Playoff preview: Class A (public) quarterfinals

Charlton County at Seminole County

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

Records, rankings: Charlton County is 7-4, the No. 9 seed and unranked; Seminole County is 11-0, the No. 1 seed and ranked No. 2.

Last meeting: Charlton County won 23-20 in the first round of the 2001 Class AA playoffs.

Three things to know: 1. Charlton County passes about 37 times per game, but it was the running game that did the damage in a 35-21 victory over Commerce last week. Drew Lee ran 27 times for 332 yards, including 256 in the first half, when Charlton County built a 35-7 lead. Lee scored three touchdowns, including two that covered 67 and 81 yards. 2. Seminole County RB Thomas Aiken, who missed the entire regular season for disciplinary reasons, according to the Albany Herald, ran for 129 yards and a touchdown in a 21-14 victory over Wilkinson County last week. Seminole scored the winning touchdown with seven minutes remaining and stopped a last-minute drive with two sacks after Wilkinson reached the 25-yard line. 3. Charlton County is trying to reach the semifinals for the first time since 2006, when it made it to the Class AA championship game and tied Dublin 13-13. Seminole County is in the quarterfinals for the third consecutive season but has not reached the semifinals since 1974.

Maxwell Ratings’ projection: Seminole County by 11

Winner plays: Johnson County/Irwin County winner

Johnson County at Irwin County

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

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

Last meeting: Johnson County won 40-6 in the 2006 regular season.

Three things to know: 1. Johnson County QB Markel Horne was 8-of-13 passing for 167 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 72 yards and two TDs in a 29-20 first-round victory over Emanuel County Institute, the Trojans’ second win against ECI this season. Ronquez Harden, who led the Trojans in the regular season with 23 catches for 398 yards, also was the top target against ECI with five receptions for 129 yards and a TD. 2. Jakyron Young ran for 165 yards and Antwuana Merritt had 117 as Irwin County rushed for 474 yards in a 49-26 victory over Trion in the first round. Merritt (946 yards, 17 touchdowns) and Young (928, 10) are both closing in on 1,000 yards for the season. Irwin County has run the ball 472 times this season for 3,762 yards and 51 TDs while attempting just 43 passes for 310 yards and four touchdowns. 3. Johnson County is making its first quarterfinal appearance since 2006 and trying to reach its first semifinal since 2005. A victory would give Irwin County its first 10-win season since 1999 and put the Indians in the semifinals for the first time since 1997.

Maxwell Ratings’ projection: Irwin County by 11

Winner plays: Charlton County/Seminole County winner

Hawkinsville at Clinch County

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

Records, rankings: Hawkinsville is 8-3, the No. 6 seed and unranked; Clinch County is 8-3, the No. 3 seed and ranked No. 4.

Last meeting: Hawkinsville and Clinch County tied 14-14 in the 2004 Class A championship game.

Three things to know: 1. Hawkinsville and Clinch County are 2-2-1 against each other in a series that began in 1996, but the most memorable game was the 2004 state final that ended in a 14-14 tie. It was the first of three championship-game ties in three seasons and led the GHSA to change the rule that prevented overtime from being used in state finals. Hawkinsville had a 40-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter wiped out by a holding call. 2. Clinch County held Claxton to 52 yards of total offense in a 30-0 first-round game last week that included a fight in the fourth quarter that led to several ejections, according to the Valdosta Daily Times. James Core rushed for 106 yards and two TDs, and QB Octavius Johnson had 62 yards on 19 carries for Clinch, which attempted only one pass, a 3-yard completion. 3. Hawkinsville rushes for 280.6 yards and passes for 30.2 yards per game. Dontavious Grace is the leading rusher (135 carries, 1,066 yards, 12 touchdowns) and receiver (eight catches, 229 yards, one TD). J.D. Burden has 740 yards and seven TDs rushing on 128 carries. QB Dakota Sloan is 19-of-46 passing for 332 yards and has rushed for 433 yards.

Maxwell Ratings’ projection: Clinch County by 10

Winner plays: Dooly County/Marion County winner

Dooly County at Marion County

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

Records, rankings: Dooly County is 8-3, the No. 10 seed and unranked; Marion County is 10-1, the No. 2 seed and unranked.

Last meeting: Marion County won 27-25 in the regular season on Oct. 18.

Three things to know: 1. Marion County stopped Dooly County’s two-point conversion attempt with 1:07 to play to preserve a victory in the regular-season game that essentially decided the Region 4 championship. Marion County scored what turned out to be the winning points after recovering a fumbled punt at the Dooly County 3-yard line with two minutes to play to take a 27-19 lead. 2. Chanin Hamilton rushed for 163 yards and a touchdown and QB Kereon Merrell passed for 147 yards and a TD and ran for a score in a 37-13 victory over Lincoln County last week. It was the second consecutive season in which Dooly County eliminated Lincoln, which had not lost a first-round playoff game since 1996. 3. Marion County is primarily a running team that averages 188.3 yards rushing and five pass completions per game. Johnny Royal is the leading rusher with 1,271 yards and 19 touchdowns on 236 carries. Royal had 118 yards and a TD in a 30-0 first-round victory over Turner County, and he had 91 yards and a TD on 25 carries in the first meeting with Dooly County.

Maxwell Ratings’ projection: Marion County by 6

Winner plays: Hawkinsville/Clinch County winner

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19 comments Add your comment

Bill Price

November 27th, 2013
1:36 pm

the winner of the JoCo-Seminole match-up next week(if it happens) WILL WIN THE STATE TITLE!!!
no ??? asked!! the others are just in it for prestige and future development

Swamp Lizard

November 27th, 2013
2:49 pm

@ Bill Price …. I don’t have a dog in the fight on the Public side and his is just my unbiased take. I think Seminole Co “might” be a little overrated …. they did struggle to beat a 4-6 Wilkinson Co team last week and they better play a lot better against a tough Charlton Co team ths Friday night. JoCo just isn’t State Championship “stuff” this year ….. look at what CalvaryDay did to them. To be honest, I don’t think JoCo gets out of Irwin Co with a win this Friday night. This is just my take …. no hard feelings.

Swamp Lizard

November 27th, 2013
2:59 pm

@ Bill Price …. I never went out on a limb and told you who I think will win it all on the Public side, so here’s my pick …. a Region 2 team ( Clinch Co or Irwin Co ) …. and I don’t think it’s a far fetch that we could see BOTH in the Dome playing against each other …… OK, I’ll take it one step further …. Clinch Co wins it all. Now you have even more to “gig” me on if I’m wrong.

Joco Trojan Fan

November 27th, 2013
6:08 pm

Hey Swamp, I think our winner between us and Irwin will have the upper hand on Chartlon or Seminole… Like you said Seminole really hasn’t been tested, and I don’t know much about Charlton, but I do know Irwin beat them in the regular season. On the other side, I believe it’s more wide open. I think Clinch is the best team, but the Marion and Dooly winner can compete with them. I don’t think Hawkinsville can get past Clinch. Just my opinion!

Swamp Lizard

November 27th, 2013
6:25 pm

@ JoCo Trogan Fan …. I agree with you and beating Irwin would be hugh for JoCo. In all honestly, it’s so balanced on the Public side. Dooly Co seems like a shark in bloody waters at playoff time so you can’t sleep on them …. Marion Co won Region 4, so you can’t sleep on them …. all three Region 2 teams are tough …. & then no matter what we think, Seminole is the #1 seed. I’m just giving my takes, wish you & JoCo the best …. safe travels if your headed down to Ocilla.

Millerman81

November 27th, 2013
7:20 pm

I attended the Seminole/ Clinch game earlier this season. I was not impressed with Clinch. They apparently have improved as the season unfolded. I predict Dooly or Marion as the public champ.

Swamp Lizard

November 27th, 2013
8:17 pm

@ Millerman81 … I was at the ELCA / Clinch Co game early in the season and talked to a few fans, I do know they had a few injuries and we’re waiting on some “playmakers” to get healthy again. I think they are back to full strenght and “rolling” right now. I kind of like the Panthers to win it all this year …. we will see.
You are right that Region 4 looks very “solid” …. you can’t sell Dooly Co being a #10 seed and Marion is a tough team ( Region 4 Champs ).

Millerman81

November 27th, 2013
9:57 pm

The Marion/ Dooly game should be a barn burner. All of their games over the past 3-4 years have been very close. Dooly appears to be peaking at just the right time, so the Eagles will have their hands full.

bigchipola

November 28th, 2013
5:26 am

@SwampLizard for someone who says they dont have nothing to do with the public side you always find a way to down Seminole all year long.

Swamp Lizard

November 28th, 2013
8:11 am

@ bigchipola …. This is my only problem with a team like Seminole Co … they are 11-0 and you really don’t know how good they are. Seminole Co plays in Region 1 …. it is the weakest region in all of Class A football. The bottom line is, you play down instead of pushing yourself to be even better. Now you can argue with me on that, but it is. I do give Seminole Co credit for TRYING to schedule some tough teams … AA Early Co ( 5-5 ), Turner Co ( 4-7 ), and Clinch Co ( 8-3 ) … as you see, Early Co & Turner didn’t turn out like we think they would …. not very good. You got Clinch Co early when they weren’t at full speed ( healthy ).
Now here is a perfect example of what I’m telling you …. the 2011 season …. Seminole was 11-1 averaging nearly 50 points a game ( beating up on the sisters of the blind ) … ALL Seminole Co fans “thought” you were World Beaters when you came to play ELCA in the playoffs. Seminole was nothing more than paper mache “Indians” ….. Seminole got BEAT DOWN 51-7.
I don’t even have a warm fuzzy that Seminole will beat Charlton this week … that shouldn’t be the case with a #1 seed playing a #9 seed.
Bigchipola, your a good man and I wish you and Seminole Co well …. that’s just the way “I” view Seminole Co …. we all know they are a good team, but just how good? I also said I don’t have “ties” to any Public school, my son plays for a Private school. Speaking of Private schools, I feel Aquinas falls into this same senario as Seminole … they are 11-0 and we don’t know how good they are either … they played one of the weakest schedules in Class A on the Private side. No hard feelings, just giving you my take.

bigchipola

November 28th, 2013
9:08 am

I respect your opinion,i dont think Charlton has seen a team with this much speed on Defense.we gone win this game.Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

sjcoler

November 28th, 2013
1:16 pm

It took a team of recruited players from a “private” school to stop Seminole County in 2011! Had that not been the case, Seminole would have fared a far lot better.

sjcoler

November 28th, 2013
1:28 pm

Seminole County has a hard hitting defense! Charlton isn’t gonna try running up the middle but they break for the outside. We may get to see some fireworks cause Seminole County has some players who don’t mind tackling hard! Wilkinson fought better than expected by spreading the field and scrambling but eventually met their doom against a better team. The cream always rises to the top!

Swamp Lizard

November 28th, 2013
4:29 pm

@ sjcoler …. you my friend just don’t have a clue … if you knew what you were talking about, that team ( ELCA ) lost to a Public school ( Clinch Co ) the next round ….. they didn’t cry about ELCA being a bunch of “recruits” …. they went out and did what they had to do ….. played hard & won.
To further prove you don’t know what your talking about, Charlton will throw it 50 times !! They are not a running team up the middle. If you need any more “wisdom”, please just in and ask for me.

Swamp Lizard

November 28th, 2013
6:02 pm

Time to go on record and make some picks !! Wish all the players the best and to be safe.

1/4 FINAL PUBLIC PICKS

#9 ( 7-4 ) Charlton Co at #1 ( 11-0 ) Seminole Co … I’ve been going over and over this game. One side of me feels like Charlton can pull off the upset … and then there was Seminole Co not playing well last week against a 4-6 Wilkinson Co team …. OK …. SEMINOLE CO gets it together at home and takes care of business!

#5 ( 10-1 ) Johnson Co at #4 ( 9-1-1 ) Irwin Co …. Two very fine football teams! JoCo beat the defending Public Champs ( ECI ) TWICE this year and that’s to put on the resume, but just how good was ECI? Irwin Co plays in the tough Region 2 and showed they can play with anyone ….. I’m going with IRWIN CO in this one.

#6 ( 8-3 ) Hawkinsville at #3 ( 8-3 ) Clinch Co …. Hawkinsville had a nice 17-12 opening round win against Mitchell Co last week, but not only do I think Clinch Co wins this one, they win it ALL … cant pick against the team I think wins the Public Championship so CLINCH CO rolls in this too.

#10 ( 8-3 ) Dooly Co at #2 ( 10-1 ) Marion Co … Two fellow Region 4 foes will go at it one more this year. Earlier this year Marion came away with a 27-25 win, but come playoff time it seems like Dooly Co turns into sharks in bloody waters …. here my friends is your ” upset special ” !! ….. #10 DOOLY CO continues their playoff march.

Ye Ole Ball Coach

November 28th, 2013
7:31 pm

This is such a fun time for all the teams remaining, and their fans. If Marion plays their A-game on Friday, they will beat Dooly by 14 or more. Period.

bigchipola

November 28th, 2013
9:32 pm

@SwampLizard you are right ELCA just took us behind the woodshed,we lost the coin toss to play the game here and they just whipped our butts no excuse from here:

Spurrier Still SUX

November 30th, 2013
10:30 am

Hawkinsville is unranked but beat both Marion County (their only loss) and Clinch and now must play Marion County again on the road. Good luck to the Red Devils!

:D

November 30th, 2013
8:54 pm

notice Bill Price hasn’t been on here again wonder why? he seemed like such a knowledgeable chap? :D