Five things to watch this week in Class AAAAAA
- The Cinderella quarter: Brookwood (7-4) has won 43 playoff games and two state titles in its history. The other three teams in Brookwood’s quarter of the draw – North Cobb (9-2), Hughes (10-1), Mill Creek (8-3) – have won seven playoff games combined and no state titles. One of these four teams will make the semifinals. But before anyone stamps Brookwood as the team to beat, note that the Broncos finished fourth in Region 8. They’d have to win two games on the road to make the final four. Only four No. 4 seeds in the highest classification have ever made the semifinals, most recently Lassiter in 2011. Only one (Peachtree Ridge) has won a state title. Tonight, it’s North Cobb at Hughes and Brookwood at Mill Creek.
- North Gwinnett at Grayson: This is the only AAAAAA game in the round of 16 that matches ranked teams. Grayson (10-1) is No. 3. North Gwinnett (10-1) is No. 4. These Gwinnett County powerhouses have played only once. Grayson beat North 23-19 in the 2010 second round. These are Gwinnett’s most successful programs in terms of victories in recent years. Grayson has won 70 games since 2007, the most in Gwinnett. North Gwinnett has won 77 since 2006, the most in Gwinnett.
- The Packer Road Show: Colquitt County (8-3) is 9-2 on the road (not counting neutral sites) in the playoffs in five seasons under Rush Propst. That includes a victory over No. 1 seed McEachern last week. In that time, Colquitt has won at Stephenson, M.L. King, Lassiter, Camden County, Grayson and North Gwinnett. Though ranked No. 9, Colquitt is a No. 4 seed and can’t play a home game in the playoffs. The only Georgia team that has won a state title while winning five playoff games away from home is Peachtree Ridge in 2006. Next stop for Colquitt County is Newnan (9-2).
- Draw busters: Parkview and Marietta were big stories in the first round. Parkview won its first playoff game since 2005, which was the end of one of Georgia’s great dynasties (10 straight quarterfinal appearances). It took an overtime win against Walton. Now Parkview travels to West Forsyth in a bid to return to the quarters. Marietta needed the heroics of LSU-bound quarterback Anthony Jennings – three TD passes and a back-breaking 88-yard run – to stun Lowndes on the road. It will take another great effort to win Friday at seventh-ranked Lovejoy.
- Norcross: No. 1-ranked teams have lost each of the past two weeks in the highest class. First Camden in the regular season, then Lassiter when the penalty is death. Now Norcross remains as AAAAAA’s only unbeaten team. But Norcross is a school that has never advanced past the quarterfinals. Friday’s game with South Gwinnett will be tough. Norcross beat South 35-20 in the opener. South’s only other loss is to Grayson.