John McClellan’s high school football championships: Rome by 3 over Buford; Cartersville by 11 over Thomson.

John McClellan’s high school football championships: Rome by 3 over Buford; Cartersville by 11 over Thomson.

 

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  • John McClellan will join us at 7:40 a.m. Monday on Hometown Headlines Radio Edition on WRGA 98.7 FM and online at wrga.streamon.fm to talk about this weekend’s championship games. This also is John’s last predictions column for the season and Hometown Headlines thanks him for another outstanding job in 2016.

By John McClellan
For Hometown Headlines

The attention of Northwest Georgia will be focused on the Georgia Dome this weekend as the Rome Wolves and Cartersville Purple Hurricanes will battle for state championships. The Rome Wolves, who had dominated opponents for most of the past 10 weeks, were forced to fight to the end to pull out a 28-21 win over Stockbridge. Cartersville fell behind early before coming back and pulling away from Mary Persons 38-17.

Class AAAAA at 4:30 p.m. Friday

RomeRome (12-2) v. Buford (13-1)

  • Series History: First Meeting
  • How They Got Here: The Rome Wolves lost to Harrison 22-20, defeated Drew 54-12, and lost to Kell 33-30 before defeating Paulding County 51-10, Carrollton 45-28, Hiram 47-0, Cass 42-7, Villa Rica 49-7, East Paulding 49-0, and Woodland 56-6. Rome, the Region 7-AAAAA champion, has playoff wins over Miller Grove 56-0, Bainbridge 45-0, Ware County 42-13, and Stockbridge 28-21. The Buford Wolves lost to Roswell 24-7 before defeating Bishop Timon (N.Y.) 49-6, Jeff Davis (Ala.) 38-30, International School (Fla.) 48-8, Clarke Central 44-13, Johnson of Gainesville 48-0, Cedar Shoals 56-14, Walnut Grove 38-6, Loganville 35-10, and Flowery Branch 49-13. Buford, the Region 8-AAAAA champion, has playoff wins over North Springs 45-7, Jones County 56-26, Carrollton 34-27, and Kell 28-16.
  • The Rome Wolves are seeking their first state football championship after defeating Number 2 Stockbridge 28-21 before a rocking and boisterous overflow Barron Stadium crowd. No school from Rome and Floyd County has won a state title since Darlington took the Class A championship in 1997. The Buford Wolves, who have won nine state championships in various classifications in the past 11 years, are looking for a Class AAAAA crown after finishing second to Cartersville in Class AAAA a year ago.
  • Rome wins by 3. 

Class AAAA at 4:30 p.m. Saturday

Cartersville - CopyCartersville (14-0) v. Thomson (14-0)

  • Series History: Cartersville leads 1-0
  • Last Meeting: Cartersville defeated Thomson 21-13 on November 30, 2012 in the quarterfinals of the Class AAA state playoffs.
  • How They Got Here: The Cartersville Purple Hurricanes defeated Allatoona 30-14, Calhoun 56-0, Westlake 31-0, Hapeville Charter 38-7, Cedartown 44-6, Central of Carrollton 59-9, LaGrange 52-7, Sandy Creek 35-21, Chapel Hill 48-7, and Troup 68-0. Cartersville, the Region 5-AAAA champion, has playoff wins over Chestatee 77-14, Burke County 35-7, Woodward Academy 26-14, and Mary Persons 38-17. The Thomson Bulldogs defeated Laney 45-0, Effingham County 35-21, Jefferson 42-20, Pace Academy 38-10, Clarkston 73-8, Hephzibah 70-0, Baldwin 45-0, Cross Creek 69-13, Burke County 20-7, and Richmond Academy 49-7. Thomson, the Region 3-AAAA champion, has playoff wins over Americus-Sumter 57-23, West Hall 42-14, Spalding 30-7, and Jefferson 27-6.
  • The Cartersville Purple Hurricanes, who defeated Buford in the Class AAAA state final a year ago, are going for their 30th straight win after dominating their opponents in 2016. The Thomson Bulldogs also are unbeaten as they look for their first state championship since 2002.
  • Cartersville wins by 11.

Class A Private School at 10 a.m. Friday

Eagles Landing Christian (13-0) v. Fellowship Christian (13-0)

  • Series History: ELCA leads 3-1
  • Last Meeting: ELCA defeated Fellowship 47-7 on October 30, 2009
  • How They Got Here: The ELCA Chargers defeated Eagles Landing 39-13, Jonesboro 8-2, Hart County 45-0, Holy Innocents 49-0, Fulton Leadership Academy 73-0, Wesleyan 34-31, Our Lady of Mercy 49-0, Strong Rock Christian 56-7, Mount Vernon Presbyterian 49-7, and Landmark Christian 49-0. ELCA, the Region 5-A champion, has playoff wins over First Presbyterian 59-7, Wesleyan 35-13, and Tattnall Square 42-21. The Fellowship Christian Paladins defeated Atkinson County 35-16, Mount Paran Christian 14-7, Our Lady of Mercy 33-6, St. Francis 46-7, Walker 49-14, Whitefield Academy 49-0, Pinecrest Academy 42-28, Mount Pisgah Christian 35-21, Kings Ridge Christian 47-0, and Mt. Zion 28-14. Fellowship, the Region 6-A champion, has playoff wins over George Walton Academy 38-7, Mount Paran Christian 45-13, and Prince Avenue Christian 31-28.
  • Eagles Landing Christian wins by 18. 

Class AAA at 1 p.m. Friday

Greater Atlanta Christian (13-1) v. Cedar Grove (12-2)

  • Series History: First Meeting
  • How They Got Here: The GACS Spartans defeated Lovett 31-6 and Westminster (in overtime) 19-16 before losing to Valor Christian (Colo.) 21-17. The Spartans then defeated St. Pius X 37-7, Union County 35-12, Fannin County 52-10, East Hall 69-12, Lumpkin County 49-21, North Hall 42-14, and Dawson County 49-7. GACS, the Region 7-AAA champion, has playoff wins over Pace Academy 35-17, Worth County 34-21, Liberty County (in triple overtime) 44-38, and Peach County 13-7. The Cedar Grove Saints defeated Stephenson 34-23; lost to Southwest DeKalb 21-20; defeated Columbia 40-0 and Lovett 28-21, and lost to Westminster 42-21. The Saints then defeated Towers 28-0, Pace Academy 49-0, Stone Mountain 55-0, McNair 64-0, and Redan 47-7. Cedar Grove, the Number 2 seed out of Region 5-AAA, has playoff wins over Union County 63-17, Jenkins 28-3, Calhoun 47-21, and Crisp County 55-0.
  • Cedar Grove wins by 5. 

Class AAAAAA at 8 p.m. Friday

Tucker (13-1) v. Valdosta (13-1)

  • Series History: First Meeting
  • How They Got Here: The Tucker Tigers, after an opening 20-13 loss to Kell, defeated Lakeside of DeKalb 48-10, Colquitt County 21-20, Jonesboro 58-0, M.L. King 55-0, Mundys Mills 34-14, Lovejoy 29-26, Drew 41-7, Mt. Zion of Jonesboro 45-0, and Stephenson 31-0. Tucker, the Region 4-AAAAAA champion, has playoff wins over Bradwell Institute 48-15, Harrison 23-7, Mays 28-21, and Northside of Warner Robins 22-7. The Valdosta Wildcats defeated Lowndes 38-13, Woodland of Stockbridge 51-12, Wayne County 28-0, Tift County 42-13, and Thomas County Central 56-39 before losing to Colquitt County 45-24. The Wildcats then defeated Northside of Warner Robins 14-6, Lee County 27=7, Coffee 15-10, and Houston County 28-24. Valdosta, the Region 1-AAAAAA champion, has playoff wins over Lakeside of Evans 69-14, Northgate 35-0, Stephenson 31-21, and Dalton 27-6.
  • Valdosta wins by 2.

Class A Public School at 10 a.m. Saturday

Macon County (11-2) v. McIntosh County Academy (11-2)

  • Series History: First Meeting
  • How They Got Here: The Macon County Bulldogs opened the year with wins over Dooly County 45-0 and Irwin County 57-15, a loss to Fitzgerald 70-42, a win over Taylor County 63-27, and a loss to Northside of Warner Robins 45-6. The Bulldogs then defeated Crawford County 55-10, Schley County 41-7, Hawkinsville 55-8, Central of Talbotton 62-0, and Manchester 55-13. Macon County, the Region 4-A champion, has playoff wins over Turner County 47-37, Manchester 28-14, and Emanuel County Institute 48-26. The McIntosh County Academy Buccaneers defeated Brantley County 48-6 and lost to Clinch County 32-7 before defeating Bryan County 14-0, Jenkins County 38-0, Savannah Christian 31-12, Portal 34-4, and Claxton 49-13. The Buccaneers then lost to Calvary Day 21-14 and defeated Savannah Country Day 28-3. McIntosh County Academy, who finished second in Region 3-A, has playoff wins over Lincoln County 14-7, Greene County 39-22, and Clinch County 24-8.
  • Macon County wins by 12. 

Class AA at 1 p.m. Saturday

Benedictine (14-0) v. Fitzgerald (13-1)

  • Series History: Tied 1-1
  • Last Meeting: Fitzgerald defeated Benedictine 54-28 on November 27, 2015 in the Class AA state quarterfinals.
  • How They Got Here: The Benedictine Cadets defeated Glynn Academy 24-7, St. Pius X 21-7, Southeast Bulloch 33-6, Swainsboro 47-8, Vidalia 27-6, Bryan County 48-20, Toombs County 42-13, Bacon County 65-7, Metter 50-0, and Jeff Davis 48-7. Benedictine, the Region 2-AA champion, has playoff wins over Glenn Hills 58-7, Banks County 49-0, Pepperell 51-13, and Callaway 49-10. The Fitzgerald Purple Hurricanes defeated Irwin County 56-19, Macon County 70-42, Rockdale County 41-14, and Smiths Station (Ala.) 41-7 before losing to Tift County 35-28. The Purple Hurricanes then defeated Albany 48-7, Berrien 42-0, Brooks County 40-7, Early County 40-6, and Thomasville 33-20. Fitzgerald, the Region 1-AA champion, has playoff wins over Dublin 42-7, Rockmart 48-21, Rabun County 35-16, and Hapeville Charter 42-21.
  • Benedictine wins by 2. 

Class AAAAAAA at 8 p.m. Saturday

Roswell (14-0) v. Grayson (13-1)

  • Series History: Tied 1-1
  • Last Meeting: Roswell defeated Grayson 30-26 on December 4, 2015 in the Class AAAAAA state semifinals.
  • How They Got Here: The Roswell Hornets defeated Buford 24-7, Central Gwinnett 31-6, Colquitt County 34-3, Archer 47-0, Milton 17-0, Lassiter 45-14, Walton 55-10, Etowah 17-14, Woodstock 59-7, and Cherokee 20-14. Roswell, the Region 4-AAAAAAA champion, has playoff wins over Pebblebrook 45-7, Peachtree Ridge 29-12, North Cobb 42-21, and Westlake 28-0. The Grayson Rams lost to IMG Academy (Fla.) before defeating McEachern 16-13, Deerfield Beach (Fla.) 39-14, Ramsey (Ala.) 38-6, Rockdale County 60-0, Shiloh 70-6, Archer 38-0, Newton 34-0, Hoover (Ala.) 36-14, and South Gwinnett 45-3. Grayson, the Region 8-AAAAAAA champion, has playoff wins over Mountain View 56-7, Woodstock 59-21, Colquitt County 49-21, and Mill Creek 44-26.
  • Grayson wins by 15.
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