The Patriots needed six wins, a third place finish in their sub region and an explosive offense that put up over 30 points per game. Then at season’s end they needed a calculator to figure out if it would all be enough.
Sitting at No. 15 in the GHSA Class-A private school power rankings heading into their final game, the Patriots lost to Darlington 31-14 in their season finale and had to play the waiting game to see if their resume would be enough to hang in the top 16 and go to state.
When the final numbers were release Pisgah was sitting in 16th with a final rating of 10.53, just .01 points ahead of 17th place Whitefield Academy — the smallest margin separating any of the 29 private schools that qualified for a ranking.
“It feels great to be in and it is a big accomplishment for our program to be one of the top 16 teams in the state of Georgia,” said Mount Pisgah football coach Doug Dixon. “It’s been a fun, fun year and now we’re going to get to our second season.”
Power ratings were derived by a system set forth by the GHSA when they decided to split public and private school playoffs in Class-A for competition purposes. Criteria included wins and loss, classification of opponents, opponents’ wins and losses, and opponents’ strength of schedule.
“We loved the system this year,” joked Dixon. “We may not like it as much next year but I think in the long run it didn’t make a whole lot of a difference in our season. We didn’t really worry about the numbers until the final few weeks of the season.”
Now Pisgah will head to the GHSA state playoffs for the first time in school history this Friday where they will be greeted by traditional state power Athens Academy. The Spartans are 10-0 on the season, ranked No. 1 in the Class-A Power Rankings and making their sixteenth straight appearance in the state playoffs.
“We’re looking forward to facing the top team in the state and if we can go over there and beat those guys we’ll be in a great situation,” said Dixon. “Are they a great team? No doubt. But it’s going to be a great challenge and I know our team is looking forward to it.”