The middle classes in the Georgia semifinals provide quality match-ups with Class 3A still having a nationally ranked team. Class 4A’s favorite and lone nationally ranked team was eliminated meaning there will be a new champion in this class. Here is a look at how both classes semifinalist got there and what they have done to this point in the season.
In 4A Griffin is the lone unbeaten team and defeated previously unbeaten and class favorite Sandy Creek (11-1-1). Sandy Creek’s only other non-win this season came to Plant (FL). Plant and Sandy Creek tied in the season opener in August and Plant will face Apopka in the Florida Class 8A semifinals. Carrollton, which lost to Sandy Creek in the regular season, defeated Oxford (AL) during the regular season. Oxford was eliminated in the second round of the Alabama 6A playoffs.
Griffin remained undefeated knocking off Sandy Creek 32-26. Turnovers were the story of this game but the Bears came out on top. Jordan Colbert broke the seal on scoring with an 80-yard interception return for a touchdown. Sandy Creek’s Eric Swinney rushed for two touchdowns, Cole Garvin hit Justin Sumpter on a touchdown pass and Lorenzo Broadwater added two field goals for Sandy Creek. In the end it was Griffin and Jacquez Parks. Parks led Griffin on two late touchdown drives in the fourth quarter as Griffin advanced to play Wayne County in the semifinals. Parks hit Christian Owens on a touchdown pass and Telly Sloan scored the go-ahead touchdown on the ground for the Bears. Griffin will host Wayne County in the semifinals. Prior to the Sandy Creek victory, Griffin’s previous biggest win was against Stockbridge (lost in the quarterfinals to Carrollton).
Marist racked up nearly 430 yards rushing ending Burke County’s 11 game home playoff winning streak with the 42-20 victory. Chase Martenson rushed for four touchdowns and Marcus Miller rushed for two touchdowns for Marist. Donquell Green rushed for a touchdown and passed for a touchdown for Burke County in his final game. Marist will host Carrollton in a playoff rematch from last season. Marist losses this season came to 5A Thomas County Central- eliminated in the first round and 2A semifinalist Lovett.
Carrollton won the battle of the Wing-T offenses scoring 17 unanswered points in the second half to defeat Stockbridge 24-14. Will Garrett, Trey Chivers and Jarvis Terrell rushed for touchdowns and Tyler Newsome kicked a field goal for Carrollton. Carrollton finished with 0 yards passing. Javon Brandon rushed for a touchdown and passed for a touchdown for Stockbridge. Carrollton will face Marist in the semifinals. Marist defeated Carrollton in five overtimes in the second round of the playoffs last season. Carrollton’s only loss this season was to Sandy Creek.
Wayne County exploded for 51 points, two shy of their season high, on the strength of Krenwick Sanders three touchdown receptions and a rushing touchdown. Lavontae Larry returned and interception for a touchdown while Anfreenee Jordan and A.J. McGill added rushing touchdowns in the 51-21 victory over Alexander. Wayne County will travel to Griffin in the semifinals. Both of Wayne County’s losses came to 4A Burke County (eliminated in the quarterfinals by Marist).
In 3A Buford and Washington County are the only undefeated teams. Buford is the defending champion.
Callaway (12-1) defeated St. Pius 35-14 and is quietly becoming a team that many my need to take notice in despite Buford’s “lock” on 3A. Tez Parks rushed for two touchdowns, Terry Godwin and Eddie Culpepper added a rushing touchdowns and Dre Martin returned an interception for a touchdown for Callaway. Joey Conners and Nick Ruffin had touchdown runs for St. Pius. Callaway will travel to Buford for the semifinals. Callaway’s loss came to 5A Harris County who lost in the second round of the playoffs to undefeated Creekside.
Buford was able to shake off their slow start to defeat Carver-Columbus 36-6 to advance. Taylor Mitchell, Evan Cooper and Thomas Wilson had rushing touchdowns and Mitchell tossed a touchdown to Tyler Shipman for Buford. Jawon Pass rushed for Carver-Columbus’ only touchdown. Buford won the coin toss and will host Callaway in the semifinals. Hosting the semifinals means Buford will not play a road game in the playoffs as the championship game will be held in the Georgia Dome if they advance past Callaway. Buford has scored 36 or more points in every game this season and has not allowed more than 14 points in a game this season winning every game by 24 or more points. The Wolves defeated 5A Gainesville during the regular season and have scored 60 or more points in four games this season.
Melvin Hill rushed for five touchdown and DJ Sanders had four interceptions as Washington County defeated Blessed Trinity 46-17. Washington County defeated four playoff teams during the regular season, 1A Public ECI (lost to Johnson County in the first round) , 2A Lovett (semifinalist) in overtime, 3A Laney (lost to Lovett in the quarterfinals) and 3A Jefferson County (lost to Carver-Columbus in the second round). Washington County was leading in their season opener against 1A Private semifinalist ECLA before it was suspended due to lightning. Since the contest was a non-region game it did not have to be completed nor made up therefore it did not count towards either teams record.
Ringgold defeated Central-Carrollton 35-10. Ringgold quarterback Slade Dale scored at least two touchdowns and Wesley Long had Central-Carrollton’s only touchdown. Ringgold defeated 4A Dalton (lost in the first round of the playoffs) and lost to playoff teams Central-Carrollton and Carterville during the regular season. They have wins over North Hall and Cedar Grove in the playoffs.