Friday's Class AA quarterfinals cut the field from eight to four. Of the four games played, none stand taller than the Callaway at Screven County matchup. The Gamecocks had won the coin toss and privilege to host the game, but were an 18-point underdog according to Maxwell Projections. Nonetheless, they jumped on the Cavaliers early and led most of the way - at times by two scores - and appeared on their way to the upset victory.
But the Cavs dashed those dreams and came through in the clutch with Braylon Sanders capped what was perhaps the game of his life with a 47-yard touchdown reception with 17 seconds remaining, pushing Callaway to the next round for a 35-34 victory.
What a heart-wrenching end to the season for the Gamecocks, who were seconds away from their first semifinals trip since 2002. But it wasn't to be, and now the Cavs will go up against the Benedictine Cadets, who dominated Pepperell, 51-13. Along with Pepperell, Chattooga lost 30-21 to the Hapeville Charter Hornets, which eliminates Region 7 from the tournament.
(Read Lindsey Young's writeup for the Chattanooga Times Free Press' on the Chattooga Hapeville Charter game. Read writeups for the Pepperell-Benedictine game from Dennis Knight of the Savannah Morning News and Tommy Romanach of NorthwestGeorgiaNews.com)
The Hornets will play the Fitzgerald Purple Hurricane, who held Rabun County to a season-low in points scored on the way to a 35-16 victory.
(Read Becky Talyor's writeup on the Rabun County game from the Tifton Gazette.)
All signs still point to the Cadets and Purple Hurricane on a collision course to meet in two weeks at the Georgia Dome, but both the Cavs and Hornets will have a say in how next week plays out.
With all four teams being No. 1 seeds, a coin flip determined home field advantage for next Friday's semifinal games. Callaway will play at Benedictine and Hapeville Charter will travel to Fitzgerald.
We'll revisit the quarterfinals more in depth on Tuesday.
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