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Today, we begin our state championship previews with a look at Class A-Private as Mt. Paran and ELCA prep for a rematch of their season openers. Check out the left panel for updated brackets and the championship schedule.


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In This Issue
Football Playoff Brackets
Class A-Private Preview
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What was the last Cobb County team to reach the state finals before Mount Paran?

Today's answer can be found in the newsletter!

Saturday's Answer:
Aquinas had won 26 straight games prior to its loss to Mount Paran in the semifinals. 




(All games at Georgia Dome)



Saturday, Dec. 13 (8 PM)

Archer vs. Colquitt County



Friday, Dec. 12 (8 PM)

Mays vs. Northside-WR


Class AAAA

Saturday, Dec. 13 (4:30 PM)

St. Pius vs. Buford


Class AAA

Friday, Dec. 12 (4:30 PM)

Calhoun vs. Washington County


Class AA

Saturday, Dec. 13 (1 PM)

Benedictine vs. Greater Atlanta Christian


Class A-Public

Friday, Dec. 12 (1 PM)

Hawkinsville vs. Irwin County


Class A-Private

Saturday, Dec. 13 (10 AM)

ELCA vs. Mt. Paran


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Monday, December 8, 2014

By Brian Jones
Mount Paran eyes first state championship


Eagle's Landing Christian 7-6, No. 5 Seed


Eagle's Landing Christian got off to a very slow start to the season as they opened with six straight losses. The Chargers first game was against their state title opponent, Mount Paran Christian, and resulted in a 31-14 loss. From there the Chargers would face Class AAAAA semifinalist Stockbridge, Class AA state finalist Greater Atlanta Christian, Mount Pisgah, Whitewater and Class AAAA semifinalist Woodward Academy and would score more than 20 points only once in that span. 


Once Chargers got into region play however, they won the next four games to win the region title and lock up a No. 5 seed in the playoffs.  In the Chargers first round game against Athens Christian,

ELCA Chargers

they won easily 34-0. Quarterback D.J. Hammond rushed for 144 yards and three touchdowns while Trevor Gear added a 25-yard score. In the quarterfinal matchup against Prince Avenue Christian, the Chargers won big again 47-17. Hammond was nearly unstoppable, completing all eight of his passes for 147 yards and two touchdowns. He also added 82 rushing yards and three touchdowns. 

ELCA visited top-seeded Calvary Day for the semifinals and held on for a 14-7 win. Hammond ran for an 8-yard score in the first quarter and threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to Evan Lewis in the second quarter. Hammond and Gear were not part of the team to start the season because they were both transfers and did not gain eligibility until October. Hammond has nine touchdown passes and has over 900 yards passing since taking over in the fourth game of the year. Gear has also been big for the Chargers, rushing for 102 yards and one touchdown in the win over Prince Avenue. Other players that have contributed are linebacker Chase Burdette and defensive lineman Nick Dawson. Burdette has over 120 tackles and Dawson is one of the more sought after recruits in the state.


Mount Paran Christian 13-0, No. 3 seed


Mount Paran head coach Mitch Jordan has built the program into a force in Class A and the Eagles are looking to win their first ever state title. Since the Eagles lost to Aquinas last year in the quarterfinals, they have appeared to only be getting better week-to-week. Mount Paran started the season with a convincing win over their state championship

Mount Paran Eagles

opponent Eagle's Landing Christian and never looked back, finishing the regular season with a 10-0 mark. The Eagles started the playoffs with a first round matchup against Strafford Academy and won 45-14. Quarterback Jake Allen threw two touchdown passes while running back Emoni Williams scored all three of his touchdowns in the first half. The Eagles went on to take on Savannah Christian and won big again 35-14. Williams had a 99-yard kickoff return to open the game and scored two touchdowns in the third quarter. 

In the semifinals, the Eagles got a rematch against Aquinas and this time they were able to come out on top with a 34-14 win. Dorian Walker scored four touchdowns to snap the Irish's 26-game win streak. The Eagles rushed for 414 yards on 54 carries in the win. Mount Paran has only won 26 games coming into the 2013 season, but the Eagles are 22-3 since. The Eagles are also the first team from Cobb County to reach the state finals since Walton did it in 2011. One of the reasons for their success is the play of Walker who has rushed for over 2,000 yards this season. Walker has gotten offers to play at Cincinnati, Memphis and Purdue. Williams has also been a force as a running back and receiver, and Allen has been one of the more efficient quarterbacks in the state. Another player to watch is Taylor Trammell who has rushed for over 700 yards this season.


The Skinny

This is not the first time these two teams have met this season as both Mount Paran and Eagle's Landing Christian faced off in the regular season opener, and the Eagles came out on top 31-14.  Dorian Walker was big for the Eagles, rushing for 147 yards and one touchdown in the win. Emoni Williams was also a key player for the Eagles as he scored on a 66-yard reception.

The biggest difference between their previous meeting and the game on Saturday is Eagle's Landing Christian will have two players they didn't have in the season opener. Quarterback D.J. Hammond and running back Trevor Gear could not play until October, but when they were ruled eligible, the Chargers rolled and have never looked back.

Both teams can run the ball effectively, have efficient in the passing game and are stout on defense. This has the makings to be the best finals game of the weekend. 



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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