The opening round of the Class AA state playoffs began on Friday, and already there's been one thrilling game. As predicted, the Fitzgerald Purple Hurricane at the Toombs County Bulldogs game was the best of Round 1 — at least so far — with the Bulldogs rallying for a 34-31 win.
The Bulldogs won their first playoff game since 2008 and advance to the second round for just the second time since 2000. They'll travel to No. 3 Screven County next week, which won its opening-round game 42-7 over Washington County.
Toombs County trailed five different times, including 24-14 in the second half. ToombsNow has the game coverage.
The first round isn't over, however. The Saturday slate features Jeff Davis (5-4) at No. 4 Thomasville (10-0), Southwest-Macon (5-4) at No. 10 Jefferson County (9-1) and Temple (6-4) at B.E.S.T. Academy (5-5).
So far, nothing out of the ordinary has taken place as the higher seed has won in all cases. Aside from the Fitzgerald-Toombs County nailbiter, all other games featured double-digit winners to the tune of at least three-score margins. There were also three shutouts.
(For the GHSA’s most updated AA bracket, go here.)
We'll start with the shutouts:
- The No. 2 Hapeville Charter Hornets beat Spencer 24-0. That's their fifth shutout of the season and fourth in their last five games. Since giving up 21 points to Thompson (Alabama) in a one-point loss on Aug. 25, they've given up an average of just 2 points a game.
- Pepperell rolled to a 57-0 win over Banks County. The Dragons, a No. 2 seed from Region 7, produced the largest margin of victory of any AA team on Friday. It was the fourth shutout for the Dragons this season and second in the last three games. Tommy Romanach has the game story for the Rome News-Tribune .
- Dublin pounced on Harlem for a 42-0 win as the No. 2 seed from Region 3. The Fighting Irish have one other shutout on the season, a 53-0 win over East Laurens on Sept. 22. It was Dublin's first postseason win since 2011. WGXA has the highlights.
The other blowouts:
- Top-ranked Benedictine beat Berrien 56-14 for their 26th win in a row. Dennis Knight has the game story for the Savannah Morning News.
- The No. 3 Screven County Gamecocks beat Washington County 42-7. Luke Martin has the game story for the Statesboro Herald .
- No. 5 Rabun County beat Chattooga 49-6 . AccessWDUN has the game recap.
- The No. 6 Brooks County Trojans beat Vidalia 39-7. Shane Thomas has the game story for the Valdosta Daily Times.
- The No. 7 Dodge County Indians beat Butler 44-8. The Indians held the shutout until the fourth quarter, when the Bulldogs scored a touchdown and converted the 2-points after, according to a box score found on MaxPreps .
- The No. 8 Heard County Braves beat South Atlanta 42-3. The game was a rematch of their season opener, which the Braves won 42-16. Nick Simon has gave coverage for the Times-Georgian.
- No. 9 Callaway beat Douglass 28-8. DJ Atkins' 9-yard score put the Cavaliers up 28-0 late in the third quarter in a game they never trailed, according to Kevin Eckleberry of the LaGrange Daily News.
- Rockmart beat Monticello 47-7, eliminating a Hurricanes team that won just two games. A quote from Yellow Jackets coach Biff Parson can be found in the Rome News-Tribune' s roundup.
- Elbert County beat Coosa 41-7. The Rome News-Tribune 's roundup summarizes the game.
- The No. 1 seeds are living up their billing, outscoring the competition 304-45 with with Thomasville yet to play.
- For the second year in a row, Hapeville Charter has opened postseason play with a shutout. Last year, the Hornets beat Monticello 42-0 in their first-ever playoff game.
- On Saturday, another Region 6 team — B.E.S.T. Academy — will seek its first playoff win. The Eagles host Temple.
- Check back on Tuesday for a breakdown of Round 1 results vs. my predictions .
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