The first round of the Class AAAAAA football playoffs went mostly as expected on Friday as 15 of the 16 teams that were projected to win by the computer Maxwell Ratings took care of business and moved on to the second round.
Even the one favorite that didn’t win, Effingham County, was favored against Stephenson by just five points, the closest “point spread” in the classification. Stephenson won 24-7.
Most of the games weren’t even close – only two were decided by fewer than 17 points.
Here are some of the top stories from the first round in Class AAAAAA:
*No. 1 Valdosta rolls: There must have been something in the air in Valdosta on Friday, as the points were coming fast and furious. The top-ranked Wildcats posted the highest score in Class AAAAAA with a 69-14 victory over Lakeside-Evans, setting a school record for points in a playoff game for a program that’s played in more than a few of them. Across town, Class AAAAAAA Lowndes beat Hillgrove 92-61 in the highest-scoring game in GHSA history. Lowndes led 56-33 at halftime.
*Region sweeps: Valdosta’s victory was part of a first-round sweep for Region 1 against Region 3. Northside-Warner Robins won 52-0 at home against Grovetown, and Lee County (41-0 over Evans) and Coffee (56-24 over Heritage-Conyers) won on the road. Region 5 went 4-0 against Region 7 as Mays, Alexander, Northgate and Hughes advanced. It wasn’t a bad night, either, for Regions 4 and 6, which went 3-1. Tucker, Lovejoy and Stephenson won from Region 4, and the Region 6 winners were Dalton, Harrison and Allatoona. The only two teams remaining from outside those four regions are Region 2 champion Glynn Academy and Region 8 champ Dacula.
*The close ones: Northgate’s Ton Evans scored on a 7-yard run with 1:48 remaining to give the Vikings a 20-16 win at Centennial. Northgate trailed 16-7 in the third quarter before rallying. ... Alexander took the lead for good at 13-7 in the second quarter and held on for a 20-13 victory over Alpharetta. Alexander is in the second round of the state playoffs for the third time in school history.
*Looking ahead: The second round will feature two games between ranked teams – No. 6 Harrison at No. 4 Tucker and No. 8 Lee County at No. 3 Mays – but the most intriguing matchup is probably Allatoona’s game at No. 9 Glynn Academy. It will be a rematch of last year’s Class AAAAA championship game, which Allatoona won 10-6 at the Georgia Dome for its first state title.
Harrison 45, Gainesville 24
Tucker 48, Bradwell Institute 15
Lee County 41, Evans 0
Mays 42, Cambridge 14
Allatoona 28, Lanier 6
Glynn Academy 45, Jonesboro 3
Northside-Warner Robins 52, Grovetown 0
Hughes 34, Johns Creek 10
Stephenson 24, Effingham County 7
Dacula 28, Sequoyah 0
Northgate 20, Centennial 16
Valdosta 69, Lakeside-Evans 14
Lovejoy 48, Richmond Hill 28
Dalton 42, Winder-Barrow 7
Alexander 20, Alpharetta 13
Coffee 56, Heritage-Conyers 24
(R6 #2) Harrison at (R4 #1) Tucker
(R1 #3) Lee County at (R5 #1) Mays
(R6 #3) Allatoona at (R2 #1) Glynn Academy
(R5 #4) Hughes at (R1 #2) Northside-Warner Robins
(R4 #3) Stephenson at (R8 #1) Dacula
(R5 #3) Northgate at (R1 #1) Valdosta
(R4 #2) Lovejoy at (R6 #1) Dalton
(R1 #4) Coffee at (R5 #2) Alexander