Playoff preview: Class AAA quarterfinals

St. Pius at Callaway

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

Records, rankings: St. Pius is 9-3, the No. 3 seed from Region 6 and unranked; Callaway is 11-1, the No. 1 seed from Region 4 and No. 5.

Last meeting: This is the teams’ first meeting.

Three things to know: 1. St. Pius is a running team that averages 39.3 carries and 260.3 yards on the ground while attempting just four passes per game. The leading rusher is Dalton Wilson, who averages 13 carries and 83.3 yards. Wilson ran for 100 yards and two touchdowns on 27 carries in a 31-19 second-round victory over Cartersville, which held the Golden Lions to 9 yards passing and a season-low 208 rushing. 2. Callaway’s Eddie Culpepper had touchdown runs of 23, 40, 14 and 7 yards in a 49-21 victory over Pierce County in the second round. Terry Godwin, perhaps the top junior recruit in the state, returned an interception 99 yards for a 14-0 lead after Pierce County drove to the Callaway 7-yard line with a chance to tie the game 7-7 midway through the first quarter. 3. St. Pius lost to Buford in the state championship game last season and is in the quarterfinals for the fourth time in five years. Callaway, which opened in 1996, set a school record for victories with its win last week. The Cavaliers are in the quarterfinals for the second time. They lost to Fitzgerald 35-21 in the 2009 quarters.

Maxwell Ratings’ projection: St. Pius by 2

Winner plays: Carver (Columbus)/Buford winner

Carver (Columbus) at Buford

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

Records, rankings: Carver is 11-1, the No. 1 seed from Region 2 and No. 4; Buford is 12-0, the No. 1 seed from Region 7 and No. 1.

Last meeting: Buford won 31-7 in the 2012 Class AAA quarterfinals.

Three things to know: 1. One week after allowing 32 points in a three-overtime victory against B.E.S.T. Academy, Carver gave up just 95 yards of total offense in a 19-0 second-round victory over Jefferson County for its first shutout of the season. A blocked punt by Daniel Melvin and a fumble recovery by Mike Barker set up touchdowns. Carver allows 16.3 points per game, sixth-best among the remaining AAA teams. 2. Buford’s Thomas Wilson rushed for two touchdowns and returned a fumble 22 yards for another score in a 40-7 second-round victory over Woodward Academy. Tyler Winslow returned a blocked punt 14 yards for another score for the Wolves, who give up a AAA-best 6.0 points per game. 3. Carver’s only victory in four all-time meetings with Buford was a 14-0 win the 2011 regular season that was Buford’s only loss in a championship season. Buford has since won three straight in the series, knocking the Tigers out of the playoffs the past two years (semifinals in 2011, quarterfinals in 2012).

Maxwell Ratings’ projection: Buford by 38

Winner plays: St. Pius/Callaway winner

Washington County at Blessed Trinity

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

Records, rankings: Washington County is 11-0, the No. 1 seed from Region 3 and No. 3; Blessed Trinity is 9-3, the No. 1 seed from Region 6 and No. 10.

Last meeting: This is the teams’ first meeting.

Three things to know: 1. Junior QB A.J. Gray rushed for 245 yards and six touchdowns on 19 carries in Washington County’s 56-16 victory over Peach County in the second round. Gray (996 yards) is the team’s third-leading rusher behind Melvin Hill (1,336) and Danyale Wicker (1,113). Washington County had been 0-10-2 all-time against Peach County. The Golden Hawks average 51.5 points per game, the best in Class AAA, and are 8-0 this season against playoff teams. 2. Chad Manthey rushed for 102 yards and two touchdowns on 18 carries in Blessed Trinity’s 38-0 victory over White County in the second round. It was Blessed Trinity’s second shutout of White County and third overall this season. Carter McManes scored two touchdowns and Conor Davis passed for 111 yards and a TD for the Titans, who outgained White County 233-25 in the first half and led 28-0 at halftime. 3. Washington County, which won state titles in 1994, 1996 and 1997, is in the quarterfinals for the third time in Joel Ingram’s eight seasons as coach. Blessed Trinity began playing football in 2001 and is in the quarterfinals for the first time.

Maxwell Ratings’ projection: Washington County by 21

Winner plays: Central (Carrollton)/Ringgold winner

Central (Carrollton) at Ringgold

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

Records, rankings: Central is 10-2, the No. 2 seed from Region 4 and unranked; Ringgold is 10-2, the No. 2 seed from Region 5 and unranked.

Last meeting: Central won 19-15 in the regular season on Sept. 13.

Three things to know: 1. Central averages 233 yards rushing while attempting fewer than six passes per game. The leading rusher is Damarius Owensby with 896 yards and eight touchdowns on 23 carries. Owensby ran for 99 yards in a 46-13 second-round victory over Appling County, but the Lions also got 73 yards and two touchdowns from Jayleen Terry and 64 yards and a TD from Curtis Davenport. 2. Ringgold QB Slade Dale has rushed for 331 yards and six touchdowns and passed for four touchdowns and more than 250 yards in two playoff games, including a 37-12 victory against Cedar Grove last week. Dale passed for 1,443 yards and 14 touchdowns during the regular season and was the team’s leading rusher with 1,035 yards and 15 TDs. 3. This is a rematch of the teams’ Sept. 13 regular-season game, which Central won despite being outgained 300-223. Central QB Wesley Long passed for 86 yards and rushed for two touchdowns. The Lions held Dale to 199 yards passing and a season-low 53 yards rushing.

Maxwell Ratings’ projection: Ringgold by 7

Winner plays: Washington County/Blessed Trinity winner

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8 comments Add your comment

Middle Lion Backer

November 26th, 2013
8:06 am

Wow a favorite on the road !


November 26th, 2013
9:06 am

Enter your comments here


November 26th, 2013
9:10 am

Lets go WACO.

Mid. Ga fan

November 26th, 2013
9:48 am

Waco v/s Buford should be a good game. Buford will be tough for anyone to even stay close with.


November 26th, 2013
10:35 am

Buford does have a great team. Would have loved to see them play Waco last year. We should just be focused on Blessed Trinity for right now. Im sure Buford will be in the dome again.


November 26th, 2013
11:56 am

NO way my Wolves win by 38….
17 to 24 points maybe…
This will be a great game & measuring stick for Buford tho…

I do agree & have said since the start of the playoffs, I believe it’ll be Washington Co & Buford in the Dome…

But – Not looking ahead, as there’s much gridiron action to be cared for between now & then!!

Bark at the Moon!!


November 26th, 2013
5:42 pm


Son Of Waco

November 27th, 2013
10:35 pm

WACO’s Qb rushed for more yards than BT had total yards in their game…. This game might get ugly early…….