Quest to be the best

Thu, 11/03/2005 - 4:13pm
By: Michael Boylan

Four local teams begin play in state playoffs tonight

The Friday night lights are shining a little brighter tonight as the state football playoffs begin. Four local teams have made the playoffs in their respective classifications and they are all hoping for four more wins this year, which would lead to a state championship.

Chad Gloer


East Coweta Indians (6-4) vs. Groves Rebels (6-4)

The Indians didn’t finish the season like they wanted to, but they made the state playoffs as the second seed from region 4-AAAAA, giving them a home game for the first round. Though East Coweta gave up the most points they had all season last Friday in a 66-35 loss to Newnan, they scored their third highest point total in the game. What has to concern the East Coweta coaching staff the most as they enter tonight’s game is the fact that the defense allowed nearly 600 yards of offense with the majority of it coming from a passing attack. The Indian offense nearly had over 300 yards of passing themselves as Brandon Behenna threw three touchdown passses on the night. The Indians had won three games in a row before last week’s loss.

Groves closed out their season with a 14-7 win over Beach. The win snapped a two game losing streak for the Rebels who had previously strung together four wins, including a win over Brunswick, a team that also made the AAAAA playoffs. Groves has had a solid year defensively. In their six wins, the Rebels have only allowed a total of 37 points and have only allowed 86 points in their four losses. Groves is led by Cameron Tillman and Qareeb Jenkins on offense.

The winner of this game will take on the winner of Stephenson and Tift County.

Starr’s Mill Panthers (8-2) vs. Brunswick Pirates (6-4)

The Panthers are coming into the opening game of the state playoffs flying high after a 48-0 win over Fayette County to close out the regular season. They will have to forget about that win though and focus on what will likely be a much tougher game. Starr’s Mill has outscored their opponents 209-128 in their eight wins, illustrating that their defense has played solidly all year and their offense has been clicking since the third week of the season. In fact, since the third game of the year, Starr’s Mill has only scored below 20 points once. With weapons like Antonio Brown, Brandon Witta, Greg Davis and Robby Davis on offense and an experienced senior defense featuring the likes of Chad Gloer and Bradley Conner among numerous others, the Panthers are tough on both sides of the ball. A complete game from the offense, defense and special teams will be necessary to advance each week in the state playoffs though and the Panthers are out to prove they are up to the challenge.

Brunswick had two three game winning streaks this season but three of their four losses came against the other three state qualifiers from region 3-AAAAA. In their six wins, the Pirates posted two shutouts and held opponents below 20 points four times. Their offense fired on all cylinders in those six wins, never scoring below 30 points. In their four losses however, they only scored above nine points once and that came in their loss to Glynn Academy last Friday. Brunswick’s offense is led by tailback Robert Thomas, fullback Antonio Swinson and quarterback John Williams, all seniors.

The winner of this game will take on the winner of Tri-Cities and Colquitt County.

Class AAAA

Sandy Creek Patriots (7-3) @ Griffin Bears (9-1)

The Patriots started the season by winning six of their first seven games and, though they stumbled a bit in recent weeks, losing two of their last three games, they are hoping to start a new winning streak this week. Knocked out of the playoffs by Griffin in the second round last year, Sandy Creek is hoping to exact a little revenge on the Bears. The Patriots will need a good bit of offense to go along with a defense that has played well all year, only allowing over 20 points twice. Sandy Creek quarterback Jake Turing has done a good job of finding a number of receivers throughout the year and the running game has seen several tailback step up at various points of the season. The defense has been led in recent weeks by Aybid Coleman, while players like Tyler Betsill, Ricky Nicholsen and Corbin Miles have also played well.

Sandy Creek made a critical error on offense last week in a 14-6 loss to Creekside. They can’t afford to make a similar mistake tonight against Griffin.

The Bears have won seven games in a row and have been getting a number of players back from injuries in recent weeks. During their winning streak, Griffin has only allowed a team to score over 14 points once, while their offense has been held to below 30 points only once in that span. Griffin has both a very talented offense and defense and because of the injuries that the team had to deal with, they also have a good amount of depth.

The winner of this game will meet the winner of Lee County and Wayne County.

Class A

Landmark Christian (7-3) vs. Temple (4-6)

The War Eagles have once again gone undefeated in the region and captured a region 5-A title. It was their fourth year in a row to take the crown and Landmark Christian heads into the state playoffs riding a three game winning streak. The War Eagles have a powerful offense led by quarterback Matt Moody, who gets help from receivers like Jimmy Eden and Miles King and tailbacks like Trey Strickland. Moody passed for 2,229 yards and 18 touchdowns in the regular season, while Eden and King each caught eight touchdown passes and gained over 800 yards of offense on receptions each. Moody led the team in rushing with 462 yards and seven touchdowns, but Strickland gained close to 400 yards himself and chipped in five touchdowns.

The defense has also been a huge asset for Landmark with linebackers Tim Creamer, Zech Glaize and Tyler Chapman, all seniors, providing a spark and leadership throughout the season.

The Temple Tigers picked up two of their wins in the final two weeks of the season. The Tigers had a four game losing streak in the middle of the season and only picked up one win in their region, good enough for the fourth playoff spot to come out of 6-A. The Tigers have nine seniors on the squad, including quarterback Matt Johnson, receivers Andy Reid and Courtney Scott and linemen Xavier Boyd, John George and Kent Simpson.

Landmark and Temple have faced the same opponents four times this season. Both teams beat Mt. Zion, Carroll (33-6 for Landmark and 14-6 for Temple) and both teams lost to Whitewater (24-14 and 35-0), Bowdon (44-21 and 31-7)and Bremen (35-21 and 35-6).

The winner of this game will take on the winner of Washington-Wilkes and Athens Academy.

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