Most people were anxious to put 2020 behind them. The pandemic changed the way we lived and how we went about our daily lives.
Fortunately, sports served as a diversion, allowing participants and fans to escape from reality, if only for a few hours day.
The way teams practiced and played was completely different , because schools sometimes didn’t know from day to day if contests would be played or even if the season would be completed.
Despite the distraction, in the West Georgia area, local high schools treated fans to thrilling seasons in areas of sports that included state titles and trips to the playoffs.
Heard County came away with the GHSA Class AA fast-pitch softball title, and Oak Mountain claimed the GISA Class AA volleyball crown.
Central came up just short of winning its softball title, finishing as the Class AAAA runners up after joining Heard County and Bremen at the Final Four in Columbus.
This year because of the pandemic, things were also slightly different from the high school softball scene. Instead of the top eight teams competing in Columbus, just the Final Four was staged at the long-time state softball venue.
Seven of the nine local football teams earned spots in the playoffs, with Carrollton and Bremen each making it to the Elite 8 in their classifications.
The Heard County softball team got hot at just the right time, rolling through the postseason with a 9-0 record and beating The Lovett School 14-7 in the championship.
Oak Mountain claimed its GISA volleyball title with a win over Augusta Prep to finish 25-3.
Several local GHSA volleyball teams also had success, with Central advancing to the Class AAAA Elite 8.
The Lady Lions finished the season with a 25-18 record after winning a region title.
Central knocked off Howard and Kendrick in the first two rounds of the state tournament before losing to Heritage-Ringgold to close out the season.
Carrollton advanced to the Sweet 16 of the Class AAAAAA tournament, while Bremen also made it to the Sweet 16 of the Class A/AA state volleyball tournament.
The Lady Trojans finished the season with a 22-17 record.
Carrollton opened the state tournament with a win over Winder-Barrow before dropping its final match of the season to Kennesaw Mountain.
Bremen picked up one win in the Class A/AA state tournament, defeating Chattooga.
The Lady Blue Devils’ season ended with a loss to the Elite Scholars school in the second round.
Bremen ended its season with a 26-12 record.
The Temple Lady Tigers also advanced to the Class A/AA state tournament.
A first-round loss to Gordon-Lee ended the Lady Tigers’ season at 9-24.
Villa Rica also made an appearance in Class AAAAA, but lost in the first-round to Cartersville.
The Lady Wildcats ended their season with a 21-20 record.
Heard County rolled to its title on the softball diamond with some impressive wins once it got to the playoffs.
The Lady Braves went into the state tournament as the No. 2 seed, but caught fire in the playoffs, sweeping Union County, Dade, and Berrien en route to its final four trip.
Once in Columbus, the Lady Braves knocked off Lovett and then beat Vidalia.
That set up a second showdown with Lovett in which the Lady Braves claimed the title.
Central nearly brought home a softball crown, losing in the Class AAAA finals to Heritage-Ringgold.
The Lady Lions beat Heritage once, 2-1, but lost the next two games, 3-2 and 4-0, as Heritage game out of the losers’ bracket.
The Lady Lions finished with a 28-10 record.
Before falling twice to Heritage in the championship bracket, the Lady Lions won five games in a row.
In the middle of the season, Central put together a seven-game losing streak.
Heard County wasn’t the only local Class AA school to have success on the softball diamond.
Bremen also advanced to Columbus and the final four.
The Lady Blue Devils’ successful season ended with losses to Vadalia and Lovett.
Bremen set up its trip to the final four with Rabun, Chattooga, and Cook and then ended the season with a 27-11 record.
Carrollton made it to rounds into the Class AAAAAA playoffs, sweeping Winde-Barrow in the first round and falling to Creekview in the second round.
The Lady Trojans season ended with a 16-12 record.
Haralson County earned a sweep over Elbert County before falling to state runner-up Lovett in the Class AA playoffs.
The Lady Rebels finished the season with an 11-14 record.
Mt. Zion put together a 20-8 record and finished its softball season with a loss in a three-game series against Georgia Military in the Class A tournament.
Bowdon also took a first-round loss to Academy for Classic Education.
The Lady Red Devils finished with a 7-14 record.
Carrollton made it to the Class AAAAAA Elite 8 heading to the playoffs after winning the Region 5-AAAAAA title on the football field.
The Trojans beat Winder-Barrow and Sprayberry in the first two rounds of the playoffs before falling to Valdosta 36-15.
Carrollton ended the season with an 8-3 record.
Bremen also made a solid run through the playoffs, making it to the Elite 8 in the Class AA bracket.
The Blue Devils knocked off Elbert County and South Atlanta before falling to Jefferson 33-10.
Bremen ended its season with an 8-5 record.
Bowdon finished with an 8-5 record in the Class A bracket, making it to the Sweet 16.
After beating Washington County, the Red Devils season ended with a 34-17 loss to Washington-Wilkes.
The Central Lions season ended in the first round of the Class AAAA playoffs after losing to Marist 49-0 in the first round.
Marist went on to win the Class AAAA title.
Central finished with a 6-4 record.
In the Class AA playoffs, Haralson County fell to Raburn County in the first round, losing 35-7.
The Rebels finished the season with a 7-3 record.
Heard County also made it to the Class AA playoffs, winning the first-round contest against Union County before losing to Fannin County 21-14.
Heard County ended the year with an 8-6 year.
It was also the final game for long-time head coach Tim Barron who resigned to accept the head coaching position at Villa Rica.
Mt. Zion also made it to the playoffs.
The Eagles lost to Warren County 60-14 in the first round and finished with an 8-3 record.
It was also a successful year in cross country as the Central girls finished fourth at the Class AAAA meet.
The Carrollton girls took ninth and the Trojans fifth.
The Mt. Zion boys took 11th in the Class A race.