Callaway and LaGrange both have state-playoff games on tap tonight, and the winners of those games will move on to the round of 16, while the losers will be done for the season.
Callaway (9-1), after winning the Region 4-AAA championship, will be at home today against Tatnall County (5-5), the fourth-place team from Region 1-AAA.
LaGrange (5-5), which finished third in Region 5-AAA, will travel to Gainesville to play Chestatee (8-2), the runnerup from Region 8-AAA.
Both teams held their final practices on Thursday as they put the finishing touches on their game-week preparation.
At Callaway, it was business as usual.
Defensive coordinator Dusty Hubbard said the coaches didn’t ask anymore of the players than they have the rest of the season.
“It’s like we always talk about as a coaching staff. Really, when it comes playoff time, you shouldn’t be able to say, guys, let’s work harder, because you should have been working as hard as you could the whole year,” Hubbard said. “You don’t change the way you do things as far as your preparation and things like that.”
What the Cavaliers have done, of course, has worked just fine.
Since losing the season opener to Heard County, Callaway has won nine consecutive games to cruise into the playoffs.
“I think right now, the biggest thing I think we’ve got some pretty good momentum going,” Hubbard said. “I think our guys are confident. I think they believe in what we’re doing. They believe when they go out there that they’re going to win. That says a lot.”
While the regular season has been mostly smooth sailing for Callaway, it has been an up-and-down three months for LaGrange.
The Grangers won three straight games at one point this season, but they’ve dropped three of their past four games to fall to 5-5.
A lot of that has to do with a difficult schedule that featured five teams that either won a region championship or finished second.
LaGrange was 1-4 against those teams, with the lone win coming against a Harris County team that won a region title.
LaGrange’s opponent today is a Chestatee team that has already made history by securing the first home playoff game in school history.
It’s also the first eight-win season in the history of the school, which opened its doors in 2002.
This is Chestatee’s third trip to the playoffs.
“What a great opportunity we have, with LaGrange coming in and playing our first home playoff game,” Chestatee head coach Stan Luttrell said. “But (the players) are not satisfied. They want to win and continue this great year.”
LaGrange, meanwhile, is looking to win a playoff game for the first time since 2008 when it advanced to the state semifinals.