First-round playoff preview: Class A (public)

Hancock Central at Lincoln County

When, where: 6:30 p.m. Friday, Buddy Bufford Field, Lincolnton

Records, rankings: Hancock Central is 5-5, the No. 16 seed and unranked; Lincoln County is 9-1, the No. 1 seed and ranked No. 4.

Last meeting: Lincoln County won 27-8 on Nov. 9 in the regular season.

Three things to know: 1. Lincoln County is 15-0 all-time against Hancock Central, including the 27-8 victory in the final game of the regular season. The GHSA points system for Class A teams does not consider region affiliation in the draw. This is the only first-round game in the public-school division that matches teams from the same region. But at 58 miles, they are only the second-closest geographically behind Turner County vs. Dooly County. 2. Lincoln County RB Mike McIntire has rushed for 1,088 yards and 15 touchdowns. 3. Hancock Central RB Deonte Franklin scored five touchdowns against Twiggs County and four against Greene County.

Maxwell Ratings’ projection: Lincoln County by 26

Winner plays: Wilkinson County/Miller County winner

Wilkinson County at Miller County

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Pirate Stadium, Colquitt

Records, rankings: Wilkinson County is 7-3, the No. 9 seed and ranked No. 7; Miller County is 8-2, the No. 8 seed and unranked.

Last meeting: Miller County won 32-26 in the second round of the 1999 Class A playoffs.

Three things to know: 1. Miller County ranked ahead of Wilkinson County in the GHSA’s points system, but the Maxwell Ratings had a different idea. Maxwell, whose computer model is more similar to those that influence the NCAA’s BCS rankings, ranks Wilkinson at No. 3 among Class A public schools and puts Miller County at No. 18. Miller County’s schedule ranks 35th out of 38 public schools playing regions schedules. 2. Both teams finished second in their regions. Wilkinson County failed to hold a 13-0 lead against eventual champion Lincoln County and lost 21-19. Miller County lost 20-0 to Seminole County in the key Region 1 game. 3. Miller County has made the playoffs for six consecutive seasons but is seeking its first quarterfinal since 2008. Wilkinson has made the playoffs seven straight seasons and got as far as the semifinals in 2008 and 2010.

Maxwell Ratings’ projection: Wilkinson County by 25

Winner plays: Hancock Central/Lincoln County winner

Turner County at Dooly County

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, The Grove, Vienna

Records, rankings: Turner County is 6-4, the No. 12 seed and unranked; Dooly County is 8-2, the No. 5 seed and unranked.

Last meeting: Dooly County won 27-6 in the 2009 regular season.

Three things to know: 1. Dooly County DL Montravius Adams has more than 20 tackles for losses and was an Atlanta Journal-Constitution preseason Super 11 pick. QB A.J. Smith has passed for 1,516 yards and 12 touchdowns. 2. Turner County effectively ended Clinch County’s streak of 17 playoff appearances with a 30-20 victory in the final week of the regular season. Turner entered the game ranked 18th in the GHSA’s points rankings for public schools. Clinch was 14th. The top 16 made it. QB Erik Soliday surpassed 1,000 yards passing for the season in that game. 3. Turner County and Dooly County are 31 miles apart, each less than three miles off I-75. They’ve been in the same region 12 times, most recently in 1997, but often play non-region games against each other because of their proximity. Turner leads the series 10-9. They’ve never met in the playoffs.

Maxwell Ratings’ projection: Dooly County by 5

Winner plays: Commerce/Seminole County winner

Commerce at Seminole County

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Seminole Stadium, Donalsonville

Records, rankings: Commerce is 5-5, the No. 13 seed and unranked; Seminole County is 8-2, the No. 4 seed and unranked.

Last meeting: This is the teams’ first meeting.

Three things to know: 1. Commerce has made the playoffs 16 consecutive times, a streak kept alive by the GHSA’s points system. Commerce finished sixth in Region 8 but was 13th in the points standings. Non-region victories over Class AA playoff teams Jefferson (22-7) and Rabun County (18-17) were critical. 2. Seminole County wrapped up its second straight Region 1-A championship in the ninth game with a 20-0 victory over runner-up Miller County. Miller was held to 165 yards. Seminole has won 20 consecutive region games, not counting a forfeit in 2009, when Seminole didn’t have enough non-suspended players to field a team. The leading rusher is QB Jakhari Martin, with 804 yards. 3. These schools are 289 miles apart, making for a 5-hour, 19-minute ride. Three of the eight first-round games in the public division will entail road trips of more than five hours. The others are Gordon Lee at ECI and Trion at Irwin County.

Maxwell Ratings’ projection: Seminole County by 18

Winner plays: Turner County/Dooly County winner

Gordon Lee at Emanuel County Institute

When, where: 6:30 p.m. Friday, Rountree Stadium, Twin City

Records, rankings: Gordon Lee is 5-5, the No. 14 seed and unranked; Emanuel County Institute is 9-1, the No. 3 seed and ranked No. 2.

Last meeting: This is the teams’ first meeting.

Three things to know: 1. These schools are 300 miles apart, making for the longest road trip of any Class A opponents this week. 2. ECI is the highest-ranked public school in the AJC/GHSF Daily rankings at No. 2. ECI RB Greg Purcell has 718 yards rushing and 320 yards receiving and has scored 15 touchdowns. 3. Gordon Lee finished fourth in its subregion, then lost a play-in game, so would not have made the playoffs under the traditional region format. But as it stands, Gordon Lee is in the postseason for the first time since 2008.

Maxwell Ratings’ projection: Emanuel County Institute by 32

Winner plays: Trion/Irwin County winner

Trion at Irwin County

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Indian Field, Ocilla

Records, rankings: Trion is 8-2, the No. 11 seed and unranked; Irwin County is 7-3, the No. 6 seed and ranked No. 6.

Last meeting: This is the teams’ first meeting.

Three things to know: 1. This will be Irwin County’s first home playoff game since 1999. That’s bad timing for Trion, which has lost 14 consecutive road playoff games dating to 1988. Trion is 3-26 all-time in road playoff games. At 277 miles, this will be Trion’s longest road trip ever in the playoffs. 2. Trion won a Class B championship in 1974, beating Lincoln County 7-0. The next year, Irwin County won its first state title, beating Jefferson 39-19 in the Class A final. Trion is seeking its first quarterfinal appearance since 2003. Irwin County is seeking its first since 1997. 3. Trion began playing football in the 1930s. Irwin County’s football history goes back to the 1920s with Ocilla High.

Maxwell Ratings’ projection: Irwin County by 14

Winner plays: Gordon Lee/Emanuel County Institute winner

Charlton County at Marion County

When, where: 6:30 p.m. Friday, Eagle Stadium, Buena Vista

Records, rankings: Charlton County is 5-5, the No. 10 seed and unranked; Marion County is 8-2, the No. 7 seed and unranked.

Last meeting: This is the teams’ first meeting.

Three things to know: 1. Charlton County needs a victory to avoid its first losing season under 23-year head coach Rich McWhorter, whose record is 242-55-2. Charlton’s streak of making the playoffs also extends to 1990 and would have ended under the old region standings format. Charlton finished fifth in Region 2. 2. Marion County has made the playoffs each of the past four seasons, but a victory would give the school its first berth in the quarterfinals. The past three seasons have been under coach Mike Swaney (29-5 record). 3. Charlton County is 13-9-1 in road playoff games under McWhorter. Those include two wins at Buford, two at Lincoln County and one each at Calhoun and Clinch County.

Maxwell Ratings’ projection: Marion County by 3

Winner plays: Greenville/Wilcox County winner

Greenville at Wilcox County

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Patriot Stadium, Rochelle

Records, rankings: Greenville is 5-5, the No. 15 seed and unranked; Wilcox County is 8-2, the No. 2 seed and ranked No. 5.

Last meeting: Wilcox County won 39-19 in the second round of the 2009 Class A playoffs.

Three things to know: 1. Greenville made the playoffs despite finishing fifth in its region. A 7-6 victory in a non-region game against county rival Manchester was critical. Now, both Meriwether County schools are in the sweet 16 in the same season for the first time since the GHSA established a round of 16 in 1990. 2. In 2009, in the only other meeting between these schools, Wilcox County ended Greenville’s undefeated season after 11 wins. Greenville coach Jeremy Williams made national news that year for his battle with ALS and his undefeated team. Williams retired after the 2010 season and is being nominated for the Georgia Coaches Hall of Fame this year. 3. Wilcox County QB Makail Grace has thrown for 2,481 yards and 25 touchdowns, and WR Johnathan Howard has 82 catches for 1,231 yards.

Maxwell Ratings’ projection: Wilcox County by 27

Winner plays: Charlton County/Marion County winner

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2 comments Add your comment

Turner County Fan

November 21st, 2012
8:36 pm

Turner County’s QB is Luke Soliday, Erick Soliday is the head coach.

Swamp Lizard

November 22nd, 2012
3:51 pm

@TCDAWG25 …. I’ve got ECI all the way !!