Class AAAA quarterfinalists seek smooth sailing

This week’s installment of the History Channel series: Mankind, The Story of All of Us, detailed the circumstances of Christopher Columbus’ voyage to the New World. Columbus, as we all learned in grade school, took off across the Atlantic Ocean not knowing what he’d find, or, frankly, if he’d find anything other than water.

Which brings us to the Class AAAA quarterfinals. Three of the eight teams this week are looking to find land. Yes, Stockbridge, South Effingham and Ridgeland are … wait for it … in uncharted waters. None of the three has previously advanced this far.

Is that meaningful? Probably not as meaningful as talent and preparation, as well as the draw of the bracket. But it will be interesting to see how they fare. I’d rate Ridgeland as the most likely of the three to land in the semifinals. Whatever happens, this is a red-letter weekend in AAAA football.

The state quarterfinals in Class AAAA:

South Effingham (8-4) at Monroe Area (11-1): Shootout alert. South Effingham and explosive running back Josh Mercer average 31.2 points per game. Monroe Area, with quarterback Stanton Truitt (1,300 yards rushing, 690 passing) and running back Kwan Brooks (1,711 rushing yards) average 38.9 points per game. Monroe Area survived overtime last week to advance. Prediction: Monroe Area 36-28.

No. 3 Burke County (11-1) at No. 1 Sandy Creek (12-0): In a matchup befitting a state final between the last two Class AAA champions, the Bears visit Sandy Creek by virtue of a coin flip. Sandy Creek’s defense, which has allowed just 38 points in the last six games, faces one of the state’s most dynamic players in Burke’s Donquell Green (1,626 rushing yards, 1,202 passing yards), who has accounted for 40 touchdowns on offense and defense and is also dangerous on returns. The host Patriots counter with the most well-rounded offense in AAAA. Running backs Eric Swinney (1,226 yards, 18 touchdowns) and Delvin Weems (884, 15) provide balance for quarterback Cole Garvin (2,087 passing yards, 17 touchdowns and receiver Demarre Kitt (53 catches, 881 yards, 8 Tds). Prediction: Sandy Creek 32-26.

Mary Persons (10-2) at No. 9 Ridgeland (11-1): Mary Persons, one of three teams to need overtime last week to advance, did it the hard way, going on the road and shutting out Cairo. Now, the Bulldogs get a trip to the other end of the state, where Ridgeland awaits. Behind running backs Darrell Bridges (1,919 yards, 33 touchdowns) and Vonn Bell (922, 12) the Panthers have scored at least 35 points in every game, have topped 40 points nine times in 12 games. Prediction: Ridgeland, 38-21.

No. 2 Marist (11-1) at No. 4 Stockbridge (11-1): Stockbridge has reeled off 11 straight wins since a season-opening loss to M.L. King, and last week’s 42-21 win over Wayne County was the first time the Tigers have allowed 20 points since that first game. Quarterback Trenton Earl and running back Malik Bryan have combined for more than 2,800 yards of offense. They’ll face likely their stiffest test to date against Marist, which has five shutouts and has allowed 14 points or less five other times in regulation. The War Eagles survived a five-overtime nail-biter against Carrollton last week and face another top-10 opponent this time around. Prediction: Marist, 23-19.

36 comments Add your comment

Great

November 29th, 2012
12:02 am

I think the picks are right but don’t think any will be as close as the predictions.

89Bears

November 29th, 2012
12:23 am

I bet somebody get a upset

NYCDAWGFAN

November 29th, 2012
1:31 am

Sweet!!! Jay Stone is picking against us again!!! That happened all the way to a title last year (remember your Peach County pick Jay;O))!! Hope you still have that magic touch. Come on Burke County!!!

Red and Black til Death

quick 6

November 29th, 2012
9:55 am

no way ridgeland scores 38 on our d we have given up 14 pts total in the playoffs we just pitched a shut out against cairo have you seen mp play i think not go dawgs under the radar we fly

BCSStinks

November 29th, 2012
10:16 am

I do like most of the picks except the Stockbridge/Marist…Stockbridge is at home with speed every where and a defense that completely shut down Griffin…Game will be close but Stockbridge pulls this one out…

WarEagle

November 29th, 2012
11:17 am

@BCSStinks — What advantage does being at home give Stockbridge? This isn’t college or pros where an large stadium will be filled with opposing fans, and the Marist faithful travel pretty well. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Marist fans are louder than Stockbridge fans — ask Lovett about that. Should be a good game.

BCSStinks

November 29th, 2012
11:57 am

WarEagle being at Home in High School I agree does not mean as much. Both of these teams are very good and having seen both play the edge of the better team goes to Stockbridge but the more experienced in playoffs goes to Marist. This could be the best Match up in the Quarters.

DIAMOND

November 29th, 2012
2:42 pm

Stockbridge Tigers, are @ home n the JUNGLE n is ready to RUMMMMMble…..
##TURNUP

Prediction – Stockbridge , 22 -19

YellowJacketfan

November 29th, 2012
3:17 pm

I think Burke County will upset Sandy this week.

bigdawg

November 29th, 2012
4:08 pm

Woodpecker

November 29th, 2012
4:29 pm

Got to like Sandy Creek at home

burkeboyjp

November 29th, 2012
4:49 pm

Scouting Report

November 29th, 2012
5:24 pm

Just got back from Marist practice. Looks like Marist plans to completely switch its offense to run the spread. 5 receivers on most downs! Damn, that will be great to see, really open things up. I guess the team is really, really concerned that they will be freakin demolished unless they do something different. I suppose that is all Marist can do to have any chance to win. Just glad that none of the players for Stockbridge read this blog, or else they would know the team’s plans.

Stockbridge Supporter

November 29th, 2012
8:31 pm

Just got back from STOCKBRIDGE practice… all i have to say is…. get ready Ridgland or Mary Persons because you’re getting all the anger from Stockbridge after having a close half with Wayne County. Lets Eat!!!

WarEagle

November 29th, 2012
8:47 pm

@Stockbridge Supporter — Glad to hear your excellent team is looking past Marist. With all those great athletes and incredible speed, Stockbridge is a huge challenge to any team. Marist has its hands full. Luckily, we have a team that believes it can win. We’ll see what happens tomorrow.

Jay Stone

November 29th, 2012
9:09 pm

Knew I could count on you NYC. Frankly, it wouldn’t surprise me if Burke won, but I just think Sandy Creek is the more complete team.

First Down Creek!!!!

November 29th, 2012
10:13 pm

Sandy Creek will win and home field does matter when you don’t lose at home.

Woodpecker

November 29th, 2012
10:24 pm

BC fans and players I want everyone to have a safe trip to and from the game and good luck to you and your team It’s very easy to get the school. Once you get to interstate 85 go to exit 61 Fairburn Peachtree City (HWY 74). Once you exit go left go past the Quicktrip on the right go to the second traffic light go left and the school is right thier on your right good luck Bears but go Creek.

Derby Ram

November 30th, 2012
7:34 am

Best of luck tonight, Marist. Avoid the mistakes that plagued you last week and you can win. Don’t switch to a different offensive approach. I’ve seen you win games where you kept it to one or two passes and seventy or eighty running plays. If it’s third and seventeen, Marist calls the option; third and twenty-three, quarterback keeper up the middle. Time after time the result is a Marist first down. I’ll be at the game cheering myself hoarse and so will thousands of other War Eagle enthusiasts.

Football Fanatic

November 30th, 2012
7:44 am

Good luck to both Sandy Creek AND Burke County tonight. Both teams have worked very hard to get to this point regardless of the fools on the blogs who have claimed that either team has played in a “weak” region. It’s ANY GIVEN Friday for any team during the season…and post season for that matter. Both teams are great…but I agree with Jay Stone…I think that Sandy Creek is the more complete team. So, bring on the lights, cameras….annnnnnnnd ACTION!!!! It’s gonna be a great show tonight at The Battlefield!!!!

Go Creeeeeeeeeeeeek!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

BigSCFan

November 30th, 2012
8:11 am

I actually snicker a bit when I read someone state that Sandy Creek “could” lose… I really do. Come on folks, let’s be serious, the Patriots, @ The Battlefield, are you kidding to suggest anything different but a Sandy Creek win? And to predict ANY team to score 26 points against this team…, yeah, if there were 12 qtrs played, good grief people.

MP_DAWG1998

November 30th, 2012
10:09 am

“Ridgeland hasn’t been this far in the playoffs”? Ever? And MP is the underdog? The MP bulldogs are used to being this far in the playoffs, as a matter of fact i played on the 1998 team that went to the Dome and lost to Early County. Playoffs and MP go together like Hamburgers and ketchup!

Like Hank said, its a family tradition! GO DAWGS! GO DAWGS!

NYCDAWGFAN

November 30th, 2012
11:17 am

@Jay Stone : Love Ya Jay!!:O) I appreciate the honestly.. To be completely transparent myself, I picked Sandy Creek during the preseason (my mom wasn’t too happy bout that but, she understood my argument).. The one thing that impresses me about my Bears, and gives them a chance against virtually anyone in the state, is their physicallity. When you hit that hard you can play with anyone regardless of the measureables.. The Burke County boys have a lot of heart and that’s why I really enjoy the ride that this team has taken us on this year. Should be interesting tonight. I’m glad I’l get to watch this one online. I wish safe travels to both fan bases and all the players… And to Mr. Shaq Wiggins, stop talkin to other schools!! We Dawgs love ya!! Come on Burke County!!!

Red and Black til Death

bigdawg

November 30th, 2012
11:49 am

Burke co bears.

Smithdk4

November 30th, 2012
4:18 pm

Mary Person’s Defense will keep Ridgeland under 24 points tonight. The Bulldogs will get the upset of the tourney!!!

YELLERJACKETZ1

November 30th, 2012
5:07 pm

ITS EVIDENT NONE OF YALL HAVE WATCHED RIDGELAND THIS YEAR

football fan

November 30th, 2012
9:03 pm

Nice refs ya’ll have at Sandy Creek… What a fckn joke!!!!!!!

football fan

November 30th, 2012
9:54 pm

Nice refs Sandy Creek!!!!!!!!!!!

football fan

November 30th, 2012
10:00 pm

Wait till next year!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

bigdawg

November 30th, 2012
10:01 pm

football fan

November 30th, 2012
10:02 pm

Nice refs Sandy Creek… Are you proud of that??? Really???? Your refs won it for you in the first half….What a pile of Bull Sh itttttt!!!!!!!!!!

DPANTHERS

November 30th, 2012
11:27 pm

Lookslike Mary Persons got all they could handle from Ridgeland. PANTHERS 45-14!!!!!!!!!!! And not at any point did the Bulldogs ever lead. Now just like in the 1st half of the Cairo game, Mary Persons never crossed midfield. Now congrads to their season, but bulldogs came loud before the game but were quiet by the 2nd quarter. So lets here it PANTHER NATION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Patriot Power

November 30th, 2012
11:57 pm

@football fan – You mad, bro?

Derby Ram

November 30th, 2012
11:59 pm

Marist emerged triumphant from another great defensive contest tonight. The game was plagued with flags and both offenses struggled, but Marist found just enough ways to get the ball moving in the second half. One touchdown, two field goals and a safety made the difference but the lead never felt safe. Stockbridge’s only TD came after our normally sure-handed punt receiver, Griffin King, muffed the catch and gave the ball back to the Tigers on our 20 yard line. With a field that short even they managed to cross the line. Otherwise the War Eagles bottled them up completely. Now what we need is to win the coin toss so that we don’t have to make the huge trek up to Ridgeland, which is on the Tennessee state line, for the state semi-final. Fingers crossed everyone.

Great

December 1st, 2012
1:58 am

Not only was I 1st but I believe an I told you so is in order

burkeboyjp

December 1st, 2012
11:41 am

Everyone that was at that game saw that sandy creek could not beat us by there self that had more than enough help i c why yall undefeated and won those two state championship with refs like that u could win at the college level