Good losses. Bad losses. Quality wins.
Those terms are in the news a lot as the College Football Playoff selection committee goes about its business of picking the four teams to compete for the national championship.
Obviously, the high school playoff teams are not selected that way. But it’s still an appropriate time to examine the resumes of the four teams competing in the Class AAAAAA semifinals on Friday.
It’s worth noting that no Class AAAAAA team made it through the regular season without at least one loss. Only Dalton managed a 10-0 regular season in 2016, and the Catamounts were eliminated in the semifinals. That means that the last team to go through a season undefeated in the second-highest classification remains Allatoona, which beat Glynn Academy in the 2015 final to complete a 15-0 season.
It’s also worth pointing out that one team, Northside-Warner Robins, faced three of this year’s semifinalists and lost to all three – 16-13 in overtime against Lee County and 14-12 against Coffee in Region 1 play, and 28-7 against Tucker in the second round.
Here’s a look at the wins and losses of the four remaining teams:
*No. 1 Tucker (12-1)
- Wins: The Tigers played five games in the regular season against teams that made the playoffs, winning against Kell (AAAAA), Lovejoy, Drew and Stephenson. The most significant victory came in the regular-season finale, a 38-0 win against Stephenson that determined the No. 1 seed in Region 4. The Tigers have not faced a No. 1 seed in the playoffs and won’t this week either, as Coffee is the No. 2 seed from Region 1.
- Losses: The Tigers’ only loss was a 35-21 setback against AAAAAAA semifinalist Colquitt County on Sept. 1 in Moultrie. The Tigers escaped what would have been a less impressive loss in the opener when they stopped a two-point conversion in overtime to beat Kell 28-27. No other team had come within 21 points of Tucker until the Tigers beat Allatoona 20-12 last week.
*No. 3 Lee County (12-1)
- Wins: Lee County played seven regular-season games against playoff teams and won six of them. There were some strong victims on that list, including Mary Persons (AAAA semifinalist), Bainbridge (AAAAA), Americus-Sumter (AAAA), Northside and Coffee. But the Trojans’ most impressive win came in the quarterfinals last week when they beat second-ranked Mays 34-14 in a surprisingly lopsided game. Lee County entered the contest as just a four-point favorite, according to the computer Maxwell Ratings.
- Losses: The Trojans’ only loss was perhaps the worst by any of the four semifinalists, dropping a 31-28 decision to Valdosta in region play. That seems unusual to say about a team with Valdosta’s history, especially coming off a championship season, but the Wildcats finished 4-7 after their first-round playoff loss to Glynn Academy. Lee County is 0-8 all-time against the Wildcats.
*No. 4 Coffee (9-3)
- Wins: The Trojans played eight of their nine regular-season games against teams that reached the playoffs. They won five, against Effingham County, Brunswick, Ware County (AAAAA), Northside and Valdosta. The biggest victory for Coffee was its win over Northside, which assured the Trojans of a home game in the round of the playoffs.
- Losses: Coffee lost three games, and there wasn’t a bad one in the bunch. The Trojans lost on last-second field goals to Tift County (AAAAAAA quarterfinalist) and Warner Robins (AAAAA semifinalist). The loss that was potentially the most damaging was a 23-7 loss to Lee County in the regular-season finale that cost the Trojans the No. 1 seed. But Coffee has overcome that obstacle with victories on the road against region champions Evans and Alpharetta the past two weeks.
*No. 7 Glynn Academy (9-3)
- Wins: Must like Coffee, Glynn Academy played eight regular-season games against playoff teams and won five. The wins included Ware County (AAAAA), Wayne County (AAAAA), Effingham County, Brunswick and Richmond Hill. The Red Terrors’ 26-13 win over Brunswick on Oct. 13 essentially gave them the region title. Glynn Academy also beat Valdosta 27-3 in the first round of the playoffs, a significant victory because it eliminated the defending state champion.
- Losses: The Red Terrors opened the season with a 33-8 loss to defending Class AA champion Benedictine, then lost to Tift County 27-7 to start the season 1-2. Their 12-7 loss to Richmond Hill in region play on Oct. 20 could have been devastating, potentially dropping the Red Terrors to the No. 3 seed, which would’ve meant a trip to Coffee in the first round of the playoffs. But Richmond Hill faded down the stretch, and Glynn Academy went on to earn the No. 1 seed.
(R1 #2) Coffee at (R4 #1) Tucker (Adams Stadium)
(R2 #1) Glynn Academy at (R1 #1) Lee County