Gwinnett County has seen its eight Class AAAAA playoff teams cut to two over the first two weeks of the postseason, and the four teams from Region 1-AAAAA have been whittled to one. Mathematics would tell you that that's about right, but it's not the kind of results they've come to expect in those two parts of the state.
Gwinnett County teams have won five state championships in AAAAA since the classification was created in 2000. Only two Gwinnett teams still have a shot this year after North Gwinnett and defending state champion Brookwood were eliminated last week. That leaves Dacula and Grayson to fight on for the county (besides Buford, which is the heavy favorite in AA).
Region 1-AAAAA has claimed three championships since 2000. All three were won by Lowndes, which was knocked off by Grayson last week, leaving only Colquitt County to represent the region.
Expect Gwinnett's numbers to get cut in half again this week. Grayson will advance to the semifinals with a
Here's a look at the four matchups that will determine the Class AAAA semifinalists:
*The potential shootout: Tucker and Flowery Branch bring the two highest-scoring offenses in Class AAAA into their matchup on Friday at Adams Stadium. Tucker comes into the game averaging 47.6 points and has scored 37 or more points in 10 consecutive games. The Tigers scored 200 points in a three-game stretch early in the season (77-33 vs. Carver-Atlanta, 63-6 vs. Chamblee and 60-8 vs. Douglass). Flowery Branch averages 45.8 points and has scored 51 points or more five times this season. The Falcons even had 35 points in their loss, 38-35 against Clarke Central in the regular-season finale.
*The defensive battle: Expect a low-scoring game when Ware County takes on Region 4-AAAA champion Lovejoy at Twelve Oaks Stadium. Lovejoy has the top-ranked defense in Class AAAA, allowing an average of 3.8 points per game, and scored the game-winning points on a 39-yard fumble return by Eugene Fuller in
ML King QB Jonquel Dawson (No. 5) with coach Mike Carson and UGA-bound WR Blake Tibbs (AJC)
ML King quarterback Jonquel Dawson will try to move into second place all-time in career touchdown passes when the Lions (12-0) play Lassiter (9-3) at 7:30 p.m. Friday in the Class AAAAA quarterfinals.
The playoff game will be broadcast live on WSB-TV's digital channel 2.2, several cable channels (Comcast channel 248 and Charter channel 126), and on www.wsbtv.com.
The 5-foot-10, 185-pound King is currently tied for second place with 92 career touchdown passes with two others Charlton Countys Jeremy Privett and Amercus Cedric Johnson. The leader is Nick Marshall of Wilcox County with 103. Dawson has the most career touchdown passes ever for a player in the highest classification.
“Jonquel is a super talent,” ML King coach Mike Carson said. “He may be a little undersized to some college scouts, but he has a big-time arm. The kid continues to make plays. He made some great
Appling County faces the longest odds when it comes to winning the Class AA championship. It will have to survive a trip to No. 2-ranked Calhoun for the semifinals and then defeat either No. 4 Carver or No. 1 Buford in the championship game.
But none of that really matters today, as the Pirates can take a deep breath and enjoy a little time in front of the television. They played perhaps their guttiest game of the year just to reach the semifinals for the first time since 1999. Appling endured four overtime periods before coach J.T. Pollock's club was finally able to put away Region 4 champion Lamar County 35-33. It was the second consecutive road victory for Appling County (12-1), the only unranked team remaining in the AA playoffs.
The Appling County-Lamar County game will go down as a classic, as more than 3,000 fans packed Trojan Field in Barnesville, many of them driving in from Baxley for the quarterfinal game.
The teams fought to a 7-7 draw after four quarters.
I dont have the details of every quarterfinal from Friday, but here are some thoughts on what we do know
Colquitt County 32, Camden County 31 In the past three seasons under Rush Propst, Colquitt has won at North Gwinnett, at Hallford Stadium twice (against Stephenson, M.L. King), at Lassiter (against Hutson Mason), at Grayson and now at Camden County, all in the playoffs. Propst is the first coach to win eight playoff games in three seasons in the highest class, probably in any class. Pretty remarkable. Hes 8-1 in road playoff games at Colquitt. (Should I point out that Propst is 0-2 in McConnell-Talbert Stadium, or do I let ENR do that? Ill wait for ENR.)
Grayson 33, West Forsyth 7 Grayson is in the semifinals for the third time in five seasons. Grayson has done no worse than reach the quarterfinals for five straight seasons. Grayson and Colquitt now meet in a rematch of last seasons semifinal, which Colquitt won 31-24. It will be at Grayson, again.
Colquitt Co. 32, Camden Co. 31
Grayson 33, West Forsyth 7
Lassiter 24, M.L. King 14
Walton 21, Dacula 13
Next weekend's semifinals
Colquitt Co. (11-2) vs. Grayson (13-0)*
Lassiter (10-3) at Walton (13-0)
8 p.m. Dec. 10 (Georgia Dome)
Warner Robins 20, East Paulding 10
Lovejoy 14, Ware Co. 0
Tucker 42, Flowery Branch 34
Northside-Warner Robins 36, Tri-Cities 8
Next weekend's semifinals
Warner Robins (11-2) at Lovejoy (13-0)
Tucker (13-0) vs. Northside-Warner Robins (13-0)*
8 p.m. Dec. 9 (Georgia Dome)
Burke Co. 32, Allatoona 28
Gainesville 35,Sandy Creek 21
Peach Co. 19, Carrollton 15
Cairo 21, St. Pius 0
Next weekend's semifinals
Burke Co. (12-1) vs. Gainesville (12-1)*
Peach Co. (12-1) vs. Cairo (11-2)*
4 p.m. Dec. 10 (Georgia Dome)
Calhoun 42, Dublin 7
Appling Co. 35, Lamar Co. 33