First-round preview: Class A (public)

Wilkinson County at Seminole County

When, where: 7:30 p.m. today, Seminole Stadium, Donalsonville

Records, rankings: Wilkinson County is 4-6, the No. 16 seed and unranked; Seminole County is 10-0, the No. 1 seed and ranked No. 2.

Last meeting: Seminole County won 28-7 in the second round of the 2011 Class A playoffs.

Three things to know: 1. Three of Wilkinson’s four victories were blowouts against Region 7 non-playoff teams, but one of the Warriors’ best performances came in a loss to third-place First Presbyterian on Oct. 25. QB Devon Dilson was 28-of-48 passing for 403 yards and three touchdowns in the 41-40 loss. 2. Seminole County’s Javonte Smith had seven tackles and a sack, rushed for 45 yards on six carries and scored the go-ahead touchdown on a 10-yard run in an 18-12 victory over Mitchell County two weeks ago that clinched the Region 1 championship. Seminole County gets more than 80 percent of its yardage from the running game and attempts only about five passes per game. 3. Seminole County went 10-0 in the regular season for the first time since 1973 and second time in school history. Wilkinson County finished with a losing regular-season record for the first time since the 2007 team went 4-5-1. The Warriors made the playoffs that season, too, but lost to Fellowship Christian 3-0 in the first round.

Maxwell Ratings’ projection: Seminole County by 33

Winner plays: Charlton County/Commerce winner

Charlton County at Commerce

When, where: 7:30 p.m. today, Tiger Field at Ray Lamb Stadium, Commerce

Records, rankings: Charlton County is 6-4, the No. 9 seed and unranked; Commerce is 7-3, the No. 8 seed and unranked.

Last meeting: This is the teams’ first meeting.

Three things to know: 1. Charlton County will have the longest first-round road trip of any team in either of the Class A brackets, according to The Indians will travel 287.5 miles from Folkston to Commerce, narrowly edging out Trion’s 283.4-mile trip to Ocilla to face Irwin County. 2. Charlton County is making its 24th consecutive playoff appearance, the fifth-longest active streak in the state. The streak began in 1990, which was current coach Rich McWhorter’s first season leading the Indians. Last season, the Indians finished with the only losing record of McWhorter’s tenure (5-6) but made the playoffs as the No. 10 seed. 3. Commerce is primarily a running team that attempts only about five passes per game. The leading rushers are Jamir Walton (689 yards, eight touchdowns) and Chance McClure (664, five TDs). Caleb Brooks, who took over at quarterback early in the year after an injury to starter Drew Whitfield, has 363 yards rushing and six touchdowns.

Maxwell Ratings’ projection: Charlton County by 1

Winner plays: Wilkinson County/Seminole County winner

Emanuel County Institute at Johnson County

When, where: 7:30 p.m. today, Herschel Walker Field, Wrightsville

Records, rankings: Emanuel County Institute is 6-4, the No. 12 seed and unranked; Johnson County is 9-1, the No. 5 seed and ranked No. 10.

Last meeting: Johnson County won 65-29 in the regular season on Oct. 25.

Three things to know: 1. This is a rematch of last month’s regular-season game that Johnson County won to clinch the subregion title in Region 3-A Division B. Johnson County QB Markel Horne had a career night, rushing for 332 yards and six touchdowns on 16 carries and passing for 157 yards and two TDs. Horne got 42 percent of his rushing yards for the season and 37 percent of his passing yardage in that game. 2. Emanuel County Institute, the defending Class A public-school champion, runs for more than 300 yards per game, and it is led by two 1,000-yard rushers in Michael Sutton and James Brown. Sutton had 152 yards in the season finale against Claxton two weeks ago after being out for three weeks. 3. Both teams come into this game off a loss in the Region 3 crossover games. Johnson County lost to Calvary Day 40-14 in the championship game, and ECI lost to Claxton 21-14 after having beaten the Tigers 32-14 earlier in the season.

Maxwell Ratings’ projection: Johnson County by 11

Winner plays: Trion/Irwin County winner

Trion at Irwin County

When, where: 7:30 p.m. today, Indian Field, Ocilla

Records, rankings: Trion is 5-4, the No. 13 seed and unranked; Irwin County is 8-1-1, the No. 4 seed and ranked No. 6.

Last meeting: Trion won 31-6 in the first round of the 2012 Class A public-school playoffs.

Three things to know: 1. This is a rematch of last year’s first-round game, which Trion won as a No. 11 seed. Trion QB Cory Bethune rushed for 59 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries and threw a 24-yard touchdown pass to Scotty Lively. Agustin Navarro kicked a 38-yard field goal in the first half that put the Bulldogs ahead for good at 9-6. 2. Irwin County’s Eric Contreras kicked a 33-yard field goal with 3.3 seconds remaining in the regular-season finale to give the Indians a 29-26 victory over Charlton County that clinched second place in Region 2-A and secured the No. 4 spot in the power rankings. Irwin County finished with 373 yards rushing, led by Ryan Peterson with 147 yards on 20 carries and Jakyron Young with 125 yards on 18 carries. 3. Trion’s first-round victory last year was the Bulldogs’ only playoff win since they reached the semifinals in 2003. They lost in the first round in their other five appearances since then. Irwin County is 0-5 in the playoffs since beating Southeast Bulloch in the first round in 2002.

Maxwell Ratings’ projection: Irwin County by 18

Winner plays: Emanuel County Institute/Johnson County winner

Claxton at Clinch County

When, where: 7:30 p.m. today, Donald Tison Field at Panther Stadium, Homerville

Records, rankings: Claxton is 6-4, the No. 14 seed and unranked; Clinch County is 7-3, the No. 3 seed and ranked No. 4.

Last meeting: Clinch County won 47-20 in the first round of the 2007 Class A playoffs.

Three things to know: 1. Claxton comes into the game off its best victory of the season, 21-14 against ECI in a Region 3 crossover game that likely clinched a playoff. Claxton is led by QB Cornelius Taylor, who passes for about 62 yards per game and is one of four players with the majority of rushing attempts, along with Khalil Brewton, Devontay Bacon and Darvis Small. 2. Clinch County is the only team in the state that played the No. 1 seeds in both the private-school and public-school brackets. The Panthers lost 30-0 to Eagle’s Landing Christian and 21-14 to Seminole County on consecutive weekends in early September. 3. Clinch County had a streak of 17 consecutive playoff appearances broken last year when it finished 4-6, the team’s worst record since going 4-7 in 1985. The Panthers rebounded with the Region 2 title this season. Claxton is in the playoffs for the first time since 2007. The Tigers were 2-8 in the regular season that year and lost to Clinch County in the first round.

Maxwell Ratings’ projection: Clinch County by 22

Winner plays: Mitchell County/Hawkinsville winner

Mitchell County at Hawkinsville

When, where: 7:30 p.m. today, Bobby Gentry Stadium, Hawkinsville

Records, rankings: Mitchell County is 6-4, the No. 11 seed and unranked; Hawkinsville is 7-3, the No. 6 seed and unranked.

Last meeting: This is the teams’ first meeting.

Three things to know: 1. Mitchell County gets 76 percent of its offense from a rushing game led by QB Bruce Bryant and RB Anfreenee Williams, who both average about 85 yards per game. Bryant also passes for 63 yards per game. Mitchell County scored 20 points or less in seven of its 10 games but had 80 against Stewart County in an October game. 2. Hawkinsville’s best victory of the season was a 14-10 game against Marion County that was Marion’s only loss. Dontavious Grace and Dakota Sloan scored touchdowns for the Red Devils, who finished in third place in Region 4 behind Marion and Dooly County. 3. Hawkinsville had five consecutive seasons beginning in 2002 in which it reached the quarterfinals or better, including state titles in 2003 and 2004, but the Red Devils are 0-2 in the playoffs since 2006. Mitchell County is 0-2 in the playoffs since the split of Mitchell-Baker High in 2007. Mitchell-Baker’s last playoff victory came against Macon County in the Class AA first round in 2003.

Maxwell Ratings’ projection: Hawkinsville by 9

Winner plays: Claxton/Clinch County winner

Dooly County at Lincoln County

When, where: 7:30 p.m. today, Buddy Bufford Field, Lincolnton

Records, rankings: Dooly County is 7-3, the No. 10 seed and unranked; Lincoln County is 7-3, the No. 7 seed and unranked.

Last meeting: Dooly County won 10-7 in the 2012 Class A public-school semifinals

Three things to know: 1. This is a rematch of the teams’ semifinal game last year, which Dooly County won to reach the championship game for the third time in the program’s history. Dooly County got all of its points in the second quarter on Diego Cruz’s 32-yard field goal and Mark Clark’s 75-yard return of a blocked field goal on the final play of the half. 2. Dooly County’s only loss in region play was a 27-25 game against Marion County that essentially decided the Region 4 title, which Marion has won or shared for four consecutive seasons. Dooly County QB Kereon Merrell threw a 62-yard touchdown pass to Cortney Clark with 1:07 remaining, but Marion County stopped the two-point conversion to preserve the victory. 3. Lincoln County’s offense is led by RB Mike McIntire, who has rushed for 1,506 yards and 23 touchdowns on 173 carries. QB Ben Turner, who took over midway through the season, is 39-of-67 passing for 578 yards and eight TDs. Jamar Morgan (24 receptions, 385 yards) and Jalen Smith (12-235) are the only receivers with more than seven catches.

Maxwell Ratings’ projection: Dooly County by 2

Winner plays: Turner County/Marion County winner

Turner County at Marion County

When, where: 7:30 p.m. today, Eagle Stadium, Buena Vista

Records, rankings: Turner County is 4-6, the No. 15 seed and unranked; Marion County is 9-1, the No. 2 seed and unranked.

Last meeting: Marion County won 64-26 in the first round of the 2010 Class A playoffs.

Three things to know: 1. Turner County WR Nate Martin has 39 receptions for 738 yards and seven touchdowns, and he has returned three kickoffs and two punts for touchdowns. CB Quan Hillmon has four interceptions and 12 pass breakups, 23 receptions for 387 yards and four scores on offense, and two kickoff returns for TDs. QB Quan Williams has passed for 1,358 yard and 16 touchdowns and rushed for 380 yards and six TDs. 2. Marion County is primarily a running team that is averaging 31 carries and nine pass attempts per game. The Eagles have rushed for 1,854 yards and 31 touchdowns, led by Johnny Royal’s 1,153 yards and 18 TDs. QB Justin Eckert has passed for 772 yards and nine touchdowns and rushed for 356 yards and three TDs. 3. Marion County, which became a separate program in 2006 after the breakup of Tri-County High, is in the playoffs for the fifth consecutive season. The Eagles were 3-1 in their previous first-round games. Turner County is seeking its first playoff victory since 2008.

Maxwell Ratings’ projection: Marion County by 15

Winner plays: Dooly County/Lincoln County winner

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One comment Add your comment


November 22nd, 2013
5:42 pm

@All ECI all the way and it starts tonight in Wrightsville.