Playoff preview: Class AAAA quarterfinals

South Effingham at Monroe Area

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, The Purple Pit, Monroe

Records, rankings: South Effingham is 8-4, the No. 4 seed from Region 3-AAAA and unranked; Monroe is 11-1, the No. 1 seed from 8-AAAA and unranked.

Last meeting: This is the teams’ first meeting.

Three things to know: 1. Monroe Area has two 1,000-yard rushers in junior RB Kwan Brooks (1,769 yards, 18 touchdowns) and QB Stanton Truitt (1,245, 16 TDs). Both average more than 11 yards per carry. Truitt, who has missed four games with injuries, has thrown for 810 yards. 2. South Effingham RB Josh Mercer, who has committed to N.C. State, is perhaps the most overshadowed major college prospect still playing. He has rushed for 1,476 yards and scored 29 touchdowns. He has run for 111 and 130 yards and scored five touchdowns in two playoff games. RB Cordaro Leverett has five 100-yard rushing games and 991 yards on the season. 3. The winner of this game will be playing in its first state semifinal. Monroe Area, which has played football since the 1920s, lost quarterfinal games in 1969 and 2010. South Effingham, which opened in 1996, had never won a playoff game until this season. South Effingham and Colquitt County (AAAAAA) are the only No. 4 seeds still playing. Only 12 fourth seeds have made the semifinals since 1996, when the state playoffs were expanded to 32 teams.

Maxwell Ratings’ projection: Monroe Area by 8

Winner plays: Burke County/Sandy Creek winner

Burke County at Sandy Creek

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, The Battlefield, Tyrone

Records, rankings: Burke County is 11-1, the No. 1 seed from Region 3-AAAA and ranked No. 3; Sandy Creek is 12-0, the No. 1 seed from 5-AAAA and ranked No. 1.

Last meeting: This is the teams’ first meeting.

Three things to know: 1. Burke County QB Donquell Green has scored a touchdown in every game and had at least one run from scrimmage of more than 25 yards in every game except one. That was the 35-7 victory over Perry in the first round, when he ran a kickoff back 98 yards for a score. 2. Sandy Creek sophomore RB Eric Swinney has rushed for 148 and 147 yards in the first two rounds. He has scored 18 touchdowns on the season, at least one in each of the past 10 games. But Sandy Creek also passes very well with junior QB Cole Garvin (123-190, 2,087 yards), senior WR Demarre Kitt (53 catches, 881 yards) and junior WR Kyle Wilson (32-566). 3. A coin flip decided the home team in this game, per GHSA rules when two same-seeded teams play. Sandy Creek has won 31 consecutive home games, 10 in the playoffs. Burke County has won only one road game in the playoffs since 1997.

Maxwell Ratings’ projection: Sandy Creek by 9

Winner plays: South Effingham/Monroe Area winner

Mary Persons at Ridgeland

When, where:7:30 p.m. Friday, Bowers and Painter Field, Rossville

Records, rankings: Mary Persons is 10-2, the No. 2 seed from Region 2-AAAA and unranked; Ridgeland is 11-1, the No. 1 seed from 7-AAAA and ranked No. 9.

Last meeting: This is the teams’ first meeting.

Three things to know: 1. Mary Persons has two special athletes worth watching closely. Junior ATH Akebren Ralls has returned two punts for touchdowns, returned two fumbles for touchdowns, caught two touchdown passes, blocked two punts, intercepted six passes and forced four fumbles. RB Nick Davis has rushed for 1,352 yards and nine touchdowns. He also plays a little defense and has 23 tackles. Davis was fourth in the 100 meters at the Class AAA track and field meet last spring. 2. Ridgeland RB Darrell Bridges has rushed for 1,919 yards and 33 touchdowns. ATH Vonn Bell has 922 yards and 12 touchdowns on just 67 carries (13.8 ypc). He also has 14 catches for 517 yards and leads the team with 63 solo tackles. 3. Mary Persons beat Cairo 3-0 in overtime in the second round. That is believed to have been the first scoreless playoff game through regulation since 2002, when Thomson beat Rome 20-7 in overtime. Mary Persons advanced to the quarterfinals for the first time since 1998. It will be Ridgeland’s first quarterfinal.

Maxwell Ratings’ projection: Ridgeland by 14

Winner plays: Marist/Stockbridge winner

Marist at Stockbridge

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Tiger Stadium, Stockbridge

Records, rankings: Marist is 11-1, the No. 1 seed from Region 6-AAAA and ranked No. 2; Stockbridge is 11-1, the No. 1 seed from 4-AAAA and ranked No. 4.

Last meeting: Marist won 28-17 in the 1995 regular season.

Three things to know: 1. Marist QB Myles Willis, who has committed to Boston College, passes fewer than 10 times a game, but he has rushed for 1,038 yards and 16 touchdowns. DL Greg Taboada, who has committed to Stanford, has five sacks and 18 other tackles for losses. He has seven tackles in the backfield in the first two rounds of the playoffs. 2. Stockbridge QB Trenton Early has passed for 1,157 yards without throwing an interception. He has rushed for 544 yards. RB Malik Bryan has rushed for 1,100 yards. 3. A coin flip decided the home team in this game, per GHSA rules when two same-seeded teams play. Stockbridge, which has never won a playoff game on the road, was pleased with the result. Marist is 48-3 in home playoff games under coach Alan Chadwick.

Maxwell Ratings’ projection: Marist by 7

Winner plays: Mary Persons/Ridgeland winner

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18 comments Add your comment

BigBurkeFan4Life

November 28th, 2012
7:26 am

Gosh I love being the underdog in this one.. Funny how AJC always picks teams from the metro atlanta.

BigBurkeFan4Life

November 28th, 2012
7:27 am

I really believe this is the closest matchup this week..9 points? i dont get it really.

SMH

November 28th, 2012
8:15 am

Burke loses by 21. All hype based on winning last year with a much different team and playing a real soft schedule this year.

WarEagle

November 28th, 2012
8:18 am

Looking forward to an entertaining game with Stockbridge. Man, are the Tigers a fast team. If there ever was a game when Marist needs to play grind-it-out “Marist football,” this is it. Go War Eagles!

SouthEffinghamfan

November 28th, 2012
8:46 am

I agree with the predicted point spread, but the predicted winning team should be the South Effingham Mustangs. South is a very underrated team. South is one of the most explosive teams in AAAA averaging over 30 points a game in the playoffs. Beware of the Mustangs! Semifinals here we come!

Todd Holcomb

November 28th, 2012
9:13 am

”Funny how AJC always picks teams from the metro atlanta.”

These aren’t AJC predictions. These are computer-generated predictions from the Maxwell Ratings, which are similar to the computer rankings that rank the BCS teams. If nothing else, they are not biased toward any part of the state.

HurricaneFanBleedPurple

November 28th, 2012
9:15 am

Monroe Area is highly overlooked and has been until now. Don’t think these guys are pushovers because they will fight til the very end. They never give up. We are the underdogs and don’t mind being out of the limelight because we’ll come out shining when the Hurricanes blow through and come out on top. Go Canes!!!!!!!!

MP Class of 94

November 28th, 2012
9:15 am

Mary Persons welcomes the 14 pt underdog role. This is the first time that we have gotten back to traditional MP football with a fanbase that travels to make every game a home game… We will be in Rossville on Friday 6 charter busses deep.. singing, chanting, and cheering all night! Our boys and the city believe in this team and coaching staff. MP ball is back baby and we welcome the underdog role! Fired up MP Fired up!

Tucka tigas '12

November 28th, 2012
7:10 pm

@BigBurkeFan4Life, Todd is right. These are computer generated predictions, nothing to do with the AJC. However, a computer can’t say what’s going to happen on any given night. This computer can only project according to the talent on the team, and the numbers from previous games, am I right Todd??? I’m sure there are many variables when projecting a winner. My former varsity football coach, one of the greatest in the state, was a Burke Co Bears standout, and I am hoping Burke wins, however, Sandy Creek does have the upper hand here, but things can change during the course of the game. Good Luck Burke County Bears!!!

MP# 66 Class of 96

November 29th, 2012
4:34 am

Way to go Dawgs stay hungry. Continue to play as a team remeber you can not spell CHAMP without MP

MP# 66 Class of 96

November 29th, 2012
4:34 am

Clever

November 29th, 2012
11:27 am

Same for CHUMP

S_on_my_Chest

November 29th, 2012
8:23 pm

Ridgland or Mary Persons, you might as well get your scout team ready for Stockbridge because Marist is getting dominated come Friday night. GO TIGER!!!! LETS EAT!!!!!

WarEagle

November 29th, 2012
9:57 pm

We’ll see about that. Look forward to hearing from you after the game Friday night.

SE Mustang fan

November 30th, 2012
1:28 pm

South Effingham 31 Area Monroe 26

First Dooowwwnnn Crreeekkk!

November 30th, 2012
10:44 pm

It’s a wrap: SC: 31- BC:20. Gator Green is an absolute “baller” but he had no help. SC is too balanaced and too deep talent-wise. Got down to BC, 20-17 in Q4 and went to their big tiem passing game tol regain the lead and then ran it down BC’s throat to put the nail in the coffin.

NEXT!

First Dooowwwnnn Crreeekkk!

November 30th, 2012
10:46 pm

SC: 31- BC: 20. Gator Green is good but BC team offered no support. Creek has too much talent and can run and throw when they need to. Great game.

Greg Manuel

November 30th, 2012
10:57 pm

Monroe Area 47 South Effingham 8 WAY TO GO MONROE