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Today, we continue our preview of the state semifinals with a look at Class A-Private and Class AA. Check out the left panel for the updated playoff brackets and the pairings for the state semifinals this upcoming Friday.


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In This Issue
Football Playoff Brackets
Semifinal Pairings
Class A-Private Preview
Class AA Preview
Top Stories

When was the last time a Cobb County school won a football state championship?

Today's answer can be found in the newsletter!

Monday's Answer:
Hawkinsville has won five state titles




Friday, Dec. 5




R5 T2 Etowah at R8 T1 Archer

R4 T2 McEachern at R1 T1 Colquitt County




R6 T3 Mays at R4 T1 Stockbridge

R5 T1 Allatoona at R2 T1 Northside-Warner Robins


Class AAAA


R8 T1 Buford at R7 T1 Cartersville

R5 T1 Woodward Academy at R6 T1 St. Pius


Class AAA


R4 T1 Blessed Trinity at R3 T1 Washington County

R4 T3 Westminster at R6 T1 Calhoun


Class AA


R2 T2 Benedictine at R1 T2 Brooks County

R6 T1 GAC at R1 T1 Fitzgerald


Class A-Private


#5 Eagle's Landing Christian at #1 Calvary Day

#3 Mount Paran at #2 Aquinas


Class A-Public


#4 Hawkinsville at #1 Marion County

#6 Commerce at #2 Irwin County


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Tuesday, December 2, 2014

By Lauren Goldstein
Three unbeatens, red-hot Chargers look to punch ticket to Dome

Mount Paran Christian vs. Aquinas


After knocking out Savannah Christian, 35-14, in the Class A-Private quarterfinals, undefeated Mount Paran Christian makes its first-ever trip to the semifinals. The Eagles have been led by an unstoppable running attack that follows lanes paved by 6-foot-9 center Zach Strong. Dorian Walker and Emoni Williams share touches out of the backfield and can score in a variety of ways. In the quarterfinals, Williams returned

Mount Paran Eagles

the opening kickoff for a touchdown before rushing for scores on consecutive snaps in the second half. The Eagles' first varsity season was in 2008 and the program did not win a playoff game until last year's 31-24 win over Our Lady of Mercy in the opening round. The team that sent the Eagles home in the second round last year is the same Aquinas team they'll be facing in the semis. Aquinas held on to a 35-32 win in the quarterfinals last year and Mount Paran will be looking to avoid the same heartbreak felt in last year's loss. Despite, Aquinas' success this season, Mount Paran cruises into the semis as a projected favorite in the Maxwell computer rankings and is two wins away from becoming the first Cobb County school since 1967 to win a state championship. Aquinas topped Tattnall Square 21-6 in the quarterfinals and currently stands at 12-0. The Irish have not lost a game since 2012, after a 14-0 season that led them to their first state title last year against Calvary Day. Senior running back Ruben Garrett put up 273 rushing yards against the Trojans last week, giving him a total of 1,725 rushing yards and 28 touchdowns. The defense held the Trojans to just six points in the game. Quarterback Liam Welch has 1,676 total passing yards with 21 passing touchdowns this season. 


Calvary Day School vs. Eagles Landing Christian


Calvary Day earns its second visit to the state playoffs after a 35-21 victory over Mt. Pisgah Christian in the quarterfinals. The Cavaliers remain undefeated at 12-0 as they are set to play a strong Chargers team. The Cavaliers offense is led by senior running back Ryan Heyward and sophomore quarterback Salvador Calderon. Heyward has picked up 1,157 yards on the ground on 139 carries and has rushed for 19 scores, while Calderon has passed for 1,012 yards and thrown 13 touchdowns. Linebacker Brent Sanders has racked up 46 solo tackles in his three years on the varsity squad. Eagle's Landing started the season at 0-6, but made the playoffs after going undefeated in region play, and now stands 6-6 overall. The Chargers played the first part of their season without quarterback DJ Hammond and tailback Trevor Gear until the transfers became eligible in October. Eagle's Landing has cruised into the semifinals having shut out Athens Christian 34-0 in the first round of playoffs and demolishing Prince Avenue Christian 47-17 in the quarterfinals. The offense dominated the Wolverines as DJ Hammond completed all nine passing attempts for 200 yards while Trevor Gear rushed for 102 yards off 14 carries and a touchdown. As a whole, the Chargers' compiled 525 yards of total offense against the squad it defeated for the 2012 Class A-Private State Championship. Eagle's Landing fell to Calvary Day by 34-35 in overtime of last year's semis.


By Matt Cason
Top-seeded GAC meets South Georgia powers

Brooks County vs. Benedictine


Benedictine's postseason run has relied on a formula that propelled the Cadets to an 8-2 record in the regular season; an overpowering offense featured alongside a smothering defense.Behind the arm of senior quarterback Stevie Powers, the Cadets have rolled off three convincing wins in the playoffs over Thomasville, Rabun County, and defending Class AA state champion Lovett, outscoring the opposition 108-19 during that span. Brad Stewart is one of the state's most productive wideouts and has paced head coach Danny Britt's squad with 59 receptions for 1138 yards and 15 touchdowns. At defensive back, Stewart has picked off a team-high five interceptions to go along with 23 tackles.

Benedictine Military School

He is joined by seniors Jack Muller and Zach Scott, each having logged over 100 tackles on the season, including a combined 19 tackles for loss. Senior Chance Jackson and sophomores John Kennedy and Chris Harris lead Benedictine's rushing attack and this trio enters the matchup having combined to score 34 touchdowns. For Brooks County, this is not the first time that it has faced a highly-ranked team in 2014. During the regular season, Maurice Free-man's Trojans fought to losing efforts against the likes of Ware County, Madison County (Fla.),and Fitzgerald. After the loss to Fitzgerald, the Trojans have rattled off five straight victories to make a second straight appearance in the semifinals. The first three rounds have tested BrooksCounty and each of the three wins has been decided by seven points or less.  After squeaking outa 24-17 win over Bacon County, the Trojans followed it with a 21-14 win over upset-minded Washington-Wilkes in the second round. In the quarterfinals, Brooks County topped Heard County 35-34 where a missed extra point by the Braves proved to be the difference. Quarterback Demontay Jones led the offensive effort last Friday, accounting for all five of Brooks County's touchdowns(three passing and two rushing). This will be the first ever matchup between the two schools


Greater Atlanta Christian vs. Fitzgerald

Fitzgerald is making its first semifinals appearance under third-year head coach Jason Strickland. The Purple Hurricanes come in with a 12-1 record while recording victories over BrooksCounty and Macon County this year. Coach Strickland's squad has won in dominant fashion this year with a 22.2 average margin of victory in its 12 wins. Behind a rushing attack spurred by running back J.D. King and quarterback Gerald Morgan, Fitzgerald has scored 40 or more points in 10of its contests, including a current streak of seven games since its loss to region-foe Thomasville in mid-October. Morgan is the offensive catalyst for the Purple Hurricanes

Photo by Lauren Roberts

and has accounted for 2,150 rushing yards and 26 touchdowns, including three straight games of 200-plus yards. He has also completed 45.7 percent of his passes for 1,246 yards and 15 scores. King has made large contributions his sophomore season and has rushed for 1,425 yards with 15 touchdowns.Despite being considered the number one team in Class AA, Greater Atlanta Christian finds itself on the road after losing the coin flip to determine home field advantage. The Spartans enter the semis with a perfect 13-0 record that has seen them earn marquee victories over No. 2 Vidalia,No. 3 Lovett, and No. 4 Benedictine. With Fitzgerald next on the list, the Spartans look to rely on a suffocating defense that recorded four shutouts during the regular season. Linebacker Tyler Cooksey anchors defense that has allowed only 11 points per game. Darius Slayton and Micah Abernathy have proven to be game changers on both sides of the ball. Abernathy (a Tennessee-commit) made his offensive impact well known against Vidalia in the quarterfinals as he rushed for 186 yards and three touchdowns. The Spartans are appearing in its second semifinal under head coach Tim Hardy, having previously lost to the Jefferson Dragons 42-14 in 2012.




TO: All GHSA-affiliated High School Football Head Coaches
You and one guest are cordially invited to attend the
2014 Salute to Georgia High School Football Reception
Presented by Ford


Saturday, December 13, 2014
9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Georgia Dome-Atlanta Falcons Owners Club
One Georgia Dome Drive
Atlanta, Georgia, 30313
**Lower Level in between section 115-116
R.S.V.P. by Monday, December 1 to (404) 367-2243 or
David Quiroga at

With the start time of 10 a.m. on Saturday, December 13th for the first State Championship game, this reception invite allows you and a guest to enjoy a meal, mingle with fellow coaches as well as the 2014 Classification Coaches of the Year, Warrick Dunn Captain in the Community of the Year and the Lifetime Achievement winner. Additionally, you will have the opportunity to win a number of prizes for your outstanding commitment to the sport of football.

As in previous years, the Atlanta Falcons would like to extend the opportunity to the first 50 coaches that R.S.V.P. for the reception to receive two tickets to the Falcons vs. Carolina Panthers game on Sunday, December 28, 2014 at 1 p.m. at the Georgia Dome. If interested, please make sure to mention when you R.S.V.P. and David Quiroga will follow-up with a confirmation of attendance and tickets.

Should you decide to stay in Atlanta, we recommend the following hotels within six blocks of the Georgia Dome: Omni at CNN Center (404) 659-0000, Embassy Suites (404) 223-2300, Residence Inn by Marriott (404) 522-0950, and Quality Hotel (404) 524-7991.



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