Herschel Walker is in the news for contending for one of Georgia’s two U.S. Senate seats. Christian Heritage School’s second round high school playoff game will come against a player who recently broke an old Walker football record.
Before Walker became a candidate and before he was a star running back at the University of Georgia, Walker played at Johnson County High School in Wrightsville.
After defeating Greene County in the first round of the Class A Division II playoffs, the Christian Heritage School Lions (5-6) are bound for Walker’s alma mater, Johnson County (11-0), tonight at 7:30.
The new career record holder for rushing yards at Johnson County is senior rusher Germivy Tucker, who broke Walker’s record of more than 40 years late this season. Tucker’s 6,386 career yards surpassed Walker’s 6,137. Tucker has 2,373 rushing yards this season alone, the tops in Class A Division II in the state.
“It’s pretty cool to go down there and play on Herschel Walker’s field,” Christian Heritage head coach Jay Poag said. “Plus, they’re really good. The mission is to not let him run all over us.”
Tucker has led Johnson County to an undefeated record and to the Region 5 championship, though Johnson County was tested by Chattahoochee County last week in the first round. The fourth-seeded visitors led 15-14 at halftime before losing 34-21.
Christian Heritage never had much of a problem in its first round game. After a 6-0 deficit at the end of the first quarter, the Lions scored the final 37 points to cruise to the victory on the road against higher-seeded Greene County. Senior Eli Thomason led a strong rushing attack for the Lions with 214 yards and four touchdowns. Thomason has rushed for 1,428 yards this season, including the playoff game. Jaylon Gay and Sam Wooten have also had strong moments running the ball for the Lions, as has quarterback Carter Triplett.
“The running game has certainly been good to us, and Eli has had a phenomenal year,” Poag said. “We feel like all those kids can run, though. We’re not just tied to one.”
Poag also credits Christian Heritage kicker Carson Russell with providing a weapon on special teams that he said a lot of teams in Class A don’t have.
Christian Heritage ended the regular season 4-6 and without a region win, but that record doesn’t say everything about the team.
With only two games to play in a three-team region, the Lions were secured of at least the third seed for the playoffs, so Poag loaded up an eight-game non-region schedule with games he hoped would test the Lions before playoff time.
“That was always the plan,” Poag said. “When you know you’re in, you want to build that schedule to prepare you for what you’re going to see, and it was tough.”
Eight of the Lions’ 10 regular season opponents reached the playoffs, three as a region champion and three as second seeds. All six of the in-state, non-region opponents Christian Heritage played were from a higher classification.
The Lions also shared the region with Bowdon, currently the top-ranked team in the classification. Christian Heritage lost that one 42-21, but the score was 28-21 in the fourth quarter.
“We feel like we’re not going to see anything in the playoffs that we didn’t see during the regular season,” Poag said. “I feel the same thing about Friday. We know that they are 11-0, but we don’t think they’ve seen the same things we’ve seen.”