Here’s a look at the Class AAAAA quarterfinals from a historical perspective:
*Another dramatic finish: Tucker and Northside met for the third time in the playoffs in six seasons, and for the third time the game was decided in the final minute. This time, Northside’s Glenn Smith threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Keshun Hill with 11 seconds remaining to give the Eagles a 23-20 victory. The three games between the teams have been decided by a total of seven points, with Northside winning two of the three. And the winner of the two previous games went on to win the state championship.
*Region 6 is out: The toughest and deepest region in Class AAAAA this year was Region 6, which had three teams ranked in the top 10 almost all season and was the only one to put two teams in the quarterfinals. But the DeKalb County-dominated region is finished for the year after quarterfinal losses by Tucker and Stephenson on Friday. Stephenson was held to 63 yards of total offense in its 14-0 loss to Ware County. The Jaguars were trying to reach the semifinals for the first time since 2005.
*Red-hot Watson: There seems to be no slowing Gainesville quarterback Deshaun Watson. In the Red Elephants’ 64-13 rout of Region 1 champion Harris County, the junior was 31-of-39 passing for 427 yards and five touchdowns and had 145 yards and two touchdowns rushing on 13 carries, according to the Gainesville Times. Those numbers bring him to 3,480 yards and 46 touchdowns passing and 1,262 yards and 21 TDs rushing for the season. With at least one game remaining, Watson ranks eighth in state history for single-season passing yardage, according to the Georgia High School Football Historians Association.
*First time in the semis: Region 4 champion Whitewater earned its first trip to the semifinals and became the third Fayette County school (out of five) to reach the semis since 2010 with a 24-3 victory over Allatoona. Fayette County’s Sandy Creek (AAAA) advanced to the semifinals for the third time in four seasons when it beat Burke County on Friday. Starr’s Mill made it all the way to the championship game in 2010 before losing to Chattahoochee. Sandy Creek is the only Fayette school to win a state championship.
*Looking ahead: Northside and Ware County will face off for the second time ever next weekend in the semifinals. In the first meeting, Northside rallied from a 14-10 fourth-quarter deficit to win 20-14 in the 2007 Class AAAA final. It gave the Eagles their second consecutive state title. … The other side of the bracket will match Whitewater against perennial power Gainesville, which has won 703 all-time games but never a state title.