Class AA blog: In brief — Rockmart picks sportsmanship over shutout

As stated in the Friday night recap, there could be chaos in Region 2. If one of Swainsboro or Metter doesn’t win on Friday, and if Vidalia presumably beats Bacon County, there would be what is possibly unprecedented in GHSA play: a five-way tie for first place.

Georgia High School Football Historians Association and GHSF Daily co-founder and longtime AJC high school reporter Todd Holcomb said he’s never heard of a five-way tie for first place. If there’s anyone who’d know, it’d be him.

There are also a number of other scenarios for Region 2 and different ways to determine those possible outcomes.

We’ll start simple. If the Swainsboro Tigers (4-1 in region play) beat Toombs County (3-2), they’re region champions for the second year in a row. They could have clinched last week but lost to Jeff Davis in a huge upset, which is why we’re in this potential mess to begin with. So, thank the Tigers for that. 

Now, if Swainsboro loses, the Metter Tigers (4-1) can win their first region title since 2003 by beating Jeff Davis (3-2). If Swainsboro and Metter both win, Swainsboro takes the tiebreaker over Metter because it won their head-to-head matchup on Oct. 4. 

It gets hairy if both Swainsboro and Metter were to lose. 

For the sake of naming scenarios, let’s also assume Vidalia (3-2) was somehow upset by Bacon County (1-4). Vidalia’s season would be over and there would be a four-way tie for first place between Jeff Davis, Metter, Swainsboro and Toombs County. 

A four-way tie would be settled by point differential. 

Indians coach Lee Chomskis said points differential is applied only to the matchups between the teams tied, meaning in this case that games against Vidalia, Bacon County and Bryan County would be excluded. The team with the best points differential will be region champion. Once points differential determines first place and region champion, then points differential is applied to the games played between the three remaining teams to determine second place. From there, head to head determines third and fourth place.

For the points differential tiebreaker, margin of victory is capped out at 15 points per game. For example, if Team A beat Team B by 21 points, Team A is awarded 15 points, not 21. 

Heading into the final week, here is the points differential standings for the four teams: 1) Metter (plus-12); 2) Swainsboro (even); 3) Toombs County (minus-12); 4) Jeff Davis (minus-23).

Now, let’s say Toombs County beats to Swainsboro, Jeff Davis beats Metter and Vidalia beats Bacon County. That’s where history would come into play with the five-way tie, as all teams would be 4-2. In that event, there would be tie-breaker mini-games. 

For the mini-games scenario, there would be a meeting on Saturday to determine which team or teams would receive a bye, given there’s no known precedent for how to handle byes for a five-way tie. GHSA bylaws for mini-games only provide bye rules in the event of three- and four-way ties.

A quick refresher on tie-breaker mini-games: per the GHSA, the games consist of two five-minute halves, with a two-minute halftime. Each half begins with a free kick. Each team is granted two times outs in the first half and one timeout in the second half, though the first half timeouts can carry over to the second half if not used. If the mini-game is tied after the two halves, the 15-yard overtime procedure is applied. Teams that emerge from the mini-playoff games will play Round 1 on Saturday unless they agree to play Friday.

The mini-games would be played on Monday at Truetlen High’s Bobby Driggers Stadium in Soperton. One thing worth noting with the five-way tie play-in games is that the fourth seed will have played four play-in games before Round 1. Yikes. 

Update 11/07: In the event of a five-way tie there will be a vote to determine whether mini-games or points differential will be used as tiebreakers.

Three-way tie scenarios in 2-AA: 

  • If Jeff Davis, Toombs County and Vidalia lose, those teams would be 3-3 but Vidalia beat both Jeff Davis and Toombs County so it would take third place. Toombs County beat Jeff Davis so it would take fourth place and Jeff Davis’ season would be over. 
  • If Jeff Davis beats Metter and Vidalia wins (and Swainsboro wins), Metter, Vidalia and Jeff Davis would be tied for second at 4-2 and Toombs County’s season would be over at 3-3. No one team beat the other two, so points differential would determine second place, then head-to-head would determine third and fourth place. That same process applies if Swainsboro loses to Toombs County and Vidalia wins (and Metter wins), which would have Swainsboro, Toombs County and Vidalia tied for second at 4-2, with Jeff Davis’ season over at 3-3. 

For what it’s worth, here are Maxwell’s projections for the key games in Region 2 on Friday: 

  • Metter is a nine-point favorite at home over Jeff Davis 
  • Swainsboro is a 13-point favorite at home over Toombs County
  • Vidalia is a 37-point favorite at home over Bacon County

OK, moving along — below is the latest top 10. The number in parenthesis represents the previous week’s ranking.

1. (1) Rockmart (9-0)

2. (2) Callaway (9-1)

3. (3) Dublin (9-0)

4. (4) Hapeville Charter (7-1-1)

5. (5) Rabun County (9-0)

6. (7) Bleckley County (7-2)

7. (8) Union County (9-0)

8. (10) Thomasville (5-4)

9. (NR) Brooks County (5-4)

10. (6) Swainsboro (7-2)

Out: No. 9 Washington County

In brief:

  • Big news from the GHSA: The tentative reclassification plan for the 2020-22 school years have been released, based on enrollment numbers. Schools have until 4 p.m. Nov. 11 to appeal. As it stands now, key additions to AA would include 2013 AA champions and private school powerhouse Lovett (from AAA, where they’re currently ranked No. 6) and key exits would include top-ranked Rockmart (to AAA), No. 3 Dublin (A-Public), No. 4 Hapeville Charter (AAA), No. 9 Brooks County (A-Public), Hephzibah (AAA), Douglass (AAA) and Metter (A-Public). 
  • Last Wednesday was the birthday of late Jeff Davis player Jordan Bavaro, who was killed in a car wreck just before what would have been his senior season. Bavaro was listed as a linebacker and guard on the Yellow Jackets’ 2018 Maxpreps roster. Two days after Bavaro’s birthday, the Jackets pulled off one of the biggest upsets this season in AA, beating Swainsboro 21-14.
  • Check out the PoJo’s Coaches Show and its latest breakdown of Screven County football. The Gamecocks are 7-3, 6-2 in Region 4 and have clinched fourth place and a playoff spot.
  • Bremen senior safety Makai Terry has been selected to play in the Georgia Elite Classic.
  • Model first-year coach Jeff Hunnicutt has turned the program around and he’s receiving  Class AA coach of the year consideration from the AJC as a result. The Blue Devils are 5-4, 5-1 in Region 7 after finishing 2-8, 2-5 last year.
  • With their 38-0 win over Coosa — Jeremy Stewart has details for the Rome News-Tribune — Model has back-to-back shutouts for the first time since 1996, when they opened the season with wins over Gordon Central (7-0) and Landmark Christian (28-0). Last week, the Blue Devils beat Gordon Central 21-0.
  • Teams around AA — including South AtlantaJeff Davis and Washington County — are sending condolences to the Johnson County Trojans community, which is dealing with the unfathomable tragedy of assistant Shawn Linder and his 2-year-old daughter losing their lives in a car accident.
  • Here’s some history on Hapeville Charter assistant Richard Basil.
  • That’s quite a stat line from Thomasville class of ‘21 quarterback Ronnie Baker.
  • Is Bleckley County’s win over Dodge County a sign of things to come? Also, you can listen to audio of the game here.
  • Here are some impressive stats from the Dodge County-Bleckley County game, including 174 yards and two scores from Dominic Sasser.
  • How did Sasser repay his offensive line? Halloween candy.
  • Callaway is rolling on defense and it has been all season.
  • Callaway offensive lineman and Auburn commit Tate Johnson got in on the scoring action on Friday against Jordan with this 16-yard touchdown reception. Here’s another angle. Hudl acknowledged the play.
  • Class of ‘20 Brooks County athlete Devin Edwards has been invited to play in the GACA North-South All-Star Classic. Jeff Davis offensive lineman Nate Lewis was also invited.
  • Listen to the final minutes of Jeff Davis’ huge upset over Swainsboro here. And here’s a boatload more highlights.
  • The Hephzibah Rebels closed out the season with their second shutout in three games, beating Josey 41-0. The Rebels have outscored opponents 78-8 the last three games and have locked up the No. 3 seed in Region 4.
  • Here’s a punishing hit from Hephzibah’s Enoch Howard. Here’s one from Marcus Knight.
  • AccessWDUN gives a quick breakdown of Region 8 in its Week 11 wrap.
  • Here’s Todd Forrest’s coverage of Union County’s win over Social Circle for NGN Sports.
  • WJCL has highlights of Metter’s 21-3 win over Vidalia.
  • Pepperell put up a season-high 63 points in their shutout win over Armuchee, improving to 7-2, 5-1 in Region 7. They have clinched the No. 2 seed. It was the most points they’ve scored since beating Gordon Central 69-0 in 2016, and they’ve outscored their competition 105-0 their last two games.
  • This would appear prophetic on the part of the Brooks County football Twitter handle — the Trojans did beat Fitzgerald 28-24 — however, the timestamp of the tweet voids any impressiveness. 
  • In a game that determined the fourth and final playoff spot in the five-team Region 1, Early County beat Berrien 49-8 to move to 5-4, 1-2.
  • The defending state champion Heard County Braves locked down at least a No. 3 seed with a 35-20 win over Lamar County in a game they led 35-0 at halftime. Don’t look now, but the Braves are 4-5, 4-1 in Region 5 and if they beat Bremen next week, they’ll take second place and host in the first round of the playoffs.
  • Bleckley County defensive tackle Willie Harris has been invited to participate in the Rising Seniors Foundation’s Georgia Junior Bowl.
  • Amarius Mims becomes the second Royal to join the Rising Seniors alumni, joining Derrick Farrow, who played in the game in 2011. Farrow is now on Royals coach Von Lassiter’s staff as the defensive backs coach.
  • Former Hapeville Charter and current Savannah State receiver Adunte Devereux hauled in a touchdown pass last week against Fort Valley State. 
  • Another former Hapeville Charter receiver, Rory Starkey, caught a touchdown for Penn.
  • Here are a few former Hapeville Charter standouts making plays at the next level.
  • Here’s pictures from the B.E.S.T. Academy’s 28-14 win over Therrell. B.E.S.T. is locked into the fourth and final playoff spot in Region 6.
  • Two former Callaway standouts played each other on a big Power 5 state last Saturday. One of them made a highlight-reel catch.
  • Our partners at WSB-TV have a heart-warming story complete with video from Gordon Central, where the Warriors allowed team manager Jesse Walters to dress for their game against Rockmart. The Yellow Jackets showed sportsmanship, giving up their shutout by allowing Walters to score on a 75-yard touchdown run, after which players from both teams joined in on the celebration. Here’s another angle.
  • Gordon Central was thankful of Rockmart’s gesture.
  • Rockmart got its trick-or-treat on during Halloween.
  • Here are Rockmart’s offensive and defensive leaders in the Gordon Central win in what was an impressive outing.
  • Here’s the broadcast of Chattooga’s 33-12 win over Dade County from All On Georgia’s Facebook page.
  • Check out this run by Qwen Moss for Elbert County in a 56-7 win over Putnam County. The Blue Devils (5-4, 4-2 in Region 8) have clinched third place and a playoff spot.
  • GHSF Daily top performers of the week from AA include Dodge County running back Daylon Gordon (239 rushing yards), Heard County running back Alex Boyd (191 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 21 carries), Jeff Davis running back Jashaun Kirby 178 rushing yards and two touchdowns), Monticello running back Mario Greene (205 rushing yards and two touchdowns) and Rabun County receiver Braxton Hicks (six catches for 120 yards and three touchdowns); Dublin and Elbert County’s offensive lines earned lines of distinction honors.

Follow the AJC’s Class AA coverage on Twitter.

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