Cream Of The Crop

By: Kenneth Harrison news services

The Georgia high school football state championships are set. They will be played December 11 – 13 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Let’s take a look at some of the matchups.

Class 7A

No. 8 Milton (12-2) beat No. 6 Grayson (11-3) 45–35.

Miami-committed QB Luke Nickel was 31-of-50 passing for 434 yards and four touchdowns. He had a pair of 100-yard receivers: C.J. Wiley (10-136-1) and Tristan Payne (8-148-2). Milton led in total yards 588-424.

Milton won the state championship in 2018 and they are in their third state championship in six seasons.

No. 5 Walton (14-0) beat Camden County (10-4) 41–25. Wake Forest-committed QB Jeremy Hecklinski was 16-of-23 passing for 317 yards and six touchdowns.

Walton led 21-0 at halftime, then only 21-17 in the third quarter after Camden County returned an interception for a touchdown, but Hecklinski rebounded with TD passes on Walton’s next three possessions. Hunter Teal had six receptions for 163 yards.

Makari Bodiford rushed for 108 yards. Wendell Gregory had three tackles for losses. This is Walton’s second state finals appearance, the first since their 2011 runner-up finish.

This will be the first championship game in the highest classification without a Gwinnett or South Georgia team since 1985 (Clarke Central vs. Warner Robins).

Class 6A

No. 2 Thomas County Central (14-0) beat No. 7 Marist (12-2) 13–7. TCC took a 13-0 lead in the first half with 1-yard runs by Ezekial Bogan and Trey Brenton, the first after a 16-play, 80-yard drive, the second after the first of three lost Marist fumbles.

Brenton rushed for 195 yards and a touchdown on 29 carries.

This is the first state championship game for the Yellow Jackets since 2002. They have defeated five top-10 teams on the road this season and broke Marist’s 14-game home playoff winning streak.

No. 10 Woodward Academy (12-2) beat No. 4 Douglas County (13-1) 24–21. Woodward trailed 14-0 in the first half.

Landon Walker was 15-of-22 passing for 152 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for 61 yards.

This is their first state final appearance since 1980 when they won the 3A title.

Class 5A

No. 2 Creekside (13-1) ended Jefferson’s (13-1) undefeated season, 28-17. The Seminoles overcame a 14-0 first half deficit.

Vinson Berry was 14-of-25 passing for 178 yards and two touchdowns.

Shane Kelley had eight receptions for 90 yards. Roderick McCrary rushed for 123 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries.

Creekside forced three turnovers and held Jefferson to 204 total yards.

This is Creekside’s second state finals appearance, the first since their 2013 5A championship.

No. 3 Coffee (14-0) beat No. 1 Cartersville (13-1) 33-18. The Trojans built a 24-0 lead so the game was never close. This is their second finals appearance, the first since 2017 when they lost.

Class 4A

No. 6 Perry (12-2) defeated Starr’s Mill (10-4) 28-24. Colter Ginn was 20-of-31 passing for 382 yards and two touchdowns.

Kory Pettigrew (4-131-1) and Dakarai Anderson (8-166-1) each had more than 100 receiving yards.

Ahmad Gordon rushed for 71 yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries. This is Perry’s first state finals appearance and they started playing football in 1954.

No. 7 Stockbridge (12-2) defeated No. 1 Benedictine (13-1) 45-31. North Carolina State-committed RB Jayden “Duke” Scott rushed for 310 yards on 27 carries and scored 3 touchdowns.

This is also the first state title appearance for the Tigers, which started football in 1964.