Playoff preview: Class AAAAAA quarterfinals

North Gwinnett at Lovejoy

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Twelve Oaks Stadium, Hampton

Records, rankings: North Gwinnett is 11-1, the No. 2 seed from Region 7-AAAAAA and ranked No. 4; Lovejoy is 11-1, the No. 1 seed from 2-AAAAAA and ranked No. 7.

Last meeting: This is the teams’ first meeting.

Three things to know: 1. Lovejoy QB Alejandro Bennefield threw three TD passes and Georgia Tech-committed RB Travis Custis rushed for 93 yards in a 36-15 victory over Marietta in the second round. But Lovejoy’s defense was the story. LSU-bound QB Anthony Jennings was intercepted twice, and Lovejoy had 14 tackles in Marietta’s backfield, most of them on Jennings. 2. North Gwinnett QB Michael Haynes has thrown for 2,112 yards and rarely makes a mistake (26 touchdowns, five interceptions), but a key to the 28-10 victory over Grayson last week was RB Cam Lewis’ 120 yards rushing. Grayson was allowing fewer than 35 yards rushing per game. North Gwinnett also forced four fumbles and got a safety on a bad snap. 3. North Gwinnett is 14-6 in the playoffs under Bob Sphire, who arrived in 2006, but reached the semifinals only once, in 2007. Lovejoy is the first Clayton County school since Mount Zion in 2000 to reach the quarterfinals in the highest class after reaching the Class AAAA final in 2011.

Maxwell Ratings’ projection: North Gwinnett by 10

Winner plays: Mill Creek/North Cobb winner

Mill Creek at North Cobb

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Emory Sewell Stadium, Acworth

Records, rankings: Mill Creek is 9-3, the No. 3 seed from Region 7-AAAAAA and unranked; North Cobb is 10-2, the No. 2 seed from 4-AAAAAA and unranked.

Last meeting: This is the teams’ first meeting.

Three things to know: 1. Mill Creek RB Jacorey Lewis has rushed for 595 yards and eight touchdowns in his two playoff games to emerge as a late-rising player-of-the-year candidate. For the season, he has rushed for 2,040 yards and scored 30 touchdowns, with at least one in each game and as many as six against Duluth on Oct. 19. 2. RB J’Vonte Herrod scored five touchdowns in North Cobb’s 42-14 victory over Hughes in the second round. It helped North Cobb surpass 40 points in a game for the ninth time. North Cobb has scored no fewer than 26 points in a game this season. 3. The winner will be making the semifinals for the first time in the highest classification. Mill Creek, which opened in 2004, has never made the semis. North Cobb most recently made the semifinals in 1959, when playing in Class C.

Maxwell Ratings’ projection: Mill Creek by 1

Winner plays: North Gwinnett/Lovejoy winner

Norcross at Camden County

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Chris Gilman Stadium, Kingsland

Records, rankings: Norcross is 12-0, the No. 1 seed from Region 7-AAAAAA and ranked No. 2; Camden County is 11-1, the No. 1 seed from 1-AAAAAA and ranked No. 5.

Last meeting: Camden County won 21-6 in the 2008 regular season.

Three things to know: 1. Norcross RB Alvin Kamara, the most highly recruited running back remaining in the state playoffs, rushed for 194 yards and three touchdowns in a 27-7 victory over South Gwinnett last week. Kamara has rushed for 1,784 yards and scored 26 touchdowns on the season. DE Lorenzo Carter and LB Lyle Mouton each had two sacks in the South Gwinnett game. Carter has 18 sacks on the season. 2. While some rate Kamara as the top running back prospect, Camden County’s Brice Ramsey is rated by some as the state’s top quarterback prospect. Ramsey is 70-of-128 passing for 1,358 yards and 19 touchdowns with only one interception. He has committed to Georgia, as has RB/CB J.J. Green, who rushed for a season-high 117 yards in a 34-14 victory over East Coweta in the second round. 3. Camden County won a coin toss to be the home team, per GHSA rules when two teams with the same seeding meet in the playoffs. Norcross, which opened in the 1950s, has never traveled south of metro Atlanta for a football game and is 2-6 on the road in the playoffs. Camden is 23-4 in home playoff games since 2002, but Camden has been eliminated the past two seasons at home – by Hillgrove in 2010 and Colquitt County in 2011.

Maxwell Ratings’ projection: Norcross by 12

Winner plays: Colquitt County/Parkview winner

Colquitt County at Parkview

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Big Orange Jungle, Lilburn

Records, rankings: Colquitt County is 9-3, the No. 4 seed from Region 1-AAAAAA and ranked No. 9; Parkview is 9-3, the No. 3 seed from 8-AAAAAA and unranked.

Last meeting: Parkview won 35-14 in the 2005 regular season.

Three things to know: 1. Colquitt County scored the winning touchdown in its 26-23 victory over Newnan on a 19-yard run by John Boatwright with 1:38 left. But more clutch perhaps was a fourth-and-10 conversion on the drive as QB Cole Segraves threw a 34-yard pass to Todd Boyd. Segraves is 80-of-115 passing for 999 yards and three touchdowns in the four games since Colquitt lost to Valdosta. 2. Parkview became the first team in the highest class ever to win its first two playoff games in overtime in the 26-23 victory over West Forsyth. In last week’s game, RB/LB Justis Rosser helped Sam Willis get a sack on West Forsyth QB A.J. Erdely in overtime to limit West Forsyth to a field goal. Rosser then scored on a 15-yard run on Parkview’s possession for the victory. 3. Only 12 teams that were seeded third or fourth have reached the semifinals in the highest classification, and the winner of this game will add to that list. But it won’t be the first time for either school. Colquitt County has made the semis as a No. 3 seed three times (1998, 2009, 2010), and Parkview was the first team ever to win a state title as a No. 3 seed (1997). Parkview and Colquitt account for five of the 12 times that a No. 3 or No. 4 seeds have made the semis.

Maxwell Ratings’ projection: Parkview by 3

Winner plays: Norcross/Camden County winner

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108 comments Add your comment


November 26th, 2012
7:28 am

Go Camden Wildcats!!!!


November 26th, 2012
7:50 am

Go Camden county wildcats! my high school!
Go mill creek! Our resident high school in Hamilton mill


November 26th, 2012
8:12 am

Here we come 74

Hubert Green

November 26th, 2012
8:31 am

I like Colquitt, North Gwinnett, Mill Creek, and Camden.


November 26th, 2012
8:42 am


November 26th, 2012
8:48 am

I see all 4 Gwinnett teams are favored to win. Norcross by 12 over Camden at Camden seems a tad bit ludicrous to me, I know that we are expecting a very tough game and it will take a strong effort to beat them.

If Norcross plays as we are capable of playing we CAN’T BE BEAT, we WON’T BE BEAT! Go Norcross!

High 5

November 26th, 2012
9:40 am

Keep sleeping on Lovejoy! Probably the best D in the state!


November 26th, 2012
9:46 am

== North Gwinnett by 10 over Lovejoy ? Really Loren ? You must know something I don’t. It seems that at some point the kid would figure out that fire is hot. Now he has been burned. North is good. They have a fine team and good coaching. Lets not forget what wins championships. This can be a good game. North needs better D to play with the Cats. They have given up to many points and will give up more. On the other hand, Lovejoy does not give up too many points. A 10 point spread is crazy. Especially in North’s favor. Are you that kid ? I know, it’s the computer. It hasn’t seen Lovejoy play either.


November 26th, 2012
10:36 am


Re your ratings, what is the value of home field for this season per the computer? (college it is about 2.5 points in computer rankings like Sagarin)

Also, you state that you drop out the previous season as the season progresses. So, at the end of the regular season when you did the polls, were all the calculations based on 2012 results?


November 26th, 2012
10:38 am

Lovejoy wins 21-0


November 26th, 2012
11:27 am

The most interesting and telling sentence in the above article is the one that states, “Norcross, which opened in the 1950’s has never traveled south of metro Atlanta for a football game, and is 2-6 on the road in the playoffs.” As the saying goes, “they need to get out more”. Must all be “mama’s boys” and aren’t allowed to stray far from home. They are favored by 12 points. SERIOUSLY? Against Camden County? I find these ratings and picks way out of whack for the playoffs. They all apparently reside in Gwinnett County. Homers! Computers obviously don’t know what intangibles are. They have no souls, they are robots. Period.


November 26th, 2012
11:37 am

Well, this particular Norcross team is 0-0 on the road in playoffs. And we have played at Colquitt in a live scrimmage before the regular season (and won) and we beat South Gwinnett, North Gwinnett, Mill Creek, Collins Hill, and Peachtree Ridge on the road. And these boys on this team don’t have any memory of the 50’s or the 60’s or the 70’s or the 80’s or the 90’s, And it doesn’t matter what teams in previous years have done. Not one bit.


November 26th, 2012
11:53 am

North would rather be the underdog. No one gave North a chance to beat Grayson. All the talk was, “When we play Grayson in round so and so…” And when North wins every one says it is because the other team had turnovers, or penalties, or did not play well. That is ok. We know Lovejoy is a great team, but we will show up. We may be little, slow, and beat up, but we will show up and play as a team.


November 26th, 2012
12:52 pm

I think North Gwinnett has a chance to go all the way.


November 26th, 2012
1:31 pm

You just have to love High School football playoffs, good luck to all teams. Go Camden County Wildcats.


November 26th, 2012
2:13 pm

Parkview is not the first team to win its first and second round playoff games in overtime. Rome did the same thing in 1997, beating Lakeside at home in overtime in the first round and Stephens County at home in overtime in the second round before losing a quarterfinal game at Marist. Those were the first two playoff wins for Rome after the merger of East Rome and West Rome in 1992.


November 26th, 2012
2:52 pm

Lovejoy, North Cobb, Norcross, and Colquitt County…..I think they survive and advance.

Loren Maxwell

November 26th, 2012
2:58 pm

@sportsnut – Don’t take it personal :-)

Looking forward to a great game.

country boy

November 26th, 2012
3:01 pm

Anyone out there willing to give me Camden County and eleven points? And Camden is the home team ! …..didn’t think so. Ludicrious

Loren Maxwell

November 26th, 2012
3:13 pm

@RobFromNorcross: “what is the value of home field for this season per the computer”
In my system each team has an individual home advantage. In Camden County’s case it is 1.64, remarkably close to the average of all teams, which is 1.63.

“Also, you state that you drop out the previous season as the season progresses. So, at the end of the regular season when you did the polls, were all the calculations based on 2012 results?”

Technically the past seasons never drop out, but by the end of 10 games they are weighted at about 0.5% as compared to the 99.5% the current season’s results are weighted. This typically has an impact of less than 1/100 of a point.

The big drop in the weight of past seasons occurs after the seventh game, but based on the feedback from this season I’ll probably have them drop significantly after the fourth. There’s really no mathematically correct answer as to when they should drop since that by including the past results I am purposefully skewing this season’s results to assist in early season ratings, but it just felt too long this year for some of the teams to adjust, such as Buford and Gainesville.

Loren Maxwell

November 26th, 2012
3:16 pm

@RobFromNorcross – For reference, I show the average home advantage in college football at 2.10 this year.

Loren Maxwell

November 26th, 2012
3:24 pm

@Dum-Bass: “Computers obviously don’t know what intangibles are. They have no souls, they are robots. Period.”

That’s exactly the source of their power — objective analysis.

But also remember, the ratings are a tool to perform a deeper analysis, but it should complement subjective analysis, not replace it.

Golden Isles Fan

November 26th, 2012
3:30 pm

GO CAMDEN COUNTY WILDCATS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


November 26th, 2012
3:52 pm

Camden vs Colquitt semi-final headline…. Colquitt defense of front just too tough with the exceptional play of middle lb John Gray so I think they will set the tone early against Parkveiw


November 26th, 2012
4:04 pm

Hmmm Norcross by 12? I think Camden is right to be the underdog in this situation though. Norcross has a heck of a team. With all that said Go Camden County Wildcats!!


November 26th, 2012
4:05 pm

The Packers are very beat up right now. I think Parkview is playing without some key players also but we are very beat up. (more than normal) The Pack will need to play hard but I like them to win this game. Hopefully, we can rely on a little Rush trickery to throw off their defense. I can’t take another close game. We have had too many of them this year. I am thinking a 24-21 Pack win though.


November 26th, 2012
4:08 pm

I actually think every team left in the playoffs could go all the way. Here are my picks in the order I think they have to go all the way. And I know I’m picking against my team, but I think Norcross looks better on paper. But we’ll see.

1. Norcross
2. Camden
3. Lovejoy & Colquitt
4. North Gwinnett
5. North Cobb
6. Parkview
7. Mill Creek


November 26th, 2012
4:24 pm

@ Loren == Nothing personal. Just figured it is about that time. Did Lovejoy not turn the computer inside out last season ? The same team is here. The things that were taken into account for Grayson to repeat were never given any thought as it pertained to Lovejoy. A runner-up finish with 8 starters returning for the best D in the state. Eight starters return from the sate runner-up on offense, including the states 6th leading rusher. Experience returning on both sides of the ball. Size, speed and coaching all present and accounted for. Yet, no consideration was given to the possibility of them being contenders. They started the year at #7 and have not moved, even with the loss of teams ahead of them. Don;t you take it personal if I have an occaision to say ” I told you so “.


November 26th, 2012
4:34 pm

Thanks Loren, I think you are right in thinking that you need to drop off the previous season pretty sharply after 3-4 games, thanks for your answers to my questions, Are the complete rankings after the 2nd round available yet?


November 26th, 2012
6:17 pm

Camden vs Norcross Needs to be streamed!!!!!! Probably the biggest game of the whole year!!!!!!

The Cross

November 26th, 2012
6:18 pm

I know you guys are going to scratch your heads with this post but even I feel that Norcross by 12 is crazy talk. After watching Camden on film I would say that this game is at best a toss up and with Camden playing at home I would give them a slight edge. With that said, I believe if either team doesn’t bring their “A Game” they will get beat. Both of these teams are too good to make mistakes and turn the ball over. Time of possesssion will be a non-factor given the different offensive styles. I believe the giveaway/take away ratio and penalty yards will be the difference. This game will not be decided until late in the 4th quarter or overtime. It is going to be that close! It is AWESOME to be a Georgia High School Football fan this time of year!

Go Norcross Blue Devils!!!!

The Cross

Columbia Blue

November 26th, 2012
6:41 pm

@ Norcross Fans

You guys have a GREAT TEAM. I want to say thank you to the AJC—I am sure the article stated above is already posted in the Wildcat Locker Room. We really appreciate the additional motivation needed to play Norcross. I can promise you that the WILDCATS WILL BE READY FOR THE CHALLENGE.


November 26th, 2012
6:43 pm

@ The Cross, I agree 100%. Camden has made a lot of mistakes the last couple of weeks (specifically with penalties.) They have had THREE TD’s brought back because of blocking in the back this year. If we score against Norcross, we need it to count. Like you said, penalties/turnovers/maybe some luck will determine the winner here. Honestly, Norcross could win by 10 on Friday, then play Camden again the following week and lose by 14 (or vice versa.) They are well matched. Honestly, we will see who wants it more. Travel safe on Friday.


November 26th, 2012
6:48 pm

Mill Creek is very young but has played 6 playoff teams this year, put up 41 points on Norcross.Brookwood was already in the next bracket when it played friday nite and the bus ran all over them. North Cobb good luck but Jacory Lewis is in the zone…offensive front line is 270 plus and quick, not five of them but seven who swap out all nite. Mill creek the dark horse for a final run.

Loren Maxwell

November 26th, 2012
7:10 pm

@sportsnut: “Did Lovejoy not turn the computer inside out last season ?”

Great visual.
Lovejoy had a good season last year with a rating of 86.16, but it really was the second best team ever, with the 2003 edition earning a rating of 90.27. Last year they finished ninth in the state and, yes, third in AAAA behind Tucker and NWSR. I’m certain you’ll point out Lovejoy made it to the finals, but I think you’re shorting NWSR’s season last year if you don’t take into account that they were eliminated by Tucker by 1 point in that side of the bracket. No matter what there wasn’t going to be a Tucker-NWSR state final.
Anyway, yes, last year was a good team, but no, they didn’t smoke my computer’s hard drive :-)

“no consideration was given to the possibility of them being contenders.”

I’m always lost at why you make this assertion.
In your mind what would demonstrate that consideration is being given to the possibility that Lovejoy is a contender? They’ve been ranked in the AJC’s top ten all season long and in the ratings probably since week 3 or so. If that doesn’t qualify for consideration, I’m not sure what is. The teams they are ranked behind also have solid history and great players and coaches.
To me I don’t think anyone doesn’t believe Lovejoy is a good team, but I’m not sure they can be compared (yet) with the 1-AAAAAA and Gwinnett schools that have won all of the state championships for the last 15 years or so. If they drop North Gwinnett this weekend, that will go a long way toward your argument.
Which brings me to . . ..

“Don;t you take it personal if I have an occaision to say ” I told you so “.”

I sincerely wish you the best of luck. You’ve worked for it harder than anyone else!

Loren Maxwell

November 26th, 2012
7:12 pm

@RobFromNorcross: “Are the complete rankings after the 2nd round available yet?”

Todd usually posts them on Tuesday or Wednesday.


November 26th, 2012
7:40 pm

Looking forward to this Camden County Vs Norcross game. Camden rolls, just my opinion based on Norcross not travelling outside the metro area. Camden has played in big games before. The Colquitt County loss taught them a lot. We will not experience that feeling again this year. Good luck PACKERs. Travel safe Blue Devils. Your fans have been talking about respect. now its time to come and earn it on the field.


November 26th, 2012
7:54 pm



Hickory Dickory Doc, the Jags went down to da swamp.
The Jags score big and the Gators renigged
Hickory Dickory Doc….

Stephenson (Jaguars)


November 26th, 2012
7:56 pm

Playing from an underdog status makes the win even better! Go Pack!! Rock On!!


November 26th, 2012
8:41 pm

November 26th, 2012
8:35 pm

Packers played the toughest schedule in AAAAAA and should have been undefeated. The three games they lost, they played horrible and still almost won each one of them. Our offense has finally starting to roll w/ Propst’s complicated run/pass/spread and Cole is on fire!

No doubt, the toughest team Pack played this year and last was Camden. It’ll be a toss-up if we face the Cats again. They are definatly the best team in the state and Norcross will find-out this Friday!

Now, when it comes to Parkview, we’ll be fine if we play the way we have the last few weeks.

And, Norcross needs to get over their little scrimmage win over the Pack. Packers played many different players to get ready for the opening game. Plus we had 3-4 starters out with injuries. If we play again, you’ll see a whole different team!

High School Football is fun to keep-up w/ but it’s still “just” kids play’en football!

Anything can happen every Friday Night! Anybody can win anytime!

Suwanee 0wns

November 26th, 2012
9:03 pm

Picking Norcross by 12 was just to jinx them.

For that matter, having Mr. Maxwell pick all 4 Gwinnett teams should pretty much be the kiss of death for Gwinnett. Now Gwinnett will be lucky to have 1 team survive to the next round.

The only thing worse would be if Todd Holcomb picked all 4 Gwinnett teams.


November 26th, 2012
9:30 pm

Go Pack Go!!!!! We will paint the jungle Black & Gold Baby!!!


November 26th, 2012
9:46 pm

Hey JAB———-Do you think Stephenson is still playing in AAAAAA? Strange to see you discussing Stephenson on here. If you forgot, Stephenson is in AAAAA this year and next year! lol


November 26th, 2012
10:03 pm

@ Loren == I think it is time for us to agree to disagree. For every valid point you make, I can counter with a valid point for the subject at hand. First, I am not discounting NSWR season and how they played Tucker. They did not get the job done and it cost them. If indeed they were deserving of the #2 ranking, should they have not played in the title game and lost to Lovejoy ? Perception can be costly. 2003 was a good year when we lost to West-Side Macon. That team had much talent but does not equal what is there now. Come to think of it, WS Macon put us out 2 tears in a row. Now let’s examine the ranking issue. Lovejoy began the year #7. They ended the year #7. Teams ahead of them lost. Some droped out of the poll and re-entered and elevated past Lovejoy. What do you or anyone else think if you sat and watched a team do what they have done over the past 3 seasons and not get the respect they deserve ? As I stated much earlier, if this had been a Gwinnett or Cobb or South Georgia team on the rise, surely notice would be forthcoming. All the criteria that are included in determining favorites are present in this Lovejoy program. The AJC ask the question and answered it. “Can Lovejoy play with the Big Boys “? “Lovejoy proves Point in Loss “. Yet, they must still prove themselves. Consider this. Who leads the state in scoring ? Who has the best scoring defense in the state ? Who did that Last year with the D. Has anything really changed for Lovejoy since last season ? Answer that please. Do you see anything different from last year ? Where did they end up last year? Look back and compare. If they were a true contender, then those that felt that way should have shown that and it would have been reflected in a confidence level strong enough to move them up or maybe rank them # 2 when they lost the CHAMPIONSHIP GAME.


November 26th, 2012
10:25 pm

@ Gamer, I know where they are playing, I’m a fan and a supporter, just stop by to let (ALL) know that they are dominating in AAAAA :)

Colquitt Fan

November 26th, 2012
10:59 pm

Sportsnut, what can you tell me about Arshad Jackson? He looks like he may pull a switcharoo to the Seminoles.

brother brother

November 26th, 2012
11:16 pm


Just a fan

November 26th, 2012
11:57 pm

The ever year underachievers, north Gwinnett will not dissapoint. Big game Bob will lose again.

Abu Dhabi

November 27th, 2012
5:56 am

North Cobb 42 Mill Creek 7


November 27th, 2012
7:37 am

@ Colquit Fan == No quite sure. Chizick may be gone and that could be a factor. Will find out though.