Championship Week Is Here, GHSA Football Title Games Preview
It’s championship week for Georgia High School Association girls flag football and football and on Thursday, three days of state title games will be played at Georgia State University’s Center Parc Stadium. The day will begin with the three flag football division championships as Southeast Bulloch will take on Harris County for the Division I title, Milton will battle Blessed Trinity in a rematch from their October meeting, which BT won 20-6, for the Division III championship and Lithia Springs will face Central Carrollton for the second time this season for the Division II title. At 18-0, Lithia Springs has only allowed six total points all season when they defeated Villa Rica 25-6 and when they faced Central Carrollton back in November, they defeated them 19-0. This marks the second consecutive season that Lithia Springs has advanced to the state title game. Last season they fell to Dodge County 6-0 after three overtime periods.
Following the flag football championships on Thursday, the GHSA football Class A Division I and Division II title games will take place as Bowdon will face Schely County for the Division II title and immediately afterwards, Swainsboro will take on Prince Avenue in the Division I championship game. The Division II match will feature two teams in Bowdon and Schely County, that have won 10 or more straight games en route to championship week. While Bowdon, averaging 41 points per game, has won 12 in a row after falling to Central Carrollton in week two, Schely County is right behind them with 11 consecutive wins, averaging 51 ppg over their last six games while giving up a total of 49 points through those six games as their defense turned things up in that stretch.
In the Division I matchup, Prince Avenue (13-0) makes their third consecutive trip to the title game, having won it at the end of the 2020 campaign. In 2021, Prince Avenue lost the championship to Trinity Christian, who they beat the previous season for the title. On the other side, Swainsboro (13-0) comes in with one of the top defenses in Georgia, allowing just seven ppg this season, however they will face a quarterback in Prince Avenue’s Aaron Philo, who surpassed 4,000 passing yards in a season or the second time, a Georgia first. Friday’s action will begin with the GHSA 2A championship game featuring Thomson and defending 2A champs, Fitzgerald. Friday will mark Fitzgerald’s third consecutive trip to the title game (lost to Callaway in 2020) and while they come in at 14-0, they will face a Thomson team who has won 13 in a row after dropping their season opener.
The 4A championship game will see the defending champs, Benedictine (12-2) facing a Cedartown team coming in at 14-0 and seeking their first state title since 1963. This will be the first time these two teams have ever met, although it almost happened last season, but unfortunately Cedartown fell to Carver-Columbus in the semifinals. Cedartown boast a defense that has been relatively stingy allowing 9.1 ppg these season with their last three games being the most they have allowed, while Benedictine has given up just 10.1 ppg, however that includes a 41-15 loss to Columbus (FL) back in week two. The nightcap on Friday will feature Langston Hughes (14-0), seeking their first state championship and returning to the title game for the second year in a row (lost in 2021 to Buford) to take on Gainesville (14-0), who looks to win their first state title since 2012. Led by quarterback Prentiss “Air” Noland, who has thrown for 3,832 yards this season, Langston Hughes has averaged 54 ppg and need just two points to break the Georgia record for single season points. Meanwhile, Gainesville, with new head coach, Josh Niblett, leading the way has had one of the best turnaround seasons this year after going 5-5 in 2021. Niblett won seven state titles in Alabama prior to coming to Gainesville and has the Red Elephants playing their best football in recent years.
Saturday will begin with the 3A championship game featuring defending champs, Cedar Grove (11-2) and Sandy Creek (12-2). This will mark the second time the two teams met this season as the region foes faced one another in October when Cedar Grove won 49-34. This also marks the second year in a row in which Cedar Grove faced a region opponent in the title game as they defeated Carver-Atlanta in the 2021 title game. While Cedar Grove looks for their second consecutive championship and fifth in seven years, Sandy Creek will look to bring home their first title since 2012. The 5A championship game will follow the 3A game and feature two time defending champs, Warner Robins (10-4), facing Ware County, who comes in at 13-0. This is a match up from the 2021 regular season, which Ware County picked up the 29-21 win and was the only blemish on Warner Robins record in that season. While Warner Robins looks to win their third consecutive state title and seventh in program history, Ware County is seeking their first in program history. And with a defense that has allowed the fewest points per game (6.2) in Georgia this season, Ware County looks ready to take on the task of dethroning the two time defending champs.
The Saturday finale will be the 7A championship as Carrollton (14-0) will take on Mill Creek (13-1) and will feature two of the Georgia’s top players in Mill Creek’s senior safety, Caleb Downs, an Alabama commit and Carrollton freshman quarterback, Julian “JuJu” Lewis, who has set two state records for a freshman having thrown for 3, 587 yards and 43 touchdowns. Mill Creek got off to an 6-0 start before falling to Buford back in October, in a game in which many believed the winner would be the eventual 7A champion, however, Mill Creek won seven consecutive wins averaging 48.4 ppg led by quarterback Hayden Clark, who set school records with 5,001 career passing yards and 51 touchdowns through the air, and running back Cam Robinson, who rushed for 1,550 yards this season. Not only is Mill Creek seeking their first state championship in program history, Saturday will mark the first time the Hawks have reached the state finals. Meanwhile, Carrollton has not reached the finals since 1998, however have won seven titles in program history.