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Georgia State Finals: Previews and Predictions | News

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Georgia State Finals: Previews and Predictions
News

ATLANTA -- This weekend, 10 teams play for a state championship.

Four teams have been in this position as recently as last season; others have never played for a state title. Some teams are facing opponents their schools have never faced. Some schools were predicted to win a state championship before the playoffs started. Other schools were predicted to lose as early as the second round.

All 10 teams have taken different paths, but they are all in the same position now.

What should the fans expect to see? Atlanta.HighSchoolSports.net previews all five games and the computer tool Massey Matchups predicts the exact score and point spread of each matchup.

CLASS 5A: Colquitt County at Brookwood

Going into the playoffs, Colquitt County was 5-5, seeded third, and had lost their final game of the regular season to Valdosta. Now, the Packers have won four straight games and are coming off their biggest win of the season, a 31-24 victory over streaking Grayson. The Moultrie team wins by outscoring their opponents, and while that seems to be the world's most obvious statement, it takes on a special meaning with Colquitt County. The Packers have scored 27 points or more for 13 straight games, including eight games in which they scored at least 34 points. Their defense has given up at least 14 points in every game this season and average giving up 30 points per game.

Brookwood came into the playoffs on a seven game winning streak, having only lost to Dacula 24-14. The Broncos recovered from that loss and went on to win Region 8-5A title. In the playoffs, they beat Alpharetta 44-13, topped Norcross 34-24, beat a road warrior Hillgrove team 45-35, and systematically took down Collins Hill in the semifinals. Brookwood is a balanced team that plays solid defense, but can win a shootout if it comes to that. They showed that against Hillgrove.

Massey Prediction: Brookwood wins 38-28

Class 4A: Chattahoochee at Starr's Mill

Nobody really expected both of these teams to be undefeated and playing for their first state championship, but that is why they play the games. Chattahoochee's offense has been as dynamic as any in the state, scoring at least 31 points in every game but last week's 22-21 win over Statesboro. In that game, Chattahoochee's offense was slowed down, but got the job done at the end, winning on a last-second field goal. The week before that, the Cougars scored 37 points on a Dutchtown team that had not given up a single point in their first and second round games.

Starr's Mill has been impressive all season, but still had some doubters. That is, until they beat Tucker, who had been one of 4A's most dominant teams. The Panthers have shut out five teams and have held opponents to single-digits nine times. They scored 41 points or more in six games. Like Chattahoochee, the Panthers' lowest point total came in the semifinals.

Massey Prediction: Starr's Mill wins 35-28

UPDATE: Chattahoochee wins 24-0

Class 3A: Sandy Creek at Carrollton

Sandy Creek won 14 straight games last year and took home the 4A state championship last season. Then, they were reclassified in 3A and once again, went to work. The Fighting Patriots have won all 14 games this year and beat defending 3A champ Peach County 35-17 last week. In the postseason, Sandy Creek has outscored opponents 168-20. The only times they have looked truly human were against Whitewater in their season opener and in their 10-0 win over 2-8 Fayette County in late October. Sandy Creek is big up front and has athletes that can make plays, especially in the passing game.

Carrollton is also undefeated and was dominant in the regular season. Carrollton's biggest win was its 17-0 win over Cairo, who was undefeated. Carrollton's defense has shut out six opponents and averages giving up only seven points per game. Their offense has scored at least 42 points 11 times.

Massey Prediction: Carrollton wins 33-20

Class 2A: Calhoun at Buford

This is not the first time these two teams have met for the 2A title. This is not the second time. These two teams will play for the 2A state championship for the third year in a row. In 2008, Buford beat the Yellow Jackets 45-21. Last year, Calhoun got closer to winning, but Buford still edged them out 13-10.

This year, Buford's season has looked like this: dominate Region 8-3A champion Gainesville 40-19, lose to Carver-Columbus 14-0, dominate 10 straight opponents, beat Cook 21-14, and finally, beat Lovett 53-13. The Wolves, who are playing their usual tough brand of football, are going for their fourth straight state championship.

Calhoun is hoping not to lose its third straight championship. They went through the regular season without many problems, but the Yellow Jackets had to face one of 2A's toughest playoff draws. They beat Manchester 44-8, Westminster 36-19, Fitzgerald 31-13, and Carver-Columbus 27-14. Calhoun has not passed as much as they did last year, but Dustin Christian and the run game have filled that void.

Massey Prediction: Buford wins 28-27

UPDATE: Buford wins 31-24 in OT

Class Single-A: Clinch County at Savannah Christian

Undefeated Clinch County has been considered a favorite in Single-A for a while. The Panthers beat Pierce County 41-28 in their season opener - their closest margin of victory until their 34-27 win over then-undefeated ELCA in the quarterfinals. During the regular season, Clinch County beat Wilcox County 33-14, Charlton County 33-7, and Miller County 35-14. The Panthers beat Wilkinson County 35-14 in last week's semifinals and are looking to win their first state championship since 2004.

There has been no secret to Savannah Christian's success: defense. The Raiders went into last week's game with Wesleyan giving up an average of seven points per game. Wesleyan was able to score 13 points on the Raider defense - the most points Savannah Christian had given up all season. They are a number four seed, but the Raiders are 13-1 and have beaten four straight opponents with a combined 40-10 record. They lost to Wilcox County 30-21 in the Single-A finals last season. 

Massey Prediction: Clinch County wins 23-14

Click here to see the full Georgia high school state championship game schedule.

 

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