Over the last three years the unofficial title of “Best Region in Class AAAAA” has belonged to Region 7, where Rome, Carrollton and Kell have given the league three giants. That assumption will definitely need to be re-evaluated now that the finalists for the state championship have been decided.
Perhaps that label now belongs to Region 1, the tough little five-school league that produced Warner Robins and Bainbridge, the two schools that will play for the state championship on Dec. 11 at Mercedes-Benz.
No. 3-ranked Warner Robins whipped two-time defending state champion Rome 46-8, ending the Wolves’ 40-game winning streak and earning revenge for last year’s loss in the state title game. Unranked Bainbridge continued to cut down ranked teams on its way to the final, this time taking out No. 6 Stockbridge, 20-19.
Warner Robins (12-2) and Bainbridgen (9-5) will meet for the second time. Warner Robins prevailed 38-0 during the regular season. Bainbridge hasn’t lost since.
Warner Robins scored 17 unanswered points to break a 28-28 tie and earn its second straight trip to the final. The Demons are looking for their first title since 2004.
Dylan Fromm completed 39 of 53 passes for 376 yards and four touchdowns for the Demons. His scorng passes were 10 yards to Tyler Fromm, 25 yards to Marcayll Jones, 20 yards to Devin Brown and 16 yards to Jones, the score that put Warner Robins ahead to stay.
Warner Robins also got a 15-yard touchdown run from Deondre Duehart, a 3-yard touchdown run from Jahlen Rutherford and a 33-yard field goal from Robby Howe.
Rome tailback Jamious Griffin rushed 26 times for 153 yards and one touchdown and quarterback Knox Kadum completed 13 of 22 passes for 16 yards and one touchdown. Receiver Xavier Roberts-Donaldson caught six passes for 75 yards and one score; he also threw a touchdown pass to Kadum.
Bainbridge won its game in dramatic fashion by recovering its own fumble on a kickoff and running for a touchdown with 1:37 remaining in the game. Stockbridge tried a squib kick that landed in the middle of the Bainbridge return team, the ball came out and was eventually pitched to Caleb McDowell, who ran for a 60-yard touchdown for the game-winner.
Stockbridge led 6-0 at halftime on a 7-yard pass from Jevon McDonald to Kerick Reese and the Tigers increased the lead to 13-0 in the fourth quarter on McDonald’s 2-yard run.
That’s when things got interesting.
Bainbridge scored on a 6-yard pass from Quayde Hawkins to McDowell and grabbed a 14-13 lead on Zion Bouie’s 41-yard pick-six.
Stockbridge answered with a 19-yard pass from McDonald to Yahsyn McKee with 1:52, giving the Tigers a 19-14 lead.