Always something special about title games

dshirley@macon.comDecember 12, 2013 

Wilcox County’s Lonnie Outlaw hoists up a single finger to say his team is number one after defeating Savannah Christian for the 2009 GHSA Class A State Championship at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.

JOSH D. WEISS — Special to The Telegraph

Seven games.

Fourteen teams.

Two days.

There really is nothing like the GHSA football championship weekend. There are always interesting story lines, talented players and dominant teams across the weekend, and that is certainly true this year.

Here are the ones I’m going to be looking out for the next two days.

Can WACO pull off the “upset?”: Washington County is undefeated and has been blowing out other teams the entire season. But when fans see “Buford” on the schedule, it’s understandable that they think the Wolves will just roll to another victory. Buford is playing in a state title game for the seventh straight season, after all.

But Washington County has a dynamic team, and all those titles for Buford won’t mean anything Friday when the two teams play for the Class AAA title. Washington County might not win the game, but this isn’t the mismatch some folks are making it out to be.

Joel Ingram has a terrific program, and his team won’t be intimidated by anything it will see from Buford. One of the highlights of the weekend will be getting to watch Golden Hawks quarterback A.J. Gray in person.

First title shot for Lamar County: Franklin Stephens is one of the best coaches in the state, and he has displayed his talents the past two years with the Trojans program.

After winning two state titles at Tucker, he has gone 26-1-1 at Lamar County with a talented team that features Lawrence and Lance Austin and Quay Searcy. The Trojans will play in a championship game for the first time Saturday against Lovett, and they have a real shot to claim the program’s first title.

It will be interesting to see the Trojans’ talented trio at the Georgia Dome.

Talent on top of talent: As usual, there will be plenty of talent on display at the Georgia Dome as some of the top players in the nation will take part in the title games.

That starts with Norcross defensive end Lorenzo Carter, who is probably the best player in the state. Carter hasn’t committed to a college program just yet, and there will be a lot of eyes on him this weekend.

There will be several talented quarterbacks on the field, as well, in North Gwinnett’s Hayden Sphire (who will be throwing to Missouri commitment Nate Brown), Griffin’s Jaquez Parks and Calvary Day’s Michael Peterson.

Also, Middle Georgia’s teams will face some talented players, mainly Grant Haley for Lovett and Korie Rogers for Buford.

Powerhouse matchups: In addition to the two games involving Middle Georgia teams, there are some intriguing matchups in the other contests.

The Class AAAA game should be a terrific one with two traditional powers in Carrollton, which is 13-1 and has won seven titles, and Griffin, which is 14-0 and owns two titles.

The Class AAAAA game features two 14-0 teams in Creekside and Tucker, a team that is looking for its third title since 2008.

And the Class AAAAAA game pits last year’s champion in Norcross (12-2 this season) against North Gwinnett, which is 13-1 and looking for its first title.

Contact Daniel Shirley at 744-4227 or

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