Well, this is … different. The 2017 season isn’t quite finished yet, thanks to Mother Nature. Still, we’ll take a look back while we wait to see who survives Clinch County vs. Irwin County, Friday night in Ocilla.
Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy. Actually, good does the Chargers a severe disservice. For arguably the best program in all of Class A, and one of the best in Georgia regardless of classification, this year’s team might be the best in school history. ELCA won the private championship with a 41-3 dismantling of an Athens Academy squad that came in undefeated and was nearly as dominant as ELCA during the regular season. The Spartans averaged 40 points per game while yielding just eight … until the final. For the season, ELCA set a state record for most points scored per game during the regular season (52.3) and came within nine points of setting the state record for most total points in a season (728 to 737, scored by Washington County in 2014).
Region 2. Once again, it was arguably the toughest league in Class A, with five of the eight schools – all public – advancing to the state playoffs. In fact, the final will be a rematch of the top two teams in the region. Irwin County, the region champ, defeated Clinch County, 21-7, back on Sept. 15.
Aquinas. After a bit of a stumble last season, the Irish won their fourth Region 7 title in five seasons. In 2016, Aquinas finished 6-5 and finished second in the region. The previous three seasons the Irish won three league crowns, a state title in 2013, and compiled an overall record of 38-3.
Charlton County. After its worst season since 1988, Charlton County bounced back this year to finish 9-3 and advance to the quarterfinals.
Emanuel County Institute. The Bulldogs won their third consecutive Region 3 championship and eclipsed the 500-point mark for the third consecutive season.
Jenkins County. The Eagles finished 8-4, their best record since 1966, advanced to the state playoffs for just the third time in the 65-year history of the program, and won a state playoff game for the first time since they played in the 1960 finals.
Macon. The city’s four largest private schools – First Presbyterian Day, Mount de Sales, Stratford Academy and Tattnall Square – all advanced to the state playoffs for the first time since Mount de Sales, Stratford Academy and Tattnall Square joined the Georgia High School Association in 2014. FPD has competed in the GHSA since 2010.
Manchester. The Blue Devils won a region title for the first time since 2001 and won 11 games for the first time since 1998.
Mount Vernon Presbyterian. The Mustangs continued their rise to being a competitive program. They won seven games for the first time in school history, made the state playoffs for the second consecutive season and hosted a playoff game for the first time in school history.
Mount Zion-Carroll. The Eagles won 10 games and advanced to the state semi-finals for the first time in school history, as Brad Gordon stepped in this season to continue the rebuilding job started by Keith Holloway.
Schley County. Two seasons after going winless, the Wildcats won eight games and advanced to the state playoffs for the first time since 2008.
Bowdon and Hawkinsville. Both are the Red Devils. Both are proud programs with rich histories. Both finished 2-8 – the worst record for Bowdon since 1981, and the worst for Hawkinsville since 1995.
McIntosh Count Academy. After advancing to the public finals last season, the Buccaneers finished 3-6 and missed the playoffs.
Wilcox County. A program that went 79-14 from 2006-2012, winning four region championships and one state title, is now 11-39 over the past five seasons after finishing 2-8.
Landmark Christian, Pacelli and Twiggs County. All three schools went winless this season.
Pinecrest Academy. After advancing to the state playoffs the past three seasons, the Paladins had the worst season in the 14-year history of the program, finishing 1-9.