Now, the Warriors, along with eight other of their Cobb brethren, are about try to become that first team since the 1967 Marietta Blue Devils to bring the county a football state championship.
Will this finally be the year? Well, let’s work our way through the brackets and find out.
Luella (5-5) at North Cobb (8-2): The Warriors aren’t quite as explosive this year offensively, but their defense is allowing only 14 points a game. Add that to the fact Luella has never won a playoff game, and North Cobb moves on.
Peachtree Ridge (7-3) at Lassiter (7-3): The Trojans have won five straight games and are playing some of their best football of the year behind Cobb’s leading passer Will Anderson. The problem is Lassiter hasn’t been able to find much of a running game all year.
If the Trojans become one dimensional, Peachtree Ridge has the advantage. The Lions, not Lassiter, move on.
Marietta (8-2) at Lovejoy (9-1): Too bad this is a first-round game. This would make an excellent quarterfinal matchup. The Blue Devils are averaging 40 points a game to Lovejoy’s 39. Marietta’s defense allows 25. The Wildcats give up only 13. That is the difference as Lovejoy wins.
McEachern (8-2) at Newton (5-5): Which Newton team is going to show up? The one that beat Lowndes earlier in the year? Or the one that lost to Class AAAA’s Eastside?
It doesn’t look like the Indians’ Ty Clemons is going to play quarterback tonight because of the leg injury he suffered last week, but that likely means running back Taj Griffin will have to carry the load. That should be plenty for McEachern to move on.
Walton (6-4) at Collins Hill (9-1): The Raiders are playing their best defense of the year after allowing Etowah and Roswell to score a combined 19 points over the last two games. As good as that is, neither Etowah nor Roswell were coming into its contest with Walton averaging 53 points over its previous four games like Collins Hill. Unless K.K. Brooks can run the ball for 200 yards and the Raiders offense can keep the Eagles’ offense on the sideline, it will be too much for Walton to handle. Collins Hill get the victory.
Alcovy (7-3) at Hillgrove (9-1): The Hawks may have been overlooked during the regular season, but they won’t be now. Hillgrove has too much offense and defense for an Alcovy team that averages only 23 points a game and has never won more than seven games in a season. The Hawks move into Round 2.
Allatoona (7-3) at Kell (10-0): The Buccaneers dropped their final two games of the regular season and fell all the way to a No. 4 seed from Region 5AAAAA. Kell just completed its second undefeated regular season in program history.
This should be an interesting matchup against two of the county’s premier running backs – Allatoona’s Josh Bettistea who leads the county with 1,813 yards and 27 touchdowns, and the Longhorns’ Jay Moxey (1,015, 13 TD).
The difference in this game will be on the defensive side of the ball where Kell has flourished and the Bucs have struggled. Kell wins the first matchup between the two programs.
Colquitt County at North Cobb: This will be the Warriors most difficult test in their quarter of the bracket. Colquitt County has advanced to the state semifinals in three of the last four seasons. The Packers are built for playoff football.
North Cobb can really announce its presence with a win in this game, and because it would be at home, the Warriors would have more than just a puncher’s chance. I want to say North Cobb wins and moves on to the quarterfinals. But, I can’t. Colquitt wins a close one.
Valdosta at McEachern: After Valdosta upsets Langston Hughes in Round 1 it sets up the No. 4 seed Wildcats coming to Cantrell Stadium to take on the third seeded Indians.
If Ty Clemons is back to full strength, McEachern can win this one. This will be the first time since 1999 the Indians get past the second round of the playoffs.
Hillgrove at Camden County: Is this really fair? Why do we have to have this premier matchup in Round 2? The Hawks are not afraid of the Wildcats. Hillgrove beat Camden County in Kingsland in 2010 in the second round. But the Hawks also lost to the Wildcats there in Round 1 a year ago. This Hillgrove team is much better than the one that went south last year, but it looks like Camden may have gotten better, too. Advantage Wildcats.
Mays at Kell: This is going to be one of these knock-down drag-out defensive games where the team that makes the fewest mistakes is going to win. Why? Because the Longhorns allow 13 points a game while the Raiders allow 15. Mays may come into the game with three losses, but those are by a combined nine points.
Because it’s at home, Kell finds a way to win.
Our Lady of Mercy at Mount Paran Christian: It’s the Eagles first playoff game after a bye week. Mount Paran has also already beaten Our Lady 37-6 in the first week of the season. The Eagles get their first playoff victory in program history.
McEachern at Collins Hill: The Indians can score on anybody, and in bunches. Collins Hill can score on anybody, and in bunches. The question is, which team can come up with the most defensive stops. Unfortunately, for McEachern, it seems that more teams can score on them than they should, and Collins Hill put 53 on a then-No. 1 North Gwinnett. The Indians ride comes to an end.
Kell at Warner Robins: The last time the Longhorns were in this situation was 2010 when they won a coin flip with Statesboro and got to play the Blue Devils at home. This time Kell loses the toss, unfortunately, the result is the same. The Longhorns have had a habit of slow starts this season. This makes one too many slow starts to overcome and their season comes to an end at 12-1.
Mount Paran Christian at Aquinas: Despite finishing No. 3 in the Class A private school power ratings, the Eagles have to travel in the quarterfinals. The game they let slip away against Mount Pisgah comes back to bite them a second time as a trip to Augusta to face an undefeated Fighting Irish is a little too much to overcome for a team that just earned its first playoff win program history.
For the sixth straight season at least one Cobb team will be in the quarterfinals, but based on this, the state championship drought continues. It will be 46 years and counting when the ball is kicked off next fall.
Inch by inch, year by year, the county is getting closer to a breakthrough. Unfortunately, we’ll have to fall back on the old saying, just wait ’til next year.