Coach Steve DeVoursney goes into tonight’s game guarding against a letdown when No. 5-state ranked Griffin (8-0 overall, 5-0 division) closes out its Region 3-AAAA Division A schedule at Ola (3-5 overall, 2-3 division).
“We’re probably not as high and as emotional as we for the last game (a 10-6 Division championship clinching victory at Dutchtown),” said DeVoursney. “But we still have to come ready to play, because there’s a lot riding on it.”
Namely, homefield advantage for next week’s Region 3-AAAA championship game against No. 8-state ranked Starr’s Mill (8-0). A Griffin loss at Ola and a Starr’s Mill victory tonight against Harris County (3-5) would mean Griffin is on the road next week. Conversely, a Griffin win and a Starr’s Mill loss would give homefield advantage to Griffin next week.
However, if Griffin and Starr’s Mill both win or lose tonight, it will come down to the third tiebreaker — quality points.
By region by-law, quality points are: “Take all the games that you won in your total schedule. Total up the wins of the teams that you beat.”
Griffin currently holds a 24-22 edge in quality points.
“We have to root for Spalding to win (at home against Locust Grove), Coosa to lose (at Armuchee) and Upson-Lee to win (at home against McIntosh),” DeVoursney said earlier in the week.
If both teams are still tied after quality points are tabulated, the final tiebreaker states the Division A winner hosts in 2010 and Division B winner hosts in 2011.
For now, however, Griffin has its sights squarely set on taking care of business tonight at Ola. In Ola, they will face a team that has rebounded from a five-game losing streak with wins of 21-12 two game ago against Woodland and 17-14 last week against Union Grove.
DeVoursney reminded his team Thursday not to take the Mustangs lightly, pointing out the Mustangs pulled off a 27-26 late-season upset of Mt. Zion-Jonesboro two years ago during a season Mt. Zion defeated Griffin 30-16.
This year Griffin has reeled off eight wins in a row, the highlight being its division-clinching championship win last week. The win not only lifted the Bears into next week’s region championship game, it also assured them of a school-record 10-consecutive state playoff berth and homefield advantage in the opening round of the state playoffs on Nov. 12.
The Bears come into tonight’s game averaging a division-leading 26 ppg for, while allowing a division-best 5 ppg against. Ola is averaging a pedestrian 18 ppg for and a division-worst 27 ppg against.
“They’ve always had good linemen, and now they’ve got good backs to go with the linemen,” Griffin defensive coordinator Rusty Easom said of the Mustangs Wing-T offense, which he estimates is about 75 run to 25 pass. “They don’t throw it much, but when they do they make plays.”
Bears offensive coordinator Will Orbin said of Ola’s 3-3 stack defense — “They remind me a lot of Jones County.”
Griffin rallied and then hung on to win 20-13 against Jones County on Sept. 16 at home in the division opener.
Griffin continues to be led on offense by running back Wontavious Washington (163-1,178 yards, 13 TDs) and wide out Nile Daniel (12-400, 4 TDs), and on defense by Super 11 defensive end Xzavier Dickson (12 1/2 sacks, 12 hurries) as well as middle linebacker Stefon Harper (69 tackles) and outside linebacker Eddrick Johnson (50 tackles).
“Our defense is going to have to play well like it has all year,” said Easom. “And we just can’t turn the ball over. It hurt us last week when they scored a pair of field goals off fumbles.”
CORRECTION: In Thursday’s edition the Griffin Daily News incorrectly listed the Bears as winning WSB-TV’s Team of the Week honors. The Bears won Team of the Week honors from WXIA-TV Channel 11.
The Griffin Daily News regrets the error and any confusion it may have caused.
GAME: Griffin Bears (8-0 overall, 5-0 Region 3-AAAA Div. A) at Ola Mustangs (3-5, 2-3)
TIME: 7:30 p.m. Friday, at Ola
LAST MEETING: 2009, Griffin won 48-7
LAST WEEK: Wonta Washington's 74-yard TD run gave the Bears a 10-6 win over Dutchtown to give Griffin the Region 3-AAAA Div. A title.