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A rare trifecta
Alcovy, Newton, Eastside in playoffs
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Friday night, Newton County will witness something that has happened just once before.

Alcovy, Newton and Eastside high schools will all send football teams to the state playoffs, the first time all three institutions are in post-season play since 2009.

Alcovy High, which opened in 2006, made its first appearance in 2009 and again last season; however, Eastside missed out. This year, all three are in with the Tigers and Rams earning their way in Region 2-AAAAAA and Eastside in 8-AAAA.

"I'm thrilled that each of our high schools has reached the state playoffs," Newton County School System Superintendent Gary Mathews said. "That's quite an accomplishment in any one year and a really good thing for the whole community."

Newton and Eastside earned their way into the playoffs Oct. 16 with a 27-6 win over Rockdale and a 52-16 victory over Lumpkin County, respectively. Alcovy earned its way in two weeks later by beating Rockdale 17-8.

"To have all three high school football teams in the playoffs means a lot to our school system," said Dennis Carpenter, Newton County School System deputy superintendent. "The district continues to make strides in its instructional program, while we are too making strides in our extracurricular program.

"These efforts are a reflection of the district's dedication to excellence on both the academic and extracurricular front."

The Rams are the only team which will bring the playoffs to Newton County, hosting East Coweta at 7:30 p.m. at Sharp Stadium. Newton was last in the playoffs in 2009, falling to Camden County 43-19 in the opening round.

"I am really happy for all three schools as the coaches and the kids have worked hard to make it into the playoffs," Newton athletic director Tracey Curtis said. "I think it should make the community proud of all of the programs and schools.

"For Newton, I know it is our first time hosting a football playoff game in a number of years. I wish all of the schools the best."

Alcovy and Eastside will be on the road in the first round, as the Tigers take on a second-seed and the Eagles a No. 1.

Eastside will go on the road to take on the state's No. 1-ranked team in Class AAAA, Sandy Creek. The Fighting Patriots are 10-0 and have lost just five times, since 2007.

Alcovy travels to Newnan, a year after falling to Tri-Cities in the first round of the playoffs.

The Tigers' only other playoff appearance, in 2009, also resulted in a loss, 15-8 to Thomas County Central. The Tigers' recent surge up the standings has made Newton a potent county in the state's football scene.

"Our athletes and coaches put in countless hours in an effort to put an exceptional product on the field each Friday night," Carpenter said.
"When you combine their efforts with the support our teams receive from parents and the business community, our programs appear to be destined for success in the immediate and foreseeable future. High quality extracurricular activities are dependent upon this level of support and as a school system we are fortunate to be blessed with a high level of support from our parents and the local business community."

All three high school institutions putting teams in the state's biggest sports showcase bodes well for the county in ways other than football.

"As fixed as our system has been on improving student achievement, our athletic success demonstrates that the pursuit of excellent performance exists both in the classroom and on the playing field," Mathews said. "We want to win on all fronts.

"Our student athletes, their various student and parent support groups, and our high school coaches are to be congratulated."