There were nail-biters in five of the eight games in the second round of the Class AAAA playoffs, and the kicking game figured prominently in three of them.
The best of the lot was the showdown between No. 2 Marist and No. 10 Carrollton. The 43-37 final score (Marist advanced) after five overtimes masked how much of a defensive struggle the game was. It was tied at 13 at the end of regulation, courtesy of a missed Marist extra point and a blocked Carrollton field goal attempt. Myles Willis’ 15-yard run in the fifth overtime provided the game-winning points for the War Eagles.
Kicker, exhibit 2: Mary Persons’ Kenny Miller booted a 20-yard field goal in overtime to give the Bulldogs a 3-0 win over Cairo, which had two chances at a field goal in its half of overtime and missed them both. It was the second shutout of the year for Mary Persons and the only shutout in the second round in AAAA.
Kicker, exhibit 3: A missed PAT in overtime resulted in the end to Grady’s season. The Grey Knights had an early 14-0 lead, but Monroe Area, led by a big rushing night from quarterback Stanton Truitt, pulled even, then won on Truitt’s touchdown and Cody Brown’s extra point
Showdown looms for Sandy Creek, Burke County: Both No. 1 Sandy Creek and No. 3 Burke County pulled away after halftime for their second-round wins, setting up a matchup of the last two state titlists from Class AAA. Sandy Creek stymied Dalton and got over 100 yards each from Eric Swinney and Delvin Weems, while Burke’s Donquell Green surpassed 100 yards rushing and passing in a win over Monroe-Albany. Sandy Creek won the coin flip Saturday morning for home-field advantage in next Friday’s quarterfinal round.
Cinderella’s cleat still fits: In a field with six No. 1 seeds still left, South Effingham, the fourth seed from 3-AAAA, qualifies as the biggest remaining underdog. The Mustangs traveled to Albany and beat Westover 41-28 behind 125 yards from Josh Mercer, according to the Albany Herald.
Ridgeland pair runs wild: No. 9 Ridgeland got 254 rushing yards from Darrell Bridges and 132 from Vonn Bell while overcoming LaGrange.