Region 7-AAAAAA was all it was cracked up to be. Maybe more.
The region with three Top 10 teams swept Region 6 in the first round on Friday, and the games were not close. It was fifth-ranked Norcross over Etowah 28-0, seventh-ranked Collins Hill over Walton 41-7, top-ranked North Gwinnett over Milton 34-10 and unranked Peachtree Ridge over Region 7 champion Lassiter 59-20.
One wonders how well that Region 7’s fifth-place team, Mill Creek, would have done. The Hawks didn’t make the playoffs but were 6-4 and decisively defeated Dacula and Brookwood — teams that made the round of 16.
Other things we learned in the AAAAAA first round –
There were no major surprises Friday, but there was plenty of excitement in Lovejoy, where the 2012 runner-up and Region 2 champions trailed 23-21 after Marietta made a field goal with 53 seconds left. Quintarius Neely hit Preston Williams with a 47-yard touchdown pass in the finals seconds to secure the 27-23 victory. Williams caught seven passes for 275 yards and four touchdowns.
Gwinnett County went 7-1. Aside from the four Region 7 victors, Gwinnett-filled Region 8 also had a strong night. Fourth-ranked Archer, Dacula and Brookwood won. Only South Gwinnett lost, falling to Region 5 champion Alpharetta 41-23. Archer (11-0) faces No. 1 North Gwinnett (10-1) in the second round next week.
Hughes prevented a Region 1 sweep of Region 3. The two-time Region 1 champion beat Valdosta 34-20. That’s three straight first-round losses for Valdosta, the longest streak of its kind since 1972-74. Region 1 was impressive otherwise as No. 2 Camden County, No. 3 Colquitt County and Lowndes won by wide margins. Lowndes travels to Lovejoy next week.
Winners in BOLD CAPS
(R2 #4) Luella at (R4 #1) NORTH COBB 60-18
(R3 #3) Newnan at (R1 #2) COLQUITT COUNTY 41-10
(R7 #4) PEACHTREE RIDGE at (R5 #1) Lassiter 59-20
(R6 #3) West Forsyth at (R8 #2) DACULA 36-31
(R4 #4) Marietta at (R2 #1) LOVEJOY 27-23
(R1 #3) LOWNDES at (R3 #2) East Coweta 38-10
(R5 #4) Etowah at (R7 #1) NORCROSS 28-0
(R8 #3) BROOKWOOD at (R6 #2) Lambert 35-16
(R1 #4) Valdosta at (R3 #1) HUGHES 34-20
(R4 #3) McEACHERN at (R2 #2) Newton 29-7
(R8 #4) South Gwinnett at (R6 #1) ALPHARETTA 41-23
(R5 #3) Walton at (R7 #2) COLLINS HILL 41-7
(R3 #4) Westlake at (R1 #1) CAMDEN COUNTY 36-7
(R2 #3) Alcovy at (R4 #2) HILLGROVE 41-13
(R6 #4) North Forsyth at (R8 #1) ARCHER 34-7
(R7 #3) NORTH GWINNETT at (R5 #2) Milton 34-10