Things we learned in the Class AAAA first round:
Playoffs are no problem for Marist defense: The War Eagles beat Gilmer 56-0, posting their fifth shutout in 11 games. Marist has allowed just 86 points (7.8 per game), and 50 of those came in the first three games.
Ditto for Carrollton: The Carrollton defense held explosive Stephens County running back Chaz Thornton to 62 yards on 19 carries and allowed just 131 total yards. While the Trojans scored 40 points for the eighth time in 11 games, they also held an opponent to two touchdowns or less for the eighth time.
Green continues to make plays for Burke: Donquell Green’s yardage wasn’t eye-popping, but when big plays got made Friday night for Burke County, it was Green who made them.
The junior quarterback passed for one touchdown, ran for two, returned a kickoff for a touchdown and intercepted a pass, which he returned 40 yards in the Bears’ 35-7 win over Perry in the first round of the playoffs.
“He’s a great player,” said Burke County coach Eric Parker. “We’ve got some other kids playing well, but there’s no doubt he’s the marquee. When he puts his hands on the ball, everybody kind of holds their breath.”
It was Burke’s seventh straight win by four touchdowns or more. This from a team that lost a lot of players to graduation and is playing a lot of sophomores.
“We told them their sophomore season is over,” Parker said. “You’ve got to start playing like a junior.”
Walker gets a birthday blowout: Sandy Creek coach Chip Walker turned 41 Friday and the Patriots gave him more than a point for every year in a 55-0 win. Sandy Creek put up dizzying offensive numbers – 669 total yards, including 489 net rushing yards – and got their second straight shutout. In their past five games they’ve allowed two offensive touchdowns and have held four opponents to seven points or less.
Playff spotlight no problem for these underdogs: Monroe-Albany went on the road and stunned Griffin 33-17 behind Charles Stafford, who passed for three touchdowns and rushed for another. LaGrange went on the road and won in a shootout over Chestatee.
The biggest surprise, though, was South Effingham, which dropped Region 2-AAAA champion Westside-Macon 43-33 and became the only No. 4 seed to advance. Making their first playoff appearance since 2006, the Mustangs (7-4) took the lead for good on a pair of touchdown passes by quarterback Brandon James late in the first half.
Revenge served really cold for Mary Persons: The only previous time Mary Persons had played Statesboro was in 1972, when the two teams were in the same region and Statesboro won 41-14. Friday, Mary Persons got even with a 40-14 win of its own.