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Today, we continue our state championship previews with a look at Class A-Public and Class AA. Check out the left panel for updated brackets and the championship schedule.


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Football Playoff Brackets
Class A-Private Preview
Class A-Private Preview
Top Stories

How many touchdowns did UGA-commit Darius Slayton score in GAC's win over Benedictine this year?

Today's answer can be found in the newsletter!

Monday's Answer:
Prior to Mt. Paran's state finals berth this season, Walton (2011) was the last team to make the finals from Cobb County. 




(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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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

By Kyle Sandy
Hawkinsville defense aims to continue success


Hawkinsville 12-1, No. 3 Seed


Defense wins championships, or at least that's what Hawkinsville hopes to prove. The Red Devils have allowed just seven points per game and 127 yards per game this season leading all of Class A in the category. Senior Cal George leads the defense with six interceptions.

Hawkinsville Red Devils

Hawkinsville's season high in points allowed is 14 in what resulted in a 20-14 win over Jenkins County in the first round. David Daniell has overseen the growth of a four win team just two seasons ago into 12 victories this year and a chance for the program's sixth state title. Heavily reliant on their defense, the Red Devils score only 23 points per game, third-lowest in Region 4. Dakota Sloan has thrown for 651 yards and rushed for 458 in the Red Devils ground and pound attack. Reginald McDonald has rushed for 623 yards and seven scores while Malik Holliman and Warren Singletary both have 250 yards rushing.

The Red Devils faced their first test of the season when they hosted No. 5 Dooly County back in October. Dooly entered 4-1 with Hawkinsville 6-0. The Red Devils broke a 13-13 tie heading into the fourth quarter using touchdown runs from Dakota Sloan and Warren Singletary to ice the game 28-13. Sloan carried for 80 yards and Singletary ran for 62 as Hawkinsville outgained Dooly 318 to 131.

The following week, defending champs Marion County handed the Devils their lone defeat 13-6. Although Marion County only gained 208 yards, they still managed to knock the Red Devils from the unbeatens. Hawkinsville beat Jenkins County 20-14 before its 12-6 overtime win over No. 4 Charlton County to set up a rematch with Marion. Tyler Brown hit a 26-yard field goal with 13 seconds left to upset Marion County 15-13. Reginald McDonald ran for 108 yards as the Red Devils managed to control the clock (29 minutes of possession) and keep the explosive Eagles offense off the field.


Irwin County 11-1-1, No. 2 Seed

Buddy Nobles' first season as head coach got off to a surprising start for the Indians. A Week 1 matchup with Early County resulted in a 7-7 tie after both coaches agreed before the game that if the situation arose, they would settle for a tie since the game was not a region match.

Photo by Irwin County Football

After the unpolished Week 1 performance the Indians seemed to get back on track when they thumped Berrien 49-20, however, Class AA Fitzgerald gave Irwin a taste of their own medicine the following week beating the Indians 40-12. The taste must have stuck in Irwin's mouth, because since that game the Indians have reeled off 10 straight wins while averaging 38.5 points per game.


Irwin County drilled No. 5 Charlton County 41-14 after Charlton entered the game 5-0. The Indians' high-powered offense went untested the rest of the regular season outscoring opponents by an average of 32 points. The Indians use a powerful rushing attack to overwhelm opponents. Zach Tolar lines up under center at quarterback, but prefers to do his damage with his legs. DJ Pollard, Robert Moore, Ty Hogan, and Jakyron Young all make up one of Class A's most feared ground games.


The Indians shutout Atkinson County in round one 28-0 to set up a meeting with No. 5 Dooly County. Irwin's offense sputtered early and found itself in a 7-6 hole in the second half. Coach Nobles didn't panic and saw his team respond with 20 unanswered points led by 118 yards rushing and a score from Robert Moore to help Irwin advance 40-29. A semifinal date with No. 7 Commerce was much of the same. Jakyron Young scored four times in the second half to lead the Indians to a 28-7 win after trailing at the half. Young would finish with 199 yards while DJ Pollard added 91 of his own.

Class A-Public Skinny

The title game will be a contrast in methods but not in how both teams will try and move the ball. Irwin County looks to light up the scoreboard coming in averaging 34 points per game, while Hawkinsville likes to control the tempo with their offense and suffocate opposing teams defensively. The Red Devils have held their opponents to under 100 yards of total offense six times this season. On offense, both teams heavily rely on their rushing game. Irwin will try to break off quick scores, while Hawkinsville is content with a methodical pace of moving the ball down the field trying to take time off the clock. Playing its slow grind-it-out style of play, Hawkinsville has found itself in many tight games but has found ways to win. Aside from its lone loss, Irwin's closest game has been a seven point win over Atkinson County. Jakyron Young and Reginald McDonald may be the game changers for their respective teams.

By Kyle Sandy
First-ever title at stake in anticipated rematch


Benedictine Cadets: 12-2, Region 2 No. 2 Seed


Head Coach Danny Britt has the Cadets clicking on all cylinders heading into the Dome. Benedictine is the classification's top scoring offense, averaging 44 points per game. Last season the Cadets posted a school record 13 wins, but fell to Lamar County 10-7 in the semifinals. 

Benedictine Military School

Benedictine will have a chance for revenge against Greater Atlanta Christian after the Spartans knocked off the Cadets 24-21 to open the season. After the loss, the Cadets rolled off five straight wins. Their second loss of the season came against Vidalia 35-28. The Cadets bounced back strongly and averaged 47.9 points per game in their 12 wins including outbursts of 70, 63 and 62.


Senior quarterback Stevie Powers is one of the state's most prolific passers throwing for 2,993 yards with 29 touchdowns and just six interceptions. He was very efficient in his first meeting against GAC throwing for 274 yards and two touchdowns while running one in. Powers, a Southern Mississippi commit for baseball, threw for a combined 805 yards in wins over Wayne County and Jeff Davis. His favorite target is Brad Stewart. The three-star wide receiver hauled in 409 yards and three scores in the same two-game span. Stewart has 1,244 yards on 64 catches with 17 touchdowns this season.

The Cadets are strong on both sides of the ball and Benedictine also led the region defensively allowing just 11 points per game. The Cadets have outscored their opponents 157-26 thus far in the playoffs including routs of No. 10 Thomasville, No. 3 Lovett, and No. 6 Brooks County.  Benedictine has recorded 25 sacks while intercepting 19 passes this season. Two-way standout Stewart leads the team with five interceptions. The strong run game of John Kennedy (932 yards) and Chance Jackson (785 yards) makes Benedictine balanced and keeps opposing defenses guessing.


Greater Atlanta Christian: 14-0, Region 6 No. 1 Seed


The undefeated Spartans are a far cry from their 1-9 record five years ago. Head Coach Tim Hardy has compiled a 34-6 record in his three years with the program and now has sights set on the program's first state title. GAC rolled through the regular season racking up some big wins along the way. The Spartans knocked off visiting Benedictine to open the season 24-21 after a monster performance from wide receiver Darius Slayton.

Photo by Erin Sheppard

The UGA-commit caught eight balls for 186 yards and three touchdowns, including the game winner.

The Spartans scheduled stiff out-of-class games including North Oconee and Eagle's Landing Christian, who is in the Class-A Private state championship. GAC handled North Oconee 28-10, and defeated Eagle's Landing 23-16 on the road. Once getting into region play, the Spartans began to roll outscoring their next five opponents by 37 points per game. GAC received a scare when it played No. 3 Lovett but the Spartans knocked off defending state champion Lovett for the first time in eight years, 14-7. Davis Mills threw two touchdowns in the win and the Spartan defense was able to hold off a late Lovett rally. Since entering the playoffs, each game has gotten closer. GAC started off the postseason drumming Chattahoochee County 41-13. Next the Spartans defeated last season's state runner-up Lamar County 48-20. 

Undefeated No. 2 Vidalia was next in line for the Spartan buzzsaw. Tennessee-commit Micah Abernathy run for 194 yards and three scores as the Spartans jumped out to a 21-0 lead and never looked back. The semifinals produced a scare against No. 5 Fitzgerald. GAC led 41-27 but two late scores knotted the game at 41. Will Kenworthy booted 21-yarder as time expired for a 44-41 win. Abernathy carried the load with 259 yards and two scores.


One of these two schools will be crowned state champs for the first time in program history, but raising the trophy won't be easy for these two familiar teams. It was a nip-and-tuck game when Benedictine fell at Greater Atlanta Christian in Week 1 24-21. The game was as even as it gets, with the Cadets totaling 392 yards while the Spartans gained 414. A pair of SEC-commits lead the GAC offense. Darius Slayton torched the Cadets for 186 receiving yards in their first meeting while Micah Abernathy has run wild in the playoffs. The Cadets will need QB Stevie Powers to find Brad Stewart on the outside. GAC lost the turnover battle last time they played but they may not be able to afford doing so again. Keep an eye on whether Benedictine's defense can slow down the Spartans speed. GAC held the Cadet's No. 1 Class AA scoring offense to a season low 21 points when they met.


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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