By Charlie Moon, Lowcountryradio.
It will be turkey and football for the second year in a row for the Richmond Hill football community. The Cats finish with a 3-way conference title share and a 2-seed. Richmond Hill hosts Lakeside (Augusta metro) Friday night on “The Hill” at 7:30 p.m. in the 1st round of the GHSA football AAAAAA playoffs.
On the 2nd installment of LCR’s “The Coach’s Show,” head coach Matt Lezotte said, “As high school football coaches, there’s nothing more we’d like to be doing during Thanksgiving than sharing it in the playoffs with our community. We allow our players to have their family time, but we create our own family in pads, too. These guys play for each other and play for championships. And to do that in high school football, you gotta be playing during Thanksgiving.”
Of course, there is a major difference between this year and last year. This week last year, the Cats were preparing for what would be the biggest win in Richmond Hill football history – a 3rd round home win against the Valdosta Wildcats, one of the most storied programs in the Southeast – if not the country. This year, it’s a 1st round game against 2-8 Lakeside. That is not to disrespect Lakeside. It merely points out the 2-week difference. COVID put delays on the start of the regular season.
On “The Coach’s Show,” Wildcat defensive end Kalieb Jackson said, “It’s been different with COVID this year, but we know we gotta do what we gotta do to play. We’re in this for each other.”
Linebacker Marcus Jones said, “I don’t think we’ve really had to stop ourselves from doing things we don’t normally do. We’ve just had the discipline to do them all differently. If we wanna to go out to eat, we gotta stay 6 feet away. We gotta wear masks, even if others don’t. We gotta wash our hands 10 times a day. It’s simple. If we wanna play, we gotta do things the right way.”
On The RHHS Booster Club weekly installment of “Sunday Conversations” on the RHHS Football Booster Club Facebook page, President John Dunivan and Lezotte encouraged Cat fans to emulate last year. Get there, be loud, and bring the cowbells!
The only way to get tickets for Friday’s 7:30 game, is to use the Gofan app.
Playoffs at a glance – The Cats quadrant is a beast
First, let’s hit the most glaring facet. The GHSA playoffs are separated into four quadrants with the four winners composing the Final Four. Atlanta’s 680 TheFan (the South’s largest ESPN affiliate) has hosted the decades-running Georgia Highschool Scoreboard Show since legendary host Tommy Palmer passed away earlier this year. They previewed our quadrant and said it was possibly the first time in the history of the GHSA Football playoffs in which four of the state’s top six ranked teams are in the same quadrant. Ranked #3-#6 in order – Westlake, Allatoona, Dacula (all within 40 miles of Atlanta) and Richmond Hill. With a Richmond Hill 1st round win, they would play the Westlake-Houston Co winner. The bottom side of the bracket quadrant boasts a probable 2nd round grudge match between Allatoona and Dacula. I won’t mention the elephant room slamming around in that room….
So, how did we get here?.....
Richmond Hill had last Friday off, while Glynn locked up the #1 seed by beating Statesboro. For historical purposes, the Region 2-AAAAAA title will be shared by Richmond Hill, Glynn and Brunswick, since they all beat each other. But the tiebreaker (points allowed in conference play) slated seeds 1-3 in order: Glynn, Richmond Hill, Brunswick. Statesboro garnered the 4-seed.
Region 2 is matched up the top 4 seeds from Region 3 out of the I-20 corridor between Augusta and Conyers. Football has been a weakness of that region for years. This year is no different. In fact, 2 of the last 4 years, Region 2 has swept Region 3 in the first round. I don’t see this year any differently.
Richmond Hill is the 6th ranked team in the state, while 18th ranked Glynn is still the 1-seed. That tells you just how much respect state pollsters have for the Cats. Brunswick come in at 19. The highest ranked team out of Region 3 is Evans, their champion, coming in at 32. Statesboro, the Region 2 #4 seed is ranked 37. Look, I know rankings aren’t the be-all end-all, but when the differences are stark, it tells a story. I joined the 94.9FM The Eagle broadcast crew for the Glynn-Statesboro game. The 28-0 score was in no way, indicative of the game. Statesboro had 3 TDs taken away from non-pass interference calls. The Blue Devils spent the first 6 weeks of the season COVID-riddled, with up to 21 players out. Since then, they have been a different team. Brunswick is incredibly explosive on offense, led by QB KJ Lee and a host of talented skill guys. I would put Glynn’s defense just a shade under the level of Richmond Hill. Plus, thy have Louisville commit QB TJ Lewis leading the offense. The Cats are great on both sides of the ball.
The Farm Bureau state finals are slated for December 29 at Atlanta’s Center Parc Credit Union Stadium, formerly Turner Field, where Georgia State Panthers football now call home. Stay tuned to Low Country Radio and BCN for wall-to-wall playoff coverage as the Cats try to finish what ended with a heart breaking 2019 semi-final loss to Allatoona.