But following Friday night’s 35-14 home loss to Mt. Paran in the Region 6-A Crossover contest, it leaves the Eagles’ postseason hopes hanging in the hands of — gulp — the Georgia High School Association and its “Official Statistician and Digital Media Partner,” MaxPreps Power Ratings system. The final ratings will be posted on the GHSA’s web site by Tuesday and schools are allowed to file an appeal by noon on Wednesday if it believes there is an error.
And while the Eagles (6-4) — the sub-region champions in 6-A — may not be able to find an error in the math, first-year MZ coach Keith Holloway and his staff could certainly argue there are flaws in the system that could potentially keep his ball club on the outside looking in of the Class A playoffs.
And while many believe it would be a crying shame to keep Mt. Zion sidelined from postseason play due to some issues of semantics with scheduling, nothing can take away from what the Eagles, who lost 21 straight entering the season, achieved on the field this season.
But since two of the MZ wins don’t count toward the Class A public school power rankings, the Eagles needed a win on Friday to help their standing toward securing a playoff berth, and now they will have to wait for the final rankings to come out and hope they got some help.
“You would think under normal circumstances we would already have clinched a playoff spot. It is what it is. The power ranking’s system was the best the Georgia High School Association could come up with, and we hate that it turned out this way,” Holloway said. “Just the way it is right now.”
Mt. Zion was No. 15 in the public school rankings prior to Friday’s loss at 11.33, just ahead of Greenville (11.32) and Gordon Lee (11.30), both of which also lost on Friday.
Just a Freshman, Folks
He’s only just a freshman, but if you think Jarvis Terrell is playing above his first-year varsity status, there is a reason. The Carrollton wing back went for 240 yards and two scores — on 90 and 77-yard runs — in Thursday night’s 41-14 win over LaGrange.
The win sealed the No. 2 seed and home field for the first round of the Class AAAA playoffs for the Trojans (7-3), but it may have done more than that. Carrollton coach Rayvan Teague talked about gaining momentum heading into the postseason before the game and then spoke of gaining confidence after the game.
“He’s been ahead of the plan all along. When he was a seventh-grader, we played him with eighth grade and he ran all over everybody. When he was in eighth grade, he played with the ninth-grade team and ran all over everybody. So he’s very mature for his age. Just has unlimited potential. Hopefully, he keeps getting bigger, faster and stronger. He’s going to be a special player,” Teague said.
Terrell has spent most of his Trojan career playing on another level, and the Trojan Nation can only hope he can keep it up heading into next week’s first-round matchup against No. 3 Stephens County (8-2) at Grisham Stadium.
On the Road Again
While Bowdon’s loss to Heard County in Friday night’s Region 5-AA title match at Warren P. Sewell Field fell the way of the visitors, Red Devil coach Dwight Hochstetler isn’t throwing in the towel on the season simply because his third-seeded squad has to hit the road for the opening-round of the Class AA state playoffs at No. 2 Washington-Wilkes (9-1).
Bowdon (8-2) is actually 5-0 on the road this season and 3-2 at home, not to mention it won a 57-43 barnburner at Holy Innocents’ last year in the opening round of the Class A playoffs as a No. 3 seed before running into the eventual state champion in Savannah Christian. The Red Devils were 6-1 last season away from Warren P. Sewell Field, with the lone loss coming in Savannah.
So while Hochstetler was frustrated with Friday night’s 28-13 home loss to the Braves, he remains quite confident about the playoffs.
“This year we played well on the road, so I hope we continue that. It’s about a two-and-a-half hour, three-hour drive. Get on I-20 and go. But we’re looking forward to the challenge. If we play our brand, we stand a good chance next week,” Hochstetler said. “You know, it’s our first time in AA ball since I’ve been here. And for us being 8-2 and making the playoffs, that says a lot about our team this year.”
Heard Staying Home
On the flipside of Friday’s battle, the No. 6 Braves (10-0) will stay put at Staples Stadium for at least the first two rounds of the Class AA playoffs — should they get past No. 4 Rabun County (6-4), of course — something HC coach Tim Barron said will make for a special environment, much like that in Bowdon on Friday where the Heard faithful filled the visiting stands and sidelines.
“You always like to play at home. Everybody does. Being your hometown and everything going on and having the community there — of course, the community was here [Friday] night, by all means — but it’s always nice to be at home,” Barron said.
The Central High School football team will go Bear hunting in Blackshear in its first postseason appearance since 2008, as the fourth-seeded Lions (5-5) make the long trek to south Georgia to take on No. 1 Pierce County (9-1) in the opening round of the Class AAA state playoffs next week.
Fortunately for the Lions and coach Grant Chesnut, they’ve had an extra week to prepare for the Bears in coming off an open week to close out the regular season.
Times-Georgian Sports Reporter Jordan Hofeditz contributed to this story.