Four of the state’s best offenses have advanced to the semifinal round, which means the Final Four has the potential for some high-scoring shootouts.
North Hall and St. Pius are both run-oriented teams and Cartersville likes to wing it around the park. Buford is more balanced, although the Wolves lean toward the running game, too.
Here’s how the offenses stack up:
Sounds like the opportunity of having two very interesting semifinal games. The winners meet for the championship on Friday, Dec. 14, at 5:30 p.m. in the Georgia Dome.
No. 3 Buford (12-1 on the field, 9-3) at No. 6 Cartersville (13-0): The only time that Buford has had trouble this year is when the opposition has sported a good quarterback. They lost to Gainesville, which features DeShaun Watson, a Clemson commitment, and they gave up a lot of points against Cedar Grove, which features Vanderbilt commitment Johnathan McCrary.
This week the Wolves will be stressed against Cartersville, which features quarterback Brooks Barden. The junior has completed 155 of 277 passes for 2,436 yards and 36 touchdowns. Barden was intercepted twice last week by Thomson; it was his first interceptions of the season.
Buford’s top running back is Dontravious Wilson, but the Wolves do a good job spreading the ball around with other talented runners like Zavior Hoxie and Joshua Taylor. Montgomery VanGorder and Taylor Mitchell are solid at quarterback.
These two teams have met twice. Buford eked out a 28-25 win in 2006 and followed that with a 40-0 domination in 2007.
North Hall (11-2) at No. 7 St. Pius (11-2): This game could take about 30 minutes to play. Both teams prefer to run, run, run. North Hall runs the wishbone offense, which St. Pius operates out of the option.
North Hall has gotten a game-leading effort from each of its backs during the season. Last week it was Kevin Christmas, who ran for 172 yards and now has 1,038 this season. Quarterbacks Brad Brown and Andrew Smith and running backs T.J. Tate and Zac Little are all dangerous.
St. Pius has been led all season by fullback Ryan Braswell, who has 28 touchdowns, but Branden Mitchell has been shining the last few weeks now that Braswell has become a marked man. Quarterback Jack Spear does a good job running the offense and is an effective passer when needed.
This will be the fourth meeting between the clubs. St. Pius has won the previous three: 17-3 in 2009, 49-8 in 2010 and 38-13 in 2011.