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Region champs. The Gamecocks made it look so easy didn’t they?

From the opening drive that produced a score in three plays until the final horn sounded on a Jefferson County touchdown, the whole thing looked so easy didn’t it?  It was kind of like a year ago when it also looked so easy.  I know that looks can be very deceiving and the end results were not so easy, but in the eyes of a football novice and no doubt there were some in the stands, Friday night’s Region 4AA championship win by the Screven County High School Gamecocks of Ron Duncan surely must have looked that way.

How did this happen again? “I don’t know,” said Duncan. “I told our team that the most physical team would win and I don’t think there was any doubt we were the most physical.”

Is that it?  I don’t know.  Sounds good to me and there is no doubt whatsoever as to the aggressor in this game.

Now the Roosters get another first round home playoff game. In first round games under the current 32-team format (since 1996) SCHS is 10-4, but 9-0 at Kelly Memorial Stadium.  Only a 20-14 win over Monticello in 2014 has been competitive from start to finish. Last season it was 35-9 over a Toombs County team that could be here next week.  Of course we both have to win this week.

Sometimes you have to be careful what you wish for because you might just get it.  When looking at all of the possible scenarios from Region 3AA last week, I really liked any of them that had Washington County coming here tomorrow night.  The last two times we have played the Golden Hawks there has been a lot at stake and they have beaten us pretty handily.  Maybe 20 years later (the last time was Nov. 24, 1996) the shoe will be on the other foot.

Be aware that unless something changes between my writing this (Tuesday afternoon) and Friday  night, there will be no live stream.  The GHSA demands $750 for permission to stream.  That amount was not floating around anywhere earlier this week.  Two years ago Pace obviously had it. Of course, they did. 

WZBX 106.5 ESPN Talk Radio is scheduled to be on with the game however.

That last touchdown at the horn Friday night cost us the Dirty Birds the title of having the best regular season scoring defense in the state in any classification. SCHS gave up 53 in nine games for an average of 5.89 per game while Stockbridge (10-0 in 4AAAAA) and Cedar Grove (10-0 in 5AAA) each gave up 57 for 5.70 per game. 

Still an awesome defense isn’t it? A lot of folks have noticed the Dirty Birds too.

Good, bad, or otherwise bracket watching is a lot of fun. Among the eight teams in our lower part of the left part of the bracket eyeballs are drawn to a possible third-round matchup with undefeated 8AA champion Rabun County. The Wildcats have won four consecutive region titles. They have advanced to the third round the past two seasons.

Unsure about its location? It is the absolute northeast corner of the state of Georgia. That is about 220 miles away.

In the top half of our side is Dodge County and Brooks County though they will likely meet in the second round of play getting rid of one of them quickly. Brooks will get to the semis. On the other side, the top half features Thomasville and Heard County. Look for Thomasville to get to the semifinals from there. In the bottom of the other half are Jefferson County, Benedictine and Hapeville Charter. BC and Hapeville will meet in the third round in that bracket to get to the semifinals. 

Who is not in a bracket somewhere? A note in AA is Swainsboro from 2AA. They started the season at 6-1 and played Benedictine super competitively, but finished at 6-4. Statesboro finished at 2-7 (not 2-8 though we should probably count Sept. 8 as a forfeit) and out of the playoffs in a five-team region. Camden County did not make it in AAAAAAA. Unheard of.

Southeast Bulloch has a home state playoff game. The Jackets have not won a state playoff game since 1973. I was in high school at that time. Remember how good a run LaGrange had back in the 90s? They went 0-10 coming off 2-8.

An amazing turn of events took place in the 4AA standings last week. Glenn Hills’ Spartans, two weeks ago seemingly in total control of the fourth place spot and a trip to Eastman tomorrow, had a strange thing happen. Butler’s Bulldogs, those Dawgs who managed negative 2 total yards of offense on 35 plays on the Dirty Birds back on Sept. 15, downed the Spartans 34-30 Friday night and gained that trip to face the Indians of Dodge County. 

Amazing. 

There was actually a three way tie between Butler, Glenn Hills, and Laney for that fourth seed but when all the tiebreakers were said and done, the 4-6 Bulldogs won the spot.

In the 4AA v. 3AA sweepstakes, SCHS will defeat Washington County and Jefferson County will defeat Southwest Macon. 

On the other hand, Dublin will take the measure of Harlem and I hate it. Dodge will play name that score with Butler. I do have to say that Butler has improved. They settled down and started lining up in the I formation and stopped trying to do crazy things and they got better. Remember they scored 30 on Jeffco and it was not window dressing. The score was 27-24 Jeffco in the third quarter.

With Friday’s victory and region title, Ron Duncan is now 57-14 (80 percent winning percentage) in this, his sixth season at SCHS. That is the best winning percentage ever by a Gamecock coach and he became the first coach in Sylvania to win four region titles. What does he have to say about those facts? “I have a great staff and we coach great kids,” he answered.       

Duncan was also 50-12 between 2002-2008 at Bamberg-Ehrhardt in South Carolina and 6-16 at Seneca the following two seasons. That counts up as 113-42. Not bad I say.

Do you realize that in the 18 football seasons of this century the Gamecocks have won seven region titles? There are very, very few schools that can make that claim.

See you at the state playoff game Friday night.