Playoff preview: Class AA quarterfinals

Jefferson at Lamar County

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Trojan Field, Barnesville

Records, rankings: Jefferson is 10-2, the No. 2 seed from Region 8 and No. 8; Lamar County is 12-0, the No. 1 seed from Region 4 and No. 1.

Last meeting: This is the teams’ first meeting.

Three things to know: 1. RB Lawrence Austin rushed for 250 yards and three touchdowns in Lamar County’s 38-20 second-round victory over Thomasville. He also intercepted a pass, and his brother, QB/DB Lance Austin, intercepted two. Lawrence Austin has rushed for 1,195 yards on the season. Lance has rushed for 853. Lamar County averages only about five passes per game. 2. QB Evan Shirreffs came off the bench in the fourth quarter of  Jefferson’s 61-57 victory over Heard County. Injured in October, Shirreffs threw one TD pass to his temporary replacement at quarterback, T.J. Skelton, on a 9-yarder that was the game-winning score. Shirreffs had passed for three touchdowns and run  for a touchdown in what was the third-highest-scoring game in state playoff history. Shirreffs is 75-of-125 passing for 1,084 yards on the season. 3. This is a matchup between the No. 1-ranked team (Lamar County) and the defending champion (Jefferson). Both made the semifinals last season. Lamar County lost to Calhoun, Jefferson’s opponent in the final.

Maxwell Ratings’ projection: Lamar County by 15

Winner plays: Calhoun/Benedictine winner

Calhoun at Benedictine

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Savannah State University’s T.A. Wright Stadium, Savannah

Records, rankings: Calhoun is 11-1, the No. 1 seed from Region 7 and No. 5; Benedictine is 12-0, the No. 1 seed from Region 2 and No. 6.

Last meeting: This is the teams’ first meeting.

Three things to know: 1. Calhoun has won 20 consecutive home playoff games, the longest active streak of its kind in the state, but lost a coin flip to host the quarterfinals as Benedictine also is a region champion. The trip to Savannah State, where the game will be played, is 320 miles. Benedictine, which frequently has chosen to play in classifications higher than its enrollment dictates, has been home to only eight state-playoff games in its history and had only one victory (1996 vs. Northside of Warner Robins) until this season. 2. Brandon Blaylock kicked a 33-yard field goal with 1:37 left for the winning points in Calhoun’s 31-30 victory over Greater Atlanta Christian. GAC missed a 26-yard field goal with eight seconds left. Tydus Curtis had a 74-yard pass reception and 90-yard kickoff return. Curtis has 45 catches for 952 yards on the season and has scored 13 touchdowns. Distant cousin Chandler Curtis leads the team with 16 touchdowns and has 755 yards receiving. 3. Benedictine RB J.J. Gaines rushed for 128 yards and scored two touchdowns, one on a reception, in a 51-7 second-round victory over Fitzgerald. Gaines, the team leader in rushing with 811 yards, is one of three Benedictine running backs with 15 or more touchdowns overall. Gaines has 15. Chance Jackson (694 yards) and Mike Huggins (583) have 17 each. QB Stevie Powers is 63-of-88 passing for 1,445 yards.

Maxwell Ratings’ projection: Benedictine by 2

Winner plays: Jefferson/Lamar County winner

Lovett at Laney

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Lucy C. Laney Memorial Stadium, Augusta

Records, rankings: Lovett is 11-1, the No. 1 seed from Region 6 and No. 2; Laney is 10-2, the No. 1 seed from Region 3 and unranked.

Last meeting: This is the teams’ first meeting.

Three things to know: 1. Lovett RB Grant Haley has rushed for 100 yards or more in each of his past four games, all against playoff opponents. He has 1,081 yards on the season with 19 touchdowns. Lovett’s strength is defense. The Lions are allowing 97.2 yards rushing and 62.2 passing to Class AA opponents. 2. Laney limited Vidalia to 125 yards in total offense and held 1,500-yard rusher Tra Hardy to 78 yards rushing in a 22-13 victory in the second round. QB Horatio Keller rushed for 97 yards on 12 carries, and his 38-yard TD run with eight minutes left put Laney in control. Keller was 9-of-14 passing for 143 yards. 3. Laney won the coin toss between region champions to get home-field advantage. Laney is 11-1 in home playoff games since 2000, its only loss to Benedictine in 2002. Laney has made the semifinals three times (2002, 2003, 2004) in that time. Lovett is trying to get back to the semifinals for the 12th time overall and first since 2010.

Maxwell Ratings’ projection: Lovett by 26

Winner plays: Bowdon/Brooks County winner

Bowdon at Brooks County

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Veterans Stadium, Quitman

Records, rankings: Bowdon is 11-1, the No. 2 seed from Region 5 and unranked; Brooks County is 11-1, the No. 1 seed from Region 1 and No. 7.

Last meeting: This is the teams’ first meeting.

Three things to know: 1. Bowdon rushed for more than 300 yards in the first half, taking a 35-7 lead, in a 48-13 victory over third-ranked Washington-Wilkes in the second round in what might be the most surprising score of the playoffs this season in any class. Washington-Wilkes beat Bowdon 66-28 in the first round last year. 2. Brooks County QB Malkom Parrish scored three touchdowns and passed for two in a 55-28 victory over Bleckley County in the second round. The AJC Super 11 pick, who has committed to Georgia as a defensive back, will go over 1,000 yards rushing and passing for the second consecutive season. 3. Bowdon has made the quarterfinals 12 times and semifinals five times, but neither since 2005. Brooks County is aiming for its first semifinal since 2008 and fourth in history.

Maxwell Ratings’ projection: Brooks County by 6

Winner plays: Lovett/Laney winner

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23 comments Add your comment

Max Sizemore

November 27th, 2013
12:57 pm

Mr. Maxwell still picking against Calhoun, eh? When will they ever learn . . .

Jefferson

November 27th, 2013
1:02 pm

Maxwell’s model puts all the weight on the Carrollton loss, he was wrong last week he will be wrong this week.

Bill Price

November 27th, 2013
1:27 pm

Lovett’s never been to Cat-ville in the AUG…they are about to get a SERIOUS wake-up call….Laney’s TEAM speed is underestimated…TILL U PLAY THEM!!!! Can’t wait for Calhoun to teach ‘dem BC boyz what REAL: football is all about…travel makes no difference-everybody’s got to take a bus ride of some sort from here on out

Stinger63

November 27th, 2013
2:48 pm

Looks like 4 head-knocking games, no matter which way ya slice it….

AllDayWACO

November 27th, 2013
2:50 pm

Lovett will beat Laney easily! We beat Laney 38-0 and we also played Lovett in a game we had to come back in the 4th from being down 33-21 to win the game in ot 36-33! So Lovett will win very easily!

Wildcat Fanatic

November 27th, 2013
5:34 pm

Writers, Pollsters, Fans, or Whomever….. Go ahead and sleep on my Wildcats if you want to. We will shake up the state of Ga 2A Classification this Friday night in Augusta. My Laney squad will not be denied this year. And oh yeah…. Do not forget about the Wildcats Boys and Girls B-Ball Teams. Both will play for state titles in a few months.

Wildcat Fanatic

November 27th, 2013
5:37 pm

All Day Waco…. we was a few men down when we played you guys, so don’t get it twisted. Waco got every call that night. Waco you all better be looking out for Buford. Private Schools playing public schools really SUCKS. Change the rules GHSA back to 1.5 !!!

Tybee Island Dawg

November 27th, 2013
8:36 pm

BC (Benedictne) actually won it’s 1st round state playoff game last year. Also, it beat LeGrange(think it was them, but won 2 that year) in (’96) same year they beat Northside. Not to mention lots of playoff wins before the State went to a 32 team bracket and each region had a ‘region championship’ 4 team playoff.

There are two type of men in this world bc men and those who wish they were

November 28th, 2013
12:40 am

There are two type of men in this world bc men and those who wish they were

November 28th, 2013
12:47 am

For all those bc haters who think we can’t compete against those supposedly badass atlanta/north georgia schools I can’t wait to show you how real men play football come from Friday night. By the way all you guys above who love Laney I got a news flash, handled you pretty easily last year. Oh for bill price can’t wait for my bc boys to show your Calhoun wusses what bc smash mouth military football is all about. My call bc 28 Calhoun 14.

AllDayWACO

November 28th, 2013
5:37 am

@Wildcat! Yeah ur bball teams mite do good but ur football team will be knocked out fri and for Buford, we dont meet them unless beat we beat the team fri. We play the day and take care business there 1st then move on to the next game if we win.

Bowdon

November 28th, 2013
7:00 am

Bowdon is focused. Playing as a team for the first time this year. They will be hard to beat. Should be a great ballgame.

Todd Holcomb

November 28th, 2013
8:38 am

Tybee – What you reading in the Benedictine preview is about ‘home’ state-playoff victories. BC’s playoff victories last year were on the road. Until this season, BC had only one home victory in the state playoffs. This doesn’t include a few region-playoff wins at home years ago.

Tybee Island Dawg

November 28th, 2013
2:57 pm

Thanks Todd, that would make since because that win in ‘96 vs Legrange was on the road. I read it wrong. I now feel like I went to public school, not BC :)

the champ is here!

November 28th, 2013
4:34 pm

Jackets have left the nest…will spend the night somewhere around statesboro…safe travel to the jackets nation…see y’all in Savannah. ….

anthony edwards

November 28th, 2013
8:37 pm

dont hate on da wildcats we aa an yall aaa an we had people out with yall we will handle lovett an kill yall in basketball on the way to a state title.

anthony edwards all day LCL

November 28th, 2013
8:41 pm

all day waco bring that mess to wildcat country in basketball we goona crush everybody in route to another state title.

AllDayWACO

November 29th, 2013
5:16 am

Cool big guy! Gud luck to u and ur team!

BigDave

November 29th, 2013
1:21 pm

Calhoun will win again!

the champ is here!

November 29th, 2013
3:04 pm

I’m at SSU..looks like a nice stadium…Go Jackets lets do what we do…..

Tybee Island Dawg

November 29th, 2013
3:25 pm

The Champ is here: They just rebuilt that stadium 2 years ago, they did a great job with it, which is one reason we play our games there.

Jefferson Supporter

November 29th, 2013
8:20 pm

It was T.J Skelton who had a total of 5 touchdowns. 1 rushing, 3 passing before catching the game winner from Shirreffs. Just trying to give credit were credit is due. I serious typo by AJC columnist. GO DRAGONS!!!!!

Charles Tuttle

November 30th, 2013
1:30 pm

I went to see a good high school football game last night in Savannah ,but that was a GOOD old FASHIONED BUTT WHIPPING!!!!!