High school football playoffs are down to the final four teams in their respective classes. Reporters Justin Baxley and Hayes Rule examine the semi-final matchups around Middle Georgia and pick who they think will walk away victorious.
Peach County vs. Calhoun
Story of the game: For nearly an entire year these two teams have been itching for a rematch of last year’s state title game. Each team has held up its end of the bargain to get back to the semi-finals to face off with one another. A season ago, Peach County looked poised to take the lead over Calhoun late in the state championship. The officials ruled that the wide receiver didn’t have possession of the ball when he stretched for the endzone. Many disagreed with the call and felt that Peach County was robbed of a state championship as the team went on to lose 10-6 in the game.
This season, Peach County comes into the game having just knocked off Westminster 21-3 and have won nine straight. The Trojans have a run-heavy offense that can dictate the pace of the game. This game could be another low scoring affair like last season. Peach County will need to get running back Noah Whittington going early and often on the ground to open up the passing game.
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The Calhoun Yellow Jackets come into the rematch undefeated. Calhoun knocked off Jenkins last week, 24-12. The team looks poised to repeat as state champions behind a defense that has only given up 98 points this season.
Justin pick: Peach County
Hayes pick: Calhoun
Warner Robins vs. Rome
Story of the game: Another rematch of a state title game from a year ago is on the books. The game was moved to Warner Robins home field last year due a snow and ice storm in the Atlanta area. Rome dominated that matchup 38-0. The pair of teams have been on a collision course since last season as Rome has not lost a game all year and Warner Robins has lost just one game and forfeited another due to an ineligible player.
Last week, Warner Robins struggled with Clarke Central but grabbed a 21-14 win. The Demons are led by quarterback Dylan Fromm and an impressive group of wide receivers. Against Rome last year, Fromm failed to go over 100 yards in the game. He should be able to put on a better showing this season.
For the Rome Wolves, the team knocked off Dutchtown last week 28-14 to move one step closer to repeating as state champions. The Wolves have an offense that has scored over 650 points this season.
It will be interesting to see if the Warner Robins defense can hold against Rome and if Fromm can redeem himself this season against the Wolves defense.
Justin pick: Rome
Hayes pick: Warner Robins
Northside vs. Dacula
Story of the game: Northside continued its run through the playoffs last week with a 30-6 win over Sequoyah. The Eagles entered the postseason at 5-5 but are on a roll in the playoffs. Northside has won every matchup by double digits, including two wins over higher-seeded opponents on the road. It will face its toughest test to date though as the Eagles travel to Dacula on Friday.
Dacula is coming off of 55-21 beatdown against a Valdosta team that knocked off Northside earlier this year. The Falcons haven’t tasted defeated since the final week of August. The team has reeled off 10 straight wins behind a high powered offense and put up over 400 points this season. It will be interesting to see if the game turns into a shootout between the pair of explosive offenses. The key factor will be which defense can step up and make a key stop.
Justin pick: Northside
Hayes pick: Dacula