Warner Robins and Bainbridge already met once this season, but their matchup in the Class AAAAA final could see a much different result. Here's a breakdown of the two opponents. Warner Robins took a 14-0 record to last year’s state championship, but was denied and soundly defeated by Rome 38-0. This year, the Demons met Rome in the semis and sent the Wolves packing with a 45-28 victory. Warner Robins met Bainbridge during the regular season and produced a 38-0 victory. The lopsided win featured a three-touchdown performance by senior quarterback Dylan Fromm, and a two-interception (one touchdown return) night by junior Jatavius Bryant. Defensively, Warner Robins held Bainbridge to just 49 rushing yards off 27 carries (1.8 ypc) and a subpar 5-of-18 passing for a mere 30 yards. If the same defensive intensity that Warner Robins has shown throughout the season shows up, then the Demons should be able to once again thwart their opponent, and take home the program’s first state title since 2004.
Bainbridge has ended up in the losing column on five separate occasions this season, and their latest defeat was a 38-0 landslide loss in region play to Warner Robins—the team they now face in the finals. A new Bainbridge team, however, may have emerged from that loss to the Demons. The Bearcats are now in possession of a six-game winning streak that includes their shocking 23-20 win over mighty Buford in the quarterfinals. Bainbridge went 0-2 against ranked opponents during the regular season, but the four ranked opponents they have faced in this year’s playoffs have been toppled one by one. Defensively, Bainbridge has been trending upwards, but it will be up to the young Bearcats offense to complement their efforts to keep pace with Warner Robins. Sophomore Caleb McDowell has accounted for six rushing touchdowns this postseason, and sophomore quarterback Quayde Hawkins went 24-of-35 passing for 245 yards, one touchdown and an interception in the semis.
Bainbridge head coach Jeff Littleton led the Bearcats to a 24-21 win in 2016, but his teams have been defeated by the Demons a combined 73-6 in the last two meetings. His team, however, has responded to adversity throughout the playoffs, and familiarity will be a factor on both sidelines. Bainbridge is looking for its first state title since its first in 1982 and Warner Robins is looking for its fourth all-time and first since 2004. A rematch of their championship clash is already booked for next year’s region schedule, so this game will have implications that will ultimately shape their budding rivalry going forward.