Every player, coach and fan dreams of this day.
It’s the day when teams get a chance to be immortalized as state champions.
Only six teams still have that dream after the Class AAAA and Class AA championships were played Friday at the Georgia Dome.
Northside and Peach County will try to add their bounty of two championship trophies. For Wilcox County, it’s a chance to join five other Middle Georgia programs that won state championships this decade.
Northside, Peach County and Wilcox County all took different paths to get to this point.
The Eagles were expected to rebuild this year. There was no way the Eagles could bounce back after losing their most reliable offensive weapon, the Class AAAAA Defensive Player of the Year and three other All-Middle Georgia defensive players, right? Even Northside head coach Conrad Nix publicly wondered before the season whether or not the Eagles would be a contender in Class AAAAA.
But Nix also knows that his program is in the position where it has become a giant revolving door. As superstar players leave, others walk through the door to fill in. It’s a cycle that not only doesn’t end, but rather moves at an accelerated rate.
Peach County was the one Middle Georgia school that many, including yours truly, thought was a strong bet to advance to be playing deep in the playoffs. Even with a deep Class AAA field, Peach County looked strong with the return of quarterback Patrick Taylor from a devastating hip injury. I’m not so sure the Trojans wouldn’t have made a run at the championship last year if Taylor stayed healthy.
Wilcox County, like Peach County, was a team many considered a favorite to win a Class A championship. But after two early season losses, the Patriots got lost in the shuffle behind teams like Wesleyan, Twiggs County, Greenville, Lincoln County and ECI. But they are still playing, and they knocked off Greenville and Wesleyan in that stretch. They weren’t under the radar anymore after the Wesleyan win.
Now, despite the variety of ways they have won and advanced, three local schools will chase the same prize today, and the entire Middle Georgia community should rally around them.
Northside Web master Chad Walters deserves some credit for posting a plea on the Eagles’ Web site for Northside fans to show up early to cheer on their Middle Georgia brethren. The same should go for Wilcox County and Peach County fans. All three teams will be on the same side of the field, making it pretty easy to just hang around for the earlier/later games.
If those three groups of different people and different communities can come together and pull for each other, then it would be a very impressive sight. And it might give winning a state championship a little hometown feel.
Contact Jonathan Heeter at 744-4401 or email@example.com