Woodward-North Oconee highlight first week of playoffs

If you’re looking for a game to watch two of the best athletes in the state, look no farther than the first-round match between North Oconee and Woodward Academy. The game provides a spotlight for North Oconee’s Kawon Bryant and Woodward’s Terry Googer and may offer the best game in the opening week of the playoffs.

North Oconee (7-3) finished third in Region 8-AAA because it could not beat Elbert County or Hart County. But the Titans have reached the second round in four of the last five seasons and must be taken seriously.

The Titans are led by Bryant, a junior running back, who has run for 2,485 yards and 41 touchdowns. He averages 9.5 yards per carry. He is capable to taking over a game with his exciting runs.

Woodward (8-2) is the second seed from Region 5, relegated to second place because of a loss to Blessed Trinity. This is the sixth straight trip to the playoffs for the War Eagles, who have won their first-round game on four of those previous occasions.

Googer plays quarterback and defensive back for the War Eagles and, like Bryant, has been known to take over a game. Googer has rushed for 1,060 yards and 15 touchdowns, a 6.9 yard average, and has thrown for 854 yards and eight touchdowns. He has committed to South Carolina.

This is the first time Woodward and North Oconee have met.

In other interesting first-round games:

St. Pius at Hart County: This is a rematch of last year’s second-round game, which St. Pius won 31-15, and will be just the second meeting between the two teams.

Hart County (9-1) has thrived again in the second term of coach William DeVane, who was 38-3 in his first stop at the school. Upon his return last year the Bulldogs were 6-6 and this year went 9-1, losing only to Elbert County. Hart is led by quarterback Dakota Mitchell, who is an excellent runner, and big-play maker Sean Harper.

St. Pius has (7-3) done a nice job building on last year’s trip to the Class AAA final. Joey Connors has stepped in at quarterback and done a nice job running the option. Back Dalton Wilson can be a load to bring down, too. The Golden Lions beat Decatur in what essentially was a playoff game last week.

Cedar Grove at Elbert County: Cedar Grove is one of the best 6-4 teams in the state, but the Saints will have a tough time winning at the Granite Bowl. All four of their losses have come at the hands of ranked teams, including close setbacks the last two weeks against Blessed Trinity and Woodward. The two teams have never played.

This game features two talented quarterbacks: Elbert’s Mecole Hardman and Cedar Grove’s James Hartsfield. Hardman has rushed for more than 1,500 yards and Hartsfield has thrown for more than 1,400 yards and 14 touchdowns. Cedar Grove’s Deion Sellers has also rushed for 1,000 yards.

North Hall at Ringgold: North Hall (8-2) will try to regain the mojo it had early in the season against a Ringgold (8-2) team that is equally hungry for respect. Ringgold must try to stop – or outscore – North Hall’s triple option attack that has run roughshod at times. Ringgold is led by quarterback Slade Dale, while North Hall’s offense is sparked by quarterback Andrew Smith and back Zac Little.

The two teams have meet on one previous occasion, with North Hall prevailing 39-21 in the first round of the playoffs in 2009.

Other first-round games include:

  • Henry County at Callaway
  • Thomson at Pierce County
  • West Hall at Cartersville
  • B.E.S.T. Academy at Carver Columbus
  • Southeast Bulloch at Jefferson County
  • Sonoraville at Buford
  • Johnson Savannah at Washington County
  • Chapel Hill at Peach County
  • Jackson County at Blessed Trinity
  • Adairsville at White County
  • Dodge County at Appling County
  • Pike County at Central Carroll

12 comments Add your comment

Private School

November 14th, 2013
6:33 pm

Should be a great night tomorrow at Colquitt Stadium at Graham Hixon Field in College Park tomorrow. Googer is the real deal. He was unstoppable at St. Pius. He had almost 400yds total offense against a team that rarely gives that up in 2 games. He has shown great leadership this year. Woodward’s D will have to gang tackle Kawon. He is a special player as well. Thinking that the other offensive weapons that WA has will be just enough at home. Wolff and Holyfield can take it to the house at anytime as well. Giving the War Eagles a slight edge because they are home. This one should be a good one.

Son Of Waco

November 14th, 2013
8:56 pm

Will Peach destroy Chapel Hill and WACO destroy Johnson Savannah to set up a mega game next Fri???

AllDayWACO

November 14th, 2013
10:19 pm

Hope so cause we have never beat Peach Co but will beat them by 40+ if they win against Chapel Hill

Keeping It Real

November 14th, 2013
11:07 pm

Woodward v. North Oconee a great matchup. You are not the second leading rusher in the state unless you are legit. Great matchup against a well coached Woodward defense. Woodward has to score some points to win this one.

Roy D. Mercer

November 15th, 2013
7:13 am

Having seen both teams in person I’m giving Woodward at least a 14 point edge. Really good athletes that play both ways give them the ability for quick strikes. Kawon is a beast and you have to wrap and drive on tackles. Googer is surrounded by speed in the backfield. If they stay healthy they could go deep into playoffs. Good coaching helps also. No disrespect to N. Oconee at all.

bucket

November 15th, 2013
10:41 am

I would give Region 5 a good shot at winning all 4 matchups against Region 8. Just one man’s opinion.

PCHS85

November 15th, 2013
12:47 pm

Not so fast WACO fans. Let’s first take care of business this week. Peach Co knows better than to look past Chapel Hill. Our first priority is to beat Chapel Hill tonight. Then we can talk about the possibilities in a game between Peach Co. and WACO.

Son Of Waco

November 15th, 2013
1:51 pm

So PCH85 do you see Peach next year team being better than this one or will y’all have a few more down years.. Also WACO might be back in the region with Peach because us and Dodge the only teams left in our region and need a new home…

Jfield

November 15th, 2013
2:48 pm

Good luck to all of the Region 6AAA teams. The Saints are headed to the Granite Bowl, to take care of their business. Go Saints.

SPXFAN

November 15th, 2013
10:25 pm

….and St. Pius X wins their Rd. 1 game

Roy D. Mercer

November 16th, 2013
6:14 am

Roy D. Mercer
November 15th, 2013
7:13 am

Having seen both teams in person I’m giving Woodward at least a 14 point edge. Really good athletes that play both ways give them the ability for quick strikes. Kawon is a beast and you have to wrap and drive on tackles. Googer is surrounded by speed in the backfield. If they stay healthy they could go deep into playoffs. Good coaching helps also. No disrespect to N. Oconee at all.

Sorry I was wrong
I did say at least though

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kman

November 16th, 2013
7:57 am

Bryant for N. Oconee is decent. He plays in a very soft region, as #6 swept #8..He was injured near the close of the first half and never returned. He rushed for maybe 40 yds. with one gain of 20 or so. The real animal, though, is Elijah Holyfield for WA and he is just a sophomore. War Eagle!!