Seven of the eight region champions advanced to the quarterfinals of the Class AAAAA playoffs with second-round victories on Friday.
The only No. 1 seed that failed to win in the second round was Region 1 champion Lee County, which lost to Region 4 runner-up Mundy’s Mill 41-35. The Tigers have won a school-record eight consecutive games since starting the season 0-4 against Class AAAAAA teams Coffee and Lovejoy and AAAAA playoff teams McIntosh and Whitewater. Mundy’s Mill picked up the first playoff victory in the program’s 11-year history when it beat Houston County in the first round.
The No. 1 seeds that will play in the quarterfinals next weekend are Warner Robins (R2), Ware County (R3), Creekside (R4), North Paulding (R5), Tucker (R6), Kell (R7) and defending state champion Gainesville (R8). Of those, only Gainesville, Ware County and Tucker reached the final eight last year.
Here are some of the other items of note from Friday’s second-round playoff games:
- Northside-Warner Robins won’t be making its third consecutive trip to the semifinals after losing to Ware County 35-7. The 28-point margin was Northside’s most lopsided loss since the Eagles got beat by Camden County 31-3 in the 2009 Class AAAAA championship game. It was the second consecutive season in which Northside was eliminated by Ware County, losing 24-17 in overtime in the semifinals last year. Dedrick Mills rushed for 156 yards and three touchdowns for Ware County.
- Top-ranked Tucker had the closest call of any of the winning region champions, holding on for a 16-13 victory over East Paulding, the No. 3 seed from Region 5. East Paulding reached the Tucker 7-yard line in the closing seconds but mishandled the snap and fumbled what was supposed to be a clock-stopping spike with seven seconds remaining. East Paulding made six trips inside the Tucker 30-yard line in the game but got just 11 points on a field goal and a touchdown and two-point conversion.
- Stephenson came into Friday’s game against North Paulding allowing just 9.3 points per game, best among the remaining playoff teams, so the Jaguars had to be shocked to find themselves down 28-0 less than eight minutes into the first quarter. Chase Noonan threw an 80-yard touchdown pass to Mac Seagle on the first play from scrimmage, then threw a 67-yarder to Seagle on the next possession. Brandon Townsend scored on interception returns of 26 and 32 yards in a two-minute stretch. North Paulding won 35-7.
-Gainesville quarterback Deshaun Watson continues to add cushion to his state record for career passing yards. Watson threw for 432 yards and five touchdowns and rushed for 107 yards in a 51-12 victory over South Paulding on Friday, according to the Gainesville Times. He surpassed 3,000 yards for the season and now has more than 13,000 yards in his career. That’s about 4,000 more than the previous record holder, Metter’s Zach Stanford, who passed for 9,062 yards from 2001-2004.
- Here are the matchups for next weekend’s quarterfinals:
Creekside (12-0) vs. North Paulding (11-1)
Warner Robins (11-1) vs. Kell (12-0)
Ware Co. (11-1) vs. Tucker (12-0)
Mundy’s Mill (8-4) vs. Gainesville (11-1)