While losing to Warner Robins High School Friday night, the Lakeside Panthers season will continue in the Georgia High School Association Class AAAAA state playoffs on Friday.
With their playoff fate in their own hands facing the Demons, the Panthers jumped out to a 7-0 halftime lead. The Demons controlled the second half, however, winning 35-7 and taking home the Region 2-AAAAA championship in the process.
The Panthers (6-4, 4-3) entered the night a game behind the Demons (9-1, 6-1) in third place, but would have jumped to second and played host to a state playoff game in Friday’s first round with a win. An Evans win against Northside, Warner Robins would have knocked them out completely, but when Evans (5-5, 3-4) lost their season finale 35-13, the Panthers were in.
The Panthers dropped to the No. 4 slot when Houston County (7-3, 5-2) beat Greenbrier (0-10, 0-7) 61-7 on Saturday, ending the Wolfpack’s season. As the region’s No. 4 team, the Panthers will travel to Region 4’s No. 1 Creekside. The Panthers have their hands full, facing a Seminoles team that is 10-0, averaging just under 40 points-per-game. Head coach Jarrett Troxler and the Panthers are approaching the game with a positive mindset.
“We’ve got our hands full, but we are excited about the opportunity,” Troxler said. “Three years in a row in the state playoffs is big for us.”
After playing mistake-free football in the first half, the Panthers turned it over three times on two interceptions and a fumble which the Demons converted into second-half touchdowns.
Following the script from the majority of their season, the Augusta Prep Cavaliers pummeled Crown 56-7 Saturday to advance to the Glory for Christ league championship game.
The Cavaliers (10-1, 7-0 conference) will face the Johnson Ferry Saints Saturday at 1 p.m. at St. Pius X Catholic High School in the title game.
Leading 14-7, the Cavaliers’ Patrick Reynolds broke his fibula on a kickoff return and the game was delayed for 45 minutes.
“Patrick (Reynolds) kept saying, ‘Keep them at 7,’” said Cavaliers head coach Harry Bacheller. “The team’s reaction was let’s win it for Patrick and they rallied behind him,” Bacheller said.
The Knights couldn’t stop the Cavaliers’ vaunted rushing attack, which scored eight times, including six by senior Nolan Brandon (25-177) and two from senior Kevin Huggins (11-187).
Huggins joined Brandon (1,550) as the school’s second player to top 1,000 yards in a season, ending the night with 1,032.
Bacheller said the Saints (8-3), who beat North Georgia 31-7 to advance, have a talented team, but that the Cavaliers ground game might be the difference maker.
“I’m not sure they can stop our running, especially with the way the linemen are blocking,” Bacheller said.
The rest of the county teams saw their seasons come to a close.
In the first round of the South Carolina Independent School Association Class AAA playoffs, defending champion Augusta Christian (3-8) fell to Orangeburg Prep (11-1) 24-6.
In Region 3-AA, the Harlem Bulldogs finished its turnaround season with a final 7-3 record, 3-3 in the region. They needed a win over Laney or a Westside loss to Josey to reach the postseason but got neither, falling 41-0 to Laney.
In Region 2-AAAAA, Grovetown (2-8, 1-6) dropped its Friday closer to Jones County, 49-0.