How do you explain it?
The easy choice is to say that Lassiter, Lowndes, Valdosta, Region 1 and Region 5 were overrated and exposed Friday night.
But if that’s true, then why did Region 1’s No. 4 seed (Colquitt County) beat Region 1’s champion (McEachern)? It doesn’t make sense.
Remember that Lowndes and Valdosta dominated their regular-season games with Colquitt County, although Colquitt made those games close in the end.
Meanwhile, McEachern routed North Cobb. And North Cobb lost to South Cobb. Marietta lost to North Cobb and Newnan.
In other news, Region 8 (Grayson, South Gwinnett, Parkview, Brookwood) swept Region 5 (Lassiter, Walton, Milton, Wheeler).
The only shocker was No. 1-ranked Lassiter (10-0 entering) falling to No. 4 seed Brookwood (6-4). Parkview beat Walton in double-overtime. Both players were missing their best running backs. Milton played South Gwinnett close.
But what happened to Lassiter?
Were these teams overrated, or did they just lay an egg?
Here are more things to think about as we enter the second round:
- Lassiter became only the second No. 1-ranked team in the highest classification to lose in the first round since the GHSA expanded the playoffs to 16 teams in 1990 (and then 32 in 1996). The other was North Cobb in 2007. Those are the only Cobb teams to enter the playoffs ranked No. 1 since 2000.
- Hughes, North Cobb, Brookwood or Mill Creek will make the semifinals from what might be called Cinderella’s quarter of the draw. Hughes won its first playoff game in history Friday against Rockdale County, 37-3. North Cobb won its first playoff game since 1979 against Valdosta, 42-14. Mill Creek won its third playoff game in history against Alpharetta, 41-39. Brookwood won its 43rd playoff game, but is a No. 4 seed. Only 12 No. 4 seeds have made the semifinals since 1996. The last to do it in the highest classification was Peachtree Ridge, which won the title in 2006.
- Crosstown rivals Valdosta and Lowndes were simultaneously beaten in the first round for the first time in history. It’s only the third time that both failed to make the second week of post-season since 1978, when Nick Hyder won his first state title at Valdosta. Those seasons were 1993 and 2006, when both failed to make the playoffs.
- Gwinnett County teams went 7-1 in the first round. It took three upsets – Mill Creek over Alpharetta, Parkview over Walton and Brookwood over Lassiter. There has not been a season since 1996 that schools currently in Region 1 or Gwinnett County did not win a state championship in the highest classification. The nine remaining teams that meet that criteria are Brookwood, Camden County, Colquitt County, Grayson, Mill Creek, Norcross, North Gwinnett, Parkview and South Gwinnett.
- Parkview won its first playoff game since 2005, which was the unofficial end of the Parkview dynasty that netted four state titles from 1995 through 2005. Parkview was 136-19. Parkview is 41-34 since.
- Colquitt County is 9-2 since 2009 in road playoff games under Rush Propst. No team or coach has ever had such consistent success on the road in the playoffs.