Crystal Ball: Round One Predictions

This is what all the teams were playing for…the state playoffs are here! Here are the first round matchups and our predictions that follow. Note: all 2A and 4A games were moved to Saturday night.

DISCLAIMER: We dissect the numbers, check against other projections, utilize the brain and not the heart. If we pick against any of our beloved 11 programs, take it as a diss if you want, or use it as motivation. We obviously would love to see all 11 programs win every single game, so we’ll celebrate even if we’re wrong if it means our locals walk off the field as winners.

THE LOCALS

#1 Rabun County vs #4 Haralson County (Saturday)

The Wildcats’ game got moved to Saturday evening, and this is probably the biggest game in the 2A bracket in the first round. One win separated Haralson County, who is ranked #5 in 2A by MaxPreps, from the 5-AA region champion team. This is a bonafide top-10 matchup early. Still, #1-ranked Rabun will have to ratchet things up a bit, but should still pull away in this one. VERDICT: RABUN COUNTY

#1 Jefferson vs #4 Mt. Zion (Saturday)

The Dragons’ game also got moved to Saturday, but #1-ranked Jefferson will still run away in this one. Mt. Zion isn’t really in the same stratosphere as the Dragons. Should be over quick. VERDICT: JEFFERSON

#1 Commerce vs #4 Manchester

The Tigers, ranked #2 overall, are riding the wave of the region championship. Let’s not forget Commerce was moments away from being undefeated this season. Manchester likely won’t give the Tiger faithful anything to be worried about. VERDICT: COMMERCE

#3 Dawson County @ #2 Adairsville

The Tigers are disappointed in their regular season finale against North Hall. This should be a pretty good matchup. Even though Dawson has to ride out on the road, we’re taking them in the first round upset because the talent is there, the coaching is there, and the added frustration of last week means they’ll likely take it out on Adairsville. VERDICT: DAWSON COUNTY

#3 Habersham Central @ #2 Rome

The Raiders won two games in one week. That’s insane. Will these guys still have enough energy to play this one? We think so. Habersham’s offense has done what we all knew they could. The defense has been better than predicted. Rome is pretty balanced offensively, and ranked #9 overall. This one won’t come easy, but we’re going with the orange and blue. VERDICT: HABERSHAM CENTRAL

#3 Union County @ #2 Heard County (Saturday)

Union County closed the regular season with a much-needed win over Gilmer, but there are still more questions than answers. Will Jonah Daniel play? Ultimately, Heard County can throw when it needs to, but has a lethal running game that features 5 players with 300 or more rushing yards. VERDICT: HEARD COUNTY

#4 White County @ #1 Rockmart

The Warriors got a momentum-grabbing win over undefeated and ranked region champs, Cherokee Bluff. J Ben Haynes is most definitely back in top form, throwing for 4 TD and rushing for another. These guys are the toughest 4-seed in the entire state in our opinion. Rockmart is a tough out, and are 9-1 overall and ranked #5. But let’s not forget that White County was ranked #6 in the state for awhile too. This will be a HUGE game, but we’re calling the 4-over-1 upset. VERDICT: WHITE COUNTY

#4 Banks County FFT vs #1 Callaway (Saturday)

Banks County forfeited their playoff game due to COVID concerns within the program. The Leopards close their season at 1-10 overall.

THE OTHERS

Predicted winners are in bold

#1 Buford vs #4 Douglas County
#1 Cherokee Bluff vs #4 Lafayette
#2 Flowery Branch vs #3 Luella
#2 North Hall vs #3 North Murray
#2 Denmark vs #3 Discovery
#3 Gainesville @ #2 Archer
#3 Hart County @ #2 Carver, Atlanta
#3 Lakeview @ #2 North Cobb Christian

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