North Hall’s football program is in pretty good company these days. With a win on Friday at The Brickyard, the third-ranked Trojans (11-0) would be playing in the state quarterfinals for the third time in the past four seasons.
And this time around, Washington County isn’t standing in North Hall’s crosshairs (Trojan fans pause for a collective sigh).
Since 2004, the Trojans have strung together a 40-7 record, which is only misleading by the fact of a 6-4 record in 2005. That’s a far cry from 63-0 blowouts back in the day.
Let’s pan out and put North Hall’s success in recent seasons under a statewide microscope.
Buford, Hawkinsville, Lincoln County, Peach County, Charlton County and Shaw are the teams that played in the state quarterfinals in 2004, 2005 and 2006. The top-ranked Wolves (11-0), Charlton County, Lincoln County and Shaw are still in the running to make it four in a row. I smell yet another Buford/Charlton County playoff game on the horizon!
So who’s in the same boat with the Trojans looking to make it three out of the last four seasons in the quarterfinals? That little club includes Lowndes, Camden County, Clinch County, Dublin, Northside-Warner Robins, Rome and Carrollton. Pretty high-browed football programs to have a common bond with.
Even programs as historically strong as Washington County, Commerce, Dalton, Statesboro, LaGrange, Valdosta and Gwinnett football snobs Parkview and Brookwood fall short of this criteria for recent quarterfinals appearances.
While I’m at it I’d like to thank the LaGrange fans for the feedback last week saying I was crazy for saying it would have a tough time getting past Middle Georgia sleeper Perry in the first round. Oh wait, the Panthers won. (I’m sticking with my original brackets with North Hall/Perry playing for a spot in the semifinals.)
The only thing that stands between North Hall and another date in the quarterfinals is Region 6-AAA’s No. 3 seed Sandy Creek (7-4). The Patriots made it past the first round with a thrashing of Hart County last Friday in Hartwell.
Before this season, the Patriots claim to fame in football was the teams that went undefeated in the regular season in 2003 and 2004 only to fall on their face in the playoffs. Well, that and a guy that caught some passes at Sandy Creek by name of Calvin Johnson, who rolled the dice and thought he might be good enough for the NFL after three seasons at Georgia Tech.
Good call. Drafting Johnson second overall, Detroit drafted a receiver in the first round for like the 23rd straight season. This one might just pan out a little better than Mike Williams and Charlie Rogers. Who knew one guy could turn the Lions into a winner? Purrr.
This season, Sandy Creek is either one of two teams. The Patriots are either the contender that picked off Cass and Region 6-AAA champion Carrollton (10-1) during the regular season, or they are either the team that layed an egg against McIntosh (2-8) and Cartersville (4-5-1).
We’ll all find out on Friday night at The Brickyard.
With a win, North Hall’s football program can once again solidify a name for itself among the big boys on the block.
Since I was on point with first round predictions (minus Hart County), I’ll give some more predictions from AAA for this week. I see a couple upsets this week on the horizon.
I’ll say No. 2 seed Shaw is going to knock off No. 1 seed Cairo. The Raiders beat Peach County, 40-0, last Friday, and that should be good enough to knock off the Syrupmakers.
Also look for No. 2 seed Westminster to oust No. 1 seed Carrollton Friday night. The Wildcats showed me a lot shutting down the Red Elephants offense. They should be able to do the same to the Carrollton Trojans.