McDONOUGH - It was tough for Henry County programs this week as four teams traveled to open the Georgia High School Association State playoffs.

Hampton High was the first victim of the night as the Hampton Hornets dropped a 38-0 decision to Perry High School.

It was a season to remember though for Hampton despite the first round loss. Hampton punched their first ever state tournament ticket in a dramatic fashion and primed their future around their now, winning traditions.

"Obviously, tonight wasn't a very good representation of Hampton football on the scoreboard. However, it was a great lesson in what it is going to take to further this program," Hampton head coach Chad Ashley said after the game. "Hopefully we now have a better understanding of the physicality and intensity that comes with making the playoffs. I am extremely proud of this football team and the way they competed tonight and the entire season. This group will always be able to say they were the first team to make the playoffs in school history and nobody can take that away. I love these kids, when my father passed during the season they lifted me up and helped carry me in ways they will never know, like a true family does.

"It is an honor and privilege to have been a part of school history with this group of young men and women," he continued. "Now, it is up to the others that the seniors are leaving behind to propel this program to even greater heights. I am excited to see what the future holds here at Hampton."

Meanwhile, Ola dropped a hard fought game to Ware County 35-22. In the latter half of the game, Ola led 22-20 but fell behind 28-22 and never recovered.

This season should be memorable as Jared Zito's Mustangs returned to the postseason and could be a threat to make it again in 2020.

"This team was special," Zito said. "Our seniors were awesome. Can't say enough about how proud I am and how much I love them. They have set a new standard for our program. They made our school and community proud and excited about Ola football."

The Stockbridge Tigers also fell victim in the first round of the playoffs on the road against Wayne County.

Stockbridge's postseason hopes came to a 20-3 end in Steve Boyd's first season at the helm marking  the first early exit in the playoffs for Stockbridge in the past five years.

Luella's first playoff trip under Jason Jackson also came to an end Friday as the Lions lost to West Laurens 37-6. It was still a hard-fought season for the Lions who picked up the fourth seed and ultimately exceeded expectations.

"I'm just glad our kids stepped up during the regular season and made the plays they had to make to get us in," Jackson said. "I'm proud of their efforts. They fought through tons of adversity to get here and I'm proud of them."

Sports Editor

Graduated from South Carolina State University in 2015. Been with the Henry Herald and Clayton News in two capacities as a sports journalist and interim sports editor.

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