Second-round preview: Class AAA

Pierce County at Callaway

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Callaway Stadium, LaGrange

Records, rankings: Pierce County is 10-1, the No. 2 seed from Region 1 and unranked; Callaway is 10-1, the No. 1 seed from Region 4 and No. 5.

Last meeting: This is the teams’ first meeting.

Three things to know: 1. Callaway scored three touchdowns in its first six plays from scrimmage in a 62-28 first-round victory over Henry County. RB Eddie Culpepper scored on runs of 57 and 70 yards and had a third touchdown in the second half. DB/WR Terry Godwin, rated among the top 25 prospects in the nation among juniors, returned a punt for a touchdown. QB Tez Parks, being recruited by Georgia Tech and Tennessee, scored three touchdowns. 2. Pierce County returned a fumble and an interception for touchdowns in a 35-14 victory over Thomson last week. QB Tyler Harris has thrown for more than 2,500 yards. He is committed to SMU. 3. These are two of five AAA teams with average margins of victory of greater than 20 points. The other three are No. 1 Buford, No. 2 Cartersville and No. 3 Washington County. Callaway averages 40.9 points (fourth-best) and allows 13.7 (fifth). Pierce averages 36.8 (seventh) and allows 14.7 (ninth).

Maxwell Ratings’ projection: Callaway by 15

Winner plays: St. Pius/Cartersville winner

St. Pius at Cartersville

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Weinman Stadium, Cartersville

Records, rankings: St. Pius is 8-3, the No. 3 seed from Region 6 and unranked; Cartersville is 11-0, the No. 1 seed from Region 5 and No. 2.

Last meeting: Cartersville won 34-31 in the first round of the 2008 Class AAA playoffs.

Three things to know: 1. Cartersville advanced to the second round with a 28-26 victory when West Hall missed a 41-yard field goal in the final seconds. West Hall ran back a kickoff and interception for touchdowns and also scored on a 99-yard pass. Cartersville QB Brooks Barden has thrown for 2,316 yards and 41 touchdowns, but he has been held to 73 and 59 yards the past two games. 2. St. Pius RB/LB Dalton Wilson rushed for 138 yards and had two sacks on defense for 18 yards in losses in a 31-21 victory over Hart County last week. Wilson has a team-leading 816 yards rushing on the season and has not been stopped for a loss in 128 carries. Nick Ruffin, who has committed to Auburn, is the leading tackler with 59.5 stops. 3. Both teams made the semifinals last season. St. Pius was ranked No. 2 in preseason, and Cartersville was No. 3. St. Pius played in what the Maxwell Ratings consider the state’s toughest region and has the second-toughest schedule in AAA. Maxwell rates Cartersville’s schedule 53rd, lowest among remaining playoff teams.

Maxwell Ratings’ projection: Cartersville by 1

Winner plays: Pierce County/Callaway winner

Jefferson County at Carver (Columbus)

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, A.J. McClung Memorial Stadium, Columbus

Records, rankings: Jefferson County is 8-3, the No. 2 seed from Region 3 and unranked; Carver is 10-1, the No. 1 seed from Region 2 and No. 4.

Last meeting: This is the teams’ first meeting.

Three things to know: 1. Carver escaped with a 38-32 victory over B.E.S.T. Academy in three overtimes last week. B.E.S.T. trailed 20-7 with less than eight minutes left and rallied but missed two extra-point attempts, one that Carver blocked in overtime. 2. Jefferson County’s 32-29 first-round victory was equally dramatic. Southeast Bulloch thought it had returned a punt 70 yards for the winning touchdown in the final seconds. The punt originally was muffed, and an inadvertent whistle blew as Jefferson County tried to recover. Jefferson County’s Marquarious Patterson ran an interception 60 yards for a touchdown at the end of the first half, and Justin Smith returned a fumble 30 yards for a touchdown to open the second half. 3. Carver has won six consecutive second-round playoff games, all at home. Carver is 17-4 at home in the playoffs since 2006. Jefferson County is 0-3 on the road in the second round all-time. Jefferson County has made the quarterfinals once, in 2009.

Maxwell Ratings’ projection: Carver by 12

Winner plays: Woodward Academy/Buford winner

Woodward Academy at Buford

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Tom Riden Stadium, Buford

Records, rankings: Woodward Academy is 9-2, the No. 2 seed from Region 6 and No. 8; Buford is 11-0, the No. 1 seed from Region 7 and No. 1.

Last meeting: This is the teams’ first meeting.

Three things to know: 1. Led by Super 11 LB Korie Rogers, who has committed to Clemson, Buford allows only 5.9 points and 54 yards rushing per game. Buford also leads AAA in scoring offense (52.0 ppg) and has won each game by at least 24 points. No team has won every game by 21 or more points since Valdosta in 1971. 2. Woodward Academy gets two-thirds of its total yards from the running game. QB Terry Googer (6-4, 209), who is committed to South Carolina, has rushed for 1,112 yards and 16 touchdowns and passed for 1,005 yards and 11 TDs. Running backs Elijah Holyfield and Quincy Wolff each scored three touchdowns last week in a 53-21 victory over North Oconee. 3. Buford is 13-0 in the second round since 2000. Woodward is 0-5.

Maxwell Ratings’ projection: Buford by 26

Winner plays: Jefferson County/Carver (Columbus) winner

Peach County at Washington County

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, House of Pain, Sandersville

Records, rankings: Peach County is 8-3, the No. 2 seed from Region 2 and unranked; Washington County is 10-0, the No. 1 seed from Region 3 and No. 3.

Last meeting: Peach County won 29-6 in the second round of the 2009 Class AAA playoffs.

Three things to know: 1. Peach County QB Greg Williams scored on a 15-yard run with 45 seconds left in a 28-21 first-round victory over Chapel Hill. Williams passed for 148 yards, giving him 2,135 on the season. RB Keyshawn Lowe rushed for 138 yards, giving him 851 on the season. 2. Washington County is averaging 51 points per game. Peach County is allowing 22.8, which is the most among the remaining AAA playoff teams. RB Melvin Hill has more than 1,200 yards rushing. 3. Peach County leads the series 10-0-2. That includes a 43-29 victory in the 2006 semifinals. Peach has won eight consecutive second-round games, all since 2003. Washington County is 9-2 in second-round games since 1996, when the GHSA expanded the playoffs to 32 teams.

Maxwell Ratings’ projection: Washington County by 40

Winner plays: White County/Blessed Trinity winner

White County at Blessed Trinity

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Blessed Trinity Stadium, Roswell

Records, rankings: White County is 9-2, the No. 2 seed from Region 7 and unranked; Blessed Trinity is 8-3, the No. 1 seed from Region 6 and No. 10.

Last meeting: Blessed Trinity won 30-0 in the regular season on Sept. 20.

Three things to know: 1. White County RB Dalton Whitfield rushed for 237 yards and three touchdowns on 25 carries in a 52-28 first-round victory over Adairsville. White County had 450 yard rushing in the game. 2. Blessed Trinity sophomore TB Milton Shelton was lost to a knee injury in a 41-14 victory over Jackson County last week, but senior Chad Manthey replaced him and rushed for 228 yards on 37 carries. 3. Neither team has made the quarterfinals. Blessed Trinity lost in the second round in 2011 and 2012. White County fell a game short in 1983 and 2010.

Maxwell Ratings’ projection: Blessed Trinity by 8

Winner plays: Peach County/Washington County winner

Central (Carrollton) at Appling County

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jimmy Swain Stadium, Baxley

Records, rankings: Central is 9-2, the No. 2 seed from Region 4 and unranked; Appling County is 9-2, the No. 1 seed from Region 1 and No. 9.

Last meeting: This is the teams’ first meeting.

Three things to know: 1. Central sophomore RB Demarius Owensby has rushed for 797 yards, including 116 in a 31-0 victory over Pike County last week. The leading tackler is DB Josh Dunson with 45 solo stops, 10 for losses. Central has shut out five opponents. 2. Appling County QB Vernon Dasher had 170 yards in total offense and scored two touchdowns in a 30-8 victory over Dodge County last week. Dasher has rushed for almost 1,000 yards this season. Maurice Paulk has rushed for about 800 yards, and Derrix Henry has more than 500 in Appling’s spread offense. 3. Central is in the second round for the first time since 2005. Central hasn’t made the quarterfinals since its 1986 and ’87 state championship teams. Appling County has made the playoffs each of the past six seasons. A victory would put the Pirates in the quarters for the second time in history and first since the 2011 Class AA semifinal team.

Maxwell Ratings’ projection: Appling County by 4

Winner plays: Cedar Grove/Ringgold winner

Cedar Grove at Ringgold

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Don Patterson Stadium, Ringgold

Records, rankings: Cedar Grove is 7-4, the No. 4 seed from Region 6 and unranked; Ringgold is 9-2, the No. 2 seed from Region 5 and unranked.

Last meeting: This is the teams’ first meeting.

Three things to know: 1. Ringgold QB Slade Dale is 101-for-183 passing for 1,663 yards and 17 touchdowns. He has rushed for 1,199 yards and 19 touchdowns. LB Dakota Baer has a team-leading 95 tackles, 10 for losses. DL Zach Morris has 10 sacks. 2. Cedar Grove has a 1,000-yard rusher (Deion Sellers) and a 1,000-yard receiver (Brandon Norwood). The Saints’ marquee player is LB Bryson Allen-Williams, who has more than 100 tackles. He has committed to South Carolina. 3. Ringgold won its first state-playoff game in history last week. The school first played in the GHSA in 1949. Cedar Grove is trying to reach the quarterfinals for the fourth time and first since 2010.

Maxwell Ratings’ projection: Cedar Grove by 3

Winner plays: Central (Carrollton)/Appling County winner

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43 comments Add your comment


November 21st, 2013
7:27 am

Did Stan leave the AJC? AAA playoff coverage has been pretty thin this week.

son of waco

November 21st, 2013
7:58 am

Wow Waco by 40…Carver and Peach did struggle in their first round games, so a region 3 AAA sweep??
Upset pick
SPX over Cartersville by 14+


November 21st, 2013
8:12 am

Go Cedar Grove ! Wow WACO a 40 point favorite ! Guess Peach County has fallen on some “hard times” if you can call getting to the 2nd round of playoffs “hard ttimes”.
@ Wolfdawg pretty bold predictions from you on the other thread…
Teams putting away their pads & going home for the holidays: Pierce Co, St Pius, Peach Co, White Co, Appling Co, Cedar Grove, Woodward and Jefferson Co…. Maxwell disagrees on Cedar Grove and Appling.
The way I look at this is Cedar Grove who finished 4th has an easier playoff draw that Woodward who finished 2nd and St Pius who finished 3rd in the region. How does that happen?

Finn McCool

November 21st, 2013
9:00 am

No stopping Buford


November 21st, 2013
10:21 am

OK, so I predicted Buford to send home the fine folks from Woodward Academy Friday nite, by 24… AJC says 26… So it’s a push….

Still wondering how WA can be the 3rd ranked team by the X-box dude, Max & yet be so dogged…
Is this a case of Bama vs the shouldn’t have been there Catholics wipeout?

(Not a flame towards the good people of WA, just trying to figure out the X-box thinggie!!)


November 21st, 2013
10:58 am

WACO by 40…I don’t think so. And that’s why they play the game. Let’s go Trojans!!! Peach Co by 10 points.

Cville Canes Fan

November 21st, 2013
11:13 am

Canes over ST Pius. 28-21.

Bill Cosby

November 21st, 2013
11:23 am


November 21st, 2013
11:47 am

PS to Woodward –

Better have your passing A-Game or this will not be pretty…
No one has ran for 100 of the Buford D & I do not believe Friday will be any different..

Have safe travels to Tom Riden Stadium, leave early as traffic in this area tends to S&%#!K….
Maybe arrive very early & shop at the Mall of Ga!! (I hate that place, but many seem to love it!)


November 21st, 2013
11:50 am

Finn, are you from Buford?


November 21st, 2013
12:32 pm

Looking forward to a fine slugfest in Cartersville – looks like maybe the Canes have not really been tested yet this year. The Golden Lions, on the other hand, have had several tests, with varied results. I will go with SPX by 8 – payback for that gut stomp in 2008, thank you very much Donovan Tate.


November 21st, 2013
12:58 pm

Hamilton, hate to say it, but Cartersville has several Donovan Tates this year. You will get to witness tomorrow.


November 21st, 2013
4:22 pm

Several Donovan Tates – LMAO! And their backups are all Jeff Francoeurs!


November 21st, 2013
4:28 pm

Hatetosayit,If you only play Pop Warner teams everybody looks like a star!
Can’t wait for tomorrow night!


November 21st, 2013
5:01 pm

Washington co by 40….. damn!


November 21st, 2013
6:12 pm

Just what is St. Pius’s record against Cartersville mr pop Warner agent?


November 21st, 2013
6:38 pm

And Hamilton, let’s see if you are LYAO Friday about 10:30pm.


November 21st, 2013
8:48 pm



November 21st, 2013
11:05 pm

Pangloss – to answer our question (that you probably know) Purple is 1-0 vs SPX winning 34-31 in the ‘08 playoffs….

Not a whole lot to be pumping your chest about…..

But go ahead


November 22nd, 2013
5:31 am

I think Pierce Co. may go all the way. They have a very nice team.


brother of Waco

November 22nd, 2013
5:39 am

@itsonlywrite I don’t think so


November 22nd, 2013
7:27 am

I called this 2 weeks ago. I said if we play Peach Co. in the 2nd round tht we will win by 40+. Peach Co. will be the real deal in 2 yrs with all the young players that have but this will be Washington Co. 1st win against them and it will be a big one!!!!


November 22nd, 2013
9:48 am

Thanks Wofldawg, I couldn’t believe he thought 1 game 5 years ago was that meaningful today.
Golden Lions by 14.

Pius Football Class of 09

November 22nd, 2013
10:23 am

Cartersville didn’t beat us (Pius) back in 2008. Donovan Tate broke the game wide open for them with multiple broken play runs between 30-60 yards and we simply couldn’t stop him. And yet with 2 minutes left the Pius defense forced a fumble on about the 50. (Not that it means anything, but I actually stripped it) and it ended with Pius missing a 30 something yard field goal and Tate taking a knee. That was the last game of HS football I ever played, so I can for a fact tell you Coach Standard will be on his “A” game (His son PG was our QB in 2008). @Panglass – IF Cartersville has several Donavan Tates then personally they should be out on the red dirt and not throwing there bodies around at the risk of losing the millions they could get going the first round in the MLB Draft… I don’t think you represent a true Cartersville fan or you would not have said that.. I’m sorry for your fellow fans that have to put up with you.

Pius by 7 unless it rains. If it rains in that game I say Pius will win by 14+

Congrats to Cartersville for relying on spot talent from year to year. Including this season, through the past 7 seasons..

Cartersville- 65 wins – 24 Losses
Pius – 81 wins – 20 Losses

Good Talent vs. Good Program

End of story. Best of luck to all the teams today! There is nothing better than some Friday night lights in November!

trojan power

November 22nd, 2013
10:44 am

How bout them Central Lions!


November 22nd, 2013
10:55 am

Perhaps one of the best individual efforts I have ever seen in HS football: 2008, last play of the first half, Donovan Tate runs for about 30 seconds, covers 60-70 yards north and south, maybe 150 yards total, finally gets tackled on about the seven yard line. I think every SPX player on the field had a shot at him at least once. He didn’t put points on the board, but he probably put up some psych points.

Class of 09 – do you know if PG is interested in coaching?

Cville Canes Fan

November 22nd, 2013
11:02 am

I have the utmost respect for St Pius and expect them to be ready tonight….but The CANES are ready too. It’s gonna be great game!!!!!


November 22nd, 2013
11:33 am

and now, a little comic relief….anybody else wish the AJC would drop the toe nail fungus ad from the top right corner of this blog? Now, back to high school football…..

Let’s get ready to make some noise, this is still America, and this is Friday night football in Georgia!!!!!!!!

GOLDEN LIONS-v-PURPLE HURRICANES – I hear a roar building in the distance, is it a lion or a storm coming? We shall see soon enough.

SPX fans: The players can’t hear you cheering them on over the internet so get your tails to the stadium even if it takes until 8:30 to get there…… don’t want to miss this one


November 22nd, 2013
12:50 pm

Agree with Cville Canes Fan and SPXFAN. This is what high school playoffs are all about. Good sportsmanship and a good game! Go Canes!


November 22nd, 2013
1:57 pm

I think I see a Cedar Grove win tonight. Cedar Grove vs Waco down the road. But will take lots of praying.


November 22nd, 2013
3:17 pm

Two good programs playing football on a Friday night in Cartersville. What more could you ask for.
Good luck to both teams. Go Lions


November 22nd, 2013
3:49 pm

Less than 4 hours till Toe Meets Leather….

Safe travels to ALL!!


November 22nd, 2013
5:31 pm

WACO (HOUSE OF PAIN) be ready for a PAIN KILLER. Win or loose you are still years away
from taking the record from PEACH. Best of luck to both teams.

Son of Waco

November 22nd, 2013
7:25 pm

So peach co fans kinda lite…Guess they didnt believe. ..


November 22nd, 2013
8:28 pm

SPX and Cartersville Fans – I think it is safe to say that it will be a good game between you all but beyond that it is irrelevant because both of your programs have little chance of getting by Pierce or being much of any competition vs. the other 3 Brackets. Cartersville is overrated and untested once again as they proved last year and are proving this year. Cartersville is a great program but the problem is when it comes playoff time they have issues adapting to the increased competition since their Region is so weak. Last year BT was the #2 Team from the Region and went up there in the 2nd Round and gave up 6 Turnovers yet outgained them in all statistical elements of the game and BT still had a chance to win at the end of the game. St. Pius is the 3rd best team from the toughest region in AAA and should beat Cartersville in a close one, which will prove my point. BT is the best team from Region 6 and so even if SPX makes it to the Final Four from the weakest bracket of the four, BT will shut em down because the #1 Catholic School in Football is BT !!! Go Titans!


November 22nd, 2013
9:03 pm

I played for the Avondale Blue Devils when we won the state championship in ‘76 vs Woodward with David Archer….

The Buford Wolves are taking WA to the WOOD SHED…


November 22nd, 2013
9:24 pm

WolfDawg – enjoy the “soft competition” that Woodward has become and the soft bracket you are in!!! BT and St. Pius are handing it to their competition (take the lesson from Cartersville on what a soft Region will do for you) and you’ll face one of them who will remind you of 2011 – Go CALHOUN !!! Give me SOME CALHOUN !!! Catholic School Football is back, looking to put it to the Wolves in 2013!!! Go Titans!!!


November 22nd, 2013
9:39 pm

Newsflash – Cartersville down 17-6 in 4th to St. Pius! – Donovan Tate on way back to Cartersville to suit up and help save the Canes? NOT !!! Go Pius ! Catholic School Football rules! 4 Maybe 5 Catholic Schools in Elite 8 ! Marist AAAA, BT and SPX AAA, Benedictine AA, and OLM( if they can pull it out). Buford, watch out for BT and SPX this year in AAA and SPX and Marist next year in AAAA when you move up!


November 22nd, 2013
10:24 pm

5 Catholic Schools are in Elite 8! Marist, BT, SPX, Benedictine, and Aquinas!

son of waco

November 22nd, 2013
10:32 pm

So Buford and Waco punish teams for the 2nd week huh….lol Peach wasn’t ready 56-16…Yeah we covered the 40 point spread


November 23rd, 2013
12:25 am

Congratulations to Woodward for scoring on The Wolves of Buford… Wow !!!!! & points!!!

U Rock!!!

Hope U get home safely…..


November 23rd, 2013
12:27 am

Pangloss,31 SPX-19CVILLE. Gameover

Pius Football Class of 09

November 25th, 2013
1:10 pm

@Hamilton He sure is! He is a football graduate assistant at the Citadel. Getting his masters in education I believe.