Archive for the ‘PlayoffSemifinals’ Category

Norcross 41, Colquitt County 27

By Michael Alpert

For the AJC

Colquitt County ran out of gas Friday night against Norcross.

Perhaps literally.

After driving nearly 2,000 miles from Moultrie for Class AAAAAA playoff wins at McEachern, Newnan and Parkview, the Packers couldn’t speed around Norcross in their fourth consecutive state semifinal and lost 41-27.

Norcross halted Colquitt with the most points against it this season, more than in Valdosta’s 38-36 win over the Packers in Game 8. They used a solid passing game and were opportunistic, employed some methodical marches and solid defense for which they’ve become known.

The undefeated Devils (14-0) took an early two-touchdown lead and never let Colquitt (10-4) closer than within one, upending a Packers team now 13-4 in the playoffs through the last four years, including 11-3 on the road. Dramatically, the Devils extended their winningest season ever, beyond their only quarterfinal against Warner Robins in 2006 and into Saturday’s 8:30 p.m. final against …

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State playoff roundup

By Stephen Black and Sean Conway

Score Atlanta


Ware County 24, Northside-Warner Robins 17 (OT): Host Ware County scored in overtime, then held the visiting Eagles scoreless to advance to the state finals. Northside-Warner Robins scored a touchdown with 20 seconds left of regulation, recovered an onside kick and kicked a field goal with seven seconds remaining to tie the contest. Xavier Tobler then ran four consecutive plays ending with a 1-yard touchdown in overtime for Ware County. Northside-Warner Robins failed to respond with a touchdown in its overtime possession.

Class AA

Calhoun 21, Lamar County 14: Lamar County could not stop the strong ground game of host Calhoun allowing three rushing scores. Running back Alex Urbano scored twice on runs of 18 and two yards for the Yellow Jackets, and quarterback Taylor Lamb added Calhoun’s other rushing score on a 1-yard run. Calhoun rushed for 245 yards including 160 yards on 24 carries by Urbano. Calhoun outgained …

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Lovejoy 63, North Cobb 42

By S. Thomas Coleman
For the AJC

It’s been a somewhat dismal season for Georgia Tech. But fear not, Yellow Jacket fans. Travis Custis is on the way.

The Lovejoy senior was is in full, unrestricted, unadulterated beast mode in Friday night’s semifinal against North Cobb. Custis carried the ball 28 times for 292 yards and five touchdowns to lead the Wildcats (13-1) to a 63-42 win over the Warriors (11-3). It will be the second trip to the finals in as many years for Lovejoy, which fell to Tucker in last season’s AAAA championship game, 22-7.

At the outset, it looked like North Cobb was primed to pull an upset as the Warriors took advantage of Lovejoy turnovers, penalties, and mistakes and built a 21-7 lead early in the second quarter. North Cobb broke a 7-7 tie with two unanswered scores – a 6-yard run by sophomore quarterback Tyler Queen, and a 21-yard run by junior J’Vonte Herrod, following a short punt by Lovejoy.

But Lovejoy responded with a 28-0 run that put …

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Prince Avenue Christian 32, Landmark Christian 22

By Jeff Hood

For the AJC

Bogart – The Class A private school semifinal between Landmark Christian and Prince Avenue figured to be a fast-paced matchup between two high-powered rushing offenses.

Instead, fans gathered at Brad Akins field just outside of Athens Friday night were treated to just the opposite.

In a lengthy contest filled with plenty of long runs, lots of passes and some razzle dazzle, Prince Avenue held off a furious fourth-quarter rally by Landmark before pulling away for a 32-22 victory.

Afterward, Prince Avenue coach Mark Farriba gathered his team at the 3-yard line and pointed to the end zone.

“Men, there is only one left,” Farriba said, while pointing to the goal line. “And that’s the line at the Georgia Dome.”

A year after falling in the semifinals to eventual Class A state champion Savannah Christian, the Wolverines avenged the loss and punched their ticket to play on the grandest stage in high school football next weekend.

“Since I was …

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St. Pius X 31, North Hall 6

It wasn’t easy for St. Pius X head coach Paul Standard to knife his way through the crowd of parents, fans, students and alumni to address them after the Golden Lions beat North Hall 31-6 Friday to reach the class AAA state championship game.

Then again, it hasn’t been easy for SPX to get back to the state finale.

Standard’s message: “The man upstairs is proud.”

You could take that a couple different ways.

Standard first led everyone in the Lord’s Prayer, and then said that he knew the late George B. Maloof – the first head coach decades ago at the DeKalb County Catholic high school, and Standard’s mentor – would’ve loved what happened Friday in the stadium named after him.

Maloof led the Golden Lions to their first two title game appearances, and their only championship in 1968, and his best teams did it with defense. So, too, did the present-day Lions on Friday night.

Senior fullback Ryan Braswell rushed for 131 yards and two touchdowns, but …

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Ridgeland 28, Marist 27

By David Purdum / For the AJC

Rossville — The Ridgeland Panthers are headed to the Georgia Dome for the first time in school history, thanks to a blocked extra point and a trick-play touchdown with 36 seconds to play.

Darrell Bridges hit Shaqualm McCoy on a 24-yard half-back pass, and Marist’s potential game-winning field goal hit the right upright as time expired, giving Ridgeland a thrilling 28-27 win in a Class AAAA state semifinal game Friday.

Bridges, a converted quarterback, threw two touchdown passes and ran for two more, including an 89-yard sprint up the middle that tied the score, 21-21, with 8:21 to play. Bridges finished with 164 yards on the ground and 107 yards passing.

Marist answered with a long scoring drive, converting on a 4th-and-5 and regaining the lead on Myles Willis 26-yard touchdown run with three minutes to play.

Ridgeland’s Sharone Porter blocked the ensuing extra point, though, keeping Marist’s lead at 27-21 with three minutes to play. It …

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Buford 21, Cartersville 10

The Buford defense took a couple of early shots from Cartersville in their Class AAA semifinal but dominated the rest of the way as the visiting Wolves rallied from a 10-0 first-half deficit to beat the Purple Hurricanes 21-10 in the Class AAA semifinals on Friday.

The victory puts Buford (11-3) in the state championship game for the 11th time in 13 seasons. The Wolves will play for the ninth state title in school history at 5:30 p.m. Friday at the Georgia Dome. Cartersville, which was the only remaining undefeated team in Class AAA, finished the season 13-1.

The Wolves held Cartersville to 24 yards of total offense in the second half, intercepted three passes and recorded four sacks. Two of the interceptions set up touchdowns that turned the early deficit into a 14-10 lead.

Buford trailed 10-0 with less than three minutes to play in the first half when Korie Rogers turned the momentum of the game with an interception that gave the Wolves the ball at the Cartersville 16. …

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Sandy Creek 35, Monroe Area 0

Facing a dynamic quarterback/running back combo for the second straight week, Sandy Creek was more than equal to the task.

Stuffing Monroe Area’s Stanton Truitt and Kwan Brooks all night, the No. 1-ranked Patriots (14-0) won 35-0, earning a shot at its third state championship in four years.

Sandy Creek won its 33rd straight home game, rolling up 331 total yards and posted their third shutout.

While Sandy Creek quarterback Cole Garvin was passing for 207 yards and a touchdown, the Patriot defense was holding Monroe Area to 117 total yards.

“We just got after it,” said Sandy Creek defensive lineman Spencer Roberts. “We had good intensity all week.”

Added fellow defensive lineman Chris Williams, “we did a good job containing their quarterback and reading their blocks well.”

Truitt, who came in with 1,388 rushing yards, and Brooks, who had 1,894 on the ground, had multiple defenders in their faces from the outset. Truitt finished with 32 yards on 20 carries and …

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Gainesville 28, Whitewater 14

The Red Elephants earned a trip to the Georgia Dome with a big AAAAA state semifinal win over the Wildcats on the road in Fayette County.

After a missed Whitewater field goal attempt, Gainesville quarterback Deshaun Watson connected with Chastin Newman on a 68-yard pass play to the Wildcats’ 3. The home team’s defense stiffened, but on fourth-and-goal Watson took the ball up the middle for a 2-yard score.

The Red Elephants held the Wildcats on the ensuing drive, taking over on their own 36 after a fourth-down stop on the final play of the first quarter. Watson found Michael Byrd for a 35-yard completion on first down, and later hooked up with Trey Harrison for a 23-yarder on fourth-and-14. That put the ball on the Whitewater 10, and two plays later Byrd scored on a 2-yard run.

Whitewater got on the board by mounting a 70-yard drive, capped off by Kendall Conley’s 28-yard scoring run. Gainesville got another big pass from Watson to Harrison, this time for 44 yards to the …

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ELCA 27, George Walton 14

Two early special teams scores held up as Eagle’s Landing Christian advanced to the Class A private-school finals with a 27-14 victory against visiting George Walton Academy Friday night at Commitment Field in McDonough.

Defensive back Jevious Terry was responsible for both scores, first returning the opening kickoff 90 yards to put ELCA ahead  just seconds into the game. He took in the kickoff along the left sideline and reversed field before being escorted up the right sideline into the end zone.

Later in the first quarter, Terry blocked a field-goal attempt at the 20, then recovered it and sprinted 80 yards for a score, giving ELCA a 13-0 lead. After an interception return by D.J. Curl to George Walton 17, the Chargers went ahead 20-0 behind a 5-yard run from Lane Timpson.

“That’s something we work on all the time,” ELCA head coach Jonathan Gess said. “We spend a whole lot of time on it, and it was the difference.”

George Walton closed the gap in the second …

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Predictions: Norcross will continue to carry the banner for Gwinnett in AAAAAA

History favors the right side of the bracket in Class AAAAAA. That’s the side where Gwinnett County’s Norcross and Region 1’s Colquitt County sit. The last time a team from Gwinnett County or the current 1-AAAAAA did not win at least a share of the title in the highest classification was in 1995, when Quincy Carter led Southwest DeKalb to the championship. Look for Norcross to continue Gwinnett’s quest for three consecutive titles, and expect Lovejoy to be the opponent in the championship game.

If you’ve been participating in the High School Football Pickoff contest, be sure to make your picks this week as each game counts for two points. Next week’s championship games will be worth five points each. Click here to enter your picks for this week.


Last week: 21-7 (.750); Playoffs: 124-40 (.756); Overall: 1,655-364 (.820)



Lovejoy##North Cobb

Norcross##Colquitt Co.



Northside-Warner …

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List: North Cobb breaks 53-year semifinal drought, sets record

It has been more than 40 years since North Cobb and Monroe Area have been in the state semifinals. Here are schools that have gone the most years between making at least the semifinals:

53 – North Cobb (1959, 2012)

52 – Grady (1953, 2005)

*52 – Calhoun (1953, 2005)

43 – Monroe Area (1969, 2012)

42 – Baldwin (1963, 2005)

42 – Chamblee (1965, 2007)

40 – Hawkinsville (1962, 2002)

39 – Camden County (1963, 2002)

38 – St. Pius (1968, 2006)

37 – Jackson (1963, 2000)

36 – Decatur (1967, 2003)

35 – Roswell (1971, 2006)

33 – Cook (1967, 2000)

33 – Elbert County (1962, 1995)

32 – Screven County (1962, 1994)

31 – Laney (1971, 2002)

31 – Rockmart (1957, 1988)

30 – Marist (1949, 1979)

30 – Newnan (1951, 1981)

*When our list ran  in GHSF Daily, we had Calhoun’s drought as the longest (1951-2005). What we didn’t realize  was that Class C sent Calhoun directly to the state  championship games in 1952 and 1953 without a semifinal. Calhoun’s ‘’semifinal” drought is  longer, but North Cobb …

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Coaches since 2000 who took a second school to the semifinals

Ed Dudley of Ware County, Franklin Stephens of Tucker and Amos McCreary of Whitewarter this season achieved the feat of leading a second school to the GHSA semifinals. Sixteen coaches since 2000 have completed that accomplishment. They are:

Bill Ballard (2003 Tucker, 2008 Peachtree Ridge)

Buzz Busby (1991 Kendrick, 2000 Statesboro)

Danny Cronic (1983 LaGrange, 2002 East Coweta)

Robert Davis (1976 Warner Robins, 2000 Westside)

Ed Dudley (2004 Walton, 2012 Ware County)

Mike Earwood (1989 Cartersville, 2000 Starr’s Mill)

Sid Fritts (2003 Vidalia, 2008 Rome)

Jeff Herron (1999 Oconee County, 2002 Camden County)

Amos McCreary (2000 Creekside, 2012 Whitewater)

Bruce Miller (2001 North Forsyth, 2002 Gainesville)

Eric Parker (2002 Laney, 2010 Burke County)

Mike Parris (1995 Forest Park, 2000 Jackson)

Dan Ragle (1996 Americus, 2004 Ware County)

Franklin Stephens (2007 Tucker, 2012 Lamar County)

Rayvan Teague (2000 Swainsboro, 2010 Carrollton)

Frank Vohun (1991 Villa Rica, 2000 …

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Capsules of all 28 semifinal coaches: Eight make the semifinals for the first time

Here is a look at each of the 28 head coaches in the semifinals.

We reported earlier this week that St. Pius has three graduates – all the class of 1980 – represented as head coaches in the semifinals. They are Keith Maloof at Norcross, Paul Standard at St. Pius and Ed Dudley at Ware County.

Here are five more bits of trivia:

*Four of the 28 coaches have experienced 0-10 seasons. They are Gainesville’s Bruce Miller (1991), Buford’s Jess Simpson (1997), North Hall’s Bob Christmas (1997) and Monroe Area’s Matt Fligg (2003, 2008-09).

*Three are in the semifinals with a second school this season. They are Ware County’s Ed Dudley (previously with Walton) and Lamar County’s Franklin Stephens (previously Tucker) and Whitewater’s Amos McCreary (previously Creekside). Jefferson’s T. McFerrin is in the semis with his fifth school.

*Three were students together at Jacksonville State. They are Al Hughes of Lovejoy, Rush Propst of Colquitt County and Amos McCreary of Whitewater. Three …

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Class A: Coaches in semis talk keys to game, other factors

By S. Thomas Coleman
For the AJC

We’re one day away from Semi Final Friday.

No. 5 Dooly County (10-2) at No. 1 Lincoln County (11-1)
No. 3 Emanuel County Institute (11-1) at No. 2 Wilcox County (10-2)

No. 11 George Walton Academy (9-3) at No. 2 Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy (11-1)
No. 10 Landmark Christian School (9-3) at No. 9 Prince Avenue Christian (10-2)

Todd Holcomb and the folks at Georgia High School Football Daily – a free, daily e-mail newsletter that is a must read for Georgia high school football fans of all classifications – have done a solid job previewing the four semi final games in Class A. Go here to check them out:

So here at Class A Blog headquarters, we’ve got a little something extra. It no doubt takes great talent to compete for a state title, but it takes great coaching to sustain that level of …

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