The GHSA (Georgia High School Association) has announced a few changes for the 2020 state playoffs in different sports.
Monday, Executive Director Robin Hines stated that the coronavirus would impact a number of sports when they enter postseason play when it came to attendance numbers.
The State football championship will be at full capacity in Georgia State’s Football Stadium so it will not be affected.
Basketball will see a huge change, as the state semifinals and finals games are usually played at surrounding colleges, but will not be this year. This year they will be played at high school gyms. The GHSA cited that many colleges simply are not allowing their arenas to open at all.
Hines said that the softball championships which take place in Columbus, will not have stands for fans. Attending fans will be required to bring their own chairs and seating and be required to socially distance.
Swimming finals are still set for Georgia Tech, but Hines said currently the facility is not allowing fans. The GHSA could possibly charge schools $40 per athlete to cover revenue loss and the cost of the facility.
Hines also announced the GHSA is forming a Diversity Committee.
The 2019 All-State Football Teams as selected by the Atlanta-Journal Constitution were released Thursday and several area players were honored.
Two players were named to the Class AAA first team: North Murray senior Ladd McConkey was named the first team Athlete, while Fannin Co. junior Luke Holloway was named the first team Punter.
Dawson Co. placed two players on the Honorable Mention list: senior defensive back Riley Herndon and junior place kicker Caleb Bonesteel.
North Murray senior linebacker Dylan Flood was also named an Honorable Mention.
In Class AA, two players from Rabun Co. were named to the first team: sophomore quarterback Gunner Stockton and senior wide receiver Braxton Hicks.
Union Co. senior quarterback Pierson Allison was named an Honorable Mention in Class AA.
A furious Wildcats comeback effort in the fourth quarter wasn’t enough for top-ranked Rabun Co. to erase being outscored 21-0 in the third during a 38-24 loss at Thomasville on Friday night in the quarterfinals of the Class AA state playoffs.
The loss was the first of the season for the Region 8-AA champion Wildcats (12-1) who were led Friday night as they have been all season by sophomore quarterback Gunner Stockton.
Trailing 35-10 entering the fourth quarter, Stockton and the offense went to work. The sophomore threw touchdowns passes of 10 yards (to Cory Keller) and 30 yards (to Braxton Hicks), while the defense held the home team Bulldogs to a field goal in the period.
Stockton finished the night 16-of-24 for 316 yards and two touchdowns. He finished the 2019 campaign with 3,462 yards and 43 touchdowns passing with a nearly 75 percent completion percentage.
Despite the good numbers, Stockton was on the run most of the night from a Thomasville defense that Rabun Co. head coach Jaybo Shaw said his team had a “hard time blocking.”
Stockton was sacked or dropped for a loss 10 times on the night. He also lost a fumble in the first quarter and threw an interception while on the run in the third quarter.
“We knew going in we were going to have our hands full,” Shaw said of the Bulldogs’ defensive front. The defense is a big part of the reaon the Bulldogs won Region 1-AA this season.
Rabun Co. broke the scoreless tie just 48 seconds into the game on their third play from scrimmage. Keller broke through that tough defensive line and burst 50 yards into the end zone to give the visiting Wildcats the 7-0 lead.
Thomasville answered later in the quarter with a 1-yard touchdown run, and then scored again midway through the second quarter to a take 14-7 lead.
Rabun Co. responded with a 63-yard, five-play drive that ended with an 18-yard field goal from Edwin Diaz to close the gap to 14-10.
Then the third quarter happened.
Thomasville scored 21 unanswered points in the period, including a blocked punt by Kevin Cochran on Stockton.
After scoring on a 54-yard screen pass on their first possession of the quarter, Cochran broke through to knock down Stockton’s punt on Rabun Co.’s first. The ball was scooped up by Thomasville’s Ricky Fulton, who scampered 16 yards into the end zone to put the score at 28-10.
The home team added a third score in the quarter on a 12-yard run to go up 35-10 heading into the final frame.
In the fourth quarter, the offense scored on Keller’s catch and the defense held Thomasville to a 35-yard field goal to make the score 38-17 with 8:24 to go.
Stockton struck again to Hicks with 6:50 to go, but Thomasville held on from there to earn a spot in the semifinals.
They will host Dumblin next Friday, Dec. 6.
With the loss, Rabun Co.’s season comes to an end.
There will be new school regions across north Georgia when the 2020-21 school year begins.
The appeal process for schools wishing to change regions or classifications within the Georgia High School Association (GHSA) was completed Tuesday, Nov. 19, and many area schools will soon see new foes in new places during the 2020 through 2022 school years.
After the GHSA released initial prospective region alignments earlier this month, several schools filed appeals to move to different regions or play in a different classification, including Fannin Co.
Fannin Co.’s appeal was granted, and they will play in Region 7-AA with Chattooga, Coosa, Dade Co., Gordon Central, Model, and Pepperell.
Fannin Co. had originally been placed in 8-AA but appealed due to travel times and distance.
Gilmer will move down a classification next year from Region 6-AAAA to play in Region 7-AAA. Along with Gilmer, Region 7-AAA will have newcomers in West Hall and White Co., while keeping Cherokee Bluff, Dawson Co., Lumpkin Co., and North Hall.
White Co. moves down from from Class AAAA to AAA.
Pickens will remain in Class AAAA but will move from Region 6 to Region 7. The Dragons will face Cedartown, Central Carroll, Heritage, Catoosa, Northwest Whitfield, Ridgeland, and Southeast Whitfield.
Murray Co. and North Murray remain in 6-AAA, which will include of Adairsville, Coahulla Creek, LaFayette, Lakeview-Ft. Oglethrope, Ringgold, Rockmart, and Sonoraville.
Rabun Co. and Union Co. remain in 8-AA, which includes of Banks Co., Elbert Co., and Riverside Military.
Towns Co. remains in 8-A Public, which includes of Commerce, Greene County, Lincoln County, Social Circle, and Washington-Wilkes.
Final region alignments still have to be verified by the GHSA’s Executive Committee for Reclassification, which is expected to meet in early December.
For a list of current GHSA regions, click here.
For the full list of anticipated regions for 2020-2022, click here.