Callaway vs. Fitzgerald for Class AA state title
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
This is unchartered territory for the Callaway Cavaliers.
The Cavaliers have made plenty of journeys deep into the state playoffs over the years, but before this season, they’d never made it to the final game.
Callaway remedied that situation last week when it overwhelmed Rabun County 41-17 to advance to the Class AA state-championship game.
Callaway’s opponent will be Fitzgerald, which blanked Jefferson County 24-0 in the semifinals to earn a title shot.
The Class AA state title will be decided on Dec. 29 at noon when Callaway and Fitzgerald face off at Center Parc Stadium (formerly Turner Field) in Atlanta.
While Callaway is chasing its first state title, Fitzgerald is attempting to win its first state championship since 1948.
Fitzgerald made back-to-back appearances in the Class AA state-title game in 2015 and 2016, and it came up short both years, losing to Pace Academy and Benedictine.
Both teams are coming off dominant semifinal performances.
Callaway, facing a Rabun County team led by future South Carolina quarterback Gunner Stockton, scored 27 consecutive points to turn a tight game into a blowout.
The Cavaliers were clinging to a 14-10 lead late in the second quarter when quarterback Demetrius Coleman scored on a 67-yard touchdown, and they didn’t look back.
Fitzgerald used a dominant defense to overwhelm Jefferson County 24-0 to reach the championship game for the third time in six years.
Callaway and Fitzgerald are meeting in the state playoffs for the third time.
In 2009, Fitzgerald beat Callaway 35-21 in the state quarterfinals before losing to Buford the following week.
The teams met in the second round of the playoffs last year, and Callaway won 50-31 on the way to the state semifinals.
CALLAWAY VS. FITZGERALD
WHAT: Class AA state-championship game
WHEN: Dec. 29, noon
WHERE: Center Parc Stadium, Atlanta
RECORDS: Callaway (11-1); Fitzgerald (14-0)
HOW THEY GOT HERE: Callaway finished first in Region 5-AA and beat Banks County, Lovett, Thomasville and Rabun County in the state playoffs; Fitzgerald finished first in Region 1-AA and beat Oglethorpe County, Northeast, Fannin County and Jefferson County in the state playoffs