High School Sports

First round of high school football playoffs full of intriguing matchups

A look at this year’s Howard Huskies football team

Howard head coach Paul Carroll and linebacker Deandre Shelton discuss the expectations for the Huskies' 2018 season.
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Howard head coach Paul Carroll and linebacker Deandre Shelton discuss the expectations for the Huskies' 2018 season.

High school football playoffs are here so to mark the moment, our games of the week story looks a little different this week. Reporters Justin Baxley and Hayes Rule examine the matchups around Middle Georgia and pick who they think will walk away victorious.

Dublin vs. Toombs County

Story of the game: Dublin comes into the game as the favorite after finishing the regular season 9-1. It has used a high-powered offense paired with a stingy defense to win ball games by wide margins. On the other side, Toombs County looks like a middle-of-the-road team. The Bulldogs have given up almost the same amount of points as they have scored. Toombs finished the season at 5-5 and are currently on a three game losing streak.

Justin pick: Dublin

Hayes pick: Dublin

Howard vs. Burke County

Story of the game: The Howard Huskies come into this game fresh off of a 60-14 loss to Mary Persons. It would be easy to count this team out after that game. The Huskies are also the lower seed in this matchup. Burke County is coming off of a thrilling win over Thomson to grab the 2 seed and home field advantage. This might be one of the more even matchups of the first round.

Justin pick: Howard

Hayes pick: Burke County

Jones County vs. Bainbridge

Story of the game: Jones comes into the game off of a loss to Stockbridge. The Greyhounds might be the most dangerous 3 seed in high school football this season. If not for a stout Dutchtown team and Stockbridge edging them out in the final week, there would be more hype around a potential run for Jones County. Bainbridge is playing its best football at the right time. This game could come down to which team shows up for Bainbridge. If it’s the one that got blown out by Warner Robins, then Jones County will move on. If it’s the one that blew out Thomas County Central and Harris County by a combined 93-11 in the last two games, then we have ourselves a ball game.

Justin pick: Jones County

Hayes pick: Bainbridge

Mary Persons vs. Richmond Academy

Story of the game: Anything can happen in the playoffs. However, this one looks like a game that Mary Persons should dominate. The Bulldogs finished undefeated and scored over 450 points this season on offense while only giving up. Richmond Academy started out 6-0 and then finished last in the region by going 1-3 over the last four games of the season. This game could be a trap game for a Mary Persons team that has state title aspirations. It could also be another dominating performance by the Bulldogs.

Justin pick: Mary Persons

Hayes pick: Mary Persons

Mount de Sales vs. Holy Innocents’

Story of the game: Mount de Sales has been one of the more dominating teams from the Middle Georgia area. The Cavaliers finished 9-1 and have one of the best defenses around. The Cavaliers will need to rely on that defense as Holy Innocents’ has a high powered offense. It will be interesting to see which unit gains the upper hand as each has a different strength. Mount de Sales should be favored in this matchup.

Justin pick: Mount de Sales

Hayes pick: Mount de Sales

Northeast vs. Swainsboro

Story of the game: Northeast grabbed a much needed win over East Laurens to secure the 4 seed and a chance to take on Swainsboro. Nolan Ussery, the Northeast quarterback, is as dynamic a player as there is in high school football. If he plays the game of his life, then the Raiders have a shot to knock off the 1 seeded Swainsboro. Conventional wisdom says that Swainsboro will win. Swainsboro has the better offense and better defense all around. But that kid at quarterback for Northeast completely defies conventional wisdom.

Justin pick: Swainsboro

Hayes pick: Swainsboro

Northside vs. Tucker

Story of the game: Tucker is the higher seed in this matchup and have a very balanced team that plays well on both sides of the ball. Tucker had its seven game win streak snapped in the season finale against Stephenson. Northside on the other hand finished out the season at .500 with a dominating performance over Houston County. A key stat to point out is Tucker is undefeated this season at home. The game will be played at Tucker.

Justin pick: Northside

Hayes pick: Tucker

Warner Robins vs. Locust Grove

Story of the game: Warner Robins enters this contest as arguably the most talented team in Middle Georgia. Dylan Fromm, the Demons quarterback, has engineered another great season. The Demons will be looking to grab a win in the contest against a sneaky Locust Grove team. The Wildcats will need a big game from R.J Mcdaniel if they have any hope of stealing the win here.

Justin pick: Warner Robins

Hayes pick: Warner Robins

Westside vs. Cook

Story of the game: Westside comes into this showdown following a loss to Peach County in a region championship game. The Seminoles have looked good this season and could make some noise in the playoffs if the team can get hot at the right time. Cook comes into the game with a 3-7 record. The Hornets did grab a key win in their game against Worth County in the season finale. The Seminoles have a track record of early exits despite being a dominant force in the regular season. Westside will be looking to change that narrative with a win.

Justin pick: Westside

Hayes pick: Westside

Other games from around Middle Georgia:

Perry vs. Baldwin

Peach County vs. Ringgold

Stratford vs. Aquinas

Tattnall vs. Wesleyan

Veterans vs. Stockbridge

Pick Standings:

Hayes: 25-7

Justin: 24-8

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