GHSA State Finals

The Last Team Standing

By: Kenneth Harrison news services

The GHSA Championships are over and we have champions for each division. Let’s take a look at each one.

AAAAAAA Marietta 17, Lowndes 9:  I said before the season started the Blue Devils are loaded with talent. Despite that, they lost two games during the season. Lowndes (14-1) was undefeated before the game and nationally ranked in the top 10.

Marietta scored all of their points in the first half. Five-star tight end Arik Bailey dropped a pass in the end zone before halftime and the Blue Devils had to settle for a field goal. Bailey had a big game with 11 receptions for 146 yards.

The season is not over though because they will play in the GEICO State Champions Bowl Series against Eastside Catholic from Sammamish, Washington.

AAAAAA Harrison 20, Allatoona 7: The No.2 Hoyas (15-0) converted two blocked field goals and an interception into 17 points and turned what otherwise had been a tight game into a win.

Both teams are from Cobb County and in the same region so this was a rivalry game. The two games against Allatoona were Harrison’s two closest games of the season.

The No. 7 Buccaneers, playing in its second state final in five seasons, finished 11-3-1.

AAAAA Buford 17, Warner Robbins 14: The win gave No.5 Buford (14-1) its 12th state championship and first since 2014. It marked the third straight season that No. 2 Warner Robins (13-2) has fallen short in the title game.

The game went to overtime and Jamarius Isaac got an interception on Warner Robbins first possession.

The Wolves ran two plays and advanced the ball to the 7 before calling on Hayden Olsen, who drilled the ball through the uprights for the winning 24-yard field goal.

AAAA Blessed Trinity 17, Oconee County 14: The Titans (14-1) won their third consecutive championship in a very tough game. Tailback Elijah Green, a North Carolina commit rushed 21 times for 203 yards and two touchdowns. Both scores came in the final two minutes of the first half.

Green’s most important carry may have been his last. On fourth-and-2 at the 6 late in the game, Green plowed off tackle for a first down, which enabled BT to run out the clock.

AAA Cedar Grove 21, Crisp County 14: The Saints (13-2) defended their 2018 title. This is their third championship in four years. This is coach Miguel Patrick’s first year, replacing Jimmy Smith, who became an assistant at Georgia State.

Running back Chavon Wright finished with 20 carries for 140 yards and two scores.

AA Dublin 42, Brooks County 32: The No. 5 Fighting Irish (14-1) won a slugfest without attempting a pass and scoring six rushing touchdowns spread across three running backs and their QB. This is Dublin’s first title since splitting AA with Charlton County.

A Private ELCA 33, Wesleyan 13: Behind the four-touchdown performance of running back Keaton Mitchell, the No. 3-ranked Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy Chargers won a record fifth straight state championship on Friday, a 33-13 victory over No. 5 Wesleyan in the Class A Private championship at Georgia State Stadium.

ELCA (13-1) became the first GHSA team to win five straight titles, breaking a tie with West Rome (1982-85) and Buford (2007-10). ELCA’s graduating class finished with a 54-2 record and the team’s record over the last five seasons is 65-5.

A Public Irwin County 56, Marion County 14: The Indians (13-0) won their first title since 1975. In six seasons coach Buddy Nobles, who is battling Stage 4 stomach cancer, has led the Indians to the state finals five times.

Bringing Home The Hardware


By: Kenneth Harrison Jr. news services

The 2016 Georgia state championships are in the books and eight champions have been crowned. This is the last year it will be held at the Georgia Dome before moving next door to the new Mercedes Benz Stadium and there were some memorable games.

The first game was the single A private school championship played Friday morning between Eagles Landing Christian Academy and Fellowship Christian School. The game went to double overtime with the ELCA Chargers winning 34-27.

The Class A public game was very one sided. Macon County beat McIntosh Academy 35-0. Macon County only led 7-0 until the final seconds of the 3rd quarter before scoring on four consecutive possessions. This is their second state championship and first in 20 years.

The AA game was also not close. Benedictine defeated Fitzgerald 49-26. Benedictine scored on its first five possessions to take a 35-6 first half lead. This is their second state title and first since 2014. They are the first Savannah school to win two state championships and this is their first undefeated full season since starting football in 1908.

The AAA game featured two metro Atlanta teams, Cedar Grove from Dekalb County and Greater Atlanta Christian from Gwinnett County. The Saints took a 23-3 lead with 1:09 left in the first half after Tre Shaw returned an interception 34-yards for a touchdown. Cedar Grove beat GAC 30-19 to win their first state title.

Cartersville and Thomson played for the AAAA championship. The Purple Hurricanes destroyed Thomson 58-7. This was the second-most points scored in GHSA finals history. Cartersville has won 30 consecutive games since they have had two consecutive 15-0-championship seasons.

The 5A game saw perennial power Buford match up with Rome. Both teams have the same Wolves mascot. Rome iced the game by scoring on an 18-yard naked bootleg on fourth-and-inches with 1:12 remaining in the 4th quarter. They won 16-7 giving Rome their first title since opening in 1992. Before East and West Rome merged to form Rome High they combined for seven state titles from 1965 to 1985.

Valdosta beat Tucker 17-7 in the 6A championship. The Wildcats scored on their first two possessions to take a 14-0 lead. This is Valdosta’s first title since 1998 but they did extend their state record to 24 state championships. Alan Rodemaker became the first Valdosta head coach to win a state title in his first season.

The final game was the heavy weight 7A match up between Grayson and Roswell. This is the first year of 7A and it looks like Gwinnett County will continue to dominate the state’s largest classification. The Grayson Rams are ranked in the top 5 nationally.

The Hornets from Roswell were undefeated, ranked No. 2 in the state and appeared in their second consecutive state championship. The Hornets dominated the game and led for most of it. Grayson took their first lead of the game with 1:04 remaining. The Hornets scored on a 20-yard touchdown pass from Malik Willis to Kentrell Barber on the final play of regulation to tie the game 20-20. The Rams won in overtime 23-20. This is Grayson’s second state title and first since 2011 when they were led by Robert Nkemdiche. Head coach Jeff Herron became the first coach to win state titles at three Georgia schools (Oconee County & Camden County were the others).