Class 5A

Ware County vs. Warner Robins

Ware County Gators

Coach: Jason Strickland

GPB Ranking, record: No. 1, 13-0. Region 1 champion.

Playoff results: d. Jones County 55-12, d. Chamblee 24-7, d. Calhoun 35-0, d. Dutchtown 31-7.

Top players: LB Trey Hargrove, QB Niko Smith, RB Dae’Jeaun Dennis,  WR Jarvis Hayes, PK Henry Bates, OL Sharvon Pierce, RB Reggie Boyd,

Notable: Smith stepped in to replace all-state quarterback Thomas Castellanos and has thrown for 2,236 yards and 24 touchdowns. Dennis (1,149 yards) and Boyd (829 yards) have combined for more than 2,000 yards and 25 touchdowns. The Gators defense, led by Hargrove, has been outstanding all season. The unit has shutout three opponents (including Calhoun), limited nine opponents to single-digit points and not allowed more than two touchdowns all season.  Ware defeated Class 4A finalists Benedictine 14-10 during the regular season.

Warner Robins Demons

Coach: Marquis Westbrook

GPB Ranking, record: No. 8, 10-4. Region 2 runner-up.

Playoff results: d. Jenkins 31-13, d. Northside Columbus 38-7, d. Creekside 31-28, d. Cartersville 35-10.

Top players: DL Vic Burley, RB Malcolm Brown, DB Elijah Antonio, LB Dominick Faircloth, QB Isaih Canion, PK Daniel Barber, WR Chase Flowers,

Notable: Canion stepped in when Chase Reese was injured at QB and has led the team through the playoffs. Brown, who injured his knee about this time last year, is coming his best game, a 190-yard performance against Cartersville. The defense features soon-to-be three-time all-state lineman Vic Burley, a quick, powerful force who is versatile enough to play tight end or fullback. Faircloth leads the team with 85 tackles. The Demons are playing in the state championship game for the sixth straight season and have won two straight in dominating fashion. A win would be the seventh in program history, something only eight other GHSA teams have accomplished.

Series: Warner Robins leads the series 3-1, but Ware County won 29-21 during 2021 regular season, which turned out to be for the Region 1 championship.