By R. Alvin Richardson
Morgan County’s rousing 35-34 overtime road win over Hart County last Friday night gave them the third seed in Region 8AAA and earned Morgan a first round matchup at Lovett this coming Friday night in the state football playoffs. The Bulldogs wound up the regular season with a region record of 4-2 and an overall record of 5-5.
The Lovett Lions will provide a sturdy opponent for the Dogs. The Lions captured the second seed in Region 5AAA with a 34-28 win over 5th ranked Westminster last Friday which left them in a three way tie with Pace Academy and Westminster.
Lovett got the number two seed via a region tie-breaker and thus Morgan and Lovett will meet for the fourth time since 1994.
Lovett finished the regular season with an identical record as our Bulldogs. They were 4-2 in region play and 5-5 overall. They posted wins over B.E.S.T Academy (43-0), Towers (45-8), Stone Mountain (43-14), Redan (41-6) and Westminster (34-28). Their losses came at the hands of Greater Atlanta Christian (24-21), Marist (40-20), Mary Persons (51-28), Cedar Grove (45-0) and Pace Academy (17-13). Every one of their losses were to teams ranked in the AJC’s top ten at the time of the game.
Two of those losses (Marist and Mary Persons) were to teams in higher classifications.
Statistically Lovett has scored an average of 28.1 points per game and surrendered an average of 24.0 points per outing. By comparison Morgan County has averaged 22.4 points on offense and has given up 23.8 points per game.
The Bulldogs finished strong over the second half of the season by winning four of their final five games. Ironically the Lions did the same thing, finishing their season with four wins over the last half of the season.
The Lions are coached by Mike Muschamp (brother of University of South Carolina head coach Will Muschamp) who has been the head coach at Lovett since 2005. He has compiled a very impressive record of 126-54 (.700) over that time and his teams at Lovett have never missed the playoffs. Muschamp has led his squad to appearances in three quarterfinals and three semifinals. Additionally the Lions lost the title game to Buford in 2007 and won a state title in 2013 when they bested Lamar County 14-7 for the Class AA championship. Muschamp also coached for five seasons at Savannah Country Day from 2000 to 2004 and his overall record as a head coach is 151-84.
Historically the teams have met three times on the gridiron with Morgan holding a 2-1 advantage. The Bulldogs lost to Lovett 15-14 in 1994 but have won the past two meetings with victories in 1995 (21-7) and 2004 (30-6).
For those who are planning to attend the game, Lovett is located at 4075 Paces Ferry Road in Atlanta.