A look at where all defending state champs stand

With two weeks remaining in the high school football regular season, it's likely that all eight of the 2018 state champions will qualify for the 2019 playoffs.

The road to the state championship game begins Nov. 15, with title games being played at Georgia State Stadium (formerly Turner Field) on Dec. 13-14.

Here's a look at how the 2018 champions have fared:

Class A Public

Clinch County
2018 title game: Beat Irwin County 27-20
2019 record: 7-1, 4-1 in Region 2 (second place)
Outlook: It's starting to play out yet again for the No. 2-ranked Panthers. Their only loss was 14-0 to Irwin County, but they have a knack for losing to the Indians during the regular season, then turning around and beating them in state championship games. That is what has happened in three of the last four seasons. The Panthers, under first-year coach Don Tison, are seeking their ninth state title since 1988. Tison took over for long-time coach Jim Dickerson, who retired after 15 seasons and five state championships.

Class A Private

Eagle's Landing Christian
2018 title game: Beat Athens Academy 44-17.
2019 record: 7-1, 4-1 in Region 5
Outlook: No team in Georgia has ever won five consecutive state titles, but if the Chargers win it all this season, that's exactly what they'd be doing. They've won four in a row — joining Buford (2007-10) and West Rome (1982-85) as the only teams in state history to do so — and five in seven years, all under coach Jonathan Gess, who arrived in 2007. Their only hiccup this season was to Holy Innocents', 42-41, in their region opener on Sept. 20. That loss knocked the Chargers from their No. 1 ranking to No. 3, where they've remained while outscoring opponents 240-27. Holy Innocents' (8-0) is ranked No. 2.

Class AA

Heard County
2018 title game: Beat Rockmart 27-6.
2019 record: 3-5, 3-1 in Region 5 (tied for second place)
Outlook: The Braves lost seven starters from last year's team that started 1-2, then closed the season on a 12-game winning streak that gave them their first title in program history. They started off slow again this season, losing their first four games, but this time they don't have running back/defensive back Aaron Beasley — at Tennessee — to help them mount another improbable run. But they're locked into a playoff spot, and if they can win their remaining games against Lamar County and Bremen, they'll earn a No. 2 seed and the right to play at home in the first round.

Class AAA

Cedar Grove
2018 title game: Beat Peach County 14-13.
2019 record: 7-2, 5-0 in Region 5 (first place)
Outlook: The Saints have locked up a third consecutive region title, the fourth in the past five seasons, and are looking for their third state title in four seasons. They won their region with a first-year head coach in Miguel Patrick, who took over after Jimmy Smith left for Georgia State. Five-star receiver and AJC Player of the Year Jadon Haselwood is at Oklahoma, but the Saints, ranked No. 2, are still considered state-title contenders. Their only two losses were to Central Phenix (Ala.) and AAAAAAA's No. 2 McEachern.

Class AAAA

Blessed Trinity
2018 title game: Beat Cartersville 23-9
2019 record: 7-1, 4-0 in Region 7 (0.5 games out of first place)
Outlook: The Titans are two-time defending champions. To make it a three-peat, they'll need to get past region foe Marist, which is 9-0, 5-0 and ranked No. 1. The two play Friday to decide the region championship, and they could meet again in the postseason like they did in 2017, when Blessed Trinity won 16-7 in the championship game. The No. 4 Titans are a younger team this year, led by junior quarterback Duncan Reavis, freshman running back Justice Haynes and Elijah Green, a senior running back committed to North Carolina.


2018 title game: Beat Warner Robins 47-41 (3OT)
2019 record: 5-3, 0-2 in Region 1 (tied for last place)
Outlook: Last season, the Bearcats entered the playoffs unranked as a No. 2 seed with an unassuming 5-5 record before ripping off five playoff victories, including an epic three-overtime victory in the championship game. Can the Bearcats reclaim the magic? They've certainly set themselves up as unranked and unassuming again. Their region-opening loss to Veterans knocked them from the rankings, and they lost again last week to No. 4 Warner Robins to push the losing streak to three. They'll need to beat Harris County and Thomas County Central to guarantee their playoff spot, but it's possible for them to get in by winning just one of those games.


Lee County
2018 title game: Beat Northside-Warner Robins 14-0
2019 record: 7-1, 2-0 in Region 1 (first place)
Outlook: The Trojans produced last season's only championship-game shutout to capture their third consecutive state title. This year they're ranked No. 3 and are in line for a third consecutive region title if they can win their final two regular-season games against Houston County and No. 6 Coffee. Their only loss was 40-17 to AAA's No. 1-ranked Peach County on Sept. 6, and they're coming off a 53-50 shootout victory against then-No. 2 Valdosta in a key region matchup.


2018 title game: Beat Colquitt County 14-13
2019 record: 5-3, 3-0 in Region 5 (tied for first place)
Outlook: The Eagles, led by second-year coach Adam Clack, pulled off one of the most improbable victories in state championship history last season. Maxwell's projections pegged Colquitt — which was ranked No. 2 in one national poll — a 21-point favorite against the two-loss Eagles. With star quarterback Jordan Yates, now at Georgia Tech, and other key losses to graduation, the Eagles started 3-5 and were booted from the polls after a 16-7 loss to Parkview on Sept. 27. They've won three consecutive region games to move back in the rankings at No. 10. Milton will play North Forsyth (6-2, 3-0) for the region championship Nov. 8.