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State football playoffs start Friday
When the players and coaches are sweating through spring practices and two and three a days during the summer, it is the possibility of playing games in the middle of November and beyond that push them forward. It will be cooler then, both temperature wise and in the slangy sense of the word.
Sandy Creek Patriots (10-0) vs. Chamblee Bulldogs (6-4)
Nothing is cooler than entering the state playoffs at home and undefeated. The Sandy Creek Patriots won a region title last Friday and hope to push themselves to the second round of the state playoffs with a win this Friday over Chamblee . The Patriots tested themselves early this year and got wins over East Coweta and Shaw in the first two weeks, letting them and their fans know that the sky was the limit this season. In their six region games, Sandy Creek allowed a total of 28 points and posted three shutouts, while scoring 114 points in six weeks. Still, when they need to dig deep in the Class AAAA playoffs, they will remember the overtime win over East Coweta and the one point win over Shaw as reminders that they were tested and they answered the call.
The Chamblee Bulldogs won two games in a row to end the regular season, beating Stone Mountain 21-6 and Miller Grove 14-0. Their four losses have been by a total of 16 points, while their wins have been by an average of 28 points, so the Bulldogs know how to keep it close against tough teams and take care of business amongst the rest. Both the Patriots and Bulldogs defenses are tough with Chamblee giving up 78 points total this year and Sandy Creek allowing only 75. Chamblee’s offense has scored 232 points this season, while the Patriots have scored 226.
The winner of this game will take on the winner of Rome and Apalachee.
Whitewater Wildcats (7-3) @ Tucker Tigers (9-1)
Whitewater avenged a September loss to Mays last week and made the state playoffs as the third seed from region 5-AAAA. They have won five games in a row since a three game losing streak that pitted them against teams that were, or are currently, ranked in the top 10 of their respective classifications. Those three losses were by a total of 14 points, so the Wildcats know how close heartbreak is to triumph. Whitewater gave up 54 points in region play and 24 of those points were scored by the region champs, Sandy Creek. In that span though, Whitewater scored 140 points and they did it with a varied personnel. The Wildcats defense can be ferocious, but it is a balanced offense that can sustain drives and drive opponents crazy.
The Tucker Tigers’ one loss was a 38-0 drubbing by Marist, the fourth ranked team in Class AAAA. In their nine victories, Tucker, ranked fifth in Class AAAA, tended to look dominant with only two of their wins by seven points or less. Tucker has scored more points than Whitewater this year (303-240) and allowed less (102-119). Tucker recorded three shutouts this year and allowed seven points or less in six of their wins.
Friday’s game will be played at Adams, DeKalb.
The winner of this game will meet the winner of Loganville and Hillgrove.
Landmark War Eagles (6-4) @ Bremen Blue Devils (9-1)
Landmark Christian School’s streak of winning or tying for the region title was snapped this year. The War Eagles opened with a tough loss to Brookstone and then won four games in a row before losing by one point to Whitefield Academy, getting slammed by Holy Innocents (31-6) and then falling in a tough contest with Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy (13-9). In the final two weeks of the season, against lesser opponents, Landmark scored 87 points and allowed 13. Their defense can change games with turnovers and their offense can be explosive, but Friday’s opponent is a familiar one and will present a challenge for Landmark.
The Bremen Blue Devils lost to Rockmart 39-20 on Sept. 12. Since then they have gone 7-0 and flattened their opponents recording three shutouts and holding opponents to 6 points or less in six of those seven games. Only Trion scored twice on Bremen during their winning streak and they lost to the Blue Devils 49-14. Bremen has won the last five games against Landmark dating back to 2004.
The winner of this game will meet the winner of Athens Academy and Washington Wilkes.