This week marks the beginning of the GHSA state playoffs as Gordon County’s high school teams begin their quests for state titles. The following is a breakdown of the playoff games taking place this week. They are ordered by date.
(1) Calhoun Lady Jackets Soccer vs. (4) North Hall
The Lady Jackets will host the first round of the state playoffs and take on North Hall on Tuesday, April 23 at 5:30 p.m. North Hall, out of Region 7, finished 2019 at 3-3 in the region, but 4-8-1 overall.
“(North Hall) is supposed to be real athletic and pressure the ball hard,” Lady Jackets head coach Taylor Sumrall said. “One of the coaches (they’ve played) told me they’re probably the best four seed out there.”
Should the Lady Jackets win, they will host the winner of Morgan County and Lovett next Wednesday, May 1.
“We’re focused on us right now,” Sumrall said. “We’re focused on what we can do to get better. After the last two games being such important games, (the team) played pretty hard and they’re a little bit beat up right now, so just making sure we’re going to be healthy and that we’re on point with what we do.”
(4) Sonoraville at (1) Dawson County
The Lady Phoenix start the postseason on the road and travel to Dawsonville to face Region 7’s No. 1 seed, Dawson County.
“We’ve got a couple of things to clean up,” Sonoraville head coach Ken Walraven said. “We’ve played (Dawson County) a couple of times the last four years, so we know what to expect from them.”
Dawson County finished 2019 at 11-1-2 overall and has outscored opponents 55-9. Should Sonoraville pull off the road upset, the team will face the winner of Morgan County versus Jefferson on Wednesday, May 1.
“(Dawson County is) one of the top girl programs in 3A, but we’re looking forward to being healthy and getting off the bus and maybe being able to sneak up on somebody,” Walraven said.
(2) Calhoun Baseball vs. (3) Greater Atlanta Christian
Calhoun Baseball hosts the first round of the Class AAA state playoffs as Greater Atlanta Christian makes the journey to Yellow Jacket country. The best-of-three series will feature a doubleheader on Wednesday, April 24 at 4 p.m. and 6 p.m., respectively.
“We’re no stranger to (Great American Christian),” Henderson said. “They’ll be well coached where they won’t make many mistakes. They’ve got a plethora of left-handed pitchers (and) we’ve seen our fair share of lefties this year.”
If the series requires a third game, the rubber match will be played on Thursday, April 25 at 5:55 p.m.
“Anytime you can play at home, I think it gives you an advantage,” Henderson said. “You’re familiar with the field, you’re familiar with the surroundings. It is a luxury to be at home and we’re excited about it.”
(2) Calhoun Boys Soccer vs. (3) Dawson County
Calhoun boys soccer faces the Dawson County Tigers at Calhoun High School on Wednesday, April 24 at 7:30 p.m. The Tigers completed 2019 with a 4-2 regional record, but their overall mark is 4-9.
“I think (Dawson County) is a strong team coming out of one of the toughest regions in the state and, therefore, we’ve got to be ready,” Calhoun head coach Matt Rice said. “They’re fast, they’re physical, and they’re a good team so we’ve got to be ready to play.”
Should the Yellow Jackets win at home on Wednesday, they will face the victor of the Hart County-Westminster contest.
“We’ve got a great community that’s highly supportive of our players and our teams and I think that makes it special anytime you come to Calhoun for anything,” Rice said. “We know they’re going to be here … supporting us and we want to play our best for them. I think it gives us a little bit of an extra bump.”
(2) Gordon Central Lady Warriors vs. (3) Therrell
By closing out the season with a victory over Dade last Thursday, the Gordon Central Lady Warriors claimed the Region 7 Class AA’s second seed. The team will remain in Gordon County for the first round of the playoffs and face Therrell of Region 6 on Thursday, April 25.
(3) Gordon Central Boys Soccer at (2) South Atlanta
Gordon Central’s path to the Class AA state championship will start on the road. The boys soccer team will trek to the state capital and battle the South Atlanta Hornets on Friday, April 26 at 2:30 p.m.
“Biggest challenge is staying focused for the playoffs,” Gordon Central head coach Matt Wiley said. “Our biggest thing is to go out there and play our game. We have to make sure every shot counts.”
The Hornets finished the 2019 regular season at 10-2, with their only losses to Hapeville Charter (the No. 1 seed from Region 6) and Washington.
“We’re not really intimidated by other fields and other crowds,” Wiley said. “Right now, the confidence is high. This is win or go home (and) I’m excited to see this group go down there and put it on a team that might not be expecting it.”