Fitzgerald at Jefferson
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Memorial Stadium, Jefferson
Records, rankings: Fitzgerald is 10-2, the No. 2 seed from Region 1-AA and ranked No. 4; Jefferson is 11-1, the No. 1 seed from 8-AA and ranked No. 7.
Last meeting: This is the teams’ first meeting.
Three things to know: 1. Fitzgerald has attempted only 50 passes this season and managed to put up 3,795 yards rushing (316.3 per game) without a 1,000-yard rusher. QB Romarius Gaulden (898) and FB Ron Swain (822) are the main ball-carriers, although Larry Stewart (595) had the hot hand in the second round against Vidalia, rushing for 138 yards. 2. Jefferson QB Bryant Shirreffs rushed for 248 yards and three touchdowns in a 35-7 victory over Westminster in the second round. Shirreffs has passed for 1,828 yards and 14 touchdowns and rushed for 1,026 yards and 14 touchdowns on the season. He has Ivy League invitations from Dartmouth and Yale. 3. Jefferson is in the quarterfinals for the first time since 1977. Jefferson played in state championship games in 1975 and 1977, losing both. Fitzgerald has made the quarterfinals for the fifth consecutive season and last made the semifinals in 2009.
Maxwell Ratings’ projection: Jefferson by 2
Winner plays: Early County/Greater Atlanta Christian winner
Early County at Greater Atlanta Christian
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Spartan Stadium, Norcross
Records, rankings: Early County is 9-3, the No. 3 seed from Region 1-AA and unranked; Greater Atlanta Christian is 9-3, the No. 2 seed from 6-AA and ranked No 9.
Last meeting: Greater Atlanta Christian won 21-19 in the 2002 Class AA semifinals.
Three things to know: 1. GAC QB Rafe Chapple is 37-of-44 passing for 513 yards in his two playoff games. He has thrown for 2,117 yards on the season. RB Kyle Scales missed the first round with an injury but ran for 130 yards and four touchdowns in a victory over Heard County last week. He has rushed for 1,193 yards and 20 touchdowns. 2. Early County QB Jacori Taylor passed for 147 yards and rushed for 134 in a 28-7 victory over Screven County in the second round. RB Ladonis Bryant rushed for 104 yards and had five catches for 84 yards. That’s not unusual production for the pair. Taylor has passed for 1,736 yards and rushed for 822. Bryant has rushed for 964 yards and has 621 yards receiving and 20 touchdowns. 3. GAC is trying to reach the semifinals for the first time since 2002, when it beat Early County for a spot in the Class AA final. Early last made the semifinals in 2006.
Maxwell Ratings’ projection: Greater Atlanta Christian by 4
Winner plays: Fitzgerald/Jefferson winner
Brooks County at Calhoun
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Phil Reeve Stadium, Calhoun
Records, rankings: Brooks County is 12-0, the No. 1 seed from Region 1-AA and ranked No. 2; Calhoun is 12-0, the No. 1 seed from 7-AA and ranked No. 1.
Last meeting: Calhoun won 43-30 in the second round of the 2011 Class AA playoffs.
Three things to know: 1. Junior QB Malcolm Parrish is Brooks County’s most celebrated player, with 2,856 yards passing and almost 700 rushing, but sidekick WR/RB Deric Herring is another one to watch. He has 49 catches for 988 yards and 15 touchdowns, three in the second-round victory over McIntosh County Academy. Herring also scored a touchdown on defense. 2. Calhoun has a chance to have a 3,000-yard passer, a 1,000-yard rusher and two 1,000-yard receivers. QB Hal Lamb has thrown for 2,801 yards. RB Alex Urbano has rushed for 1,002 yards and 20 touchdowns. WR Josh Barnes has 76 catches for 917 yards and five touchdowns. WR Tydus Curtis has 50 catches for 790 yards and nine touchdowns. 3. Calhoun and Brooks County have been ranked 1-2 since Sept. 10, two days after Brooks County’s upset victory over Valdosta of Class AAAAAA. Calhoun won a coin toss to play the game at home, per GHSA rules when same-seeded teams meet in the playoffs. Calhoun has won 40 consecutive home games, its most recent loss to Cartersville in 2008. Calhoun has won 16 straight home playoff games dating to 2007.
Maxwell Ratings’ projection: Calhoun by 7
Winner plays: Lamar County/Lovett winner
Lamar County at Lovett
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Memorial Stadium/Conley-Oakley Field, Atlanta
Records, rankings: Lamar County is 11-0-1, the No. 1 seed from Region 4-AA and ranked No. 5; Lovett is 8-4, the No. 1 seed from 6-AA and ranked No. 8.
Last meeting: This is the teams’ first meeting.
Three things to know: 1. Lamar County passes only about five times per game but averages 253.1 yards rushing. The leading rusher is RB Lawrence Austin with 1,084 yards. Brother Lance Austin, the quarterback, has 580 yards rushing. The twins also start in the secondary and had nine tackles each in the second-round victory over Benedictine. 2. Lovett QB Willie Candler has passed for 1,621 yards and leads the team in rushing with 556 yards, but this is the most defense-first team left in the AA draw. The Lions were tackled for losses 11 times last week but scored their second consecutive shutout. DB Grant Haley intercepted two passes, increasing his total to seven on the year. LB John Coletti has a team-best nine tackles for losses on the season. 3. Lovett is in the quarterfinals for the sixth time in seven seasons and is 5-1 in the quarters in that time. Lamar County has played in two previous quarterfinals. Lamar lost in heartbreakers each time – 27-26 to Cook in 2000 and 35-33 to Appling County in four overtimes in 2011.
Maxwell Ratings’ projection: Lovett by 3
Winner plays: Brooks County/Calhoun winner
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