Prep Zone

Atlanta high school sports news from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Top 10 games of Round 1


Colquitt County at Pebblebrook

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Falcon Stadium, Mableton

Records, rankings: Colquitt County is 7-3, the No. 3 seed from Region 1-AAAAAAA and No. 8; Pebblebrook is 6-4, the No. 2 seed from 2-AAAAAAA and unranked.

Last meeting: This is the teams' first meeting.

Things to know: Under third-year coach Kevin Saunders, Pebblebrook has clinched its first winning season since 2009 and is hosting its first playoff game since 2006. Beating Colquitt County would be another milestone as Pebblebrook has not beaten a top-10 team since 2003 (Rome). Colquitt has won seven first-round road games since 1996, tied with Westminster for the most of any Georgia school, and hasn't failed to make the second round since 2008. Pebblebrook gets two-thirds of its offense rushing. Tyler Thomas has run for 1,180 yards and 11 touchdowns. Marquis Cooper, a dual-threat quarterback, has passed for 1,110 yards. Pebblebrook is an opportunistic team with a plus-15 turnover margin. DE Tre Pickney has 20.5 sacks. Colquitt has a balanced offense led by Steven Krajewski (1,557 yards passing, 15 touchdowns, only one interception) and Ty Leggett (1,035 yards rushing). Colquitt County ranks 18th in scoring offense (30.6) and 15th in scoring defense (18.9) against the classification's most difficult schedule. Pebblebrook ranks 11th in scoring (33.4) and 14th in scoring defense (18.5) against the 46th schedule.

Winner plays: North Cobb/Walton winner

Marietta at Westlake

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Westlake Stadium, College Park

Records, rankings: Marietta is 6-4, the at-large team and unranked; Westlake is 7-3, the No. 1 seed from Region 2-AAAAAAA and unranked.

Last meeting: This is the teams' first meeting.

Things to know: Marietta started the season 6-1 but went 0-3 down the stretch. The Blue Devils finished in fifth place in Region 3-AAAAAAA but edged out Lassiter for the at-large playoff berth. It is the Blue Devils' first playoff appearance since 2013. Westlake went undefeated in Region 2 for the second consecutive season to win its fourth straight region title and sixth in school history. The Lions reached the semifinals last season. Marietta has played most of the season without star QB Harrison Bailey, who passed for 963 yards and 11 TDs in three games before suffering a broken collarbone. It is possible he could return for this game. If he doesn't play, the Blue Devils will once again turn to Rashun Bass, who has passed for 1,181 yards and 12 TDs. Westlake has won six consecutive games since starting 1-3 against a difficult schedule. The Lions' balanced offense averages 166.4 yards passing and 156.7 rushing. QBs Caleb Dixon (66-of-11, 927 yards, nine TDs) and Jalyn Williams (44-of-90, 737, eight) have passed for 1,664 yards. Darrell Nichols (73-488-4) and Gino Appleberry Jr. (89-483-4) are the leading rushers. Adrian Bryant has 24 receptions for 643 yards and eight TDs.

Winner plays: North Paulding/Woodstock winner

Mountain View at South Forsyth

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, War Eagle Stadium, Cumming

Records, rankings: Mountain View is 8-2, the No. 4 seed from Region 6-AAAAAAA and unranked; South Forsyth is 9-1, the No. 1 seed from 5-AAAAAAA and No. 9.

Last meeting: South Forsyth won 45-14 in 2015.

Things to know: Mountain View is the best No. 4 seed in Class AAAAAAA, according to the computer Maxwell Ratings. Both teams rank in the top 10 of scoring and scoring defense, although both have played schedules that rank in the bottom 10. South Forsyth ranks eighth in scoring offense (36.2) while Mountain View is fifth (39.9). The two are tied for fourth in scoring defense (12.8). South Forsyth averages 219.9 yards rushing, 144.9 passing per game. South Forsyth's players to watch on offense are RB Jared Honey (1,086 rushing yards) and QB Cam Morris (1,186 passing, 380 rushing). Morris has missed two games with injuries. He threw for 208 yards last week in a region-clinching win over West Forsyth. DE Ryan LaFlamme has 17 tackles for losses and eight sacks. Mountain View averages 220.6 yards passing and 165.6 rushing. Malachi Carter has 64 receptions for 1,214 yards and 17 touchdowns. LB Blake Carroll, a three-star recruit, has 21 tackles for losses.

Winner plays: Newton/Parkview winner


Alexander at Harrison

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Bruce Cobleigh Stadium, Kennesaw

Records, rankings: Alexander is 6-4, the No. 4 seed from Region 5-AAAAAA and unranked; Harrison is 7-3, the No. 1 seed from 6-AAAAAA and No. 10.

Last meeting: Harrison won 42-16 in 1999.

Things to know: Alexander is making its school-record fifth consecutive appearance in the state playoffs. Before that streak, the Cougars had not played in the postseason since 1997. Harrison's region title was its first since 2005. The Hoyas ended a six-year playoff drought last year when they finished as a No. 2 seed. Alexander averages 209.3 yards passing and 130.0 rushing. QB Mason Wood has passed for 2,092 yards, and RB Quinton Brown has rushed for 604. Michiah Randolph is the leading receiver with 881 yards, but Jalen Morgan has 620 yards in the past four games, including 228 and two TDs on 13 catches in a 17-16 loss to Douglas County last week. This will be Harrison's third game since losing star QB Justin Fields for the season to a broken finger in a 28-26 victory over Dalton. Sophomore Gavin Hall has filled in admirably (28-of-49, 351 yards with three TDs and three interceptions), but the Hoyas escaped fourth-place Sequoyah 31-24 and lost to fifth-place Creekview 21-19. WR Steven Peterson has 1,000 yards receiving on the season.

Winner plays: Chattahoochee/Winder-Barrow winner

Hughes at Allatoona

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Buccaneer Stadium, Acworth

Records, rankings: Hughes is 7-3, the No. 3 seed from Region 5-AAAAAA and unranked; Allatoona is 7-3, the No. 2 seed from 6-AAAAAA and unranked.

Last meeting: This is the teams' first meeting.

Things to know: Hughes was in fifth place in Region 5-AAAAAA heading into the final weekend of the season. The Panthers had the week off but climbed to the No. 3 seed when Northgate and Alexander lost, creating a three-way tie for third place in which the tiebreaker favored Hughes. Allatoona earned the No. 2 seed with a 38-3 victory over Dalton last weekend. Hughes, opened in 2009, is making its sixth consecutive playoff appearances. Allatoona, opened in 2008, is in for the eighth straight year. Both teams rely on the running game and play good defense. Hughes averages 195.8 yards rushing (98.1 passing) and is led by RB Christian Royalston, who has run for 1,314 yards and 11 touchdowns on 168 carries. He had eight 100-yard games during the regular season. The Panthers have the No. 8 defense in Class AAAAAA, allowing 15.5 points per game. Allatoona averages 156.3 yards rushing (95.4 passing). Adrian Boyd has the most yardage with 557, but the Buccaneers have been led in recent games by Daniel Parsons (106 vs. Sequoyah on Oct. 20) and Lilton Moore Jr. (74 vs. Dalton). Allatoona ranks No. 7 in AAAAAA scoring defense, giving up 14.5 points per game.

Winner plays: Pope/Dacula winner

Northside (Warner Robins) at Brunswick

When, where: 7 p.m. Saturday, Glynn County Stadium, Brunswick

Records, rankings: Northside is 7-3, the No. 3 seed from Region 1-AAAAAA and No. 5; Brunswick is 7-2, the No. 2 seed from 2-AAAAAA and No. 8.

Last meeting: Northside won 38-13 in the second round of the 2006 Class AAAA playoffs.

Things to know: Northside is making its 22nd consecutive appearance in the state playoffs. The Eagles will be on the road in the first round for the first time since 2004 and only the third time during the streak. Brunswick is in the playoffs for the first time since 2014 and just the second time since its school-record streak of six consecutive appearances ended in 2010. Brunswick has scored almost twice as many points as Northside this season (403-204) but also given up about twice as many (200-109). Northside runs the ball 74 percent of the time and averages 161.2 yards rushing and 71.2 passing. The workload in the running game is spread out, primarily among Daniel Neal (79-378-4), Marcus Jolly (64-355-4), Eric Smith (63-270-3) and Jadin Daniels (97-212-5). Daniels is 46-of-95 passing for 437 yards and two TDs. Brunswick is more of a passing team. QB Jamarius Stevens is 131-of-201 for 2,417 yards and 25 touchdowns, including 10 in the past two games. He also has rushed for 312 yards, second on the team to Shaq Robinson (82-543-10). Alonzo Brown (39 catches, 880 yards, seven TDs) and D.J. Whitfield (37-669-6) are the top receivers.

Winner plays: Lakeside-Evans/Tucker winner


Griffin at Jones County

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Greyhound Field, Gray

Records, rankings: Griffin is 9-1, the No. 3 seed from Region 3-AAAAA and No. 9; Jones County is 9-1, the No. 2 seed from 4-AAAAA and No. 5.

Last meeting: Jones County won 21-7 in 2011.

Things to know: This is one of only three first-round games matching ranked teams. Jones County coach Justin Rogers was the offensive coordinator on Griffin's 2013 state-championship team and came to Jones County in 2014. His Greyhounds rank third in Class AAAAA scoring (38.0 per game) and sixth in scoring defense (12.5) against the 15th-rated schedule in the class. In stark contrast to Rogers' first three teams, Jones County now gets two-thirds of its offense rushing. Drake Bolus has rushed for 984 yards and returned four kickoffs for touchdowns. QB Teldrick Ross has rushed for 863 yards and passed for 935. Though he doesn't throw often, Ross is accurate, completing 63 of 96 attempts. MLB Antonio Evans averages 14.4 tackles per game. Griffin, coached by alumnus Antonio Andrews, is 18th in scoring (29.0) and 14th in scoring defense (15.3) against the 37th-toughest schedule. Avious Nelson has passed for 1,608 yards and 21 touchdowns. Shondarius Mayes has 36 catches for 779 yards and nine touchdowns. The leading rusher is Mo King with 622 yards.

Winner plays: Thomas County Central/Wayne County winner

Class AAAA

Troup at Heritage (Ringgold)

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jeff Sims Field, Ringgold

Records, rankings: Troup is 8-2, the No. 3 seed from Region 5-AAAA and No. 10; Heritage is 9-1, the No. 2 seed from 6-AAAA and unranked.

Last meeting: This is the teams' first meeting.

Things to know: Troup is ranked No. 7 and Heritage No. 10 by both the Maxwell Ratings and MaxPreps, while human polls rate each a little lower. Both score plenty of points. Heritage ranks fourth in scoring average (41.4) in Class AAAA. Troup is seventh (38.8). Heritage, playing its 10th season of football, made the playoffs for the first time last season. This year, the team has set a school record for wins and is hosting its first playoff game. Heritage is slightly more of a passing team, led by QB Blake Bryan (1,778 yards, 27 touchdowns) and WR Luke Grant (53 receptions, 960 yards, 15 touchdowns). LB Zaine Burton (6-2, 220) has 30 tackles for losses. Troup is almost exclusively a passing team (331.0 to 99.4 pass-run). Montez Crowe is 165-of-256 passing for a AAAA-best 3,215 yards and 35 touchdowns with 15 interceptions. Jamari Thrash has 45 catches for 1,015 yards receiving. Troup is 1-9 in the first round since making the AAAA quarterfinals in 2003.

Winner plays: West Hall/St. Pius winner

Class AAA

Bremen at Lovett

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Martin E. Kilpatrick Stadium, Atlanta

Records, rankings: Bremen is 9-1, the No. 3 seed from Region 6-AAA and No. 8; Lovett is 6-4, the No. 2 seed from 5-AAA and No. 9.

Last meeting: Lovett won 56-21 in the first round of the 2014 Class AA playoffs.

Things to know: This is one of only three first-round games matching ranked teams. Bremen is having its best season since 2010, when it still played in Class A. Bremen is trying to win a first-round road game for the second straight season. The Blue Devils beat Morgan County, an unranked No. 1 seed, 24-21 last season. Bremen last beat a ranked team in the same classification in 2011 (Marion County). Bremen averages 206 yards rushing and 123 passing per game. Tyran Dobbs has rushed for 1,282 yards and 20 touchdowns. Wade Cartwright is 94-of-153 passing for 1,191 yards. Lovett is ranked despite four losses. Three came against ranked teams, the other to Pace Academy. Lovett's schedule is ranked sixth-toughest in Class AAA by the Maxwell Ratings. Bremen's is 41st. Lovett has become more of a passing team lately with the development of QB Blaine McAllister. He's 95-of-153 for 1,455 yards and 16 touchdowns. Lovett doesn't have a rusher with more than 250 yards.

Winner plays: Jackson County/Greater Atlanta Christian winner

Pace Academy at Calhoun

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Phil Reeve Stadium, Calhoun

Records, rankings: Pace Academy is 5-4, the No. 4 seed from Region 5-AAA and unranked; Calhoun is 9-1, the No. 1 seed from 6-AAA and No. 4.

Last meeting: This is the teams' first meeting.

Things to know: Pace Academy finished tied for second place in 5-AAA with Lovett and Westminster but ended up as the No. 4 seed after the tiebreaker. The Knights' spot in the playoffs wasn't secure until a 13-0 victory over Towers in an elimination game last week. Calhoun was the Region 6-AAA champion, its 17th consecutive region title, which tied a state record. Pace Academy averages 163.2 yards rushing and 99.0 yards passing. Junior RB Keashawn Perryman (127-724-8) has about half of the team's rushing yardage. QB Jared Rayman is 48-of-89 passing for 661 yards and seven TDs. The Knights gave up just 11.6 points per game against seven region opponents, with only top-ranked Cedar Grove (a 28-7 winner) scoring more than 15. Calhoun's offense leans on junior QB Gavin Gray, who is 145-of-235 passing for 2,449 yards and 26 TDs. His top target is junior WR Luke Moseley, who has 33 catches for 622 yards and nine TDs. Zack Fuller has rushed for 825 yards and 14 TDs on 131 carries. LBs Bailey Lester (89 tackles) and Davis Allen (87) lead a defense that allowed more than 16 points in a game only twice this season.

Winner plays: North Hall/Monroe Area winner

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