From a Lincoln County fan's perspective, the Class A playoffs this year have a mixture of familiar schools and new names, while some traditional powers are left sitting at home.
Our Red Devils will host the Commerce Tigers, one of their more frequent playoff foes. The two teams have met 16 times since 1986, with the Devils winning five of the six playoff meetings, including the last two. Three of the meetings were in the semifinals in the Georgia Dome. The Devils have had the most state playoff games against Clinch County with 8, Charlton County with seven, and Wilcox County also with six.
Clinch County and Mitchell County meet in Camilla to decide which team will face the LC-Commerce winner. Devil fans will unhappily remember their trip to Camilla in 1978 when their 38-game winning streak was ended 16-6 by the Eagles in the first round of the Class AA playoffs. Clinch and LC last met in the 2006 state title game in Lincolnton.
The winner from that foursome will matchup in the quarterfinals against the winner of Savannah Christian vs. Dooly County, and Holy Innocents vs. Bowdon.
Washington-Wilkes, the fourth seed from 7-A, will travel to Bogart/Athens (US 78) to take on Prince Avenue Christian, the surprise 8-A champ. PAC is in its seventh year of competition, with an all-time record of 32-32-1. That winner will play the winner of Charlton County and Miller County.
The other side of that bracket has Johnson County playing at undefeated Marion County, and First Presbyterian traveling to Bremen. Marion County, in Buena Vista, was a part of Tri-County High until 2006. First Presbyterian is a private school in Macon that is in its second year of GHSA competition.
On the other half of the full bracket, Aquinas will host Athens Academy. That winner will play the victor from undefeated Wilcox County against Calhoun County. The other part of that bracket features all private schools: Landmark Christian at Darlington, and Calvary Day at Brookstone.
In the other quarter of the full bracket, Wilkinson County travels to Monroe to take on George Walton Academy, another transfer from GISA. That winner plays the winner of Seminole County and Bacon County. ELCA will host Mt. Paran, and Greenville travels southeast to Twin City to take on ECI.
Of the 31 other teams in the Class A playoffs this year, our Devils have 24 of them at least once.
Some prominent names not making the playoffs include Warren County (7-3), which gave our Devils their toughest game so far (by final score). Also missing are Hawkinsville (4-6, their third losing season in the past 5 years), Wesleyan (7-3), Taylor County (6-4), Trion (2-8), and Turner County (3-7).
The Class A state championship will be decided at the Georgia Dome on December 10 with a 1:00 kickoff.