As parents and coaches looked on, middle school students faced off against each other in the Professional Association of Georgia Educators Academic Bowl.
Held Saturday at Feagin Mill Middle School, the 15 schools from Bibb, Houston, Peach and Jones counties answered questions about math, literature, geography and other subjects as part of the regional competition.
Two teams, Feagin Mill and Bonaire Middle, were the top two teams and will represent Houston County in the state tournament Jan. 24 in Milledgeville at Georgia College & State University.
“It has been a few years since Houston County has sent two teams to state. We are very excited,” said Jan Jacobsen, director of gifted education for the Houston County school system.
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Seven rooms were used for the head-to-head matches. One school had a bye for each of the seven rounds. The four top teams went on to the semifinals.
The PAGE Foundation has held the Academic Bowl since 1985.
Team members from Feagin Mill admit they are a competitive bunch. The seven students have practices before and after school to go over potential questions for the bowl.
“It gets real,” Scott Akin said.
Feagin Mill also has a bit of a superstitious nature. On the table, a brown stuffed dog holds a replica of a golden snitch, from the Harry Potter books and movies. Each of the players has to rub the two for good luck.
The dog’s name is Aaron Rodgers Cleveland for Green Bay Packers fan and Feagin Mill coach Amanda Cleveland.
During game five, the team won 165-15 against Gray Station Middle School from Gray.
Bonaire Middle defeated Stratford Academy, of Macon, and Feagin Mill beat Perry Middle in the two final founds to advance to the state competition.
Each round has a toss-up question. The team that answered it correctly wins control of the game and has a chance to earn points for each correct answer of the bonus question, which can have up to four questions. The opposing team can steal points if the other team does not answer the questions correctly, said regional coordinator Kristy Yarbrough, who has been in the position for seven years.