By Charlie Moon, Lowcountryradio.
How is a season quantified?
Normally, that’s an easy question. You look at a team’s record and where they finished in the playoffs. That’s not the case this season, when quantifying the Richmond Hill football season. With a 55-13 2nd Round loss at Westlake, the story is stuck in a quagmire. A last-second heave into the end zone last season from Allatoona was all that stood between a Richmond Hill trip to the State Championship game.
With all but 3 of 22 starters returning, most thought the Cats should be right back in the same spot or better.
But with the beauty, or lack thereof, of the GHSA playoff brackets set-up, it makes for early-round match-ups that should not be happening until later rounds. More on that later. Richmond Hill ran into what I believe will be the AAAAAA State Champion. I’ve been around tons of high school football in my life, whether as a spectator, writer, broadcaster or fan.
I’ve broadcast several state title games in South Carolina and high-level playoff games in Georgia. In all my years of doing this, I have never seen a team as dominant as Westlake.
They had six….count ‘em 6….Division 1, Power 5 conference commits. That list – Clemson, LSU, Ole Miss, GA Tech, Illinois and Indiana….and it showed.
It was clear from the start. And even on the last edition of the calendar year of The Wildcats’ Coach’s Show, HC Matt Lezotte said, “We knew how good they were. We saw it on film. But after the first couple series, we knew we were outmanned. But we also knew we could still fight and win, that we were a good football team, too.”
And that’s exactly what happened. BCN has a full breakdown of the game, but I won’t do that here. The bottom line is this.
I’ve had so many fans ask during and after our broadcast, things like, “What’s going on? Are we giving it to them? Are we making adjustments? Were we prepared?”
My answer was constantly steadfast: “We have a great gameplan. We’re executing well. We’re not making many mistakes.
This is simply the best high school football team I’ve ever seen in person.”
One of the best examples was early in the 2nd half.
Westlake’s Ole Miss commit Leo Blackburn hit a post route and was bracketed well by Kenyan Hunter and Isiah Allen. They had him “Those guys are so big outside. Their target zones were so big.”
Sophomore QB RJ Johnson threw a good ball.
Hunter and Allen had him covered. Blacburn just used his 6-4, 230 pound frame to go get it in the end zone.
That was the story several times. In fact, only once all night, was there a blown coverage. Folks, do not let the ugliness of that score judge the success of this season – the past 2 seasons, and what this Senior Class has accomplished. They lost to what I believe will easily be the AAAAAA State Champion, in the 2nd Round.
On Atlanta’s 680 The Fan, largest ESPN Radio affiliate in the Southeast, they discussed our bracket several times over the last couple weeks. Based on several points systems, the Georgia AAAAAA classification is one of, if not, the toughest public school classification of high school football in the country.
Four of the top AAAAAA teams were in the same quadrant and playing each other in the 2nd round - Richmond Hill (6) v Westlake (3) and Allatoona (4) v Dacula (5). There have been several discussions on 680 with the GHSA State Director to change that soon. Who knows?
So, in the end, remember what this group of seniors accomplished. They did something no other Wildcat class has done in winning playoff games 2 years in a row.
Lezotte said, “Charlie, these guys and this program now expects to make playoff runs every single year. We’ve never had that here.”
And here is how I will end it. 16 percent of current NFL rosters are players that played their high school football in Georgia. That should tell you all you need to know.
Regardless of what the pundits say about Texas, Florida, California and Ohio, the proof is right there. There is no other state in the land with more of its highschool players on NFL rosters. And most people in the know around this state, know that AAAAAA has better teams than AAAAAAA.
Your Richmond Hill Wildcats just competed in that group of teams for two years with great runs – an eyelash away from a 2019 state title game and a 2nd round loss at who I believe will win it all in 3 weeks.
Let that sink in…..#Buildthehill
Note: Next week, we’ll honor the All-Region and All-Area players.