Northwest Georgia prep football primer: 10 teams, lots of nuggets

Staff photo by Troy Stolt / Northwest Whitfield quarterback Owen Brooker (15) runs the ball for a first down during a playoff game against Stephenson on Nov. 28, 2020. Northwest Whitfield (7-3) will host Fayette County (6-4) in the first round of the GHSA Class AAAA playoffs at 7:30 p.m. Friday.

The road to Atlanta and the GHSA football state championship games will no doubt be rocky for the 10 area teams that made the playoffs this year, though the recently completed regular season also had its share of potholes and detours for northwest Georgia programs.

In fact, the 2021 season is the first in 30 years in which the area (Catoosa, Chattooga, Dade, Gordon, Murray, Walker and Whitfield counties) did not have a region champion - a streak Calhoun helped keep intact by setting a GHSA record with 18 consecutive region titles from 2001 to 2018.

Since 1991, Dalton has won nine region titles and still leads area teams with 22 overall, while Ridgeland has won seven, all since 2008. Murray County and Trion have three each and Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe has two, while Christian Heritage, LaFayette, North Murray and Northwest Whitfield have one apiece.