Since 1994 Marietta has made it to the state semifinals. The Blue Devils’ appetites will not be fulfilled until they win the final game of the season.
“They are not done,” Marietta coach Richard Morgan said. “They’re happy with the win, but they’re ready to go play some more. That’s what you want to have this time of year.”
Harrison has not come this far since 2000 and it is hungry for more.
Allatoona didn’t have to wait nearly as long to return to the final four, as it is just four years removed from becoming the first Cobb County program to win a state championship in 2015.
Now the Buccaneers are eager to become the first Cobb County team to win a second.
All three teams will need to win on the road Friday night in order to play for a state championship at Georgia State Stadium on December 13-14.
Marietta will be heading to Parkview on Friday after blowing out Mill Creek 42-10. Harrison will travel to Dacula after beating Houston County 28-7. Allatoona will be making a four-hour trip to Savannah to face Richmond Hill after shutting out Coffee 24-0.
Should Marietta win and play for a state championship for the first time since winning in 1967, the Blue Devils will face either Lowndes or North Gwinnett for the Class AAAAAAA prize.
If Harrison and Allatoona both emerge victorious, the Region 6AAAAAA rivals will play each other for the Class AAAAAA championship.
After knocking off defending state champion Milton in the second round on the road, Marietta returned home to play its first Thanksgiving weekend game at Northcutt Stadium since 1996. On this occasion, the Blue Devils gave their home crowd arguably their best showing of the season.
Kimani Vidal accumulated 263 rushing yards and three touchdowns for the Blue Devils while its defense held the Hawks to only 73 yards and a field goal after the first three quarters.
“(The win) is huge,” Morgan said. “You can tell by the thousands of people out here on the field. They really love this team and they’ve been waiting a long time to do something like this. I’m happy we can provide (the fans) with that excitement. I’m so happy for the kids because they’ve worked so hard to get to this point.”
Not only is this Harrison’s first semifinal trip since the 2000 campaign, it is the first time in school history that the Hoyas have been 13-0. The closest they came from matching that streak was the 2000 season when they were state runners-up. They won 12 straight going into the championship loss to Parkview after dropping their first two games to start the season.
“I think it’s a credit to the kids on how hard they’ve worked, but I guess I’m one of those guys who likes to focus on the next game,” Harrison coach Matt Dickmann said. “This is not over yet. This will be stuff to look at at the end of the season.”
Harrison having multiple offensive weapons has made the Hoyas successful during the playoffs. The running game dictated Harrison’s previous two playoff games with Mason Babay rushing for more than 200 yards in Harrison’s second round win over Brunswick.
Harrison made big plays in the air when it noticed Houston County stacking the box in attempt to stop the run. Gavin Hall throwing a pair of touchdowns to Marquis Owens to help break the game open.
Allatoona’s defense made a statement by not allowing points this deep in the postseason. It allowed just one first down in the first half and forced 10 punts. Its front seven held Coffee to negative 2-yards rushing.
“Each week, we’ve been playing a little better,” Allatoona coach Gary Varner said of his defensive unit. “They are a good group of guys who are coming together and are playing with a lot of confidence right now.”