The smallest classes in Georgia has its share of good football. Here are notes on how the semifinal teams did in the quarterfinals while also taking a look at their body of work throughout the season.
In 2A Lamar County and Benedictine are undefeated. Lovett’s only lost was to 3A Washington County in overtime to go with an out-of-state win over Alabama 5A playoff team Fort Payne (AL).
Lamar County jumped out 14-0 and then trailed at halftime for the first time this season 17-14. After halftime Lawrence Austin hit Quay Searcy for a touchdown, Seary also returned an interception for a touchdown to open the scoring in the first half while Lance Austin added two fourth quarter touchdowns. Lamar County held on to defeat defending champion Jefferson 35-24. Lance Austin, finished with three touchdowns for Lamar County. Evan Sheriffs passed for two touchdowns (both to Dalton Hill) and Isiah Blake rushed for a touchdown for Jefferson. Lamar County head coach Franklin Stephens won two state title at Tucker in 2008 and 2011. The Trojans will host Benedictine in the semifinals.
Lovett overcame a 13 point deficit but scoring 21 unanswered points in the third quarter to beat Laney 35-33. Grant Haley had three rushing touchdowns and caught a touchdown pass and Willie Candler rushed for a touchdown for Lovett. Horatio Keller rushed for three touchdowns and passed for two touchdowns- both to Andre James, for Laney. Laney was 2-5 on PATs which were the difference in the contest. Lovett will face Brooks County in the semifinals with the site to be determined by a coin flip. Lovett has defeated playoff teams 3A Woodward Academy, 3A St. Pius, 3A Blessed Trinity 4A Marist and 2A Greater Atlanta Christian this season.
Brook County defeated Bowden 42-20. Brooks County will face Lovett in the semifinals with the site to be determined by a coin flip. Lovett is located in the Metro Atlanta are while Brooks County is on the Georgia-Florida border. Brooks County lost to 6A Valdosta, a playoff team, during the regular season.
Benedictine remained undefeated (13-0) rushing for five touchdowns in a 35-14 win over last seasons runner-up Calhoun. Mike Huggins rushed for two touchdowns for Benedictine. Felix Chapman passed for two touchdowns for Calhoun. Benedictine won their fifth playoff game, third this year, in the schools history and will travel to Lamar County in the semifinals. Benedictine is located in the Savannah-area while Lamar County is northwest of Macon.
In 1A Public defending champion ECI has been eliminated.
Charlton County, the nine seed, shutout the number one seed Seminole County 42-0. The Charlton County Indians will travel to face another set of Indians in Irwin County in the semifinals. Charlton’s losses this season have come to 5A Ware County (eliminated in quarterfinals by Tucker), 2A Fitzgerald (eliminated in second round to Benedictine), Clinch County (eliminated in quarterfinals) and Irwin County (semifinalist).
Fourth-seeded Irwin County rushed for over 500 yards getting touchdown runs from Ryan Peterson, Jakyron Young, James Curtis, TJ Wynn and Autuane Merritt in their 56-26 win over Johnson County. Michael Taylor caught three touchdown passes for Johnson County. Irwin County advances to the semifinals for the first time since 1997 and will host Charlton County. Irwin County defeated Charlton County 29-26 at Charlton County during the regular season. Irwin County (10-1-1) tied 2A Fitzgerald and lost to Clinch County in the regular season.
Sixth-seeded Hawkinsville running back JD Burden rushed for nearly 200 yards and scored two rushing touchdowns and Dakota Sloan rushed for a touchdown in their 23-8 victory over Clinch County. Octavious Johnson scored on a rushing touchdown for three-seed Clinch County. Hawkinsville lost to playoff teams 2A Bleckley County (lost to Brooks County in the second round), Dooly County (lost in quarterfinals) and 1A Private Brookstone (lost in first round to Prince Avenue Christian) will travel to Marion County in the semifinals.
Johnny Royal scored on a touchdown run and AJ Wells kicked a field goal with less than a minute remaining to cap two-seeded Marion County’s come-from-behind victory 24-21 over tenth-seeded Dooly County. Dustin Eckert rushed for a touchdown and passed for a touchdown for Marion County. Marion County will host Hawkinsville in the semifinals
In 1A Private the top four seeds advanced and only Calvary Day has suffered a loss this season.
Fifth-seeded Prince Ave jumped out to a 14-0 lead on touchdown runs by Zantravious Shields and Max Moorman against fourth-seeded Calvary Day. From there Calvary Day scored 33 unanswered points to advance with the 33-14 victory. Michael Peterson passed for three touchdowns and Robert Heyward rushed for two touchdowns for Calvary Day. Calvary Day will travel to ECLA in the semifinals.
Top-seeded Eagles Landing Christian Academy (11-0) overcame the loss of their quarterback Dalton Etheridge last week to defeat Darlington 24-10. ELCA was trailing to 3A semifinalist Washington County in the regular season opener before it was suspended due to weather before halftime. Since the game was not a region game it did not have to be completed nor made up therefore it did not count towards either teams record.
Aquinas defeated Mt. Paran 35-32. Liam Welch passed for two touchdowns and rushed for a touchdown. John Morris and Daniel Lindsey added rushing touchdowns for Aquinas. Dorian Walker scored four rushing touchdowns for Mt. Paran.
Undefeated and two-seed Mt. Pisgah defeated Holy Innocents 15-7. Mt. Pisgah will host Aquinas in the semifinals.