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ALBANY -- Sherwood Christian Academy, owners of a program best 7-2 record and its first region title, has turned its attention solely to tonight's first-round GISA Class AA playoff opponent, Nathanael Greene.
Last week's emotional 33-26 win against Southwest Georgia Academy, which forced a three-way title for first leading to the Eagles' claiming the region crown by one point due to a points allowed tiebreaker formula, is now in the rearview mirror.
"Our kids are focused because our ultimate goal is to win a state championship," SCA head coach Reggie Mitchell said. "We've pretty much put the region championship behind us."
Rumors spread that Nathanael Greene, which has a small roster and has won just one game, might not make the 3 hour drive to Albany for the game, but Mitchell said that isn't the case.
Either that, or face a $500 fine for not making the trip, according to the GISA rules and regulations.
"They'll be here," Mitchell said. "Whether they've got 15 players or 50, it's the playoffs. We've prepared just like every other week."
As heavy favorites, Sherwood won't look to run the score up, a practice Mitchell has frowned upon since his teams at Albany High had to endure several lopsided losses.
"I don't believe in demoralizing anyone's players," Mitchell said. "I certainly wouldn't want anyone to do our players that way. Unfortunately you have coaches in the business that do. That's just not something I like doing."
The Eagles will be led by senior running back Dontavious Brown, who has run for 1,510 yards and 18 touchdowns on the season, despite missing all or parts of three games. Mitchell said Brown has not gotten an official offer, but has gotten looks from several schools, including Central Florida, Troy University, Middle Tennessee State, Georgia State and Tuskeegee.
Senior linebacker Derinique Daniel has also drawn interest from Georgia Southern, Mitchell said.
Deerfield ready for state-title defense, sans starting
ALBANY -- No quarterback, no problem at Deerfield?
OK, so the Knights will actually have a quarterback tonight when they host Mount Vernon in the first round of the GISA Class AAA state playoffs, but it won't be usual starter Banks Kinslow, who suffered a sprained MCL last week.
Senior Kevin Cheshire will start instead while Kinslow recovers, a process Deerfield-Windsor coaches don't know how long will take.
"(Cheshire) can run the offense," Knights' head coach Allen Lowe said. "We may throw a freshman out there some or we may run a little different look as well. We're probably gonna throw out (a formation) somebody hadn't seen."
Senior linebacker Michael Michas will also miss tonight's game with a shoulder injury he suffered against Westfield. Deerfield (9-2), winners of eight straight, will, of course, have running back Tony Zenon, who surpassed the 5,000-yard mark last week in his rushing career and now has a Division-I scholarship offer to go along with the Georgia Southern offer earlier this year.
The University of Alabama-Birmingham, coached by former University of Georgia offensive line coach Neil Callaway, offered Zenon a scholarship this week, Lowe said.
The Knights hope to dominate Mount Vernon (3-7) in the first 24 minutes so their starters can be well rested for the second round, likely a rematch with First Presbyterian Day, which beat Deerfield, 24-21, in September.
"It would be nice to come out of the chute and play with emotion early," Lowe said. "But this is the first round of the playoffs. We just got to do what we can to win the thing."