Playoff preview: Semifinals


Colquitt County at Norcross

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Norcross Stadium, Norcross

Records, rankings: Colquitt County is 11-2, the No. 2 seed from Region 1 and No. 3; Norcross 11-2, the No. 1 seed from Region 7 and No. 5.

Last meeting: Norcross won 41-27 in the 2012 Class AAAAAA semifinals.

Three things to know: 1. Alabama freshman Alvin Kamara, the AJC’s all-class player of the year last season, had a huge game for Norcross in the 2012 semifinal game between these teams. He rushed for 133 yards and scored on a 65-yard reception. That is the only time these teams have played a true game, although they’ve met in preseason scrimmages the past two seasons, with Norcross winning both. 2. Colquitt County QB Daniel Mobley is 52-of-78 passing (66.7 percent) for 602 yards and five touchdowns in the playoffs. He completed only 52.4 percent of his passes in the regular season. He has 2,391 yards passing on the season. RB Sihiem King has rushed for 1,392 yards and 17 touchdowns, at least one in each game. LB Quintin Hampton has 30 tackles for losses, at least one in every game since the opener. 3. Norcross has 11 sacks for 71 yards in losses in the past two games, more than a third of the team’s season total of 32. DT Dorian Kithcart has four, and DT Khyree Lee and Super 11 DE Lorenzo Carter have two each. The players to watch on offense are QB A.J. Bush (103-of-202 passing, 1,548 yards, 13 TDs) and RB Josh Boyd (1,265 yards rushing, 13 TDs).

Maxwell Ratings’ projection: Norcross by 5

North Gwinnett at McEachern

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Walter H. Cantrell Stadium, Powder Springs

Records, rankings: North Gwinnett is 12-1, the No. 3 seed from Region 7 and No. 1; McEachern is 11-2, the No. 3 seed from Region 4 and unranked.

Last meeting: McEachern won 26-17 in the 2011 Corky Kell Classic.

Three things to know: 1. Both teams are seeking their second appearance in the state finals. Both lost championship games in Valdosta – North Gwinnett to Lowndes in 2007, McEachern to Valdosta in 1998. North Gwinnett is trying to become the first team to win four consecutive games on an opponent’s home field to reach a title game. 2. Both teams have overcome injuries to their quarterbacks. McEachern’s Ty Clemons played briefly in the quarterfinals but might be close to 100 percent Friday. He has rushed for 1,171 yards. Freshman Bailey Hockman is 56-of-117 passing for 965 yards in his place. North Gwinnett’s Hayden Sphire has thrown for 2,385 yards and 31 touchdowns on the season. He is 42-of-75 passing for 565 yards and four touchdowns in the three playoff games, or since his return from a leg injury that sidelined him for 2.5 games. North Gwinnett is 10-0 when he starts and finishes a game this season. 3. North Gwinnett RB C.J. Leggett and McEachern RB Taj Griffin have been outstanding in the playoffs. Leggett has rushed for 1,349 yards for the season but 455 with seven touchdowns in the playoffs and at least 133 yards rushing in each playoff game. Griffin, a highly recruited junior, has rushed for 1,175 yards, including 155 last week in a victory over Collins Hill.

Maxwell Ratings’ projection: North Gwinnett by 8


Kell at Creekside

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Arrowhead Stadium, Fairburn

Records, rankings: Kell is 13-0, the No. 1 seed from Region 7 and No. 2; Creekside is 13-0, the No. 1 seed from Region 4 and No. 4.

Last meeting: This is the teams’ first meeting.

Three things to know: 1. Jay Moxey has run for 1,402 yards and 17 touchdowns for Kell, which averages 400 yards per game in total offense, including 228.7 rushing. In five games since taking over as the starter after an injury to Matthew McGuigan, QB Cameron Rosendahl is 61-of-89 passing (68.5 percent) for 723 yards with nine touchdowns and no interceptions. WR Julian Burris has 774 yards receiving, 264 yards rushing and 530 in return yardage. 2. Creekside’s Felix Harper passed for 2,092 yards during the regular season and had 172 yards in a 41-14 victory against North Paulding last week. But the Seminoles are perhaps better known for a defense that allows 12.5 points per game, best among the remaining teams. Creekside has not allowed more than 23 points in any game and has held nine of 13 opponents to two touchdowns or less. 3. Kell, which opened in 2003, has set a school record with its 13 victories and is in the semifinals for the first time. Creekside, which opened in 1990, is in the semifinals for the first time since 2000 and second time overall. The Seminoles lost to Statesboro in the 2000 semis and finished 13-1.

Maxwell Ratings’ projection: Creekside by 8

Gainesville at Tucker

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Hallford Stadium, Clarkston

Records, rankings: Gainesville is 12-1, the No. 1 seed from Region 8 and No. 3; Tucker is 13-0, the No. 1 seed from Region 6 and No. 1.

Last meeting: This is the teams’ first meeting.

Three things to know: 1. Gainesville QB Deshaun Watson, who holds the state record for career passing yardage and passing touchdowns, is closing in on another milestone. Watson has 3,584 passing yards this season and needs 416 more to become the first player in state history with two 4,000-yard seasons. Watson, Hutson Mason (Lassiter, 2009) and Taylor Heinicke (Collins Hill, 2010) are the only players to do it once. 2. Tucker PK Eric Webber kicked two field goals and two extra points in a 29-0 victory over Ware County last week to break the DeKalb County record for kicking points in a season. Webber is 62-for-65 on extra points and 10-for-11 on field goals for 92 points, breaking the record of 90 set by Dunwoody’s Austin Breed in 2008. The Tigers are dangerous returning kicks, too. Yaquis Shelley has returned four kickoffs and one punt for touchdowns, and Dominick Sanders has scored on two punt returns. 3. This game matches the defending state champion (Gainesville) against the top-ranked team (Tucker, which won the title in 2011). Gainesville is in the semifinals for the fourth time in five years, while Tucker is making its fifth semifinal appearance in seven seasons.

Maxwell Ratings’ projection: Gainesville by 2

Class AAAA

Wayne County at Griffin

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Memorial Stadium, Griffin

Records, rankings: Wayne County is 11-2, the No. 2 seed from Region 3 and No. 7; Griffin is 13-0, the No. 1 seed from Region 4 and No. 2.

Last meeting: This is the teams’ first meeting.

Three things to know: 1. Both teams have major contenders for offensive player of the year in AAAA. Wayne County WR Krenwick Sanders has 59 receptions for 1,402 yards and 23 touchdowns. He has scored 29 touchdowns overall. Griffin QB Jaquez Parks has 2,948 yards passing and 999 yards rushing. He has thrown 23 TD passes and scored 15 touchdowns. 2. Both teams have standout players beyond Sanders and Parks. Wayne County DL Jeremy Patterson, committed to Wisconsin, has 22 tackles for losses, 12 sacks and seven forced fumbles. Griffin RB Malik Miller has rushed for 782 yards and has 35 catches for 358 yards. He has scored 14 touchdowns. 3. Griffin has not reached a state championship game since 1980. No other school has won more playoff games since 1980 without reaching the finals than Griffin (31). Wayne County has not been to a state final since 1959, when the Yellow Jackets beat Rossville for the Class AA title.

Maxwell Ratings’ projection: Griffin by 29

Carrollton at Marist

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Hughes Spalding Stadium, Atlanta

Records, rankings: Carrollton is 12-1, the No. 2 seed from Region 5 and No. 4; Marist is 11-2, the No. 1 seed from Region 6 and No. 5.

Last meeting: Marist won 43-37 in five overtimes in the second round of the 2012 Class AAAA playoffs.

Three things to know: 1. The 2012 game, won by Marist in five overtimes, had several make-or-break plays. The score was 14-14 in the final minutes when Carrollton attempted a 42-yard field goal that was blocked. Carrollton converted a fourth-and-goal at the 1 in the second overtime. Both teams stopped two-point tries in the fourth overtime. Marist’s goal was to stop the run, and Carrollton QB Will Garrett, who normally throws less than 10 times per game, was 23-of-38 passing for 255 yards. 2. Carrollton has four backs with at least 13 touchdowns. They are RB Jarvis Terrell (984 yards rushing, 14 touchdowns), Malik Sheppard (838, 13), Trey Chivers (719, 14) and Garrett (524, 13). Garrett also has 13 TD passes. The three running backs help in the return game and have more than 1,100 all-purpose yards. 3. Marist QB Chase Martensen has scored 10 touchdowns and rushed for 302 yards in the three playoff games. He also has thrown three TD passes in only 19 attempts. Marist didn’t attempt a pass in a 42-20 victory over Burke County in the quarterfinals. Marist’s option-based offense spreads the carries among Martenson (1,100 yards rushing), Marcus Miller (868), Griffin King (788) and Matt Perez (602).

Maxwell Ratings’ projection: Carrollton by 12

Class AAA

Callaway at Buford

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

Records, rankings: Callaway is 12-1, the No. 1 seed from Region 4 and No. 5; Buford is 13-0, the No. 1 seed from Region 7 and No. 1.

Last meeting: Buford won 52-14 in the second round of the 2010 Class AA playoffs.

Three things to know: 1. This will be Callaway’s second consecutive game against one of last year’s Class AAA finalists after beating 2012 runner-up St. Pius 35-21 last week. The Cavaliers got 143 yards rushing from Eddie Culpepper and 132 from QB Tez Parks, and both scored two touchdowns, in that game. But the victory wasn’t secure until LB Dre Martin returned an interception 42 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter. 2. Buford has scored 648 points in 13 games, an average of 49.8, and needs 35 more to break the state record for points in a season, currently held by the 2006 Dublin team with 682. Buford’s current total is the fifth-best in state history. The Wolves’ 2007 team fell just short of the record with 681 points. Buford has given up just 78 points and has not allowed more than 14 points in any game. 3. Buford, which will be moving to Class AAAA next season, has won nine state championships, including eight since 2001. The Wolves are one victory away from playing in their seventh consecutive championship game (they were 5-1 in the previous six trips). Callaway opened in 1996 and is in the semifinals for the first time.

Maxwell Ratings’ projection: Buford by 29

Ringgold at Washington County

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, House of Pain, Sandersville

Records, rankings: Ringgold is 11-2, the No. 2 seed from Region 5 and unranked; Washington County is 12-0, the No. 1 seed from Region 3 and No. 3.

Last meeting: This is the teams’ first meeting.

Three things to know: 1. Ringgold QB Slade Dale has passed for 1,809 yards and 19 touchdowns and is the team’s leading rusher with 1,397 yards and 23 TDs. Kile Sholl has rushed for 826 yards and is the team’s leading receiver with 39 catches for 639 yards. The leaders on defense are LB Dakota Baer (165 total tackles, 12 tackles for loss) and lineman Zach Morris (91 tackles, 13 sacks, 24 tackles for loss). 2. Washington County has three 1,000-yard rushers in Melvin Hill, quarterback A.J. Gray and Danyale Wicker. Gray ran for 248 yards and six touchdowns in a 56-16 victory over Peach County in the second round. Last week, Hill rushed for 235 yards and five touchdowns in a 46-17 quarterfinal victory over Blessed Trinity. Washington County is averaging 52.7 points in its three playoff games. 3. Ringgold is in the semifinals for the first time. The Tigers first played in the GHSA in 1949 but never had won a state playoff game until this season. Washington County is in the semifinals for the 10th time since 1992 but first since 2006. The Golden Hawks went 15-0 and won state championships in 1994, 1996 and 1997.

Maxwell Ratings’ projection: Washington County by 29

Class AA

Benedictine at Lamar County

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

Records, rankings: Benedictine is 13-0, the No. 1 seed from Region 2 and No. 6; Lamar County is 13-0, the No. 1 seed from Region 4 and No. 1.

Last meeting: Lamar County won 24-21 in the second round of the 2012 Class AA playoffs.

Three things to know: 1. Lamar County RB Lawrence Austin has rushed for 183, 250 and 129 yards in the playoffs after averaging 76 per game in the regular season, when he often was taken out when games were in hand. His brother, QB Lance Austin, has 967 yards rushing on the season. Lance Austin averages fewer than four pass attempts per game but has at least one TD pass in 10 of 13 games and has thrown only one interception. 2. Benedictine is primarily a running team. J.J. Gaines (907 yards rushing), Chance Jackson (785) and Mike Huggins (685) have scored 46 touchdowns, and each has at least one 100-yard rushing game in the playoffs. QB Stevie Powers, no threat to run, is 65-of-97 passing for 1,500 yards. Benedictine’s defensive highlights are well-shared. Ten players have at least one interception, and 11 players have at least one sack. 3. The winner will be making its first state finals appearance. Lamar County made the semifinals in 2012 and lost to Calhoun 21-14. Benedictine has made the semifinals twice, most recently in 1978, when beaten by Valdosta 23-0.

Maxwell Ratings’ projection: Benedictine by 10

Brooks County at Lovett

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Martin E. Kilpatrick Stadium, Atlanta

Records, rankings: Brooks County is 12-1, the No. 1 seed from Region 1 and No. 7; Lovett is 12-1, the No. 1 seed from Region 6 and No. 2.

Last meeting: Lovett won 35-18 in the 2010 Class AA quarterfinals.

Three things to know: 1. Lovett RB Grant Haley, a preseason all-state pick who is committed to Vanderbilt, has rushed for 1,300 yards, but it has been only recently that he has become the feature back. He has rushed for at least 100 yards in five consecutive games, peaking with his 219-yard, three-touchdown performance in a 35-33 victory over Laney last week. 2. Brooks County hopes that AJC Super 11 QB Malkom Parrish is OK. He was hobbled by a leg injury that limited his running last week in a 42-26 victory over Bowdon but threw five TD passes, two to Deric Herring, one a 70-yarder. 3. This will be the third time in six seasons that one of these teams has beaten the other in the state playoffs. Brooks County won 33-32 in 2008, and Lovett won 35-18 in 2010. Those were quarterfinals. Lovett is trying to reach the state finals for the first time since 2009 but is 1-8 in semifinal games since its 1970 Class B championship season. Brooks County is 0-2 in semifinals since its 1994 Class A championship season.

Maxwell Ratings’ projection: Lovett by 18

Class A (public)

Charlton County at Irwin County

When, where: 8 p.m. Friday, Indian Field, Ocilla

Records, rankings: Charlton County is 8-4, the No. 9 seed and unranked; Irwin County is 10-1-1, the No. 4 seed and ranked No. 6.

Last meeting: Irwin County won 29-26 in the regular-season finale on Nov. 8.

Three things to know: 1. Charlton County QB Trae Harrington passed for more than 1,400 yards during the regular season, but the Indians have gotten a boost in the running game with the return of Andrew Lee, who missed seven games with an injury. Lee rushed for 273 yards in three regular-season games but has run for 501 in two playoff victories. 2. Irwin County has two 1,000-yard rushers in Region 2-A player of the year Antuanne Merritt and Jakyron Young. Merritt has rushed for 1,056 yards and 18 touchdowns on 155 attempts, while Young has 1,051 yards and 12 TDs on 118 carries. They combined for 255 yards and three scores in a 56-26 victory over Johnson County last week. Both also are valuable on defense. Merritt has 49 tackles, four sacks and six tackles for loss. Young has 31 tackles, four interceptions and three tackles for loss. 3. Irwin County won the regular-season meeting between the 2-A rivals when Eric Contreras kicked a 33-yard field goal with 3.3 seconds remaining in a game that essentially decided second place in the region. A second victory against Charlton would put Irwin County in the final for the first time since 1997. Charlton County last played for a championship in 2006, when it tied Dublin to share the Class AA title.

Maxwell Ratings’ projection: Irwin County by 5

Hawkinsville at Marion County

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

Records, rankings: Hawkinsville is 9-3, the No. 6 seed and unranked; Marion County is 11-1, the No. 2 seed and unranked.

Last meeting: Hawkinsville won 14-10 in the regular season on Nov. 1.

Three things to know: 1. Hawkinsville is primarily a running team, averaging 281 rushing yards per game. The Red Devils have one 1,000-yard rusher (Dontavious Grace, 140 carries for 1,067 yards) and another player closing in (J.D. Burden, 148 carries for 937 yards). Burden rushed for 197 yards and two touchdowns in a 23-8 victory over Clinch County last week. QB Dakota Sloan attempts less than four passes per game. 2. Marion County’s offense is slightly more balanced, averaging 178.5 yards rushing and 74.8 passing. QB Justin Eckert is 61-of-109 passing for 898 yards and 10 touchdowns and has rushed for 387 yards on 65 carries. The offensive leader, however, is Johnny Royal, who has rushed for 1,316 yards and 20 touchdowns and has scored at least once in 11 of the Eagles’ 12 games. 3. Hawkinsville’s victory against its Region 4-A rival was Marion County’s only loss of the season. Sloan was 1-for-2 passing for 62 yards and rushed for 54 yards and a touchdown. Travon Batton (54 yards), Grace (51) and Burden (43) all had at least eight carries and 43 yards rushing. Marion County’s Royal had a game-best 66 yards on 19 carries.

Maxwell Ratings’ projection: Marion County by 6

Class A (private)

Calvary Day at Eagle’s Landing Christian

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Commitment Field, McDonough

Records, rankings: Calvary Day is 10-2, the No. 4 seed and ranked No. 8; Eagle’s Landing Christian is 11-0, the No. 1 seed and ranked No. 1.

Last meeting: This is the teams’ first meeting.

Three things to know: 1. Calvary Day has won 10 consecutive games since an 0-2 start, and QB Michael Peterson has thrown for at least two TD passes in each of the 10 victories. He has 2,719 yards passing and 36 touchdowns with only three interceptions. RB Robert Heyward rushed for 177 yards in a 33-14 victory over Prince Avenue Christian last week, putting him over 1,000 yards (1,164) on the season. Calvary Day is the only team with a 2,000-yard passer and 1,000-yard rusher in the Class A semifinals. 2. ELCA is without preseason all-state QB Dalton Etheridge (season-ending leg injury), perhaps the top dual-threat quarterback in Class A. Sophomore Jordan Long (4-for-7 passing, 87 yards) made his first varsity start in last week’s 24-10 victory over Darlington. The go-to player on offense is now RB Lane Timpson, who has rushed for 897 yards on the season. He’s averaging 113 yards rushing in the two playoff games plus the Landmark Christian victory that clinched a region title. DL Andrew Williams has more than 25 tackles for losses. 3. ELCA has won 18 consecutive games and 42 of its last 43 against Georgia private schools. ELCA has one common opponent with Calvary Day. ELCA beat Landmark Christian 35-0. Landmark beat Calvary Day 30-22.

Maxwell Ratings’ projection: Eagle’s Landing Christian by 19

Aquinas at Mount Pisgah Christian

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Savior Field, Johns Creek

Records, rankings: Aquinas is 12-0, the No. 3 seed and ranked No. 3; Mount Pisgah Christian is 12-0, the No. 2 seed and ranked No. 5.

Last meeting: This is the teams’ first meeting.

Three things to know: 1. Mount Pisgah QB Aaron Winchester had perhaps the best game of his career in the quarterfinals against Holy Innocents’ when he passed for 222 yards and rushed for 154. For the season, Winchester is 144-of-262 passing for 2,204 yards and 31 touchdowns and has rushed for 850 yards and two touchdowns. 2. Aquinas RB Ruben Garnett has rushed for 1,709 yards and 20 touchdowns but was banged up and limited to 41 in a 35-32 victory over Mount Paran Christian last week. In his place, freshman Connor Sweeney and junior Daniel Lindsey each rushed for 100 yards. Aquinas has one of the state’s top place-kickers in Justin Thompson, who is 11 of 12 on field goals with two 48-yarders. 3. Both teams have first-year coaches. They are Mike Forester of Mount Pisgah Christian and James Leonard of Aquinas. No first-year coach has won a state title since 2004 or finished unbeaten and untied since 1959.

Maxwell Ratings’ projection: Mount Pisgah Christian by 6

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96 comments Add your comment


December 5th, 2013
6:50 am

Drive safe all NG family and friendS tomorrow, safe travels to all. GO MCEACHERN INDIANS!!!!


December 5th, 2013
7:08 am

As an Aquinas alum, I can honestly say that I am very proud of what these kids have accomplished. I graduated in the early 90’s. Back then we only won one or two games per year consistently. So to be in the state semis is great. It is going to be VERY tough to win this Friday on the road at MPC… Good luck to all and safe travels….. Go Irish!!!!


December 5th, 2013
7:52 am

I like the Packers over Norcross 29 – 15 & the Bulldogs over McEachern 35 – 17


December 5th, 2013
8:15 am

Impressive numbers by Buford.


December 5th, 2013
8:28 am

Some interesting predictions…

Bad as I hate to do this as I now it’s going to fire up Gainesville-Steve…I think the 2 points are low…This one may get out of hand fast…IF and this is a huge IF GAINESVILLE comes out firing they will light up the scoreboard against TUCKER…With the passing attack they have and being able to mix it up NO WAY can TUCKER cover that. TUCKER was predicted to run away from EAST just two weeks ago and EAST mixed it up playing SMASH MOUTH run and mixing in passes, coming within 4 seconds of BEATING TUCKER!!!…GAINESVILLE by all accounts (and I admit I have not seen them in person just on video) will flip this and PASS all night while mixing in the run. This one could be GAINESVILLE winning by high double digits…say 17 or MORE!!

The ONE variable…weather…it is still showing 70% chance of rain and if that holds it could effect the GAINESVILLE passing attack and the score. AND before someone says it, yeah I know BOTH teams play in the same weather conditions, BUT rain will cause GAINESVILLE more problems than TUCKER.

As far as the KELL / CREEKSIDE game…Again I think the spread is off…CREEKSIDE by 8 points…again NOPE. BUT the same issue concerns this game…the weather…IF it rains like predicted…that is in CREEKSIDE’S favor and the 8 may be correct BUT if KELL can mix up their passing with the run say 65% passing to 35% run LOOK OUT!!! KELL by a FG+…

Let the BLOGGING start and the GAMES begin!!!!




December 5th, 2013
8:28 am

Buford playing in AAA is like Alabama playing in the
Southern Conference. Moving to AAAA next year isn’t much
better. Great program but they need to play up in FB like
some of the South Georgia Schools will do in 2014.
They recruit better then the private schools and have
better facilities then a lot of college programs….

Mid. Ga fan

December 5th, 2013
8:45 am

Looks like a Buford v/s WACO final in AAA both favored by 29.


December 5th, 2013
8:46 am

Alabama just lost!


December 5th, 2013
8:54 am

@Cannon Rules – you know how to get going. How can you really compare the EP game to the Gville matchup? Each game is a learning lesson for all involved and Tucker comes more prepared for this game than it did against EP. The majority thought Tucker would lose to Ware but we sent shock waves throughout the state and will do the same tomorrow, my prediction is Tucker by 10….


Jacque Offerman

December 5th, 2013
8:57 am

James, nobody is “playing up” in football. Because they are geographically isolated, those schools are actually “playing down” in every other sport. The decision was made by the GHSA, not the schools themselves.


December 5th, 2013
9:00 am

Based on the Maxwell point spreads, looks like some of these lower classification games are HUGE mismatches. And of course, that Powder Springs team is an underdog yet again…8 points to Langston Hughes…16 points to Collins Hill…and 8 points to North Gwinnett. We like it. Might as well show up tomorrow night anyway, play the game…and see what happens.

Rufus S. DeMann

December 5th, 2013
9:23 am

FINALLY….Colquitt County is an underHawg. Now don’t get me wrong…Maxwell missed it bad. Norcross should be favored by at LEAST 20. I mean…we ain’t nothing but a bunch of poor, tiny, little undersized Hawgs…doing the best we can with what we got. When Rush finished looking at the film from the Norcross/Lowndes game…the first words outa his mouth were…

“Rufus, Oh Woe Is Us !!!!!”

The man is a truthsayer.

How bad is it? Me and “Doc” were watching a rerun of the Lowndes debacle up in “N” town…and the Old Man asked me ifin I could see the scoreboard? I had to answer him honesstly…soes I said…

“No sir I can’t…them Blue Devil players are in the way.”


Yep, they BIG…..



December 5th, 2013
9:27 am

I saw Gainesville play last Friday night, I haven’t seen Tucker play. DeShaun Watson is the best HS QB I’ve ever seen, no one else is close. He’s an elite athlete, and Gainesville is going to win because of him. He is deadly accurate, can make every throw, has a cannon arm, and can run like a deer. Put him on a team that already has really good talent, and you get a state champ. I think Creekside takes Kell out on the other side.


December 5th, 2013
9:34 am

Norcross yards rushing allowed:
North Gwinnett 10
Duluth 17
Mill Creek 136
Collins Hill 52
Peachtree Ridge 62
Etowah 81
Brookwood 110
Lowndes 96
Colquitt ???

R31768 Pack

December 5th, 2013
9:35 am

I like to think of myself as a realist fan that rides the fence afraid that I might have to eat some crow but what the heck. HAWGS by 3!!! I said it. Let the battle begin.

R31768 Pack

December 5th, 2013
9:37 am

@Rob, If the Pack can get the short passing game going, I predict we get a 100 yards rushing and 200 yards passing and a stingy defense that pulls one out.


December 5th, 2013
9:41 am

Glad to see gville is favored.

Been watching tucker replays. They seem a little bit Jekyll n Hyde in the performances. Barely scraped by EP, really may have been very fortunate to win.

However, they dominated a solid Ware team with a stifling defense. Against Ware, the defense was awesome. Big, fast and physical.

If the tucker D plays like that, it could cause some problems, as our skill players are fast, but not that big. Plus the rain may be a bigger concern for the elephants and their passing game.

All week I’ve been thinking gville scores in the 40s and tucker in the 30s.

So, it could be GHS 49 tucker 30. Or GHS 40 and tucker 39.

Or somewhere in between.

Or I could be wrong and tucker wins big.

It will be a great game and I’m still surprised it’s not on tv. These have been two of the dominant programs over the past 10 years.

Can’t wait!!!


December 5th, 2013
9:47 am

The more I look at these two teams – Norcross and Colquitt – the more similarities I see and the closer the game gets in my mind. And a 5 point favorite is meaningless at this point in the season. One turnover = on average 4.3 points swing.

Winning this game comes down to execution (procedure calls, dropped passes, blocking), field position (getting first downs, stopping first downs, good kicks and coverage), big plays (get them, limit them, special teams), and keeping the mistakes to a minimum (personal fouls, turnovers). Nothing shocking in any of this, but in a close game, all these things are amplified…

Other than that it is a simple game.


December 5th, 2013
9:57 am

@ TuckerD…

I didn’t think TUCKER would lose to WARE COUNTY…I was surprised by the score but figured ya’ll would win…especially at home. BUT GAINESVILLE is a whole different story…LOOK OUT! It is a BIG ELEPHANT don’t let it sneak up on you…and we REALLY will not be able to deal with Gainesville-Steve if they win!




December 5th, 2013
10:01 am

Bucfan: I like your assessment of Watson. Honest opinion from a neutral observer.

Between two evenly matched teams, he may be the reason gville advances.

Im a total gville homer, but I have to give tucker an edge over GHS on defense. Our defense is very good and is better than people give them credit for, but tucker has the advantage on that side of the ball.

Tucker has 4-5 stud skill players that are outstanding, big and fast. Some of them play both ways and on special teams.

Gville may occasionally put our qb as a dback in crucial situations. Never liked that, but we do it sometimes. Other than that, no one plays both ways on our team.

That could be a factor in a close game.

Gviile has been a second half team, especially strong in the third quarter. Wouldn’t be surprised if game is tied at half, or tucker may be ahead.

If we don’t turnover the ball and drop passes, we should pull away in the second half.

We had four turnovers against MM, and still won by 14 against one of the best running backs in the state.

Can’t wait!!!!


December 5th, 2013
10:04 am

It’s going to be sloppy for all this weekend. I like North’s chance at McEachern. Turf Field is better than mud. I think we run CJ for all he’s worth in this one. North by 2 scores!

Loren Maxwell

December 5th, 2013
10:06 am

@RobFromNorcross: “One turnover = on average 4.3 points swing.”

Rob, just curious where this number came from?


December 5th, 2013
10:09 am

Weather forecast : Friday night in Norcross – 61 degrees with 70% chance of rain


December 5th, 2013
10:16 am


Is that uncertainty or fear I smell……


December 5th, 2013
10:18 am

@Cannon, @bucfan and my fellow Turniptruck, YOU ARE ALL RIGHT and so is AJC!

BOOOM!!! TD bhy D-Wat.

Tucker is a little hecky jecky because they dont really have an identity. They play on luck and in region 6 you can win that way since the teams there really are not complete teams so Tucker is an overrated team. Ware is an overrated team so is NSWR, EP, Kell, NP and Mundy’s Mill. The only real teams in 5A are the Red Elephants and Creekside. Cannonrules you are right I watched the Tucker EP game and they didnt know what hit them. So if your sorry team could score on them like you did, just imagine what D-Wat will do to them. Plus Byrd is better that #22 youll had running the ball all day. I see this as Gainesville 55 or 60+ and Tucker maybe 9 from 3 field goals because the rain might help them get fields position but they will NEVER get into the end zone with that weak elementary school messesd up offense with no real run game and no o-line blocking. They will mess in their pants when they see how great this defense is up here. Against this defense Tucker may have to find a way to try and pass and we all know how that turns out. Can anyobe say HAIL MARY!!
LOL. So sad!!

Gainesville Rocks!! Baby!

Mid. Ga fan

December 5th, 2013
10:21 am

How and did Buford beat Gainesville when they played?

Mid. Ga fan

December 5th, 2013
10:22 am


December 5th, 2013
10:22 am

@Loren == I saw that where they analyzed the value of a turnover at ever position on the field and the 4.3 points was the average. For example if you commit a turnover at your own 1, you are likely giving up 7 points to the other team, if you give it up on your 5, it is more like 6+ points, all the way down to the other end of the field if you give it up inside the 10 when you are going in for a score, you are giving up 6-7 points that you don’t score. Of course this is further complicated by down and distance.

There is a lot of analysis of this out there… here’s one link

And some turnovers like the hail mary at the end of the half or game are meaningless.


December 5th, 2013
10:25 am




December 5th, 2013
10:26 am

@Username ==

No fear here. Ball game should be close one. May the better team win. I hope both teams bring their A games and we see an epic battle for four quarters – with Norcross winning :-)

Rodney Kent

December 5th, 2013
10:29 am

Quite an impressive array of High School playoff games. It appears that each game should create a tremendous amount of followers. One must win, and one must go home, but all of these teams should be proud of their achievements this year.

Loren Maxwell

December 5th, 2013
10:31 am

@RobFromNorcross: Interesting link. I’ll have to read it more in depth later.

I’ve seen several analysis of turnovers before, but hadn’t seen a point value assigned.

If you’re interested in such things, some good books from my formative years are Football By The Numbers (there was a 1986 and 1987 edition) and The Hidden Game of Football. Of course, in recent years the Football Outsiders have done some great analysis.


December 5th, 2013
10:32 am

The Aquinas-MPC preview states that freshman Connor Sweeney came in and rushed for a 100 yards when our #1 RB when out, and surely Connor probably would have for “tho he be small, he be fierce”, but it should have stated senior John Morris instead. Big John, who would be the #1 RB just about at any other school in Augusta, along with Daniel “Taz” Lindsey were the next men up and between them provided over 200 yards rushing. Look forward to a thriller tomorrow, good luck to all and praying for the safety of all the fans traveling on the wet roads and the athletes on the fields.


December 5th, 2013
10:35 am

Thanks Rodney – very heartfelt.


December 5th, 2013
10:37 am

I’m not the one to come on here every week beatin my chest, but from what I know Tucker is the worst nightmare for the G. I go back to the preseason camp at west georgia, the G did not want to face Tucker in the team sessions yeah they played us in the 7 on 7 sessions and we split that matchup ( and to say that, that’s not much of an accomplishment because we don’t throw the ball). On the last dat of camp the G finally gave in and by the third play of the session because Tucker was coming round the corners to fast the backup QB was in there.
Know I bring you back to the present after watching film no one blitzed G they just sat back and play zone. Tucker will not sit back. We wil blitz from all angels because our DBs match up well with any Rec. Core. We will make him move out the pocket and hit him and hit him hard. Tucker is the perfect storm for a spred teams ask flowery branch, NP, Mays . MLK. They do good for the first half and Tucker pulls away in the second half.
As a great high school coach once said.” Pay your money, sit down, and watch us win.”
We R Tucker!!!!!!!! You go’n learn today!!!!!!!

R31768 Pack

December 5th, 2013
10:37 am

@Rob — I have to admit as it does feel good to blow out a team, it is not nearly as exciting as a slobber knocker. Hope the Pack wins but I wouldn’t mind a slobber knocker. The previous three Packer games were decided in the first quarter.

I keep trying to figure out in my head if a wet field works to our advantage or not and all I can come up with is, I wish it was a dry field. We are used to turf. We played well in the rain at Emory Sewell but that was turf. Don’t worry, their won’t be any excuses from this fan win or lose. I will congratulate the winner and loser but we are going to win. “Smile”


December 5th, 2013
10:37 am

@Loren == I have read The Hidden Game of Football- that’s what go me hooked on this sort of thing. My early career was all programming and a lot of algorithms and statistics thrown in so I have always been drawn to this sort of analysis.

Of course when the “system” is composed of 16-18 year old boys and a funny shaped ball under all sorts of weather conditions, getting better while at the same time suffering injuries during the season– many of these models start to lose some precision… :-) and the std dev shows this fact.


December 5th, 2013
10:39 am


All n All we will see a different Tucker team tomorrow on it’s way to the DOME……




December 5th, 2013
10:41 am

Mid Ga Fan, why are you asking that question? They won. It was a tune up game for us to see where we were. Its not like gainexville pulled out the entire playbook on them. We just mixed it up a lot. We already made those adjuastments that are giving us the success you have seen since. The Bufors people are still celebrating like they won the SEC but we know what we are doing. Last year, we went 7-3 and still won State. That is how GOOD this coaching staff and team is. The coaches don’t make any mistalkes and our boys dont make mistakes. But against Buford, I cant say we put our best foot forward. Anyone who will watch that game and assume you could do exactly what Buford did to beat the Red Elephants, we welcome your ignorance. This is not the same team. The coaches dont show their hand that early in the season. so to all of you nuckle heads especially the Buford people, STOP with the folishness. Remeber these statements when we win State next week. It might rain tonight so Tucker has an excuse after they lose, but in the dome Creekside will have zero excuses. So to @WeAreNorth, Beleed dat!


December 5th, 2013
10:42 am

@R3176 Pack == I think that a wet field hurts both teams, and helps both teams, equally.


December 5th, 2013
10:43 am

@”Creekside the tadpole”

Tucker to the dome? WON’T HAPPEN!!!!!

See you slimy creatures next week. The beat down is coming whether you want it or not!

R31768 Pack

December 5th, 2013
10:44 am

@Rob — Agreed but wouldn’t you agree that it hurts the long ball more than the quick slant. Due to the wet field, the QB will need an extra second for the long ball.

Mid. Ga fan

December 5th, 2013
10:46 am

@gainsville-Steve I asked as no slight to G’ville. I had in mind how dominant Buford is. I was thinking that they would be the favorite in every class except AAAAAA. I couldn’t remember the score.


December 5th, 2013
10:47 am

If is raining hard, it is catching the ball that is the big problem.

R31768 Pack

December 5th, 2013
10:49 am

@Rob — I do think that Lorenzo Carter will shut down our screen that has some success. We will have to get the quick slant over the middle working.


December 5th, 2013
11:28 am

These Maxwell ratings are based on historical data which means little in high school sports beyond a couple years. Concerning points, lines and predictions Howard Cosell used to say, “That’s why they play the game.”

It looks like the weather might be cold and wet. However, by the semi-finals, teams do not change their game plans for weather. You go with what got you here.

The Tucker-Gainsville game looks like a great match-up. After years of playing Tucker, I can state unequivocally, when Tucker plays their best – they are unbeatable. If Tucker plays poorly, they are still very good. Tucker has great supporters and their players are student-athletes.
Tucker is on a great winning streak since 2008 in the state playoffs. The Tigers always have talent, discipline, speed and fundamentally sound players coupled with excellent coaching. It will be interesting to watch how well Tucker’s run continues in AAAAAA. The division will not be an issue. But as we all know, playoff time is a different animal. Best of luck to our formal rivals. I hope we are scrimmaging again next year.

A team all of AAAA welcomes with open arms next year is Buford. Current AAAA semi-finalists Marist, Griffin, Carrollton, Wayne County, perennial ranked teams Sandy Creek & Burke County plus all the other AAAA teams plan a fine housewarming party for the Wolves stepping up. Good competition makes all teams better. AAAA extends a hearty handshake.

Finally, Carrollton and Marist will be hard pressed to top last year’s game. We look forward to a great, fired-up Carrollton team and fans looking for payback for last year’s marathon. I hope for good weather, no injuries, great football, good referees and may the best team advance. Drive safely.


December 5th, 2013
12:05 pm

Hey Gainesville Steve, not to burst your bubble, but after beating you guys, we just moved on to the next team on our schedule. It was nice to avenge a loss, but you were just next in line. Maybe you guys were the ones used as a tune up. Go Wolves.


December 5th, 2013
12:09 pm

@R31768 Pack Most of the teams we’ve played recently have rolled their QBs away from Carter’s side to JB Kouassi (a Junior) Consequently he has more sacks than Carter. In the scrimmage Colquitt’s use of the screen game gave the defense fits initially but once the necessary adjustments were made they seemed to nullify it…Colquitt’s screen game is very impressive…I’m sure it has been a focal point in this week’s preparation.


December 5th, 2013
12:14 pm


I see your still feeling a little salty from a few weeks ago, LOL :-)

This game will be a blowout with Tucker being on the winning side. I had a longer post on another blog but it’s this simple.
G-Ville have played to athletic defenses and we all know what happened with Buford. The other against MLK D-Wat as Steve likes to call him, did absolutely nothing. If MLK had a kicker the game would have probably ended 28-27.
When G-Ville was leading 14-0 their offense had a total 5yds. Defense scored the first touchdown and then gave them a short field for the second score. besides that they had 3 and outs the most of the 1st half. Their 3rd touchdown came on a trick play, which is the same trick play EP ran for their two-point conversation against Tucker.

All of Gainesville will be in a state of shock after they see the fear that will be put in their kids eyes. Hard hitting for 4 quarters no matter the score. You guys have a RB that’s 155 pounds LOL, get real Tucker wins easy.

It’s Not Personal, It’s Football
Run With Us or Run From Us

B Wolves

December 5th, 2013
12:33 pm

I see Gainesville-Steve is still on his elephant juice. better hope you win tomorrow or you will be eating some super crow and going into hiding with SNUFF in your bottom lip. lololol

I will bring the whole Bufordcrew on here Friday night if you don’t winGainesville. LOLOLOL Ya’ll have totally disrepected Tucker this week. like they are 1st Timers