It’s finally here. As I’m typing this column, many of my colleagues are filing their last stories of the 2019 high school football season.
Week 10 is in the books there are hundreds of teams who had to turn their equipment in and begin to ponder hopes of successful basketball, wrestling, track, soccer seasons as well as offseason workouts.
Well around here, we’re really just getting to the meat of the football season. All season our four area high schools have all been building toward first reaching the postseason, which through recent successes of the four schools is an expectation nowadays, and making a run when they get into the playoffs.
All four will be at home in their first round matchups. What other area can say they have all of their high schools in the state playoffs and high enough in their respective totem polls to host a game?
I assure you, there aren’t many. We’re lucky around here if you love football. Not only are all four teams in the playoffs, all four have a legitimate shot of making a run to Atlanta for a state championship game.
The logical first choice is Athens Academy. The Spartans have been to Atlanta the last two years out of Class A Private. The Spartans wrapped a third straight region title on Friday night and appear to be showing no signs of slowing down their expectations or chances of doing so again this season. The Spartans are in a different situation than they have been in the past. The Spartans have some nicks and bruises to some good players that have been staples for a long time in their lineup. The Spartans have been good enough to adapt and have found a few different ways to win games the last few months that gives one confidence that they’ll be in every game they play should they advance down the road. The wildcard of Class A Private is Prince Avenue Christian School. The Wolverines entered the season coming off four straight state semifinals. They came a few plays shy against Athens Academy of reaching Atlanta themselves and playing for the Class A Private state championship.
The playoff Backyard Brawl was a great game to watch and I expected this season’s match up to look very similar. The Wolverines lost their quarterback Brock Vandagriff in week three and turned to a freshman Lucian Anderson III for the big rivalry matchup. Anderson played well leading up to the game and did what was asked of him in the game, still there was an adjustment period for a freshman. The Wolverines now have Vandagriff back healthy. That being the case as well as a more experienced team as a whole, the Wolverines are capable of beating anyone.
North Oconee High School has been dominant all year. They will host a first round game and should they win they could be looking at a run of their own. West Laurens would be the opponent if chalk holds and they too have been dominant, but with the Titans’ passing attack and defense makes them a tough out for anyone as well. Oconee County High School comes into the postseason armed with home field advantage, a solid defense, a balanced offense and veteran players. That’s the ingredient for winning this time of year.
It’s win or go home from here on out.
Jeremy Johnson is the sports editor for The Oconee Enterprise. Opinions expressed are those of the writer.