he’s cut the internet connection to the school. It's like just encased everything in cement at Grayson so they can't look at their phone and they can't look at their computers just to drown out all the noise when you're ranked as highly as you are nationally. Yeah, I mean, you're talking about, you know, chasing IMG Academy nationally when it comes to the mythical national championship. And Grayson has handled it very, very well this year.

I got to catch up with Dean Fabrizio at Lee County is there, you know, going for their third state title in the last four years. And the fact that he's been able to build that program in Leesburg and they've been patient with him and they've just been building it piece-by-piece. And now that the philosophy is there and it's all the way from middle school and you're learning the same things in middle school that you're going to be playing in high school and you're seeing the successes in a place like Leesburg for Lee County, for me, that was great. You also got another legacy in Conor Foster.

Hannah Goodin: Yeah, I was going to say. Two legacies, Tucker Pruitt and Conor Foster. Conor Foster was my second interview, and I'm pretty sure I called him by the wrong name. He was so nice about it. I haven't met a lot of these coaches.

Jon Nelson: You also got “ma'am’d,” I think, by Conor, didn’t you?

Hannah Goodin: I did. I did. It was, it was — we got it on track eventually.

Jon Nelson: So what are our plans when it comes to next week? This week and next week, go ahead and lay it out.

Hannah Goodin: OK, go ahead and let me pull up the schedule.

Jon Nelson: OK.

Hannah Goodin: We have got a mammoth of a week.

Jon Nelson: A mammoth of a week, yes.

Hannah Goodin: So it all starts on Monday after we're nice and puffy from eating ourselves to death all weekend with family and holiday.

Jon Nelson: We have the weekend to burn all those calories off and walk a while.

Hannah Goodin: So Monday, Dec. 28th, we start at noon and 1:30 with the very first GHSA Women's Flag Football Championships on our air and we are calling those like normal games.

Jon Nelson: As we are looking at it right now, there are two separate classifications for flag football, 6A and 7A. that's one classification. Single-A through 5A is another classification. Right now they're in their semifinals, as you and I are talking. So the semifinals midweek, Hillgrove and Allatoona, West Forsyth and South Forsyth. And in the class Single-A through 5A, it is Northside Columbus and Calvary Day, Greenbrier and Portal. And so that's the way it looks for flag football. But it'll be fun to see that on the state stage with flag football coming to GHSA as a sanctioned sport and a championship.

Hannah Goodin: Yeah, we're going to do a halftime show. You're going to interview the coaches. We're going to show highlights. I mean, it's going to be fun. I'm looking forward to it. I'm all about the girl power.

Jon Nelson: No, but it's going to be cool, though. It's something that's added and it's going to be the early part of that. Monday afternoon is going to be those two flag football finals. And then we're going to have the Single-A championships. Class A-Private will be at 3:30 Monday the 28th, with Prince Avenue Christian and Trinity Christian. And following that at 7:00, it'll be the Class A-Public with the region rematch of Irwin and Brooks.

Hannah Goodin: Then Tuesday, Dec. 29th, we start at noon with Double A, Fitzgerald and Callaway. 3:30 is Class 4A with and Jefferson and 7:00, Class 6A with Lee County and Buford,

Jon Nelson: Which means Wednesday is three, five and seven. So it's flag football and single day on Monday. Your even numbered championships are going to be on Tuesday. Your odd number of championships are Wednesday, the 30th. Noon Eastern: Oconee County and Pierce County. Your 5A will be at 3:30 with Cartersville and Warner Robins, and the last game of the week, Collins Hill and Grayson, 7:00 from Center Park on Wednesday, Dec. 30th.

Hannah Goodin: The only time we can guarantee is the noon time. So if these games are running over, you know, the times can get pushed around and stuff like that.

Jon Nelson: So it's going to be…. All right. So let's see. Noon…

Hannah Goodin: It’s going to be fun.

Jon Nelson: So we're forty eight and….Here we go….

Hannah Goodin: Oh, math.

Jon Nelson: Yeah math, pretty much. So it's going to be 10 championships in about 60 hours.

Hannah Goodin: Wow.

Jon Nelson: And so it'll be fun.

Hannah Goodin: Yep. A lot of fun.

Jon Nelson: It's going to be a lot of work, but it's going to be fun to broadcast the season finale in a three-day miniseries on Georgia Public Broadcasting. Don't forget to download the GPB Sports app available on iOS and Android GPB., the GPB Sports app. It is Instagram. It is YouTube. It is GPB,org where I think we'll be streaming simultaneously.

Hannah Goodin: Twitter and Facebook.

Jon Nelson: On all the social media platforms, all the things that you bookmarked. It is going to be an explosion of sports on GPB.

Hannah Goodin: Speaking of YouTube, all of our interviews will be up -— with the coaches from media days will be up on YouTube and will be on social media starting today.

Jon Nelson: How far out?

Hannah Goodin: We are doing all of the Class A coaches today and I think we're working our way up starting tomorrow. Anyways, today, as in Monday. So by the time this comes out, some of these....

Jon Nelson: Your Single-A and your Double A interviews will be up.

Hannah Goodin: — will be out. So just check our socials @ GPB Sports for all of that stuff.

Jon Nelson: What else you want to talk about before we go?

Hannah Goodin: Well, I mean, it's our last podcast before championships. Of course we’re going to have a recap after.

Jon Nelson: Well, you and I talking.

Hannah Goodin: Yeah, yeah, yeah, we’re going to have a recap after.

Jon Nelson: Matt will be with us Jan. 4th and we'll put a bow on the season.

Hannah Goodin: But I guess what's your biggest takeaway from the season before the championships?

Jon Nelson: That we’re here. I mean, the work — and I talked to the executive director of the GHSA, Dr. Robin Hines, about it at the meeting with the coaches and the administrators and just the fact that the state stayed the course and I can't give enough credit to the GHSA, the coaches, the administrators, the athletic directors, the student athletes themselves to get to this point where we've had — we’re through the semifinals. As you and I are talking, we're getting ready for the state championships. That there are states here in the U.S. that did not have high school football this year. Jake Garcia being the example coming from California because the CIF didn't do anything. So he transferred here to the state of Georgia to play high school football. The state of Georgia has been at the forefront of having high school football, staying as close to scheduled humanly possible. I know that there are some states up north that wanted to do it in the springtime and flip their fall and then spring sports. The GHSA stuck to it. They pushed things back a couple of weeks just to kind of keep an eye on the landscape. We are where we are and a credit goes across the board to everyone that made this season a success.

Hannah Goodin: Yeah, and of course, there's both sides of it. You know, when we were talking about getting ready for the season, I understood if there wasn't going to be a season for health reasons and to save lives and social distancing.

But for these kids, sports is everything.

Jon Nelson: And for these communities and for these schools, everyone attached to a football Friday night. It means so much.

Hannah Goodin: It means it means a lot. It means meals. There are a lot of benefits of having sports go on. And so, I see both sides of things, but I think it was the right decision. Looking back now, everything went — there was, of course, COVID cases and there was quarantines and all of that. But I think it was handled superbly.

Jon Nelson: A tremendous job by everyone attached to football here in the Georgia High School Association and the GISA as well. Anybody that put high school sports on the board this year deserves an incredible amount of credit — as does our intrepid and irreplaceable. Producer, Sean Powers, who's been putting up with this all season long. We're going to be with you for the next couple of weeks. Remember, championships are next week and then we'll put a bow on the show after the championships in 2021.

Hannah Goodin: Hey, happy holidays, everybody.

Jon Nelson: Merry Christmas. Happy holidays to each and every one of you. Thanks for hanging out with us all season long. For Sean and for Hannah. I'm just Jon. Play it safe, everybody, enjoy the championships. We'll catch up with you on the other side.