The Houston Co Bears are back in the playoffs for the first time since 2015 and they will be traveling to take on the Region 3-6A champs, the Evans Knights. The Bears are in region 1-6A, known as one of the toughest in the nation. Evans may have a better season record, but the Bears have faced much tougher competition. Houston has won all six of their previous matchups against the Knights and the team has a good chance of upping that number to seven. Should the Bears win, they will face either the 3-seed from Region 7 in North Atlanta or South Paulding, a 2-seed from Region 5. The Bears certainly have a difficult path to the state finals but the team seems determined to make it.
The Warner Robins Demons are a 1-seed for the 3rd consecutive year and will be hosting the Jonesboro Cardinals, a 4-seed from region 3. If the Demons win, they will advance to the second round and most likely take on the very capable Rome Wolves. Warner Robins might be the favorite on the right-hand side of the bracket to make it to the Finals but their competition will be fierce.
The Veterans Warhawks are the 2-seed out of 1-5A. They will be hosting the Riverdale Raiders this week, a 3-seed from 3-5A. The Raiders are knowing for having an unstoppable offense and it’ll likely take everything Veterans can muster to come out victorious. Should they win, their next challenger will probably be the even more formidable Carrollton Trojans. The Trojans are currently undefeated and averaging 40.1 points per game. Due to their highly competitive playoff bracket, it seems unlikely the Warhawks will make it to the finals.
The Jones Co Greyhounds, the 1-seed from 4-5A, will take on the South Effingham Mustangs this week, a 4-seed from class 2-5A. Jones Co comes into the playoffs following one of their best seasons in program history. The Greyhounds have a solid chance of beating the Mustangs, who have a passable offense but an unreliable defense. If they come out victorious, the Greyhounds would likely next take on Carver (Alt) in the second round. The Jones Co is the favorite to get out of the upper left-hand quadrant but their path to the finals is a difficult one.
The Perry Panthers, a 2-seed out of 2-4A, will be at home in the playoffs for the first time since 2007– which is also the last time the Panthers won a playoff game. They will take on the visiting Hamptons Hornets, a 3-seed from 4-4A. Perry has a good chance of defeating the Hornets and making it to the second round, though the competition from then on is much more daunting.
The West Laurens Raiders are the 1-seed out of 2-4A and are back in the playoffs after missing it last season. The Raiders will face the Luella Lions, the 4-seed out of 4-4A. West Laurens is the heavy favorite in this matchup and will most likely advance to the second round. The Raiders have the potential to go quite far in this tournament but the further they get, the harder the competition.
The Mary Persons Bulldogs are the 3-seed out of 2-4A. They will travel to Covington, GA this week to take on the Eastside Eagles, the 2-seed out of 4-4A. Should they advance, MP will likely take on Ridgeland, a team they’re pretty evenly matched with. This means MP has a good chance of making it to the quarter-finals, though the matchups from then on are much more difficult.
The Upson Lee Knights are the 4-seed out of 2-4A and will be on the road taking on the number two team in 4A, the Woodward Academy War Eagles. The War Eagles are the 1-seed out of 4-4A and have averaged 31.1 ppg this season. Upson-Lee is a massive underdog against Woodward Academy, and it is highly unlikely that the Knights will make it to the second round.
The Baldwin Braves are the 3-seed out of 3-4A and will be on the road to take on the Cairo Syrupmakers, the 2 seed out of 1-4A. Baldwin does not play in a strong region and hasn’t been exposed to the level of skill Cairo will bring to the table. It is likely the Braves will be a one and done team in the playoffs.
The Americus-Sumter Panthers are the 4-seed out of 1-4A and will be on the road to take on the Burke Co Bears, the 1-seed in 3-4A. Americus-Sumter will likely be a one and done team as well. Neither their offense nor defense are very strong and Burke Co is likely to outplay them.
The Peach Co Trojans are the 1-seed out of 4-3A and will host the visiting Brantley Co Blue Herons, the 4 seed out of 2-3A. The Trojans are heavy favorites over the Blue Herons and have a great chance at reaching the finals. Should they advance to the second round, it is likely the Trojans will face Calhoun, a team they have a controversial history with. Peach Co lost to Calhoun in the 2017 AAA State Championship due to some highly refuted calls made by the referees. If Peach makes it to the quarter-finals, they will likely take on Cedar Grove, another old-rival. Peach lost to Cedar in the 2018 AAA State-Championship by a touchdown made with seconds left on the clock. Peach Co is hungry for a championship and they will be on a mission to win it all in 2019.
The Jackson Red Devils are the 2-seed out of 4-3A and will be hosting the visiting Liberty Co Panthers, the 3 seed out of 2-3A. The Devils are favored to win this matchup but after the first round, their road to the finals is arduous. If Jackson makes it to the second game, they will likely face North Murray. Murray defeated Calhoun in region play this year and will undoubtedly be brutal competition.
The Westside (Macon) Seminoles are the 3-seed out of 4-3A and will be traveling to take on the Appling Co Pirates, the 2 seed out of 2-3A. Westside will be the underdogs in this matchup but they do have a shot at advancing to the second round. The Seminoles are placed in a very difficult bracket and have the odds stacked against them in every potential matchup. It seems quite likely they’ll be a one and done team.
The Central (Macon) Chargers are the 4-seed in 4-3A and will be on the road this week facing the Pierce Co Bears, the 1-seed out of 2-3A. Central went 3-7 in the regular season while Pierce is 10-0. Judging by the two teams’ records, it seems highly unlikely the Chargers will advance.
The Crisp Co Cougars are the 1-seed out of 1-3A and will be hosting the Southeast Bulloch Yellow Jackets this week, the 4-seed out of 3-3A. The Cougars actually have a good chance of advancing all the way to the finals this year. They’re biggest challenge would likely come in the second round with them set to face North Hall or Lovett. Both teams present a real threat, and a matchup with either would probably come down to the final buzzer. Crisp has a real chance of winning it all but they’ll have to go the distance.
The Dublin Fighting Irish are the 1-seed out of 3-2A and will be hosting the Early Co Bobcats, the 4 seed out of 1-2A. The Fighting Irish are heavy favorites in this matchup and they might be the favorites to win it all in Class AA. Dublin’s path to the finals doesn’t present any serious challenges until the semifinals. There, they will likely play Rabun Co in a pretty even matchup. That game could easily go down to the buzzer as both teams are similar in scoring offense and defense.
The Bleckley Co Royals are the 2-seed out of 3-2A and will be hosting the Fitzgerald Purple Hurricanes, the 3-seed out of 1-3A. This is a close matchup and should make for a great game. If the Royals defeat the Hurricanes, they will likely face Callaway in the second round. Callaway will present a much greater challenge due to their high scoring offense and dangerous defense. The Royals most likely will not get further than the second round but could also be a one and done team in the playoffs.
The Washington Co Golden Hawks are the 3-seed out of 3-2A and hit the road this week to take on the Brooks Co Trojans, the 2-seed out of 1-2A. Washington may be the slight favorite but these teams are very similar. The game could go down to the wire. Though Washington may advance to the 2nd round, it seems highly unlikely they’ll reach the finals. The second game would probably see them facing Rockmart, a team that outmatches the Golden Hawks on offense and defense.
The Dodge Co Indians, the 4-seed out of 3-2A, will be taking on the Thomasville Bulldogs who are the 1-seed out of 1-2A. Thomasville is the favorite in this matchup and the path to the Finals for Dodge Co is extremely difficult. Even if the Indians win these early games and advance to the quarterfinals, they’ll still have to take on the top teams in AA (Rabun Co and Dublin). Due to this rigorous bracket, an Indians championship is very unlikely.
The Putnam Co War Eagles are the 4-seed out of 8-2A and will play away this week against the Hapeville Charter Hornets, the 1-seed out of 6-2A. The Hornets are heavily favored to win this matchup due to their high-powered offense and defense. It’s probable that Putnam won’t advance to the second round.
The Taylor Co Vikings come into the playoffs as team #24, the last team to qualify for the Class A Public Playoffs. They’ll hit the road this week to face the #9 Manchester Blue Devils. The Vikings are regarded as the biggest underdogs in this contest as they are taking on a tough 8-2 team with a rock-solid offense and defense. However, the Vikings went a respectable 5-5 in the regular and have a shot– slim though it may be– at advancing to the second round.
The Wilcox Co Patriots are the #11 team in the Class A Public Playoffs and they will be hosting the #22 Seminole Co Indians. The Patriots are the favorite in this matchup and their path to the finals isn’t extremely difficult. Wilcox’s biggest competitor along the way will likely come in the second round if they face #6 Pelham, a team with a high scoring offense and deadly defense.
The Macon Co Bulldogs are #19 in the Class A Public Playoffs and will be traveling this week to take on the #14 Turner Co Rebels. Macon seems to be the slight favorite in this matchup. Should they advance, the Bulldogs will likely next encounter the highly-favored #3, Mitchell Co. It’s unlikely the Bulldogs can make it past that second round.
Johnson Co has a first-round bye and will host the winner of the Taylor Co vs Manchester game on Friday, November 22nd.
Class A Private Playoffs
The First Presbyterian Day Vikings are #24 and the final team to get into the Class A Private Playoffs. FPD will be traveling to take on the #9 Wesleyan (Norcross0 Wolves. The Wolves are favored to win but should the Vikings advance to the second round, their next competitor will almost certainly be #8, Heritage Christian. Heritage poses a serious challenge, and it seems unlikely FPD will proceed any further. Being the #24 seed, FPD is the biggest underdog in this competition– but when it comes to football, anything can happen.
The Stratford Academy Eagles are team #22 in the Class A Private Playoffs and will hit the road this week to take on the #11 Prince Avenue Christian Wolverines. The Wolverines are heavily favored to win but should Stratford move on to the 2nd round, their next matchup will probably be against #6, the Eagles Landing Christian Academy Chargers. ELCA has the highest-scoring offense in the GHSA averaging 55.2 ppg on offense and allowing 8.5 ppg on defense. This means the Chargers have outscored Stratford this season an average of 46.7 points per game. The Eagles have very little hope of advancing to the second round and will likely be a one and done team.
The Mt. de Sales Cavaliers are #5 in the Class A Private Playoffs and they have a first-round bye and will take on the winner of Mt. Vernon vs Hebron Christian on Friday, November 22nd.
Notable Teams Missing from the Class 6A Playoffs
Northside (WR) Eagles: Missing the playoffs for the first time since 1991.
Lovejoy Wildcats: Missing the playoffs for the first time since 2009.
Creekview Grizzlies: Reached quarterfinals last season.
Notable Teams Missing from the Class 5A Playoffs
Banneker Trojans: Region Champs last season.
Thomas Co Central Yellow Jackets: First time missing the playoffs in consecutive seasons for the first time since 1989 & 1990.
Notable Teams Missing from the Class 4A Playoffs
Stephens Co Indians: Second time in 3 years they have missed the playoffs– but missed only twice in the previous 31 seasons.
Notable Teams Missing from the Class 2A Playoffs
Laney Wildcats: Missing the playoffs for the third straight year after only missing once from 2000-2016.
Notable Teams Missing from the Class A Playoffs
Charlton Co Indians: Missing playoff for the second time in 4 seasons after making the playoffs the previous 26 seasons.
Dooly Co Bobcats: First time missing the playoffs since 2009.
Mt. Zion (Carroll) Eagles: Region Champs last season and first time missing the playoffs since 2013.
Tattnall Square Trojans: Second time in 6 seasons that the Trojans have missed the playoffs since joining the GHSA in 2014. Made the playoffs for 26 consecutive years in the GISA and made the playoffs their first year in the GHSA in 2014.
Westfield Hornets are in the GISA AAA Playoffs with a 3-8 record and will be at Loganville Christian this Friday, November 15th.
Author’s Note: Big thanks to Cole Powell, our stats-man, for helping compile this overview!