WAYNESBORO, Ga. — Eleven is a great number, but it’s not 12.
Edmund Burke’s 11 victories this year have set a program record, but the next win would be the biggest in team history.
The Spartans visit Piedmont tonight in the Georgia Independent School Association Class AA state championship game. It’s the second year in a row Edmund Burke (11-1) will face the Cougars in the final. Piedmont triumphed 26-14 last year.
“I’m not worried about 11, I want 12,” Edmund Burke coach Buddy Sorrow said. “If we get it, it’ll be because we earned it.”
The Cougars (12-0) have been a tough team for the Spartans to solve lately.
Edmund Burke is winless in its past three meetings with Piedmont but 19-1 against everyone else.
Brandon Sharpe’s 907 rushing yards lead the team, with quarterback Logan Christian adding 803 yards on the ground. Dawson Atkinson, Hagen Wade, Clint Saxon and Michael Taylor round out the deep backfield, with the four combining for more than 1,800 rushing yards. These six players have combined to score 44 touchdowns.
Christian and Atkinson know Piedmont’s size in the trenches and at linebacker must be dealt with. Christian, also a linebacker, said the defensive line’s height has him aware of the potential for passes getting deflected.
Atkinson, who is a receiver, running back and defensive back, said both his team and Piedmont have gotten better since the two squads met on Oct. 7, when the Cougars won 35-14 as fumbles and an interception hindered the Spartans’ offense.
“All you can ask for is a chance,” said Atkinson, referring to seeing Piedmont again.
If Edmund Burke seizes the opportunity, it will continue its improvement from one season to the next under Sorrow’s direction.
After winning five games in 2008 and losing in the first round in Sorrow’s first season, the Spartans reached the semifinals in 2009 before going one step further to the state final this past year.
The only way to better that would be to win it all, and Edmund Burke can get its first state title tonight.
“It’s the last shot,” said Christian, a senior. “It makes you want it a lot more and forget about the other three (playoff defeats).”