High school football playoffs are down to the final two teams in their respective classes. Reporters Justin Baxley and Hayes Rule examine the GHSA state title game matchups around Middle Georgia and pick who they think will walk away victorious.
Peach County vs. Cedar Grove
Story of the game: The first of three that would allow Middle Georgia to bring home a state title kicks off at 1 p.m. on Tuesday. Peach County comes into the game having knocked off Calhoun in an emotional win. Cedar Grove eliminated Pierce County in dominating fashion much like it has everyone in these playoffs.
Cedar Grove hasn’t lost a game since early September and relies on a stout defense and big playmakers on offense. The team boasts the No. 1 wide receiver in the country in Jadon Haselwood.
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Peach County will have its hands full if it wants to come home with a state championship but the Trojans are zeroed in on winning this game, head coach Chad Campbell said.
“We have our work cut out for us,” Campbell said. “There is no question about that. This is what you work for. This is what we’ve been working for since January.”
Justin’s pick: Peach County
Hayes’ pick: Peach County
Warner Robins vs. Bainbridge
Story of the game: The Warner Robins Demons will kick off in the 4:30 p.m. game against a familiar foe in Bainbridge. The two teams reside in the same region and squared off earlier in the season. Warner Robins walked away with a 38-0 in that game but Bainbridge has gotten hot the last four weeks and isn’t the same team.
The Demons knocked off Rome, the team that beat them in the state title game last year, to earn a spot in this year’s title game. Bainbridge hasn’t blown anyone out in the playoffs but the team is battle tested.
The Bearcats have won three straight by a touchdown or less including a 20-19 win over Stockbridge.
Warner Robins is in a similar position to Peach County in having to refocus after an emotional win. The team has had no issue getting up for this game, head coach Mike Chastain said.
“To get ready for this game is really easy,” he said. “The guys are fired up to do whatever.”
Justin’s pick: Warner Robins
Hayes’ pick: Warner Robins
Northside vs. Lee County
Story of the game: The Northside Eagles drew the last kickoff of the day at 8 p.m. The Eagles will face off against region foe Lee County, a team that handed Northside a 24-7 loss earlier this season.
Since the end of the regular season the Eagles have gotten hot. After finishing 5-5, the team has reeled off four straight wins to earn a shot at a title. Northside knocked off Dacula 14-7 in the semifinal game.
Lee County is undefeated in the season. In the playoffs, the Trojans have been dominating teams from start to finish. Lee County’s closest game all season was against Northside. In the semifinal game, the Trojans knocked off Lanier 42-7.
The Eagles have arguably the toughest matchup of any of the three teams and are underdogs coming into the game. The type of game is one that the Eagles will know very well, head coach Kevin Kinsler said.
“We’ve been playing Lee County for a long time,” he said. “When anyone in this region plays, it’s a very physical game. It’s a very fast game. I don’t expect it to be any different on Tuesday.”
Justin’s pick: Northside
Hayes’ pick: Lee County