A week off from games came at a very good time for the FPD football team.
Several players were banged up from the wear and tear of the regular season. One, starting quarterback Will McCormick, wound up missing the Vikings’ Nov. 7 regular-season finale against GMC because of the bumps and bruises sustained throughout the season.
But with GHSA Class A teams taking a week off because of the structure of the separate public school and private school playoffs, hopes are that many of those minor injuries have abated. FPD, the 13th seed in the private school playoffs, travels to No. 4 Prince Avenue Christian on Friday for a first-round contest.
“Getting the rest has been great for our football team,” FPD head coach Greg Moore said. “We hope to go to Prince Avenue 100 percent healthy Friday night. We’ll see how that plays out.”
Despite losing to rivals Stratford and Tattnall Square, the Vikings (7-3) posted their best regular-season record in three years.
They enter the playoffs on a three-game winning streak, with wins over Wilkinson County, Twiggs County and GMC putting the Vikings in the playoffs.
In FPD’s second trip of the season to GMC, it won 31-7 with backup quarterback Austin Cox, a Mercer baseball signee, under center.
Moore said McCormick’s availability at Prince Avenue will be a game-time decision. McCormick has 1,164 passing yards and nine touchdowns to go along with 380 rushing yards and seven scores on the ground.
“He’s been banged up,” Moore said. “When you quarterback our offense game after game, that can happen. We thought we had a good chance to get him some rest and get him well for the playoffs, and we got that accomplished. We’ll see how he feels going into Friday. He’s still a little banged up, but that’s pretty normal.”
Prince Avenue (8-2) emerged from a three-way tie with Athens Christian and Commerce as the champion from Region 8-A. Prince Avenue finished seventh in the power ratings, five spots behind FPD but was elevated to the fourth seed by virtue of its region title. FPD was demoted from 12th to 13th in the bracket to accommodate Region 5-A champion Eagle’s Landing Christian, which finished 13th in the power ratings.
Jeff Herron is in his second season as Prince Avenue’s head coach, replacing Mark Farriba following Farriba’s return to Stratford. Prince Avenue went to the Georgia Dome in Farriba’s final season with the program, and Herron took the Wolverines to the quarterfinals last year.
Prince Avenue is on a six-game winning streak, with losses early in the season to top-ranked Aquinas and to Athens Christian. The Wolverines had 383 rushing yards in their 48-27 win Oct. 3 over Commerce.
FPD running back Reggie Gantt will be looking to reach the 1,000-yard mark. He had 968 yards during the regular season.
The FPD-Prince Avenue winner will face the Eagle’s Landing Christian-Athens Christian winner in the quarterfinals.
“I’m happy for our football team,” Moore said. “It’s been a long season. We’re 7-3, and I think we’re playing some pretty good football and have for the last two, three weeks.
“We really didn’t have a choice. We kind of had to win, or we were going to be done. The kids responded and played well for the last three, four weeks. I’m proud of them, and I’m glad to get to see them play in the playoffs.”