AA Playoff Projections

GHSA released their official playoff bracket.

Based on Calpreps this is how AA is supposed to shake out in ’21.

Round 1

Coosa at Callaway

Model at Haralson Co

Bremen at Fannin Co

Temple at Pepperell

Riverside Acad at Lovett

Union Co at Pace

Washington at Rabun Co

South Atl at Elberton

Wash. Co at Fitzgerald

Bleckley at Thomasville

Cook at NE Macon

Early Co at Dodge Co

Laney at Jeff Davis

Westside at Vidalia

Toombs Co at Putnam Co

Jefferson Co at Swainsboro

2nd Round

Jefferson Co at Lovett

Haralson Co at NE Macon

Vidalia at Rabun Co

Bremen at Fitzgerald

Dodge Co at Callaway

Elbert Co at Jeff Davis

Thomasville at Pepperell

Pace at Putnam Co

Quarter Final (Tails Coin Flip)

Lovett at NE Macon

Rabun Co at Fitzgerald

Callaway at Jeff Davis

Thomasville at Pace

Semi Final (Tails)

NE Macon at Rabun Co

Thomasville at Callaway

State Championship

Rabun vs Callaway

Champ: Rabun Co

Playoff Darkhorse

We will take a look at the Regions that include a majority of NwGa teams and let you know who we think might be ready to get over the hump and return to the post season in 2021.

6A Public

Trion Bulldogs:

The Bulldogs enter their 2nd season under Head Coach Sean Patrick and return the majority of their starters from 2020. Solid offense with RB Rob Brown and WR Linkin Farrer returning along with a healthy QB in rising Junior Logan Eller and Cole Cavin who is a big target at the TE spot. The key to making the post season for the Bulldogs will be the defense, which allowed 25 points a game last season in Region play. Senior’s Brantley Willbanks (100+ tackles in ’20), Kaleb Park, and Zach Sharp are several names returning that will give Trion experience on defense in 2021.


Temple Tigers

In a 5 team Region there is only 1 option to choose from. The Tigers missed the playoffs in the highly competitive 5AA by 1 point in 2020. On paper you would think this would be a down year in 2021 having to replace several key players from 2020 including RB Phillip Johnson (Army) , DE Justin Isler (Appalachian State), and OL Wyatt Bixler (Berry) . Rising Junior QB Cam Vaughn returns and will have 4 experienced targets to throw to, Kael Whiddon, Carter Kittrell, Shemar Wicker, and Sammie Zimbron . The Tigers will still be solid on defense with Rising Seniors Javon Moore, Shemar Wicker, and 6’2 230 LB Qua Martin among the returning starters and throw is young guys like Rising Junior Daniel Long and Sophomore Freddy Watkins and you have a solid, big bodied defense.


Coosa Eagles

The Eagles were 4-4 last season under 1st year Head Coach Joey Mathis. Covid 19 threw a monkey wrench in their Region in ’20 schedule forcing them the cancel 2 games. A little bird told me they have been making gains in the weight room this off season and they will not be lacking in size. 6’2 270 Senior Deolis Millsap and Junior Aiden Morgan anchor an experienced defensive line. Rising Junior Hayden McBurnett is slated to return at the QB spot. The one spot the Eagles will be looking to fill this Summer is the running back spot. They graduated Terry Curry and Jaxon Thomas and Billy Settlemoir is now at Chattooga.


Ringgold Tigers

The Tigers missed the playoffs last year on the tiebreaker. They averaged over 30pts a game on offense last season and they return most of their weapons. QB Mason Parker had a good season in ’20 and he will have WR’s Malachi Hill and Jevon Coney returning as downfield targets. RB Kori Dumas had a breakout season in ’20, rushing for over 1000 yds, and with a good offseason could be one of the top backs in NwGA for 2021. On defense 3x All Region safety Kyle White returns for his final season and is joined by Marcus Fortson in the defensive backfield. If the Tigers find what they need this season at LB and across they front they could not only compete for a playoff spot but maybe a 1st round homefield game.

5 Can’t Miss Games Week 1

(Lawrence Morgan)

Yeah I know the season is still 3 months away but it’s never too early to start talking NwGa high school football. Here is our picks for the Top 5 games of opening night 2021. For a complete list of games on Aug 20th for NwGa you can click here.

#5) Pickens Dragons at Gilmer County Bobcats:

On paper it may not seem like a can’t miss game. Two teams that were both 3-6 last season and missed the playoffs but the story line in this rivalry game makes it a can’t miss in 2021. Pickens new Head Coach Grant Myers will be making his regular season debut for the Dragons. Across the way Coach Paul Standard will make his debut for the Bobcats after a storied 20 year career at St. Pius where he won 174 games, 8 Region Titles and 2 State Championship appearances.

#4) Haralson County Rebels at Pepperell Dragons:

No doubt two of the best coaches in NwGa square off in this one in front of a packed house in Lindale opening night. After 10 straight years of below .500 ball for the Rebels, Coach Peavy has led Haralson Co to a school record 3 straight playoffs appearances. Pepperell has qualified for the post season 16 consecutive seasons, including all 6 under Coach Hurst.

If you like QB play this is the game for you. Haralson Co QB Clay Hyatt is one of , if not the, top rushing QBs in the State. Pepperell rising Junior Matthew Waddell, who recently won a State Wrestling Title, is slated to take over signal calling duties fulltime for the Dragons in 2021. Keep an eye out for Pepperell rising Junior RB DJ Rogers, who has the potential to be one of the top backs in NwGa this season. He will be challenged by a stout Rebel defense led by DE Riley Bell and LB Kade Mullins.

#3) Fellowship Christian Paladins at Christian Heritage Lions:

2 teams that should be in the Top 10 when the polls are released later this Summer for Class A Private. Christian Heritage gave the Paladins all they could handle in the 1st half last season before letting their upset bid slip away late. Head Coach Jay Poag has done an excellent job at Christian Heritage. The Lions have made the playoffs 3 straight years and last season won their 1st Region Title. Expectations are high this season. They return two of the top offensive performers in NwGa in QB Christian Thomas and RB Solomon Locke and should compete once again for the Title in 7A Private.

#2) Cedartown Bulldogs at Denmark Danes:

A good early test for the Bulldogs as they travel to Alpharetta to take on the Danes from Region 6-AAAAAAA. 1st year Head Coach Jamie Abrams led the Bulldogs to their most successful season in 20 years wining their 1st Region Title since 2001 and making the State Quarterfinals. Cedartown returns a lot of experience from last years squad, including the 1-2 punch of CJ Washington (UGA Commit) and rising Junior Harlem Diamond out of the backfield. On the defensive side Senior DE/LB/TE Demarieo Sims and Junior LB/FB Eli Barrow have jumped on a lot of recruiting radars this off season.

#1) Rome Wolves at Rockmart Yellow Jackets:

Two of the most successful programs in NwGa over the last decade square off in Rockmart opening night. This game is full of playmakers on both sides of the ball. The best battle on the field may be two of the hottest names in the recruiting circles this off season going head to head. Rockmart WR/DB Jakari Clark, who was a top performer this Spring at the MVP Camp and recently picked up an offer from Navy, and Rome rising Junior WR/DB Martel High who has picked up several SEC offers this offseason.

Two highly touted sophomore QBs will be starting their 1st season openers. Rome’s Reece Fountain stepped into the starting role midway through the 2020 season and threw for over 1000 yards leading the Wolves to the playoffs. Rockmart’s JD Davis has some big shoes to fill but he did a good job last season filling in for a injured Whatley during the game at Barron Stadium vs the Wolves.

Get your tickets early for this one!

Spring 2021

(Author: Lawrence Morgan)

Spring 2021

With only one game left on my slate this month, Chattooga at Coahulla Creek next week, I thought I’d throw some observations out from the “Fan In The Stands” perspective of the four games I attended this Spring.

  • Haralson County has a heck of a defense. Held Cedar Grove to 14 points during the 1st Half. Didn’t have an updated roster so I may miss some names here but #44 who I think is Cade Mullins and the Bell boys were tough upfront and at the MLB spot.
  • Rebel QB Clay Hyatt is even bigger and stronger this season. Led the State of QBs in rushing during the 2019 season and looks better in 2021.
  • Armuchee had a good showing Saturday in Jacksonville at the Gridiron Classic. The Indians have a lot of young talent, especially in the 2024 Class, that should make them competitive this season for the 4th playoff spot in 6A.
  • Indian Senior WR JJ House recovered a fumble and snagged a couple of TD passes in the 1st half that gave the Indians a 19-8 lead headed into the break.
  • Talking about 2024 Class, the Cass Colonels have a couple that are going to be real good high school football players over the next 3 seasons here in NwGa. QB Devin Henderson and WR Sacovie White connected on a long TD pass in the 1st half, giving the Colonel fans a glimpse of what they will be seeing in 2021.
  • The North Murray Mountaineers have a heck of a QB/WR combo in Junior Seth Griffin and Senior Michael McDade.
  • The Darlington Tiger defensive line is huge and quick. Going to be tough to run on these guys in ’21.
  • Tiger QB Patrick Shelley was throwing lasers in the 2nd Q and once the red jerseys come off and he can use his legs he will be hard to contend with.
  • A couple of guys outside of our viewing area that caught my eye: Paulding Co QB Brayden Mauldin (6’3 180) and Cedar Grove RB Rashod Dubinion (Arkansas Commit )

Is it August yet?

North Murray v Darlington (Spring ’21)

(Lawrence Morgan)

Mountaineers Warming Up

(Darlington 5/13/21) It was nice to finally get to see some football in the Spring , even if it felt like Mid October, after last years Spring schedule was canceled due to Covid. Here are some things that caught my eye from a fan in the stands perspective.

  • ’23 North Murray QB Seth Griffin and ’22 6’4 WR Michael McDade are going to be fun to watch this season in 6AAA. Griffin was on target all night throwing for 150+ in the half with McDade hauling in 2 long catches and scoring 2 TDs on the night.
  • Rising Sophomore Judson Petty is going to be a fun one for Mountaineer fans to watch over the next 3 years. The 5’10 170 WR/DB had an INT on defense to go along with several tackles and had several catches on offense with strong runs after the catch.
  • North Murray’s #79 Austin Johnson (6’3 280) is a big center in the middle.
  • Darlington’s DL/OL is huge. They did a good job at stopping the run and once the red jersey comes off the QB this Fall they will give up less passing yards as they would have had multiple sack opportunity’s in a live game.
  • Tiger QB Patrick Shelley settled in during the 2nd Q and was throwing lasers on the Darlington scoring drive to end the half.
  • A couple of Tiger’s that had flown under my offseason radar played well. 6’0 200 pound rising Senior Jack Payne played well on defense and came in a threw several good passes from the QB spot. Rising Soph DL Truitt Hayworth (6’5 330) was double teamed most of the night but still ended up at the QB on most plays.

Great game to see between two evenly matched teams. Both will be in the hunt for Region Titles this season and no doubt playoff contenders .

Game Hightlights: Watch

Opening Night (Aug 20th)

Only a little over 3 months away until opening night of the 2021 season .

Adairsville at Chattooga

Armuchee at Kings Academy

Bowdon at Temple

Landmark at Bremen

Dalton at Calhoun

Morrow at Cartersville

Cass at Dawson County

Cedartown at Denmark

Central Carroll Off

Fellowship at Christian Heritage

Coahulla Creek at NW Whitfield

Coosa off

Gordon Lee at Dade Co

Union Co at Fannin Co

Pickens at Gilmer (NwGa Football GOTW)

Gordon Central at Woodland

Haralson Co at Pepperell

Heritage at LFO

LaFayette Off

Sonoraville at Model

Central Talbot at Mt. Zion

Murray Co at SE Whitfield

North Murray OFF

Ridgeland at East Forsyth

Ringgold Off

Rome at Rockmart

Trion Off

Villa Rica at Pope

Mercy at Unity Christian

Get To Know: Gatlin Hancock

Gatlin Hancock

6’4 250 OL/DL/TE/FB

‘23 Darlington Tigers

The rising Junior OL/DL for the Tigers was a Georgia Elite Classic participant and sports a 6’7 wingspan. Gatlin will be one of the anchors this season in an experienced offensive line for a Darlington team poised for a run at a Region Title.


Music: 80s Country

Food: Good Ole Filet Mignon

Movie: Radio

NFL Player: Brian Bosworth and Pat Tillman

Football Memory: Summer two a days at Camp Skyline with the team in the Mountains.

Get To Know: Skyler Hill

Skyler Hill WR/FS

6’1 156

’23 Gordon Central

Skyler had a good Sophomore season for the Warriors. He was named 2nd Team All Region DB and will be one to watch the next two years in 7AA.


Music: Rap

Food: Steak

Movie: I am Legend

NFL Player: Ceedee Lamb

Career Plans: Electrician or Carpenter

Favorite Football Memory: “First time getting ran over in the 3rd Grade.”

You can follow Skyler on Twitter

Get To Know: Chris Roper

’23 Chris Roper SS/RB/QB (Adairsville Tigers)

Chris (5’11 180) was named to the All Bartow County Offensive Team and was an All Region (6AAA) SS as a sophomore for the Tigers in 2020. Along with the talent on the field he sports a 4.0 gpa and is one to watch the next several seasons in the highly competitive 6AAA.


Food: Spaghetti

Music: Rod Wave

Movie: San Andreas

NFL Player: Brian Dawkins

What do you like best about playing football? “I want to be an inspiration to other kids”

Favorite Football Memory? “Hosting a home play off and seeing the community in the stands”

You can follow Chris on Twitter or check out his HUDL highlights.

Get To Know: Kendrick Kirby

Kendrick Kirby OL (Calhoun Yellow Jackets)

The 6’3 270 rising Senior All State/All Region Yellow Jacket OL has been one of the hottest recruits this off season in NwGA. He has picked up offers from Memphis, Marshall, Arkansas St. and Army over the last several weeks and the list will grow as the Spring/Summer get underway.


Music: Country

Food: Burgers

Movie: The Blind Side

NFL Player: Jason Kelce

Future Career Plans: Pediatrician

Favorite Football Memory: “Getting to start as a sophomore and bonding with that senior class”

Follow Kendrick on Twitter here <link> or check out his HUDL