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CA to play rematch with Flint River Academy for state football title

The Crisp Academy football team (5-6) defeated Thomas Jefferson Academy two Fridays ago to ensure that their final contest of the 2018 season will be the state championship game.

The CA Wildcats defeated the number two-seeded TJA Jaguars (5-5-1) in Louisville 34- 14 on Friday, November 16, to clinch their spot in the Georgia Independent School Association’s class A state title game. The matchup was a rematch of a contest that the Jaguars had won over Crisp 18-16 back in the middle of September, but CA won the more important second contest between the two schools.

The CA win over Thomas Jefferson featured big performances by quarterback Griffin Gravitt and receiver Baylor Pless, as the two combined for four touchdown pass connections in the contest. The other touchdown came on a pass from Gravitt to Trey Williams. Gravitt and Dede Lawrence both scored two-point conversions on the night for the other four points of the 34 total that Crisp scored.

The CA defense held tough for the majority of the game, only allowing two late fourth quarter touchdowns to Thomas Jefferson that accounted for the 14 points conceded. Williams and Pless were key contributors on the defensive side of the ball as well with one interception apiece, while Dylan Farmer was credited with a sack for the Wildcat defense in the contest.

“We’ve had some positive moments during the season, and we’ve had a lot of adversity we had to overcome,” said CA Head Coach Price Jones. “We have had several kids that have gotten injured at different times throughout the year, and we have been able to overcome that. The guys did what was necessary to get to this point and we are proud of them for that.”

Friday’s class A state championship game will feature another rematch for Crisp, as they will be taking on Flint River Academy (6-6) for the second time this season. Flint River was victorious over Crisp in the first contest by a score of 35-0 in Woodbury back in late September but a lot has changed since that matchup.

“The first time we played them, we were missing several key kids on our team. Our starting quarterback did not get to play against them. We had a couple of other kids that didn’t get to play,” said Coach Jones. “We also had one that got injured during the game and we had some other kids that were actually playing for the first time in that game. So it was one of those deals where I think we are a lot more advanced now than we were then,” he added.

The Wildcats have averaged 29.3 points per game over the six games since that lone shutout loss against Flint River earlier this season. The CA defense has allowed just shy of 19 points per game over those last six games that resulted in a 3-3 record.

In season totals as a whole, CA scored an average of 24.9 points per game while giving up an average of 18.3 each time. Flint River averaged about 23.3 points per game this season, while conceding an average of 21.5 per contest.

The Wildcats of Flint River recorded all six of their wins this season on their home field, while failing to win any games outside of Woodbury to this point in the season, so CA may have that working in their favor. Crisp went 3-1 on their home field this season, while recording a 2-5 record outside of Cordele so far.

Flint River Academy is no stranger to state championship games, as they have won four in their school’s history according to the Georgia High School Football Historians Association, most recently in the 2016 season.

Coach Jones says he is excited for his team and hopes a good week of practice will put the CA Wildcats in a good position for their first state football championship since the 2002 season.

“Playing at Mercer is going to be a huge experience for our players and our school. I am excited for our kids to get the chance to go to Mercer and play in a game of this magnitude. At this point you just have to go out there and play your best, and whatever is going to happen is going to happen,” Coach Jones concluded.

The GISA class A state title game is scheduled for a 2 p.m. kickoff on Friday afternoon at Mercer University’s Five Star Stadium. The GISA class AA and class AAA state championships will both follow later on that evening.