Heads up, Atlanta. Here comes Middle Georgia.
Way back on a warm night in early September, it took a late Eli Mashburn field goal for Warner Robins to beat Peach County 38-35 in a thriller.
Both teams have been on a similar path since then, and fans of each side will likely cross paths again this Friday in Atlanta. Both the Trojans and Demons will be playing for respective GHSA 3A and 5A state championships on Friday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Peach plays Calhoun at 1 p.m. with Warner Robins taking on Rome at 4:30 p.m.
“It’s awesome that Middle Georgia is being represented the way that it’ll be this weekend up at Mercedes-Benz,” Warner Robins head coach Mike Chastain said.
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Both teams will be out to add to an already rich football tradition.
The Trojans (13-1) will be eyeing state title number four, their most recent crown being in 2009. Warner Robins, on the other hand, has its sights set on its fifth state championship. The Demons last won a state title in 2004 - also the last time they went undefeated. Warner Robins is currently 14-0.
Warner Robins has a shot at a state title partially due to overwhelming opposing defenses in recent weeks with an explosive offense. The Demons have been held under 25 points just once this season and have exceeded the 30-point mark on nine separate occasions. The most recent time? Friday’s 31-7 win against Carver as the Demons overpowered the opposition as the game went on.
“We’re really excited about it, I just can’t say enough about how proud I am of the guys for everything they’ve overcome in the season and the offseason,” Chastain said. “It’s been a good year so far, we just have to finish it off this week.”
As for Peach County, the whole season has been building up to this moment. The Trojans have rolled over their region competition as well as Mary Persons in a 25-14 non-region win – a Bulldogs team that advanced to the 4A semifinals.
What’s more is that Peach County has kept up the offensive production without two of its most explosive offensive weapons - Kearis Jackson and Chris Gibson.
All the Trojans have done in the past two games is take down a pair of postseason stalwarts – Westminster and a Great Atlanta Christian team that eliminated Peach County in last year’s semifinal round. Friday’s 28-23 win exacted revenge from last year’s defeat.
“I can’t say enough about our kids. Having kids out for the year, the next man coming up and making plays,” Peach County head coach Chad Campbell said. “The whole week, I just told the kids that they’d have to make plays, the coaches would put them in position to make the right plays, they just had to execute.”
Next up for Peach County? The most recent team prior to GAC to knock them out of the playoffs. The Trojans fell in overtime to Calhoun in the second round of the playoffs in 2015.