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Legends of the fall

By Anthony Rhoads

When the GHSA state football playoffs begin on Friday, Lovejoy will probably be the favorites in the first round and advance to the Class AAAAA Sweet 16.

Lovejoy enjoyed a perfect regular season and all season long its offense and defense wreaked havoc on opposing teams.

The Lovejoy Wildcats, the Region 4-AAAAA champions, will play host to the Coffee County Trojans, the No. 4 seed out of Region 1. Chances are, the Trojans will have a long and disappointing bus ride back to south Georgia after Friday night's game at Twelve Oaks Stadium.

Lovejoy head coach Al Hughes may get the unofficial ?Lou Holtz Award' for overpraising his opponents and for being a little too modest about his team's ability (at least when he's talking to us reporters), but the Wildcats have got to know that they are on the verge of something great this season.

They have the potential to be playing at the Georgia Dome this season.

Even though Lovejoy enters the playoffs as the decided favorites to advance, you can't count out the other three teams from the Southern Crescent who are playing in the state playoffs.

Once again, Riverdale has made it to the playoffs for the third straight year.

The Raiders travel to south Georgia to take on legendary football power Valdosta this Friday.

For the past two years, Riverdale's season has been ended by the Valdosta Wildcats but will the third time be the charm for the Raiders?

Riverdale might be in the position for an upset. In 2001, the Raiders had to make the trip to coastal Georgia and upended Camden County, a team that entered the playoffs undefeated.

Even though Valdosta has one of the greatest high school football programs in the nation, they're beatable. In 2000, Mt. Zion proved that when they smacked the tar out of Valdosta and came away with a 34-14 first-round victory.

Mt. Zion once again returns to the playoffs. This time, the Bulldogs enter the tournament as the No. 4 seed out of Region 2-AAAAA. They face a monumental task this Friday when they play Camden County, the No. 1 team in Class AAAAA.

Camden County is undefeated, has been ranked No. 1 for several weeks and last year made it to the Final Four. Camden County will dress out more than 100 players while Mt. Zion will bring about 40 players but you can bet Mt. Zion is not going to be intimidated.

You can bet that Mt. Zion's ?Fantastic 40' will give Camden all it can handle when the lights come on Friday night in Kingsland.

The Union Grove Wolverines make their second straight appearance in the state playoffs Friday night when they travel to Wesleyan.

Union Grove has struggled a bit this season and barely finished the regular season above .500 but they're not a bad football team by any means.

Last year, Union Grove made it all the way to the Class AA quarterfinals and head coach Scott Mason's squad has aspirations of going further this year.

Anthony Rhoads is a sports writer for The Daily. He can be reached at arhoads@news-daily.com or sports@henryherald.com.