Griffin at Sandy Creek
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, The Battlefield, Tyrone
Records, rankings: Griffin is 12-0, the No. 1 seed from Region 4 and No. 2; Sandy Creek is 11-0-1, the No. 1 seed from Region 5 and No. 1.
Last meeting: Sandy Creek won 22-15 in the 2009 Class AAAA semifinals.
Three things to know: 1. This will be the third time this season that a No. 1 team has faced a No. 2 team (AJC rankings). Sandy Creek beat Carrollton 24-7 on Nov. 1. In AAAAA, Tucker beat Stephenson 31-28 on Oct. 11. Other polls had Lovett at No. 1 and Greater Atlanta Christian at No. 2 when Lovett won 17-14 on Nov. 8. The No. 1 team won all of those games. 2. Sandy Creek won its 14th consecutive home playoff game last week with a 55-7 victory over Chestatee. QB Cole Garvin was 9-of-9 passing for 139 yards and went over 2,000 yards passing on the season (2,035). RB Eric Swinney rushed for 106 yards and three touchdowns (giving him 22 on the season) on just six carries. Swinney and teammate Delvin Weems each have more than 1,150 yards rushing on the season. 3. Griffin is averaging 46 points per game, tied with Carrollton for first in AAAA. QB Jaquez Parks is a strong candidate for AAAA offensive player of the year. He has thrown for 2,706 yards and 22 touchdowns. Wide receivers Keyston Fuller and Trey Willis each were over 100 yards receiving last week. Griffin allowed only 149 yards in total offense in a 42-7 second-round victory over Statesboro. A third of that came on a late TD drive against reserves.
Maxwell Ratings’ projection: Sandy Creek by 10
Winner plays: Alexander/Wayne County winner
Alexander at Wayne County
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Donaldson-Madray Field at Jaycee Stadium, Jesup
Records, rankings: Alexander is 8-4, the No. 4 seed from Region 5 and unranked; Wayne County is 10-2, the No. 2 seed from Region 3 and No. 7.
Last meeting: This is the teams’ first meeting.
Three things to know: 1. Mikell Lands-Davis rushed for 310 yards and five touchdowns – three on runs of 58, 66 and 69 yards – in a 42-28 victory over Lanier in the second round. Lands-Davis has rushed for 2,267 yards and scored 28 touchdowns. Alexander also throws well. Baylor Whitfield is 120-for-204 passing for 1,362 yards. 2. Wayne County WR Krenwick Sanders, who scored six touchdowns on pass receptions in the first round, returned a kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown in the 20-17 victory over Veterans last week. The Wisconsin recruit has 53 catches for 1,177 yards and 20 TDs. Wayne County held Veterans to 96 yards rushing and forced four turnovers. 3. Alexander is in the quarterfinals for the first time. Wayne County is back for the fifth time but first since 1993. Wayne has not advanced to the semifinals since 1976. This quarter of the draw assured a relative stranger getting to the semifinals. The most recent of the eight teams to get that far was Dalton (beaten by Alexander in the first round) in 2001.
Maxwell Ratings’ projection: Wayne County by 6
Winner plays: Griffin/Sandy Creek winner
Marist at Burke County
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Bear Den, Waynesboro
Records, rankings: Marist is 10-2, the No. 1 seed from Region 6 and No. 5; Burke County is 9-2, the No. 1 seed from Region 3 and No. 6.
Last meeting: This is the teams’ first meeting.
Three things to know: 1. The coin flip that decided home-field advantage between these region champions was significant. Burke has won 11 consecutive home playoff games. Marist lost six of its past seven road playoff games and is 10-17 since 1987 in road playoff games compared to 50-2 at home in that time. 2. Burke County’s 20-0 victory over Mary Persons in the first round was the Bears’ first playoff shutout in history, covering 37 games. DL Bryant Wilson (6-5, 245) leads the team with 9.5 tackles for losses. The offense is led by QB Donquell Green, who has rushed for 1,506 yards and scored 24 touchdowns. He is 65-for-110 passing for 1,198 yards and 11 touchdowns. 3. Marist QB Chase Martenson has rushed for a team-leading 992 yards and scored 15 touchdowns, six in two playoff games. Marist averages 312 yards rushing per game in an option-based offense. DL Kendall Baker, who has committed to Georgia, has a team-leading 10 tackles for losses for a defense that allows only 114.5 yards rushing per game.
Maxwell Ratings’ projection: Even
Winner plays: Carrollton/Stockbridge winner
Carrollton at Stockbridge
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Tiger Stadium, Stockbridge
Records, rankings: Carrollton is 11-1, the No. 2 seed from Region 5 and No. 4; Stockbridge is 11-1, the No. 2 seed from Region 4 and No. 9.
Last meeting: Carrollton won 35-10 in the second round of the 2011 Class AAA playoffs.
Three things to know: 1. Stockbridge QB Javon Brandon, who scored two touchdowns in a 35-0 victory over Westover in the second round, has led the team to six consecutive victories (scoring at least 31 points in each game) since the early season starter went down with a season-ending injury on Oct. 18. Malik Bryan has rushed for 1,380 yards and scored 21 touchdowns in the Wing-T offense. Super 11 DB Kendarius Webster, who is committed to Ole Miss, leads the defense. 2. Carrollton runs a similar Wing-T offense but without a true feature back. Running backs Jarvies Terrell (893 yards rushing), Malik Sheppard (790) and Trey Chivers (717) each have 13 rushing touchdowns. QB Will Garrett (57-of-92 passing, 1,103 yards) has scored 12 and passed for 13. DT Dontavius Russell, who has committed to Georgia, has 6.5 tackles for losses. DL Brandon Walton, who has committed to Appalachian State, has 5.5 sacks. 3. Stockbridge is in the quarterfinals for the second consecutive time and second time ever. A victory would mean that Stockbridge coach Kevin Whitley had improved the team’s record in each of his five seasons – from 1-9 the season before he arrived to 2-8 to 6-5, to 9-3 to 11-2 to 12-1.
Maxwell Ratings’ projection: Carrollton by 18
Winner plays: Marist/Burke County winner
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