Playoff preview: Class A (private) quarterfinals

Prince Avenue Christian at Athens Academy

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Slaughter Field, Athens

Records, rankings: Prince Avenue Christian is 9-2, the No. 9 seed and unranked; Athens Academy is 11-0, the No. 1 seed and ranked No. 3.

Last meeting: Athens Academy won 14-7 on Oct. 5 in the regular season.

Three things to know: 1. Prince Avenue nearly had three runners over 100 yards in the 42-21 first-round victory over Darlington in RB Carl Mattox (162, two TDs), Conner Sibley (114, one TD) and Bryce Huff (91, three TDs). Mattox also had 11 tackles. 2. Athens Academy trailed Mount Pisgah 13-0 in the fourth quarter before winning 17-13. In what might stand up as the gutsiest call in the state this season, Athens Academy had a fourth-and-1 at its 39-yard when QB Austin Schulte threw deep to sophomore Eric Williams for a 61-yard TD pass to make it 13-7. 3. These schools are sometimes called cross-town rivals because they are associated with Athens, but they actually are merely cross-county rivals. And that’s Oconee County and not the county in which Athens is located (Clarke). In the regular-season meeting between them, Schulte threw a 25-yard TD pass to Jordan Lawson with 6:03 left for the winning score. Schulte was 14-of-23 passing for 207 yards and two touchdowns. Athens Academy leads the all-time series 5-2 but lost the past two seasons by a combined score of 46-7.

Maxwell Ratings’ projection: Athens Academy by 4

Winner plays: First Presbyterian/Landmark Christian winner

First Presbyterian at Landmark Christian

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Bill Thorn Stadium, Fairburn

Records, rankings: First Presbyterian is 7-4, the No. 13 seed and unranked; Landmark Christian is 8-3, the No. 12 seed and unranked.

Last meeting: First Presbyterian won 31-21 in the 2011 regular season.

Three things to know: 1. Landmark junior RB Jeremiah Kirkland rushed for 191 yards on 32 carries in a 10-7 victory over Calvary Day last week. Kirkland has rushed for 1,754 yards on the season. Landmark has a freshman QB in Stockton McGuire (675 yards passing) and an all-state WR in Josh Nobles (39 catches, 545 yards). 2. First Presbyterian RB Darron Moore rushed for a season-high 198 yards in a 49-33 victory over Brookstone last week. He has 876 yards rushing on the season. QB Brooks Stroud rushed for 105 yards against Brookstone and has 779 yards rushing and 15 touchdowns in only nine games. He has thrown for 1,088 yards. 3. Landmark is trying to reach the semifinals for the second consecutive year and second time in history. Landmark was the 2011 runner-up to Savannah Christian. First Presbyterian can reach its first GHSA final. The Vikings won state titles in 1980 and 1985 in the Georgia Independent School Association.

Maxwell Ratings’ projection: Landmark Christian by 7

Winner plays: Prince Avenue Christian/Athens Academy winner

George Walton Academy at Walker

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Robertson Field, Marietta

Records, rankings: George Walton Academy is 8-3, the No. 11 seed and unranked; Walker is 11-0, the No. 3 seed and ranked No. 10.

Last meeting: This is the teams’ first meeting.

Three things to know: 1. Walker RB Evan Kasian leads Class A with 1,982 yards rushing and 27 touchdowns. He rushed for 187 yards and three touchdowns in a 28-7 victory over Athens Christian in the first round. 2. George Walton Academy RB Stanley Williams has rushed for 1,574 yards and scored 22 touchdowns. His best game came last week, when he rushed for 226 yards and scored four touchdowns in a 38-12 victory over Aquinas. 3. Both schools are in the GHSA quarterfinals for the first time. Walker had never won a playoff games until this season. George Walton made the playoffs in 2010 and 2011, its first seasons in the GHSA. George Walton won four state titles in the Georgia Independent School Association, including one in 2009.

Maxwell Ratings’ projection: Walker by 3

Winner plays: Savannah Christian/Eagle’s Landing Christian winner

Savannah Christian at Eagle’s Landing Christian

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Commitment Field, McDonough

Records, rankings: Savannah Christian is 8-3, the No. 7 seed and unranked; Eagle’s Landing Christian is 10-1, the No. 2 seed and ranked No. 1.

Last meeting: This is the teams’ first meeting.

Three things to know: 1. Savannah Christian led its first-round game 28-0 in the first half before beating Holy Innocents’ 35-17. Jalen Myrick, committed to Minnesota, had 70 yards rushing on five carries, returned the opening kickoff on a reverse for 85 yards and returned a fumble 35 yards for a touchdown. 2. ELCA QB Dalton Etheridge came back from an injury last week to rush for 201 yards and pass for 135. For the season, he is 58-of-85 passing for 1,070 yards and nine touchdowns. He also has scored 12 touchdowns. RB Keyante Green has rushed for 1,120 yards and scored 18 touchdowns on only 91 carries. Both have missed significant time to injuries and empty-the-bench blowouts. 3. Savannah Christian won its first GHSA state title last season. ELCA is seeking its first. They have played one common opponent this season. Savannah Christian beat Holy Innocents’ 35-17. ELCA beat Holy Innocents’ 42-3.

Maxwell Ratings’ projection: Eagle’s Landing Christian by 23

Winner plays: George Walton Academy/Walker winner

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6 comments Add your comment

Max Sizemore

November 30th, 2012
8:46 am

Bill Thorn, he was the coach at Headland in the 70s, right?


November 30th, 2012
9:14 am

I realize that ECLA is an outstanding football and are the heavy favorites against Savannah Christian. However, Savannah Christian, with Coach Chumley may make this game closer than one would think.

Innocent Bystander

November 30th, 2012
10:09 am

@ savannahchristianfan………….I think you’re right. It will be a great game and we look forward to hosting a great program and their great fans. Hope the Raider Nation has a safe trip up and can get here in time to enjoy the meet & greet I hear ELCA is having. Good luck !

Swamp Lizard

November 30th, 2012
11:00 am

Looking forward to the game tonight ( Sav Christian / ELCA ) ……. matter of fact, all the games tonight. I think we might have a few surprises on the Private side and we should know some answers after tonight too. On the Public side, Lincoln Co / Wilkinson Co should be a “classic” ….. want to see if ECI continues to “roll” !! …. would love to see a ECI / Wilcox Co match up next week. Best of luck to all the teams, players, and coaches ….. leave it all on the field tonight guys !!

Red, White, & Blue

November 30th, 2012
11:20 am

@GHSF Daily- Actually in the Athens Academy/Mt. Pisgah game that 61 yd. “Hail Mary” was completed on 4th and 15 from their 39 with just under 10 minutes to go! AA’s QB Schulte admitted in the the Athens newspaper he was suppose to punt the ball unless he got the right read- unbelievable! Add that to an “you can call it on almost every pass play inneligible man downfield call” that would have given us the ball on their 4 yard line early in the 4th and our running back/kicker who was having a great night breaking his leg just before the half and you have the luckiest team in the state in AA. But I will admit, good teams create their own luck!
Looking forward to some great match-ups tonight- all but the ELCA/SC game should be down to the wire!

Swamp Lizard

November 30th, 2012
10:54 pm

Big win for Prince Ave over Athens Academy tonight … same goes for George Walton, 37-7 over Walker. Landmark keeps on rolling with a win over First Presbyterian … & I think ELCA made a statement with a 42-7 win over Sav Christian. Athens Academy & Walker have nothing to hang their heads about winning 11 in a row & winning region championships, FPD proved they belong and Sav Christian will be a top 3 team in Class A next year for sure. All the winners and teams that came up a little short tonight should be proud for everything they’ve accomplished.