Archive for the ‘5ABlog’ Category

Tucker, Creekside earn shots at championship, perfection

Top-ranked Tucker will be playing for its third state championship in six seasons after knocking off defending champion Gainesville 20-14 in the Class AAAAA semifinals Friday at Hallford Stadium. The Tigers’ opponent will be No. 4 Creekside, which reached the title game for the first time in school history with a 55-10 blowout of No. 2 Kell.

Tucker, which trailed 14-0 early in the second quarter, got the game-winning score on a 6-yard run by Dominick Sanders with 2:22 remaining, capping an 11-play, 53-yard drive. Sanders also had a 33-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter and finished with 127 yards of total offense. Tucker won state titles in 2008 and 2011 and is 23-4 in the playoffs since last missing the postseason in 2006.

Creekside’s 45-point victory was the most-lopsided semifinal since 2006, when Dublin beat Lovett 65-7 in a Class AA game. The Seminoles are trying to become the first Fulton County team to win a state championship since Chattahoochee in 2010 …

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Kell, Creekside, Tucker seek perfection; Gainesville seeks repeat

A victory by Tucker over Gainesville in the Class AAAAA semifinals on Friday will guarantee that the champion in the state’s second-highest classification will finish 15-0 for the sixth time in 10 seasons.

Tucker comes into this week’s game at 13-0. So do the teams in the other semifinal, Kell and Creekside. The only other classification with three undefeated semifinalists is the Class A private-school division, where Eagle’s Landing Christian, Aquinas and Mount Pisgah Christian are undefeated but have played fewer games.

Gainesville, which won the championship last season with a 12-3 record, is the only AAAAA semifinalist with a loss. The Red Elephants were beaten by Buford 38-14 in the second game of the season.

Gainesville may not be able to achieve perfection, but it has a different goal in mind. A victory would put the Red Elephants one win away from becoming the first repeat champion in the classification since Northside-Warner Robins in 2006 and 2007 and just the …

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Basketball: SW DeKalb, Miller Grove girls set for first rematch of state final

Here are some of the stories of note in Class AAAAA basketball this week:

- The Southwest DeKalb and Miller Grove girls teams will meet in a rematch of last year’s state championship game when they play on Friday at Southwest DeKalb. It will be the first of at least two meetings between the Region 6-AAAAA rivals, who faced each other five times last season (twice in the regular season, once in a holiday tournament, once in the region tournament, and in the state final). They are scheduled to play again at Miller Grove on Jan. 28. Southwest DeKalb is 4-0 heading into Tuesday’s game against Arabia Mountain. Miller Grove went 1-1 against Tennessee teams at the Ridgeway Classic in Memphis over the weekend. Junior center Sarai Blissett averaged 15.5 in the two games to lead Miller Grove, which hosts M.L. King on Tuesday.

- Miller Grove’s boys team, the classification’s five-time defending state champion, opens its region schedule against M.L. King on Tuesday. The Wolverines …

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Top four ranked teams make it to final four

There may have been a minor upset or two along the way, but the Class AAAAA playoffs have gone according to form in that the top four teams in the final regular-season poll are the four teams still standing for next weekend’s semifinals.

Top-ranked Tucker reached the semifinals for the fifth time in seven years with a 29-0 victory over Ware County. No. 2 Kell set a school record for victories in a season and advanced to the first semifinal in the program’s 11-year history by knocking off Warner Robins 52-28. No. 3 Gainesville is one step closer to defending its 2012 state title after beating Mundy’s Mill 42-28. And No. 4 Creekside advanced to the semifinals for the first time since 2000 by beating North Paulding 41-14. All four were region champions.

Tucker, Kell and Creekside are 13-0. The only other classification with three undefeated semifinalists is the Class A private-school bracket, where Aquinas and Mount Pisgah Christian are 12-0 and Eagle’s Landing Christian …

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Mundy’s Mill Smith, Kell’s Rosendahl quietly getting the job done

Here’s what to look for this weekend in each of the Class AAAAA quarterfinals:

- While Gainesville quarterback Deshaun Watson has gotten a lot of attention for his record-breaking career passing yardage, Mundy’s Mill running back Rodney Smith has been putting up huge numbers as well, even if they have been a bit more under the radar. Smith ran for 266 yards and four touchdowns in the Tigers’ 41-35 victory over Lee County last week. He has 613 yards and eight TDs in two playoff games, which were the first postseason victories in the school’s 11-year history. Smith returned this season after suffering a torn ACL last year. Region 4 runner-up Mundy’s Mill is the only remaining team in Class AAAAA that is not a No. 1 seed.

- Another player who has been a bit overlooked is Kell quarterback Cameron Rosendahl. In four games since taking over as the starter after an injury sidelined Matthew McGuigan, Rosendahl has completed 68 percent of his passes (52-for-76) for 556 yards …

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Mundy’s Mill joins seven No. 1 seeds in AAAAA quarterfinals

Seven of the eight region champions advanced to the quarterfinals of the Class AAAAA playoffs with second-round victories on Friday.

The only No. 1 seed that failed to win in the second round was Region 1 champion Lee County, which lost to Region 4 runner-up Mundy’s Mill 41-35. The Tigers have won a school-record eight consecutive games since starting the season 0-4 against Class AAAAAA teams Coffee and Lovejoy and AAAAA playoff teams McIntosh and Whitewater. Mundy’s Mill picked up the first playoff victory in the program’s 11-year history when it beat Houston County in the first round.

The No. 1 seeds that will play in the quarterfinals next weekend are Warner Robins (R2), Ware County (R3), Creekside (R4), North Paulding (R5), Tucker (R6), Kell (R7) and defending state champion Gainesville (R8). Of those, only Gainesville, Ware County and Tucker reached the final eight last year.

Here are some of the other items of note from Friday’s second-round playoff games:

- …

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5-AAAAA, 6-AAAAA battle for region supremacy

Here’s what to look for this weekend in the second round of the Class AAAAA playoffs:

- For the second consecutive season, the only two regions to win three games in the first round were 5-AAAAA (North Paulding, South Paulding, East Paulding) and 6-AAAAA (Tucker, Mays, Stephenson). In 2012, the remaining six teams from those regions went head to head in the second round, with Region 5 taking two of the three matchups. There will be two second-round games between the regions this year when Stephenson faces North Paulding and East Paulding takes on Tucker. South Paulding from Region 5 will face defending state champion Gainesville and Mays from Region 6 will play Kell in the other games.

- Last year, a Harris County team that had never won a playoff game and started the 2012 season 0-4 was the surprise team of the playoffs, advancing to the quarterfinals before losing to Gainesville. This year’s under-the-radar team appears to be Richmond Hill. The Wildcats are 10-1, …

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Miller Grove takes aim at sixth straight boys basketball title

Any discussion of the top teams in Class AAAAA boys basketball begins and ends with Miller Grove.

The Wolverines have won five consecutive championships in the state’s second-highest classification, and they have enough returning talent and a challenging schedule that should have them in position to win a sixth straight this season.

The leading returnee is senior Keith Pinckney. The 6-foot-2 junior guard averaged 14.5 points, 4.3 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 2.8 steals last season, when he was named second-team all-state. He scored 14 points in the state championship game. Pinckney was scheduled to sign with Tulane University on Tuesday.

Also look for sophomore guard Alterique Gilbert and senior forward James Walker to have big years. Gilbert led DeKalb County in steals (3.3 per game) and 3-point field goal percentage (.569) last year and was fifth in assists (4.7). Walker was fifth in the county in rebounds with 9.5 per game.

The Wolverines will have to replace two key players …

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Region 6 shows its strength with three first-round wins vs. Region 8

Some of the most highly anticipated matchups in the first round of the Class AAAAA playoffs were the four games between Region 6 and Region 8. It turned out to be a great night for Region 6.

Top-ranked and No. 1 seed Tucker, second-seeded Mays and No. 3 seed Stephenson advanced to the second round and gave the region a 3-1 record, one of only two regions in AAAAA to win three first-round games on Friday.

Tucker got off to a bit of a slow start but broke open a close game with a 21-point second half and beat Heritage-Conyers 31-14. Mays scored the game-winning touchdown in the fourth quarter and made a goal-line stand in the final minute to beat Clarke Central 14-10. And Stephenson beat Flowery Branch 27-7 in a bit of a surprise, if only because of the margin of victory. Flowery Branch had put up 524 yards of total offense against Gainesville in the regular-season finale but was held to 182 by Stephenson.

The only victory for Region 8 came from defending state champion …

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Bragging rights at stake when Region 6 meets Region 8

Here’s what to look for this weekend in the first round of the Class AAAAA playoffs:

- The best matchup of regions in the first round is the one between 6-AAAAA and 8-AAAAA. Defending state champion Gainesville (R8) faces an M.L. King (R6) team that went 11-1 and reached the second round last year. Top-ranked Tucker (R6) meets a Heritage-Conyers (R8) team making a school-record fourth consecutive playoff appearance. Stephenson (R6) and its opponent, Flowery Branch (R8), both spent time in the top 10 this season. And Clarke Central (R8) and Mays (R6) will be meeting in the playoffs for the third time in five seasons.

- The health of Thomas County Central quarterback Adam Choice will be a big factor in the Yellow Jackets’ game at Richmond Hill. Choice ran for 258 yards and broke the school record for career rushing yards in a loss to Harris County last week but left the game in the third quarter with a shoulder injury, and his availability for this week remains uncertain. If …

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DeKalb County poised to dominate in girls basketball (again)

DeKalb County has dominated girls basketball lately in the state’s second-largest classification, winning eight championships in the past 10 years.

Last season, Southwest DeKalb and Miller Grove played an all-DeKalb state final for the second consecutive season. Miller Grove won the three regular-season meetings, but Southwest DeKalb won in the region championship game and the state final to claim its fourth title in six years. In 2012, Miller Grove won to complete a boys/girls sweep of the championships.

The county’s dominance goes back to 2004, when St. Pius claimed its first of three titles in four seasons. During the 10-season run, DeKalb’s championships have come from St. Pius (2004, 2006, 2007), Southwest DeKalb (2008, 2009, 2010, 2013) and Miller Grove (2012). Only Etowah in 2005 and Fayette County in 2011 have taken the championship away from DeKalb.

Look for this year to be no different. In a preseason poll produced by Score Atlanta last week, four of the top …

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Tucker, Gainesville escape with region championships

Here are some of the items of note from Friday’s Class AAAAA games:

- Elijah Sullivan scored the go-ahead touchdown late in the third quarter and Dominick Sanders had two fourth-quarter interceptions to preserve Tucker’s 16-11 victory over Mays that clinched the Region 6-AAAAA championship, the Tigers’ eighth region title in 13 years. Mays failed in its attempt to win its first region title since 2003, but the second-seeded Raiders will get their first home playoff game since 2007 next weekend when they host Clarke Central. Mays lost at Clarke Central in the first round in 2009 and 2010.

- Gainesville’s Deshaun Watson had perhaps his best all-around performance of the season in the Red Elephants’ 55-45 victory against Flowery Branch that clinched the Region 8-AAAAA championship. The senior quarterback, who is the state’s all-time leader in passing yardage, threw for 245 yards and four touchdowns and rushed for 201 yards and two scores, according to the Gainesville …

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Flowery Branch-Gainesville and Tucker-Mays to determine region champions

Here’s what to look for this weekend in Class AAAAA:

- Two regions will determine their championships with head-to-head meetings of the two leaders. One is 8-AAAAA, where rivals Flowery Branch and Gainesville are both undefeated in region play. Flowery Branch won 35-34 last year by stopping a late two-point conversion attempt, but Gainesville recovered to win the state championship. The other is 6-AAAAA, where Mays’ upset of Stephenson last week set up a showdown with top-ranked Tucker for the title. Mays won its only region championship in 2003.

- Creekside and Kell enter the weekend with 9-0 records and top-five rankings, but they’ll miss the playoffs if they don’t beat teams with losing records in the regular-season finales. That’s because they play in subdivided regions that hold winner-take-all play-in games that determine the state playoff representatives. Creekside faces Ola (2-7) in a 4-AAAAA, while Kell takes on Cambridge (3-6) in 7-AAAAA. Creekside and Kell …

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Playoff scenarios heading into final weekend of regular season

Here are the playoff scenarios for each region heading into the final weekend of the regular season.

*Region 1: Thomas County Central, Lee County, Harris County and Bainbridge have clinched the four playoff berths. Thomas County Central (8-1, 4-0) will be the champion with a victory over Harris County (7-2, 3-1) or by holding Harris to fewer than 30 points. In the event of a three-way tie with Lee County (8-1, 3-1), points allowed in the three games between those teams will be the tiebreaker. Thomas Central has allowed 14. Harris has allowed 44. Lee has hallowed 52.

*Region 2: Warner Robins, Northside of Warner Robins and Houston County have clinched playoff berths, and Lakeside of Evans is likely to get the other one. Evans could take Lakeside’s spot, but only if it upsets Northside and Lakeside loses to Warner Robins. Warner Robins will be the champion if it beats Lakeside. If Warner Robins loses, Northside will be the champion with a victory.

*Region 3: Ware County, …

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Warner Robins in position to win first region title since 2004

Here are some of the items of note from Friday’s Class AAAAA games:

- Warner Robins put itself in position to win its first region title since 2004 with a 28-18 upset of second-ranked Northside-Warner Robins. The Demons can clinch the championship with a victory at Lakeside-Evans next weekend. Northside still has a shot at the title, but the Eagles must beat Evans in the finale and hope Warner Robins loses. It’s still possible, although unlikely, that the two Warner Robins schools could finish in a four-way tie for first place with Lakeside and Houston County.

- Gainesville avenged a 2012 upset loss to Loganville with a 63-0 victory to set up a showdown with rival Flowery Branch for the Region 8-AAAAA championship next weekend. Defending region champion Flowery Branch and defending state champ Gainesville are undefeated in region play. The winner will earn the title, while the loser will settle for second place. Clarke Central and Heritage-Conyers have clinched the No. 3 …

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