Peach County and Calhoun will meet in the semis this Friday night for a rematch of their controversial meeting in last year's Class AAA state championship.
“I think both teams are very good; it’s going to be another tight game,” Calhoun’s Hal Lamb said. “I think they’re really talented and big and fast and athletic. I think our kids are playing well, and I think their kids are playing well.”
Lamb, who is trying to win his fourth state championship at Calhoun, will lead the Yellow Jackets onto the field against Peach County for the third time since 2015’s inaugural meeting in the second round. Calhoun won 20-14 in 2015 and then had the 10-6 victory in last year’s title game. But this isn’t last year.
“We are not dwelling much on last year,” Lamb said. “This is a whole different year, and our goal is to win a state championship ... and, well, Peach County is in our way. We are going to have to play well because Peach County is a really good football team.”
The Trojans do have a quality program. Peach, by virtue of a difficult opening schedule, started the season 2-2, but the losses came against highly touted Lee County (Class AAAAAA) and Mary Persons (AAAA). Its 27-24 victory against Northside-Warner Robins (AAAAAA) in the season-opener at Mercer was a welcomed treat.
Since entering their respective regions, Peach and Calhoun have been equally dominant, which isn’t really a surprise. Calhoun’s presence in Region 6 has been felt for 18 seasons, and Peach’s dominance in Region 4 is no secret. In the first two rounds of the playoffs, Peach County silenced Ringgold 48-7 and Liberty County 47-8; Calhoun ran through Fannin County 55-17 and Lovett 21-6.
“I think it will be very difficult,” Lamb said about Calhoun’s chances to repeat. “But we did it last year, except backward. We beat Cedar Grove in the semis and Peach in the finals. It’s just the same situation, but just backward. But you can’t count out Pierce County, either. All four are really good football teams, and that’s the way it’s supposed to be this time of year.”