Fitzgerald vs Callaway

Watch Fitzgerald vs Callaway Live Class 2A State Championship Game Online

The Fitzgerald Purple Hurricane will face Callaway Cavaliers in Georgia High School Football 2020 GHSA Class 2A State Championship Game on Tuesday 29th December 12 a.m. ET at Center Parc Stadium, Atlanta in Georgia State. The game will be a rematch from a season ago, when the Cavs hosted and beat the Purple Hurricane 50-31. The Region 5-champion Cavs are seeking their first title in a program that dates to 1996, and the Purple Hurricane, champions of Region 1, have just one title to their name from 1948.

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While Callaway is chasing its first state title, Fitzgerald is attempting to win its first state championship since 1948. Fitzgerald made back-to-back appearances in the Class AA state-title game in 2015 and 2016, and it came up short both years, losing to Pace Academy and Benedictine. Both teams are coming off dominant semifinal performances.

CALLAWAY VS. FITZGERALD

WHAT: Class AA state-championship game

WHEN: Dec. 29, noon

WHERE: Center Parc Stadium, Atlanta

LIVE STREAM: Watch Free Here

RECORDS: Callaway (11-1); Fitzgerald (14-0)

To get to this point has been a challenge like no other season before and, hopefully, none after. COVID-19 affected all programs, and the Cavs and Purple Hurricane are no exception.

Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at each team’s road to the title game.

How they got there: Callaway def. Banks County via forfeit, def. Lovett 16-9, def. Thomasville 34-21, def. Rabun County 41-17. Fitzgerald def. Oglethorpe County 58-12, def. Northeast Macon 35-18, def. Fannin County 48-14 def. Jefferson County 24-0.

Previous meeting: Series is tied 1-1. Callaway def. Fitzgerald 50-31 in second round of the playoffs in 2019.

Top players for Callaway: RB Charlie Dixon, QB Demetrius Coleman, DB/WR Jalin Shephard, OL Lathan Patterson, DL Trey Stephens, LB LaQuize Gilbert, LB Austin Thomas. Top players for Fitzgerald: RB Mario Clark, RB Chance Gamble, QB Rashad Davis, DL E.J. Lightsey, LB Dequavion Harper.

GAME PREVIEW

CALLAWAY: The Cavs opened the season ranked No. 2 and after a 2-0 start, they jumped to No. 1, where they’d stay for three weeks. But COVID-19 would present a constant obstruction of their season, responsible in part for five bye weeks throughout, including in Round 1 of the playoffs when Banks County forfeited due to an outbreak.

The Cavaliers entered the season with high expectations, returning a lot of key talent from a 2019 team that reached the semifinals for a second consecutive season and third time in the last four years  they also reached the quarterfinals in 2017.

With so much time off during the season  including individual player quarantines and cancellations of practice  the Cavs had no choice but to stay focused and push through the frustrating off-the-field setbacks.

One stretch of canceled games led to a pivotal Region 5 matchup at Haralson County being moved three times, eventually falling on Nov. 10, a Tuesday night. They Cavs hadn’t played in 11 days but would have to play again on just three days rest at Temple that Saturday. The Cavs lost 36-29 to Haralson County, but recovered to beat Temple and, six days later, Heard County in the regular season finale to claim their second consecutive 5-2A championship.

Because the Cavs didn’t get their tune-up against Banks County, they were forced to go into Round 2 cold to face the No. 4 Lovett Lions. The Cavs squeaked by the Lions 16-9 and from there, they’ve demanded the attention and respect of the rest of the state with blowout wins over No. 3 Thomasville (34-21) and No. 2 Rabun County (41-17).

Now, to complete their quest of conquering the state’s top four-ranked teams in order, No. 1 Fitzgerald awaits in a rematch from last year’s tournament. Coleman said that for the Cavs to beat Fitzgerald again, they can’t afford to focus on the 2019 win over the Purple Hurricane.

FITZGERALD: When Tucker Pruitt took over the Purple Hurricane in 2017, he was coming from Valdosta, where he’d just won a 6A state title as the Wildcats’ offensive coordinator. For Pruitt, the Fitzgerald job was a dream come true, a return to his alma mater where he’d played under his father, Robby Pruitt.

Though the Purple Hurricane would go 4-7 in 2017 for their first losing season since 1999, Pruitt said the growing pains experienced that year helped get the program to the title game in 2020.

The Purple Hurricane have passed every test thus far, with the only close games all being on the road, starting with their opener against 4A’s Cairo (21-17), followed by Jefferson County (14-12) on Sept. 25, and finally, their thrilling 29-28 come-from-behind win against Thomasville on Nov. 6 that ultimately won them Region 1.

Their only loss came off the field, when Cook canceled the Purple Hurricane’s season finale and cost them a shot a 15-0. The following week they had a bye, which meant two weeks off before the start of the playoffs.

Chance Gamble, a senior who plays quarterback, running back, receiver, defensive back and serves as the Purple Hurricane’s return man, said the 15-0 mark wasn’t a big focus for the team.

Now comes a rematch with a Callaway team that had their number last year. The Purple Hurricane haven’t forgotten. Revenge aside, this is a Purple Hurricane program starved for another championship, going 0-5 in title games since winning their only one, including consecutive runner-up finishes in 2015-16.

FINAL WORDS

Fitzgerald is seeking its second state championship and first since 1948. The Purple Hurricane was runner-up in 2015 and 2016. Callaway is in the championship game for the first time, even though the Cavaliers have reached the Final Four in each of the last two seasons and in three of the four previous years.

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