No. 1 Buford and No. 3 Washington County have been on a collision course for the Georgia Dome since the playoff brackets were released. But Callaway and Ringgold are still alive and would like nothing more than to throw a wrench into those plans.
Buford (13-0) won the coin flip and will host No. 5 Callaway (12-1) in one semifinal, while Washington County (12-0) will host Ringgold (11-2) in the other. The winners will meet for the title at 5:30 p.m. on Dec. 13 at the Georgia Dome.
Buford overpowered No. 4 Carver Columbus 36-6, while Callaway eliminated St. Pius 35-21. Washington County had a big second half and eliminated No. 10 Blessed Trinity, 46-17, while Ringgold avenged an earlier loss to Central Carroll with a 35-10 victory in a quarterfinal matchup between two unranked teams.
Buford 36, Carver Columbus 6: Few teams can commit four turnovers and a win a game. But Buford did it against Carver and beat the Tigers for the fourth straight time. The Wolves did it with defense, turning a blocked punt and an interception into points that gave Buford a 22-0 lead after the first quarter. Buford’s Thomas Wilson ran for 78 yards and one touchdown and quarterback Taylor Mitchell threw for one score and ran for another. . Carver (11-2) also had four turnovers and was limited to 46 total yards, including minus-3 rushing. Carver got its only touchdown on a run by quarterback Jawon Pass. The victory puts Buford in the state semifinals for the seventh straight season.
Callaway 35, St. Pius 21: Callaway running back Eddie Culpepper rushed 16 times for 143 yards and touchdowns of 4 and 59 yards, and quarterback Tez Parks rushed for scores of 22 yards and 47 yards to go with 128 yards rushing. Dre Martin returned an interception 42 yards for a touchdown for Callaway. St. Pius (9-4) normally has the rushing advantage, but Callaway won the battle on the ground, 321-285.
Washington County 46, Blessed Trinity 17: Melvin Hill rushed for 202 yards and five touchdowns to lead Washington County. The Golden Hawks also got four interceptions from defensive back D.J. Sanders. Sanders also caught a touchdown pass from A.J. Gray. Washington County led just 19-17 in the third quarter before running off 27 consecutive points to eliminate the Titans (9-4).
Ringgold 35, Central Carroll 10: Ringgold quarterback Slade Dale ran for a pair of touchdowns, but suffered an injury on the second score and did not play in the second half. Ringgold rushed for 351 yards, with D.L. Goins gaining 126 yards on 15 carries with one touchdown. The Ringgold defense had an important goalline stand on Central’s first drive that changed the momentum of the game. The Tigers also recovered a fumble, intercepted a pass and held Central on downs Central (10-3) was led by Damarious Owensby, who rushed 12 times for 100 yards, and Curtis Davenport, who carried 17 times for 76 yards. Central quarterback Wesley Long scored the lone touchdown on a 1-yard run.