PREP FOOTBALL NOTEBOOK: Early County, Cook, Fitzgerald meet for 'mini-game'

The three teams meet for final two playoff spots from Region 1-AA

Trey Woolf

Trey Woolf


Dean Fabrizio

Early County football coach Trey Woolf wasn’t happy after his Bobcats lost at Cook 29-6 Friday night. A victory would have given Early the third seed from Region 1-AA in the state playoffs that begin next week.

The Bobcats still have a chance to get into the postseason, but they’ll have to play a mini-playoff game Monday night in Sylvester at Worth County High School.

Early County, Cook and Fitzgerald each finished with 3-3 records in region play. Since the tie-breaker couldn’t be decided by head-to-head (the three teams went 1-1 against each other), the third and fourth seeds for the postseason will be decided on Monday.

Cook will play Fitzgerald in the first contest. The winner earns a postseason berth, with the loser meeting Early County in the second contest. The mini-game format will be two five-minute halves and played like college football’s overtime format. But instead of each team getting the ball at the opponents’ 25-yard line, they get the ball at the 15.

After the two winners are decided after the game on Monday, the seedings will be decided by head-to-head match-ups during the regular season.

Woolf is excited about the opportunity.

“Like I told our guys after we got beat on Friday night, we’ve still got another chance,” he said. “It’s another opportunity for us to try and get in the playoffs.”

The third seed will travel to meet Dublin in the first round, while the fourth seed will travel to Augusta to meet Region 3-AA champion Laney.

REGION 1-AAAAA CHAMPS: It was a weird series of tie-breakers but when the dust settled, Lee County captured the Region 1-AAAAA title and will play host to Effingham County in the first round of the playoffs that begin Friday night.

The Trojans built a 17-0 first-half lead and cruised to a 38-14 victory over Bainbridge. Lee County thought it had earned the No. 2 seed, but with Harris County’s upset of Thomas County Central, it threw the region chase into a three-way tie for first. After a series of tie-breakers between the trio, Lee emerged as the region champs.

Instead of being at home for just the first round, the Herald No. 1 Trojans could be at home in the second round too, provided they get past Effingham County.

“I was really proud of the kids,” Lee County coach Dean Fabrizio said. “They played a total team game.”

Lee County announced its ticket procedures for Friday’s postseason game. Reserved ticket holders can purchase tickets starting Monday and continuing through Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the school’s main office. The remaining reserved tickets will go on sale on Thursday. General admission tickets can be purchased throughout the week.

DEERFIELD-WINDSOR SURGING: Deerfield-Windsor’s 48-7 rout of Southland Academy threw the GISA Region 1-AAA standings into a three-way tie. After the tie-breakers between Deerfield, Southland and Pinewood Christian, the Knights earned the second seed and will play host to Mount de Sales Academy in the first round on Friday.

Deerfield left little doubt about the outcome, using three fumble recoveries they turned into touchdowns to build a 34-0 halftime lead. Matthew Fox, Dakarai Cutts and Austin Cain each returned a fumble for a score.

“We played really well,” Deerfield coach Allen Lowe said. “Southland gave us some opportunities and we went ahead and took care of business. We came out a little bit on fire.”

Lowe hopes that positive momentum will carry over into the postseason next week. The defending state champs won their last two games and are playing their best football of the season.

“Hopefully, (Friday’s win) will spring us into the playoffs with a lot of fire,” he said.

REGION 1-AAAA PLAYOFFS: Region 1-AAAA will begin its postseason journey this week. Region champion Westover will play host to Liberty County on Friday night at Hugh Mills Stadium. Meanwhile, Monroe, which earned the No. 3 seed, will travel to Jesup to play Region 3-AAAA runner-up Wayne County.

Crisp County earned the fourth and final berth with its 27-20 victory over Americus-Sumter. The Cougars will travel to Waynesboro to tackle Region 3 champion Burke County.