By David Purdum / For the AJC
Sandy Creek and Griffin rolled to easy wins Friday, setting up a quarterfinal showdown between the top-two-ranked teams in the AAAA. No. 1 and defending champion Sandy Creek hammered Chestatee, 55-7, behind three Eric Swinney touchdowns. No. 2 Griffin eliminated Statesboro, 42-7, to advance to the third round for the first time since 2009. Griffin running back Devontae Freeman ran for two touchdowns and blocked a punt resulting in a score. Griffin has won two of three playoff meetings with Sandy Creek all-time.
Sandy Creek won the coin flip and will host Griffin.
Region 5 represented: Three of the remaining eight teams in the AAAA bracket are out of Region 5, including the only remaining fourth seed in Alexander. The Cougars knocked off Lanier, 42-28, to advance to the quarterfinals for the first time in school history. Sandy Creek and Carrollton are the two other remaining Region 5 teams.
Defense: Stockbridge, Marist and Burke County each posted shut outs to advance to the quarterfinals. Stockbridge blanked Westover, 35-0, to advance to face Carrollton. The Tigers won a coin flip and will host the Trojans. … Marist shut out Gilmer, 38-0, to reach the quarterfinals for the second straight season. … Burke County topped Mary Persons, 20-0, and will take on Marist in the next round. The Bears won a coin flip and will host the War Eagles.
Kicking game: Carrollton prevailed at Monroe Area, 44-27, in a game that featured more than 900 yards of offense. The difference may have been field position. Carrollton’s average starting field position was its 35. Monroe Area’s average starting position was its own 19. All seven of Carrollton kicker Tyler Newsome’s kickoffs resulted in touchbacks. Newsome is committed to Notre Dame.
Moving on: Wayne County advanced to the quarterfinals for the first time since 1993 with a 20-17 win over Veterans. Wayne County receiver Krenwick Sanders, who caught six touchdown passes last week, had a 94-yard kickoff return. The Yellow Jackets will host Alexander.