Commentary: End of regular season always bittersweet
by John Bednarowski
sportseditor@mdjonline.com
November 08, 2013 12:25 AM | 1452 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
While high school football fans across the area get ready for the playoffs to start next week, let’s take a minute and appreciate the fact that half of the state’s teams will be hanging their equipment up after tonight’s game.

With that, plenty of high school football careers will come to an end. Some of those players will go on to play in college, and others won’t, but for all it’s one more night to try to make a memory.

No place is that more the case than at Campbell.

Much has been written about Mike Rogers this year and the numbers he has produced this season — 1,644 yards rushing, 25 touchdowns, 80 tackles, three interceptions and more than 800 yards in kickoff returns — speak for themselves. His final question that can be answered is can he run for 356 yards tonight against North Cobb to reach 2,000 yards in 10 games?

But did you know that the Spartans don’t just have Class AAAAAA’s leading rusher, but its third-leading receiver as well? If Marlon Horne can get 63 yards receiving tonight, he would be Cobb County’s first 1,000-yard pass-catcher this season.

Rogers, Horne and quarterback Ricky James will likely play at the next level. Gaiyon Reavish may not.

The undersized Campbell linebacker, listed at a generous 5-foot-7, 165 pounds, currently leads the county in tackles with 127. Odds are good this will be his final football game, unless someone is willing to take a chance on a football player — rather than someone who requires the measurables of today’s prototype college athlete.

There are plenty of players who should have received more notoriety during their careers than they did. A few that include — Kennesaw Mountain’s Taariq Shabazz has been fending off nagging injuries much of the year, but the defensive lineman will be healthy when he hits the campus at Duke next summer. Others that fit on this list would be Pebblebrook quarterback Dez Huntley, receiver Justin Simms and South Cobb defensive lineman Justin Jones.

Jones is headed to North Carolina State. Huntley and Simms may have a chance to play at the next level, too. The three of them will be able to walk off the field together after their game tonight.

Luckily, there are others whose season’s end tonight, but will return next year and give us another chance to watch them play.

Osborne quarterback Criag Robinson will likely finish with more than 1,000 yards rushing and passing.

North Cobb Christian running back David Brittingham was on his way to a 1,200 yard rushing season until he got injured a couple of weeks ago. Luckily, Chandler Moeller stepped in and picked up where Brittingham left off. Now it looks like the Eagles will have a running game to build around.

And, Wheeler’s Ryles Kirkland has peaked interest after taking over at quarterback for the Wildcats at midseason. Despite having thrown only 83 passes, Kirkland has an opportunity to reach 1,000 yards passing for the season if he has a big game tonight.

If he does, that will be a memory he’ll have for a lifetime.

***

Over the last few years, Cobb County has sent 11 or 12 teams to the postseason. Based on the current standings on gasports.com that number will be only nine this year, but that could still change if a few teams pull off a couple of upsets.

Class AAAAAA Region 4

No. 1 North Cobb vs. Luella. Winner would face either East Coweta or Colquitt County.

No. 2 McEachern vs. Newton. Winner would face either Westlake or Camden County.

No. 3 Hillgrove at Alcovy. Winner would face either Langston Hughes or Valdosta.

No. 4 Marietta at Lovejoy. Winner would face either

Lowndes or Newnan.

It’s pretty simple. If North Cobb beats Campbell, it wins the region title. The winner of the McEachern-Hillgrove game would be the No. 2 seed, the loser No. 3 and the winner of Marietta-Harrison is the No. 4.

However, if North Cobb loses, it could set off a large number of things that could drop the Warriors all the way to the No. 4 seed.

Region 5

No. 1 Lassiter vs. Peachtree Ridge. Winner would face either Sourth Forsyth or Dacula

No. 2 Milton vs. Norcross. Winner would face either Lambert or Archer.

No. 3 Etowah at North Gwinnett. Winner would face either Alpharetta or Brookwood.

No. 4 Walton at Collins Hill. Winner would face either Grayson or West Forsyth.

Lassiter wins the region with a win over Etowah and would be the No. 2 seed with a loss.

With a win, Walton could be anywhere from the No. 2 to the No. 4 seed based on the outcome of the Lassiter-Etowah game and what Milton and Cherokee do in their matchups.

Class AAAAA Region 5/7

No. 1 North Paulding vs. No. 4 Riverwood. Winner would face either Flowery Branch or Stephenson.

No. 2 South Paulding vs. No. 3 Sequoyah. Winner would face either Gainesville or M.L. King.

No. 3 Allatoona at No. 2 Creekview. Winner would face either Tucker or Heritage-Conyers.

No. 4 East Paulding at No. 1 Kell. Winner would face either Clarke Central or Mays.

Allatoona is the No. 3 seed from Region 5AAAAA with a win and the No. 4 seed with a loss.

If Kell beats Cambridge it is the Region 7AAAAA champion. The Longhorns, Pope, and Sprayberry can all qualify for the playoffs with a win. A loss would end their season.

Class A Region 6

Mount Paran Christian is currently ranked No. 4 in the private school power ratings and stands to receive one of the top seeds when the brackets are released sometime next week. Whitefield Academy is No. 18 and it likely needs to beat Darlington tonight to advance to the postseason. The top 16 teams will make the playoffs.

John Bednarowski is the sports editor of the Marietta Daily Journal.

He can be reached at sportseditor@mdjonline.com or on Twitter @jbednarowski.

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