MAHONE: ELCA, Lovejoy ready to punch Dome ticket

Derrick Mahone

Derrick Mahone

It’s time to come clean.

It’s time to admit that I was wrong about last season’s semifinal finals involving Southern Crescent teams Lovejoy and Eagle’s Landing Christian.

My prediction was that only one team would see the Georgia Dome as a team competing in the state title game.

That team was ELCA.

And I was wrong. The Chargers were upset in the semifinals by region foe Landmark as Lovejoy defeated Warner Robins to play for the Class AAAA title.

After having watched both teams for the better part of the season, I’m convinced this season that both ELCA and Lovejoy will be in their respective classification title games.

They are both similar that both process good size, speed and talent.

ELCA meets a familar opponent in George Walton Academy at Commitment Field while Lovejoy host upstart North Cobb at Twelve Oaks Stadium.

If the Maxwell Computer Rankings are correct, both will be in title games.

According to the Georgia High School Football Daily, an online publication that covers high school football, Lovejoy is a 12-point favorite over North Cobb.

That same computer has ELCA as a 17-point favorite over George Walton.

How special would it be to have two teams playing for state titles?

Watching Lovejoy go through a couple practices this season, the Wildcats seem focused on getting back to the Dome. This time, with a little experience under their belts, they could possibly be the first Clayton County school to win a title since 1987.

With all the school system has been through with accrediations, it would be big boost to the county’s image. And with the issue of accrediation looming again, the county’s school system can use all the positive publicity it can get.

ELCA has had to go through the past year thinking about what could have been after its loss to Landmark in the semifinals on its own field.

No team in Henry County has ever won a Georgia High School Association title.

ELCA seem poised to be the first, but George Walton stands in its way.

Chargers coach Jonathan Gess constantly reminds his team that it will get its opponents best shot.

The Chargers just have to match that intensity.

It seems that both Lovejoy and ELCA will rise to the occassion and punch their ticket to the Georgia Dome.

And I’m hoping that I’m not wrong about either.

Derrick Mahone is the sport editor for the Clayton News Daily/Henry Daily Herald newspapers. He can be reached at dmahone@news-daily.com.