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It is finally here. The Warriors roll into town

In the early days of 2016 when football schedules for the 2016 and 2017 seasons were finalized, the one for the SCHS Gamecocks of Ron Duncan showed the team’s final regular game in each season featuring a matchup with the Jefferson County Warriors. 

The matchup was in Louisville on Nov. 4, 2016, and in Sylvania on Nov. 3, 2017. That latter date is upon us.

At the time all of us said, and I put it in my columns, that those two games should each be for the Region 4AA championship. They have been.

It is now time for Volume II of November football madness. 

In 2014 and 2015, this same matchup was for the Region 3AA championship, but it was the first region game on the schedule in late September. There was not nearly as much buildup and that 3AA region was a lot tougher. 

As school started the last two seasons, there was the hope that both teams would be unbeaten by last game matchup to give it even more fanfare. 

We faltered at Paulson Stadium last season early and came in at 8-1. Jeffco was 9-0. 

This time we are both unbeaten. The Gamecocks have only eight wins this time around, but that is because the Blue Hens, oops, I mean Blue Devils opted not to play.

What a matchup this is! Football fans from around the area want to see this one.

For buildup, I wonder if there has ever been such a regular-season home game for SCHS.

The SCHS-Dublin matchup in late October 1961 was for the outright Region 2A title, but no one had been pointing fingers at that game since preseason. 

The final regular season game in 1998 with Toombs County turned out to be for a region title. The season definitely did not open with folks pointing to that contest. There have been other region title games played here, but none with the marquee matchup label like this one. 

The numbers for this game are mind boggling. 

In six region games, Jefferson County has compiled an average score of 60-15, while the Gamecocks’ average score is 43-0. On the season overall, the Warriors are at 52-15 per game while SCHS is at 44-4 per game.

There is no doubt that Jeffco has scored more points, but there is also no doubt that their starters play a lot longer than ours. 

You can read this elsewhere as well -- JCHS is the second highest scoring machine in all of the state of Georgia. They trail only mighty Lowndes County of the mythical Region 1AAAAAAA (53.6 to 52.44). 

On the other hand, no team in the state of Georgia has allowed fewer points than the Dirty Bird defense. SCHS has allowed 33 in eight games (4.13) while undefeated Stockbridge of Region 4AAAAA has allowed 48 points in nine games (5.33) is next.

For defensive reserves on the SCHS roster, the past two seasons have been better than most. 

For this season in only the Josey game of two weeks ago have regulars on defense played at all in the fourth quarter. Even then the Eagles ran just four plays of offense. 

Look at things this way, five of the six consecutive shutouts in the current Dirty Bird streak have been obtained without the first team defense on the field in the final period. The streak is truly a Team effort in every since of the word.

The shutout streak is now at six. 

No Gamecock team has ever had seven consecutive. 

That 1988 team that had the original streak of six had two prior to the streak (which included one in the region playoffs) for a season total of eight. That team gave up 28 points in a 9-1 regular season.

Shifting gears, GHSA softball wrapped up Saturday in Columbus. Rockmart (Region 7 No. 1) was state champion, while Monticello (Region 8 No. 3) was runner-up. 

Harlem, the champion of our 4AA, went 1-2 in Columbus and Bacon County, who knocked the Lady Gamecocks out of the playoffs, went 0-2. Region 3AA Dodge County eliminated both of them.

I would be remiss if I did not give personal congratulations to the Lady Gamecock cross country team of Cindy LeMaster.

Six straight region titles is not bad.  

Next season the team will have a chance to pull alongside the seven straight by the Lady Gamecock tennis teams of 1995-2001 and the Lady Gamecock cheerleading squads of 1997-98 through 2003-2004 (dating cheerleading is a little more complicated as the GHSA changed its season of competition from winter to fall). 

The current Lady Gamecock tennis teams have a streak of five in a row as well.

Cross country senior Katelyn Alvarez also deserves a lot of kudos for winning her fourth consecutive individual region cross country title. This spring she will have a shot at a fourth consecutive region title in the 3200. No individual wearing Red and White has four straight region titles and Katelyn has a chance to do it twice.

Back to football, on Friday Harlem kicked an overtime PAT to down Laney 27-26 and secure third place in the first round of the state playoffs on Nov. 10. This is their first playoff since 2001.

A Glenn Hills win over Butler gives the Spartans the trip to Eastman to face the eighth-ranked Dodge County next week. That game is actually tonight, Nov. 2. A Butler win and things are really interesting depending on the outcome of Laney and Josey Friday night. Harlem has Westside Friday as well.

Dodge County came from behind to down Bleckley County Friday night to claim the 3AA title. They will host the No. 4 seed from our 4AA.

The rest of the places in the region standings are still up for grabs among four teams. 

Two games will decide the final standings -- Bleckley County at Southwest Macon and Washington County at Dublin.

For Bleckley, Dublin, and WaCo it is win and in. A Southwest win and there are some possible complications.

Whatever is happening for you this weekend, Kelly Memorial Stadium is the place to be Friday evening. Early tickets are $5 each and can be purchased at PoJos or the front office of SCHS.  

I cannot guarantee anything, but this should be a great high school football game. 

As the late, great Gordon Solie always energetically said when announcing an upcoming wrestling card, “Be There!”