Lincoln County, Wilkinson County, Washington-Wilkes and Warren County will represent Region 7-A in the Georgia High School Association playoffs next week.
Aquinas, Washington-Wilkes and Warren County tied for the final two playoff spots with a 2-3 region record.
Aquinas coaches were under the impression they had made the playoffs with a 28-12 win over Washington-Wilkes on Friday. The next morning, they confirmed the Irish will not make the playoffs.
The tiebreaker that booted the Irish out was total record against Class A teams. Washington-Wilkes was .500, while Warren County and Aquinas were 3-5 and 2-4, respectively. Washington-Wilkes was awarded the No. 3 seed, and Warren County advances because it defeated Aquinas head-to-head.
"There's nothing else we can do," Aquinas coach Matt LeZotte said. "It's the 2010 season now as far as we're concerned."
Aquinas could not count wins over Glascock County and Georgia Military in the tiebreaker because those Class A schools do not play a region schedule.
"That's the way it's always been," said Lincoln County coach Larry Campbell , who has coached at the school since 1972. "They don't count for you; they don't count against you."
LeZotte was discouraged with the news, because he said his team played its best game of the season Friday, defeating the Tigers for the first time since 1980.
"That was the loudest I've ever heard our stadium," he said. "Now I know what it feels like when the BCS doesn't always take the best teams. That's exactly how I feel right now."
PLAYOFF intrigue: Five area teams will open the GHSA playoffs at home this week.
One of the most intriguing matchups pits Lakeside against Statesboro, one of the state's best program. Statesboro, which has won two state titles this decade, beat Lakeside 21-0 in coach Jody Grooms ' first season in 2007. Statesboro leads the all-time series 6-0, and Lakeside has never come within three touchdowns of winning, according to the Georgia High School Football Historians Association.
"They have a classy, classy staff and a lot of (program) history," Grooms said. "They're going to be coached up and ready to play. We're really going to have to do a good job to be able to win against them."
The winner of that game would likely play Westside-Macon.
PAIR MAKE PLAYOFFS: North Augusta and Aiken both made the Class AAAA, Division II field in South Carolina. North Augusta will play at home against Conway in the first round.
On Friday, a pair of North Augusta seniors had reason to celebrate beyond their team's 35-7 win over Aiken. Receiver Matt Hazel hauled in two catches for 43 yards, which put him over the 1,000-yard mark this season. Hazel became the only receiver in the area to hit the milestone.
"He's a great wide receiver. He knows how to adjust his body in the air," quarterback Loranzo Hammonds said. "I'll put it like this, if he's got a step on his man, I'm going to Matt."
Senior linebacker L.J. Perry , who came up with an interception Friday night, found out earlier in the day that he had received a scholarship offer from Presbyterian College.
"It doesn't get much better than that right there," North Augusta coach Dan Pippin said. "When you get to tell a kid he's got a scholarship offer on the table -- that's what it's all about."
PENALTIES PLAGUE KNIGHTS: While Evans missed star running back Jonathan Finch (suspension), the Knights didn't help themselves on the field in their 21-15 loss to Richmond Academy.
Evans committed three 15-yard penalties after halftime (one late hit, two unsportsmanlike conduct). Two of the penalties aided Musketeers scoring drives. The last penalty was ill-timed.
Trailing by six with no timeouts remaining, Evans forced Richmond Academy to punt with 1:45 left. Tevin Nelson took the ball at the 9 and appeared to be breaking free for a long return. However, he got tackled on the Knights' 38 with no one in front of him. Worse, he spiked the ball and got called for unsportsmanlike conduct.
Instead of needing to go 62 yards, the Knights were forced to go 77 to win the game.
"We can't have penalties like that and beat a good football team like ARC," Evans coach Marty Jackson said. "We've got to get better in those situations."
GOOD CALL: Richmond Academy failed to come away with points after reaching the Evans 5-yard line in the first half. Late in the third quarter, the Musketeers trailed by three when coach Chris Hughes decided to go for it on fourth-and-goal from the 1 instead of attempting another game-tying field goal. David Cordaro missed a 22-yard attempt wide right in the first half.
Quarterback Mar-Quon Medlock tumbled under the pile to stake Richmond Academy to a 7-3 lead.
"We felt like if we could just get that one score we'd be all right," Hughes said. "We were blocking well. We were playing well. We were running the ball well. ... We're playing well right now. Maybe we're peaking at the right time."
Staff writers Chris Gay and Billy Byler contributed to this story.
Reach Matt Middleton at (706) 823-3425 or email@example.com.
|Rushing : Seth Hill||Grovetown||245||Mt. Paran||W, 34-33|
|Passing: Tyler Roberson||Augusta Christian||290||Wilson Hall||L, 35-28|
|Receiving: Ben Brooks||Lakeside||118||Josey||W, 43-0|