The Drive to the GHSA State Title continues this weekend in what is sure to be thrilling Friday night of Quarterfinal action. Score Atlanta will be live from Bogart, Ga. as Prince Avenue Christian hosts five-time defending state champion Eagle’s Landing Christian in one of the most anticipated playoff games of the year. That game will be broadcasted on PeachtreeTV and updates from around the state will be provided to keep fans and viewers up to speed on all the state playoff developments.
At the top left of the bracket, No. 4 Lowndes will visit No. 7 Milton. Lowndes is looking for a third-straight semifinal appearance. Milton—which completed the first undefeated regular season in school history—is looking to return to the semifinals for the first time since the Eagles’ championship run in 2018. During that playoff run, Milton scored a 28-17 win over the Vikings in the semifinals in what marked the first-ever meeting between the schools. The bottom left of the bracket stages Parkview at No. 6 Collins Hill for a Gwinnett County classic. Parkview is looking to reach back-to-back semifinals, while Collins Hill will look to reach its first semifinal since 2001. Parkview holds a 5-2 all-time lead in the series. The top right of the bracket will see a battle of unbeatens between No. 2 Colquitt County (9-0) and host No. 3 Norcross (12-0). These teams last met in back-to-back semifinals in 2012-13 when Norcross went on to claim consecutive state titles. Colquitt County is looking to reach its 10th semifinals in the past 12 seasons. At the bottom right of the bracket, Region 6 champion West Forsyth (9-3) will visit No. 1 ranked Grayson (11-0). West Forsyth is looking for its first-ever semifinals against a Rams team that is playing in its third-straight quarterfinals. Grayson has outscored Tift County and Harrison a combined 73-6 this postseason, while West Forsyth is coming off a thrilling 17-16 win over North Gwinnett.
Four first-ever matchups await the Class 6A quarterfinal field. At the top left of the bracket, No. 10 Carrollton will host No. 6 Valdosta. Carrollton has lost in four-straight quarterfinals and Valdosta has been eliminated in two-straight quarterfinals. At the bottom of the bracket, No. 7 Hughes will visit No. 2 Buford in what will mark the Panthers’ first-ever quarterfinal contest. Buford will look to return to the semifinals after last year’s run to the Class 5A state crown. Across the bracket, River Ridge—which won its first-ever playoff win this year—will look to continue making history against No. 1 ranked Lee County. Finally, No. 4 Allatoona is set to visit No. 3 Westlake in another premiere matchup. Allatoona reached last year’s championship and Westlake will look to reach the semifinals for the second time in school history after making a run to the 2016 Final Four.
The Class 5A quarterfinals will also stage four first-ever matchups. At the top left of the bracket, No. 4 Cartersville will visit No. 3 Ware County. Cartersville is in its sixth quarterfinals in the past seven seasons and Ware County is making its seventh quarterfinals appearance since 2010. Down at the bottom left, No. 5 Coffee will visit No. 7 Calhoun. Coffee is in its fifth-straight quarterfinals and Calhoun is looking to win its fourth-state title since 2011. Across the bracket, No. 2 Warner Robins visits No. 1 Blessed Trinity. Warner Robins has lost in three-straight finals before this postseason and Blessed Trinity is the three-time defending Class 4A state champion. At the bottom right of the bracket, No. 10 ranked Jones County will host Eastside. The Greyhounds are looking to reach back-to-back semifinals, while Eastside looks for its first Final Four appearance since 2009.
The quarterfinals in Class 4A feature storylines that are unique to any other classification in the state. For starters, only Class 4A has all eight of its No. 1 seeds represented in the quarterfinals. Additionally, all four matchups are going to be first-ever meetings between programs. This has been a trend throughout this postseason and we have now seen 21 of the 28 playoff games this year feature first-ever meetings between schools inside the classification. Beyond the parody that this newly assembled classification has manifest this postseason, there is also a level of dominance that is a testament to how talented the remaining eight programs have been. This group of quarterfinalists has lost just one game inside of the classification this season. That was Riverdale’s 35-28 loss to Mays back on Sept. 12. Additionally, this year’s quarterfinalists have averaged 38.8 ppg on offense while allowing just 6.8 ppg this postseason—resulting in a 31.9 average margin of victory through the first two rounds. Riverdale is making its first quarterfinals appearance since 1988 and carries a six-game winning streak into its trip to No. 4 ranked Benedictine. On the bottom left of the bracket, No. 3 Carver at No. 2 Jefferson will see both teams put their perfect records on the line Friday night. Jefferson has outscored its two playoff opponents 100-0 and Carver has scored a 34-3 advantage through the first two rounds. Across the bracket, No. 6 Bainbridge will visit No. 7 Cedartown. Cedartown’s first-round round opponent (Arabia Mountain) forfeited the game and the Bulldogs returned to the field this past week in a 56-0 blowout over a talented North Oconee team. In the victory, Cedartown accounted for 486 rushing yards and seven touchdowns. No. 6 ranked Bainbridge has also made it to the quarterfinals without allowing a single point. The Bearcats scored a 42-0 win over Westside-Macon in the opening round and then took out Islands 43-0 last weekend. Finally, No. 1 Marist will visit Region 4 champion Perry. Only one team (Mays) has been able to cross the endzone against No. 1 ranked Marist this season and the War Eagles have defeated its playoff competition Central-Carroll (49-0) and Flowery Branch (24-0) by a combined 73-0. Overall, Marist is scoring 37.1 ppg offensively this season while allowing just 2.7 ppg. No. 8 ranked Perry enters the matchup with a 6-game winning streak and has been impressive this postseason with sizeable victories over Westover (30-14) and LaGrange (34-4).
The quarterfinals in Class 3A feature four of the best games the class has seen all season. Three of the four matchups – Appling at GAC, Peach at Oconee County and Carver-Atlanta at Pierce County — are first meetings. Two-time defending champion and top-ranked Cedar Grove will travel to No. 4 Crisp County for a rematch of last season’s title game which Cedar Grove won 21-14 in the teams’ second meeting. In the top-left quadrant, No. 7 Appling County will travel to No. 6 Greater Atlanta Christian. GAC is coming off a 33-0 victory over North Hall and Appling beat Upson-Lee 61-7 last week. Appling leads the class in scoring (44.2 ppg) is averaging 314 rushing yards per game. GAC is led by quarterback Deymon Fleming Jr. who is 121-of-205 passing for 1,651 yards and 20 touchdowns. In the bottom-left quadrant, No. 3 Peach County will travel to No. 2 Oconee County and both programs are high-scoring and firing on all cylinders. Oconee is coming off a 42-7 victory over Dawson County and Peach beat No. 10 Thomson 59-7 in the second round. Oconee County is the 4A runner-up after losing to Blessed Trinity in the championship game last season. Peach County exited in the quarterfinals last season after a 36-3 loss to eventual champion Cedar Grove. Carver-Atlanta is the lone unranked program left in the playoffs after dropping down from 5A last season and the Panthers will travel to Pierce County with hopes for Carver’s first semifinal berth since 2017 and second semifinal berth since 1968 under head coach Clarence Fisher. Pierce County has been to the quarterfinals four times since 2013 and semifinals once in 2018. In the bottom-right quadrant, Crisp County will play host to Cedar Grove after losing to the Saints at Georgia State Stadium last season, just 13 miles from the Cedar Grove campus in Ellenwood. This time, Crisp welcomes the Saints at the Cougar Den in Cordele and will be Cedar Grove’s biggest test of the season. The Saints are lucky to be alive after surviving a triple-overtime game against No. 8 Rockmart 30-27 last week. Crisp County has not allowed a point in the playoffs and Cedar Grove gave up 12 points to Monroe Area in the first round before squeaking past Rockmart.
The quarterfinals in Class 2A feature four first-time meetings and two games between ranked programs – No. 1 Fitzgerald at No. 7 Fannin County and No. 4 Thomasville at No. 9 Callaway. Two games – Bleckley County at No. 2 Rabun County and Bremen at No. 6 Jefferson County – feature unranked programs. In the top-left quadrant, Thomasville is looking for its second consecutive semifinal berth. Callaway has been to the semifinals three of the past four years – 2016, 2018 and 2019. In the bottom-left quadrant, Bleckley County is the only No. 4 seed (Region 3) left in the playoffs and will try for an upset of No. 2 Rabun County. Bleckley has never been past the quarterfinals and only been there once, 2006. Rabun County has been to at least the quarterfinals for six consecutive seasons and exited in that round each year except 2017 when it lost in the title game. In the top-right quadrant, No. 1 Fitzgerald will travel to No. 7 Fannin County to try to advance to the semifinals for the second time in three years. Since 2000, Fitzgerald has been to at least the quarterfinals 13 times including three championship game appearances – 2000, 2015 and 2016. Fannin County hasn’t been to the quarterfinals since 1995 and have never advanced past that round. In the bottom-right quadrant, unranked Bremen will travel to No. 6 Jefferson County after beating South Atlanta 42-6 in the second round. Jefferson County is coming off a 42-29 victory over Jeff Davis. Bremen has not been to the quarterfinals since 2011 and has not been past that round since a semifinal exit in 1983. Jefferson County has only been to the quarterfinals four times – 2009, 2015, 2018 and this season – and advanced past it once – 2015 – when it lost in the semifinals.
Class A Public
In the top-right quadrant, unranked Lincoln County – the No. 3 seed from Region 8 – will host No. 8 Clinch County – the No. 3 seed from Region 2. Since 2015, Clinch has won three state titles – 2015, 2017 and 2018. The Panthers are coming off a 14-6 victory over No. 7 Pelham. Lincoln County is coming off a 28-6 victory over Hancock Central and has not been past the quarterfinals since 2012 when it exited in the semifinals. In the top-left quadrant, No. 1 Metter will host unranked Warren County. Metter is lucky to be alive after a 20-19 victory over Region 2 No. 4 seed Turner County in the first round. The Tigers beat Mitchell County 49-7 to earn its quarterfinal berth. Warren County beat Mount Zion 60-14 in the first round and No. 6 Macon County 56-26 in the second round. Metter has not been past the quarterfinals since 2002 when it lost in the semifinals. Warren County lost in the quarterfinals last season and has not been past that round since 1970 when it lost in the title game. In the bottom-left quadrant, No. 2 Commerce will host defending champion and fifth-ranked Irwin County. Since 2014, the Indians have been to the title game five times – 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018 and last year’s victory. Commerce has not been past the quarterfinals since 2014 and 2015 when it lost in the semis. In the bottom-right quadrant, No. 4 Brooks County, the state runners-up last season, is coming off a 41-7 victory over No. 3 Dublin will host No. 9 Washington-Wilkes. Head coach Maurice Freeman coached Brooks to a state title in 1994, his first season leading Brooks County. He coached until 1997 before leaving to coach at Southwest and Brunswick before returning to Brooks County in 2008. Since losing in the 2005 title game, Washington-Wilkes has not been back to the quarterfinals. The Tigers are coming off victories over Taylor County 41-187 and Bowdon 34-17.
Class A Private
The best game in the class is hands down top-ranked Prince Avenue Christian hosting No. 2 Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy, the five-time defending champions. Leading the Prince Avenue offense is five-star quarterback Brock Vandagriff. The UGA-commit is in the final chapter of one of the most phenomenal varsity careers that the state has ever witnessed. ELCA got to see just how talented Vandagriff is in last year’s playoff meeting, where he threw for a career-high 525 yards and six touchdowns—only to come up short 62-57. This season, Vandagriff has passed for 3,342 yards and a career-high 40 touchdowns. He has also showcased his tough rushing ability and is tied with Landon Owens with his team-high 13 rushing touchdowns this season. Leading the receiving corps is senior Logan Johnson—who has hauled in 1,004 receiving yards with a team-high 17 touchdowns this season. In last year’s matchup with ELCA, Johnson finished with 13 catches for 244 yards and five touchdowns. ELCA is 5-0 all-time against the Wolverines and is coming off victories over Aquinas 45-17 and Stratford Academy 27-0. ELCA is a run-heavy team, averaging 215 rushing to 88 passing yards per game. Senior quarterback Philip Massengale is 53-of-103 passing for 957 yards and five touchdown and has 128 carries for 654 yards and nine touchdowns. Senior back Josh Rogers has 106 carries for 835 yards and 11 touchdowns. Freshman Brandon Hood has 86 carries for 634 yards and nine touchdowns. Sophomore Jacque Holley and senior Mac Craig each have three touchdowns receptions and Holley has been the most efficient with five receptions for 190 yards. Junior Cameron Sigur has 18 receptions for 199 yards and two touchdowns. Hood and Samuel Allred each have one touchdown reception. In the top-left quadrant, No. 5 Wesleyan will travel to No. 8 Savannah Christian. In the top-right quadrant, No. 9 George Walton will travel to unranked Calvary Day. In the bottom-right quadrant, No. 3 Fellowship Christian will travel to No. 7 Trinity Christian.