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Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012

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  • Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012
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Football in retrospect We are officially in full swing for basketball and wrestling season, but with all eyes in Georgia on Saturday’s state football championship matchups, I thought this would be an appropriate time to reflect on this past season of football in the Fort Benning/Columbus area.

Things didn’t get any easier for Chattahoochee County as it moved up a classification to Region 5-AA.

Heard County went a perfect 8-0 in the region before losing in the second round of the playoffs to Greater Atlanta Christian.

Going into the season, it appeared there would be a drop off in quality after the predicted top three teams for 5-AA — Heard County, Bowdon and Bremen. The question was, which of the remaining six teams would get the fourth playoff spot.

To my surprise, it turned out there were several teams who were much improved from last year.

Manchester went 4-6 in 2011, but turned things around this year and finished second (7-1) in the region and 9-3 overall. The Blue Devils took Heard County into overtime Oct. 12, but lost 28-21.

But my vote for most improved team in the area goes to Kendrick. Coming off a 2-10 season last year, I would bet not many expected the Cherokees to be a contender this year, but they made their presence known Oct. 5 with a 12-8 win over Bremen. Add on a 12-8 win over Chattco a week later, and the Cherokees were in the driver’s seat for that fourth spot.

As for Chattco, I’m not sure what the problem was this year and why they only improved one game after going 2-10 in 2011. The Panthers dropped their last four, which looked like the easier part of their schedule, and finished 3-7 this year.

I watched the Panthers play Bowdon and Heard County at home, and the scores (a 35-6 loss to Bowdon and 40-14 loss to Heard County) didn’t tell the whole story. They moved the ball against those teams, they just consistently let turnovers and penalties take points away from them and, in turn, gave those points to the other team.

They had some talent on offense and a coaching staff that knows what it takes to win, but I think once Kendrick beat them, followed by a 36-34 loss to Spencer the next week, the Panthers were gassed as they walked into a 41-7 Manchester thumping.

This year’s area theme in football was improvement — let’s just hope the Panthers can join the club next season.

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