Stratford gets its final shot

dshirley@macon.comNovember 28, 2013 

The GISA is going to have a new look next year.

The moves of Stratford, Tattnall Square and Mount de Sales to the GHSA certainly will change the association’s landscape. Now some of the smaller schools in the state -- including Fullington -- are heading to what amounts to a start-up league for next year, as well.

So the association is losing larger programs and smaller programs. Who knows what the GISA will look like in the next few years.

But Stratford, Tattnall and Mount de Sales don’t have to worry about that after this year. Those kinds of issues will be the concerns of schools like Westfield, Deerfield-Windsor, Southland and John Milledge, larger schools that decided to stay in the GISA and will have some decisions to make in the near future.

This week, however, all the focus is on the field as Stratford gets one more shot at a GISA title, and that comes Saturday against Westfield. That will be the nightcap of the GISA’s championship Saturday at Mercer University Stadium: three games featuring six teams in what should be an exciting atmosphere and is a terrific idea put forth by the GISA and Mercer.

Robert Toombs and Curtis Baptist start the day at noon in the Class A game, and that will be followed by Valwood and Memorial Day in the Class AA game at 3:30 p.m.

Then the Eagles-Hornets matchup wraps up the day, and if this game is anything like the regular-season meeting, it should be a heck of a show.

Westfield won that game 21-20 after controlling the action through three quarters and leading 21-7 entering the final quarter. The Eagles forged a furious comeback and scored in the closing seconds with a chance to tie. Instead, they chose to go for the win with a two-point conversion, but it came up a bit short.

That turned into a season-changing moment for the Eagles, who have been spurred by that loss and haven’t lost since, winning eight straight. Westfield has an even longer winning streak with 11 straight since losing to Tattnall to open the season.

It looks like the best two teams will be playing for the championship Saturday, and that’s exactly what the GISA needs. What happens after this year is anyone’s guess.

Contact Daniel Shirley at 744-4227 or dshirley@macon.com

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