Class 3A blog: Region 2′s Peach, Crisp pull off state-shaking upsets

2020 GHSA football championships at Centre Park Stadium.
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2020 GHSA football championships at Centre Park Stadium.

Credit: Adam Krohn

Credit: Adam Krohn

It appears that Region 2-3A is a bit stronger than most expected

Two unranked programs – top-seeded Crisp County and No. 2-seed Peach County – spent the second round upending the top two programs in the class to advance to the quarterfinals.

Peach County’s 24-21 victory against No. 1 Monroe Area continued the Trojans’ postseason success. Peach has advanced to at least the quarterfinals every season since 2016, when it lost in the semis. In 2017 and 2018, Peach suffered losses in the state title games. In 2018, it lost to Cedar Grove on a last-second touchdown reception by Jadon Haselwood. In 2017, it was the Calhoun debacle in the finals.

The victory, which improved Peach’s record to 8-3, was somewhat of a surprise but not completely unthinkable, despite a midseason exit from the top-10 for the first time since 2015.

The Trojans suffered through its worst regular season (6-3 after having a game cancelled due to COVID) since 2013, when Peach finished 7-3 before losing in the second round to Washington County. But some of those struggles, as coach Chad Campbell told Fort Valley’s Leader-Tribune, could be attributed to injuries and discipline issues.

Against top-ranked Monroe Area, passing touchdowns from Colter Ginn to Isaiah Mitchell and Chris McMillian led Peach in the state-shaking upset. Mitchell also returned a kickoff for a touchdown.

Peach will travel to Pierce County on Friday.

Crisp’s Cougars, 0-3 at one point in the season, are back in the quarterfinals for the third consecutive season, this time under head coach Miguel Patrick. In the 26-10 victory against No. 2 Oconee County, one rushing touchdown, two field goals and an interception returned for a touchdown overwhelmed Oconee, which lost in the finals last season. Semaj Chatfield had the rushing touchdown; David Mitchell kicked field goals of 34 and 38 yards, and Jaylen Smith returned an interception 95 yards for a touchdown to lead Crisp.

The Cougars will face Cedar Grove in the quarterfinals for a rematch of the 2019 state championship game, and the storylines surrounding this matchup run deep.

Patrick beat Crisp 21-14 in that 2019 title game as the head coach of Cedar Grove. Patrick coached one more season at Cedar Grove in 2020, a season in which the Saints were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and stumbled to a 3-5 record. He took over at Crisp during the offseason, after Brad Harber’s departure.

In the quarterfinals, Patrick will enjoy another homefield advantage. Unlike the 3A title game in 2019, which was held at Georgia State Stadium (just miles from Cedar Grove’s Ellenwood campus), the Saints will come marching south to Cordele, where Patrick is looking to create another dynasty.

Class 3A quarterfinals schedule

R5#1 Cedar Grove at R2#1 Crisp County

R1#2 Appling County at R4#1 Thomson

R4#2 Burke County at R5#2 Carver-Atlanta

R2#2 Peach County at R1#1 Pierce County

Class 3A second-round scores

R5#1 Cedar Grove 48, R3#2 Southeast Bulloch 10

R2#1 Crisp County 26, R8#2 Oconee County 10

R1#2 Appling County 34, R7#1 Cherokee Bluff 20

R4#1 Thomson 14, R6#2 Ringgold 7

R4#2 Burke County 41, R8#4 Stephens County 24

R5#2 Carver-Atlanta 53, R3#1 Liberty County 6

R2#2 Peach County 24, R8#1 Monroe Area 21

R1#1 Pierce County 49, R7#2 Dawson County 0