The following article is an opinion piece and reflects the views of only the author and not necessarily those of AllOnGeorgia.
This past weekend, I had to find something else to do.
My original plans got blown up by the Atlanta United who needed their home building for the MLS Cup on Saturday which meant the state football championship games would not be played this past Friday and Saturday as first planned.
I had intended to plop down in my recliner and watch wall-to-wall football over those two days which are usually among my favorite days of any pigskin season.
But, I guess things worked out as I spent some time with friends, broadcast a local basketball game on Saturday afternoon and spent an hour watching the Heisman Trophy presentation Saturday evening before going on with the rest of the night and weekend.
And, I am glad things worked out for the United who brought a professional sports championship to Atlanta with their triumph in the final match of the Major League Soccer season.
Now today, it’s football time again as the eight football championship games in the Georgia High School Association will be played at Mercedes-Benz Stadium over Tuesday an Wednesday.
It’s strange to have these games mid-week versus on the weekend, but I am anxious to see how things go and of course I am excited to see who actually wins these games as Georgia high school football is showcased on the big stage in the big building in Atlanta.
Before the games begin, I need to do what sports writers like to do and predict the outcomes of these eight games.
I’ve been on a pretty good roll this postseason, honestly.
In a contest among friends, I have won several of the classifications by picking the most games correctly throughout the brackets and plan to win the remaining few that will come down to the finish and the results of the title games.
So, here’s what I have for the title matchups:
Class A Public
Clinch County vs. Irwin County
I have felt sorry for Irwin in the past. They have beaten the Panthers in the regular season only to lose to them twice in the title game.
And, guess what? Yes, this year the Indians also defeated the Panthers in the regular season, and now they will try for the season sweep again.
It’s hard to pick against the Panthers in the big game, but this year I feel like Irwin really is the better team.
I’ll take Irwin to get over the hump here, especially since I tabbed them to win it all from the start.
Indians 23, Panthers 16
Class A Private
Athens Academy vs. Eagle’s Landing Christian
Most people not associated with this great Eagle’s Landing Christian program will probably be pulling for Athens Academy.
The Spartans have never won a state crown and the only game they have lost in two seasons came to the Chargers in last year’s state championship game.
ELCA is simply a juggernaut as it has won three straight state crowns and 42 straight games against Class A opponents.
This ain’t necessarily a David vs. Goliath thing, but it does seem like it could be an Alabama-Georgia thing.
Chargers 31, Spartans 21
Heard County vs. Rockmart
These two teams played early in the regular season with Rockmart winning 33-0.
This one won’t get out of hand like that one did as Heard is way better now and will be more competitive with Rockmart than that.
Either way, it will be cool to see one of these teams hoist the title trophy.
Heard, whose nickname is the Braves, is playing in its first-ever state final while Rockmart, the Yellow Jackets, has not won a state championship since 1950.
Jackets 30, Braves 23
Cedar Grove vs. Peach County
Want to see some athletes on the field? Watch this one.
This game has good one written all over it.
It could be a tough defensive battle as both teams are really good defensively and don’t give up much ground to opponents.
If the Trojans can prevent the big play – including a long kick or punt return – then I think they can generate enough offense to take the title back to Fort Valley and Peach County.
They were my pick when it all started.
Trojans 20, Cedar Grove 17
Blessed Trinity vs. Cartersville
Can Blessed Trinity repeat or will Cartersville win a third title in four seasons?
The Purple Hurricanes probably would be playing for a fourth straight title this year had they not lost to the Titans in the second-round last year on a late touchdown pass.
This was the matchup I predicted for the title game and I had Blessed Trinity winning again this year.
Thing is, I think I am going to change that pick now. Give me Cartersville to get it done.
Why? Just the revenge factor, I suppose.
Purple Hurricanes 24, Titans 20
Warner Robins vs. Bainbridge
Warner Robins beat the Bearcats big in region play, but Bainbridge has been on an impressive roll in the playoffs with four wins over four top-10 teams.
And thus, they come in with tons of momentum and confidence.
If the opposing offense weren’t so good, I would pick the Bearcats to get it done here, too.
But Dylan Fromm will pass the Demons to a state title.
Demons 31, Bearcats 17
Lee County vs. Northside (Warner Robins)
I haven’t seen this Lee County team play this year, but I know the Trojans are loaded.
They have been No. 1 all year and really have not been challenged.
Northside’s quarterback is a dual-threat guy and could take over like a Charlie Ward or Cam Newton.
But barring a Superman-like performance by him, Lee wins a second straight state crown.
Trojans 36, Eagles 16
Colquitt County vs. Milton
Honestly, I can’t believe the Packers had to block an extra point to win their semifinal game.
But again, this was probably a case of a really good team getting that one scare, that one close call that so many championship teams have had in the history of football on their way to winning it all.
Colquitt has been on a mission all year after suffering that tough loss last year to North Gwinnett in the title game.
For entertainment purposes, I wouldn’t mind seeing Milton keep this one close going into the fourth quarter and at least make Rush Propst break a sweat and maybe toss his visor a time or two.
I just don’t see it happening, though.
Packers 38, Eagles 17