Each state’s governing body for high school sports has its own rules and regulations for the postseason, including how home field/court advantage is determined. For football in the state of Georgia, once the playoffs reach the final four in each class, playoff regional seeding is used to determine which squad will gain an edge by hosting the game. If both teams have the same seed, the advantage comes down to a coin flip.
That was the case on Tuesday when Westlake earned the lucky right to host its Class AAAAAA semifinal against Roswell, but then was told by state authorities that it didn’t have the right to host the game. The reason? Westlake Stadium is too small to fit the required 6,000-seat minimum for a state semifinal at that classification. The real kicker came when Roswell was also forced to turn down the honor of hosting for similar reasons.
The result of the dual site rejections is a neutral site game at 10,000-seat Lakewood Stadium just south of Downtown Atlanta, per Georgia High School Football Daily.
The Atlanta Journal Constitution-produced newsletter also reported that a similar scenario befell the Class AAAA game between Jefferson and Thomson after Jefferson won the coin flip to host the game; Jefferson’s home venue can hold fewer than the minimum 4,000 attendees, so the home field advantage reverted back to Thomson, which will host the game on Friday at it’s 4,400-seat stadium.
While it’s hard to tell which team will benefit more from the neutral venue in the Class AAAAAA contest, there’s little question that the odds are with Thomson after it earned a home field edge; the homestanding team in contests between dual No. 1 seeds is 26-15 since 2008, when the semifinals were moved out of the Georgia Dome and back in to high school stadiums.