Now Class AAA can get ready for some big-boy football.
The second round of the playoffs pretty much held to form. Seven of the eight remaining teams are ranked among the top 10. The only unranked team still alive is North Hall and the Trojans were No. 9 until they lost the season-finale to Buford.
In other words, the programs that have been the best all season have risen to the top. For the next three weeks there will be no such thing as an upset. Every team left standing is a quality team.
Here are highlights from the second round of the playoffs:
Carver 45, Rockmart 16: The No. 2-ranked Tigers (11-1) rushed for 334 yards and had 480 yards of offense in the lopsided win. Torrance McGee rushed for two touchdowns and threw two others. Noah Hickey also ran for two touchdowns for Carver, which led 33-0 in the third quarter.
Buford 13, North Oconee 0: No. 3 Buford (11-1 on the field, 9-3) shut out the No. 8 Titans, who were averaging 40 points per game. It was the fifth shutout for Buford. The Wolves scored on a 20-yard pass from Taylor Mitchell to Mikey Bart and a pair of field goals from Matthew Bonadies.
Thomson 35, Johnson Savannah 19: Backup quarterback Quay Cummings did a good job running the offense in place of injured starter Chris Tutt (ankle) and tailback Torrie Battle scored two touchdowns for the No. 1-ranked Bulldogs (12-0).
Cartersville 24, Blessed Trinity 23: The No. 6 Purple Hurricanes (12-0) narrowly avoided an upset when Brandon Wells intercepted a pass on a faked field goal. Brandon Long, Kalin Heath and Brooks Barden each scored for Cartersville, which also got a 30-yard field goal from Preston Slemp.
Peach County 43, Pierce County 15: The No. 5-ranked Trojans (11-1) got 184 yards rushing and two touchdowns from Keyshawn Lowe and 179 yards passing and three touchdowns from William Walker.
North Hall 13, Morgan County 9: The unranked Trojans (10-2) used a 55-yard punt return and a 41-yard touchdown run by Andrew Smith to reach the quarterfinals for the first time sine 2007. Smith also had an interception to set up the second touchdown. T.J. Tate rushed for 98 yards for North Hall. Morgan County scored on a 50-yard field goal by Campbell Harrison and a 3-yard run by Marquise Benton.
Washington County 28, Callaway 0: The No. 4 Golden Hawks (11-1) ended No. 10 Callaway’s 10-game winning streak. Juklio Johnson scored two touchdowns on runs of 10 and 5 yards. Williams Walker ran for a 52-yard touchdown and threw for another score.
St. Pius 31, Hart County 15: Branden Mitchell rushed for 126 yards and scored on runs of 1 and 9 yards to lead the No. 7 Golden Lions (10-2). Ryan Braswell also scored twice for St. Pius, which had 370 yards of offense.
Here’s the schedule for next week: Buford at Carver-Columbus, Peach County at North Hall, Washington County at St. Pius, and Cartersville vs. Thomson. The site of the Cartersville-Thomson game will be determined by a coin flip, since both teams are No. 1 seeds from their respective regions.