Maybe one year, the stars will align, the chips will fall in our favor, the ball will bounce our way, and one of our local teams will play for a Georgia High School Association state football title.
Monroe Area and George Walton have come closest, making it as far as the quarterfinals. But as they say, close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. So until that year comes, and surely it must, all we can do is watch and dream.
And that’s what I did the week after Christmas when the 10 state title games played out at Georgia State Stadium, formerly the Braves Turner Field. For hours on end, I binged watched as the drama unfolded.
For some games, the outcome was decided by halftime. In others, including a pair of overtime games, I found myself on the edge of my seat, even if I had no care who won.
No doubt, many of you did the same. After all, unlike the college bowls, every game mattered.
A pair of contests had somewhat local connections. Oconee County, which finished runner up in Class AAA, defeated Monroe Area in the regular season, and Prince Avenue, the Class A private school winner, trounced George Walton several weeks earlier.
Oconee lost a heartbreaker in overtime to Pierce County. Prince, behind 5-star quarterback Brock Vandergriff, who I believe will be starting at some point for Georgia next fall, led his team in a rout of Trinity Christian.
History was made on the first day when a couple of girls teams took home first-place trophies in football, the flag variety. There were just two classifications, but it’s sure to expand as more schools add the sport.
The best game of the three-day extravaganza, and certainly the most bittersweet, was the Class AAAAAA instant classic between Buford and Lee County, two of the most dominant high school teams of the past half decade.
The game was considered a toss up by Maxpreps. And so it was until the bitter end. And bitter it was.
Lee County led by a touchdown until Buford tied the game late, sending it to overtime. Buford got the ball first and settled for a field goal.
Lee took its turn and make it all to the two-yard line. But on the brink of a state championship, a senior running back was stripped of the ball and the Wolves recovered to earn the title.
As Buford players celebrated, the player who had fumbled was on his knees, head buried in his hands, sobbing.
I think GPB does a wonderful job covering the title games. But I found it disgusting and shameful that they kept their cameras zoomed in on the young man in a moment that, even if he goes on to win a Super Bowl, will haunt him the rest of his life.
And rest assured, all the athletes who were a part of the title games, whether they returned home ecstatic or broken hearted, will never forget the experience.
Here’s hoping, in the years to come, our local football players will get the chance to live that dream.