Final poll: North Gwinnett, Lee County, Blessed Trinity, Hapeville Charter finish No. 1 for first time

Blessed Trinity coach Tim McFarlin celebrates with players after he got dunked with Gatorade after their 16-7 win over Marist during the Class AAAA Championship game at Marist. Blessed Trinity its first state championship in football. PHOTO / JASON GETZ

North Gwinnett, Lee County, Blessed Trinity and Hapeville Charter – the largest batch of first-time high school football state champions in decades in Georgia – are No. 1 in the final Atlanta Journal-Constitution rankings of the 2017 season.

Also No. 1 are Rome, Calhoun, Eagle’s Landing Christian and Clinch County, programs that are familiar with the champions’ podium.

North Gwinnett defeated Colquitt County 19-17 on a 38-yard field goal by Cameron Clark on the final play of the Class AAAAAAA final on Friday. North Gwinnett, which started varsity football in 1961, had played for state titles in 2007 and 2013 but came up short.

Lee County, playing in its first state final, beat Coffee 28-21 in overtime after trailing 21-7 in the first half in the AAAAAA final. Lee County’s football program dates to 1971. The game marked the sixth time that overtime had settled a championship. Overtime has come to the finals four times in the past three seasons.

Blessed Trinity avenged a regular-season defeat and beat Marist 16-7 for the AAAA championship. Blessed Trinity, which started football in 2001, had lost in the 2015 final to Westminster. Blessed Trinity coach Tim McFarlin became the 15th coach in state history to win state titles at two school. He was Roswell’s state-winning coach in 2006.

Hapeville Charter beat Rabun County 35-23 in the AA final. Hapeville started football in 2011 and still doesn’t have its own field. Hapeville joined 2013 Creekside as the only south Fulton County schools to win football state titles in the past 30 years.

Rome defended its AAAAA title, winning 38-0 over Warner Robins. Rome’s average margin of victory for the playoffs was 46.2 points, the second-most in history.

Clinch County became the sixth school in GHSA history to win seven state titles when it beat Irwin County 21-12 in the Class A public-school final. The result marked the second time in three seasons that Clinch has lost to Irwin in the regular season, then beat Irwin in the championship game.

Calhoun and ELCA had won their titles the previous week. Calhoun has won three in seven seasons. ELCA has won won three straight.

Class AAAAAAA

  1. North Gwinnett (14-1)
  2. Colquitt County (11-4)
  3. Archer (12-1)
  4. Walton (11-1)
  5. Brookwood (11-3)
  6. Grayson (10-2)
  7. Lowndes (11-1)
  8. Tift County (11-2)
  9. McEachern (10-4)
  10. Parkview (9-4)

Class AAAAAA

  1. Lee County (14-1)
  2. Coffee (10-4)
  3. Tucker (12-2)
  4. Glynn Academy (9-4)
  5. Mays (11-2)
  6. Northside-Warner Robins (8-4)
  7. Brunswick (7-3)
  8. Alpharetta (11-2)
  9. Harrison (9-4)
  10. Allatoona (9-4)

Class AAAAA

  1. Rome (15-0)
  2. Warner Robins (14-1)
  3. Buford (11-2)
  4. Stockbridge (12-1)
  5. Carver-Atlanta (12-2)
  6. Jones County (11-2)
  7. Starr’s Mill (11-2)
  8. Carrollton (10-3)
  9. Wayne County (9-2)
  10. Bainbridge (8-4)

Class AAAA

  1. Blessed Trinity (13-2)
  2. Marist (14-1)
  3. Cartersville (11-1)
  4. Burke County (12-1)
  5. Mary Persons (11-3)
  6. St. Pius (8-6)
  7. Thomson (10-2)
  8. Cedartown (10-2)
  9. Woodward Academy (11-2)
  10. Jefferson (10-3)

Class AAA

  1. Calhoun (14-1)
  2. Peach County (13-2)
  3. Cedar Grove (13-1)
  4. Greater Atlanta Christian (12-2)
  5. Jenkins (12-1)
  6. Lovett (7-5)
  7. Liberty County (9-4)
  8. Pike County (9-4)
  9. Westminster (7-6)
  10. Crisp County (9-2)

Class AA

  1. Hapeville Charter (14-1)
  2. Rabun County (14-1)
  3. Benedictine (12-1)
  4. Heard County (12-2)
  5. Thomasville (12-1)
  6. Screven County (11-1)
  7. Brooks County (11-2)
  8. Dodge County (10-1)
  9. Toombs County (10-2)
  10. Callaway (11-2)

Class A private

  1. Eagle’s Landing Christian (14-0)
  2. Athens Academy (13-1)
  3. Mount Paran Christian (11-2)
  4. Prince Avenue Christian (11-2)
  5. Stratford Academy (10-2)
  6. Calvary Day (10-3)
  7. Wesleyan (8-3)
  8. Savanah Country Day (10-3)
  9. Mount Pisgah Christian (8-3)
  10. Whitefield Academy (8-4)

Class A public

  1. Clinch County (12-2)
  2. Irwin County (12-2)
  3. Emanuel County Institute (11-2)
  4. Mount Zion-Carroll (10-3)
  5. Manchester (11-1)
  6. Macon County (8-4)
  7. Charlton County (9-3)
  8. Washington-Wilkes (7-5)
  9. Lincoln County (7-5)
  10. Marion County (9-3)

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