published Sunday, December 16th, 2012

Calhoun, Ridgeland come up short in state title games

Ridgeland Coach Mark Mariakis hugs Daniel Johnson after the Panthers lost to the Sandy Creek Fighting Patriots.
Ridgeland Coach Mark Mariakis hugs Daniel Johnson after the Panthers lost to the Sandy Creek Fighting Patriots.
Photo by Jake Daniels.

ATLANTA — Oh-for-two.

Although it was the first time since 1959 that two Northwest Georgia teams played for state football championships in the same season, neither Ridgeland in Class AAAA nor Calhoun in AA brought back a title Saturday from the Georgia Dome.

Calhoun, which won its first state championship last season and was making its fifth straight appearance in the title game, lost to Jefferson 31-14. Ridgeland followed with a 45-10 loss to perennial power Sandy Creek.

"Of course, we wanted to win this game, but just to get here is quite an accomplishment," Ridgeland coach Mark Mariakis said. "We fell behind early and were just never able to recover against an outstanding team."

Calhoun got as close as 21-14 in the second half, but turnovers stopped its bid for a comeback and opened the door for 10 quick points by Jefferson to put the game away.

Meanwhile, Sandy Creek scored 17 points in the final 4:34 of the second quarter to take a 31-0 halftime lead and went on to claim its third state championship in four years.

about Stephen Hargis...

Stephen has covered local sports in the tri-state area for more than 23 years, having been with the Times Free Press since its inception, and has been an assistant sports editor since 2005. Stephen is among the most decorated writers in the TFP’s newsroom, winning numerous state, regional and national writing awards, including nine in the last two years. He was named one of the top 10 sports writers in the nation at the Associated ...

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