Top 10 games of Round 1

FootballClass AAAAAAA

Mountain View at Grayson

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Grayson Community Stadium, Grayson

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

Last meeting: This is the teams’ first meeting.

Three things to know: 1. Mountain View, opened in 2009, is making its first playoff appearance so probabl isn’t complaining, but the Bears’ draw was not kind. Mountain View was ranked No. 9 in the GSWA poll and was tied for second in the region and beat the No. 2 seed, Peachtree Ridge. Grayson, one victory from its ninth 10-win season in 10 years, defeated its five region opponents by an average score of 50-2. 2. Mountain View QB Matthew Edwards has passed for 2,055 yards and 25 touchdowns. Malachi Carter (58 receptions, 1,012 yards, 11 touchdowns) and Dhante Hill (55-791-10) are the primary receivers. Jason Johnson has rushed for 947 yards in nine games. The Bears’ losses came when the defense gave up 38 and 35 points. 3. Grayson QB Chase Brice, who is committed to Clemson, is 101-of-167 passing for 1,693 yards. He’s one of at least eight Grayson seniors expected to sign with major Division I programs. Others are CB/WR DeAngelo Gibbs (5-star recruit), CB/RB Jamyest Williams (South Carolina), OL Tony Gray (4-star recruit), LB Breon Dixon (4-star), RB Kurt Taylor (Michigan), C Will Taylor (Duke) and DT Ellison Hubbard (3-star).

Winner plays: Woodstock/East Coweta winner

North Gwinnett at South Gwinnett

When, where: 7:30 p.m., Richard Snell Community Stadium, Snellville

Records, rankings: North Gwinnett is 6-4, the No. 3 seed from Region 6-AAAAAAA and unranked; South Gwinnett is 7-3, the No. 2 seed from 8-AAAAAAA and unranked.

Last meeting: North Gwinnett won 24-15 in 2005.

Three things to know: 1. South Gwinnett and North Gwinnett are in the only section of the Class AAAAAAA draw that is guaranteed to put an unranked team into the quarterfinals. Westlake and Etowah are the other contenders. The chances of making the quarters, according to the computer Maxwell Ratings, are: South Gwinnett (38 percent), North Gwinnett (26), Etowah (18) and Westlake (17). 2. North Gwinnett averages 211.0 yards rushing and 176.9 passing, which represents more balance than the more pass-oriented teams of the past decade. Junior QB Cade Fortin, committed to Texas A&M, is 133-of-250 passing for 1,670 yards and 15 touchdowns. Ryan Lovelace has rushed for 763 yards, including a season-high 144 against fifth-ranked Norcross. North Gwinnett is 8-4 in road playoff games under coach Bob Sphire. 3. South Gwinnett has earned its first home playoff game since 2012. The Comets are 5-0 all-time in first-round state-playoff games at home. They are about a two-to-one running team. Seth Johnston has rushed for about 650 yards. DE Justin Mascoll is a top-15 recruit nationally among juniors. DT Robert Cooper is committed to Florida State.

Winner plays: Etowah/Westlake winner

Tift County at North Cobb

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

Records, rankings: Tift County is 6-4, the No. 3 seed from Region 1-AAAAAAA and unranked; North Cobb is 8-2, the No. 2 seed from 3-AAAAAAA and No. 8.

Last meeting: This is the teams’ first meeting.

Three things to know: 1. Tift County is in the playoffs for the second time in three years after missing the postseason the previous five years. The Blue Devils are seeking their first playoff victory since 2008. North Cobb is making its sixth consecutive playoff appearance. The Warriors have faced four Region 1 teams during that stretch and were 1-3 in those games. 2. Tift County has the leading passer, leading receiver and No. 2 rusher in 1-AAAAAAA. QB Griffin Collier is 161-of-267 passing for 2,491 yards and 21 TDs. His top targets are Rashod Bateman (50 catches, 772 yards, five TDs) and Cam Cobb (37-495-7). RB Brenton Jones has rushed for 729 yards and nine touchdowns on 146 carries. 3. North Cobb’s balanced offense averages 185.3 yards per game rushing and 178.7 passing. C.J. Cole is the leading rusher with 838 yards and four TDs on 144 carries. QB Will Lovett is 121-of-202 passing for 1,787 yards and 14 touchdowns. Drew Techjman has 18 catches for 430 yards and five TDs, plays defensive back and is a threat in the return game.

Winner plays: Central Gwinnett/Lambert winner

Class AAAAAA

Allatoona at Lanier

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Longhorns Stadium, Sugar Hill

Records, rankings: Allatoona is 5-5, the No. 3 seed from Region 6-AAAAAA and unranked; Lanier is 7-3, the No. 2 seed from 8-AAAAAA and unranked.

Last meeting: This is the teams’ first meeting.

Three things to know: 1. Allatoona won the Class AAAAA championship in 2015 and Lanier recorded its second consecutive 10-0 regular season, but both fell off the radar early this year after getting off to slow starts against difficult schedules. Allatoona started 1-4 but then won four straight before losing to No. 2 Dalton 24-22 last week. Lanier won six of its last seven after starting the season 1-2. 2. Allatoona QB Tate Tatum has passed for 1,031 yards this season, but the Buccaneers remain a run-first team, averaging 226 yards on the ground. Charles Anderson went over the 1,000-yard mark (179 carries, 1,030 yards) with his 94 yards against Dalton, and Adrian Boyd has 627 yards on 106 carries. 3. Lanier also is a running team (about 70 percent of the time), averaging 184 yards on the ground. The leaders are Tywon Reaves (147 carries, 764 yards, eight TDs) and QB Noah Fritz (145-605-8), who has passed for 912 yards and eight TDs but had nine interceptions. LB Juwuan Jones was the leading tackler for a unit that gave up 15.8 points per game.

Winner plays: Jonesboro/Glynn Academy winner

Class AAAAA

Ola at Ware County

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Memorial Stadium, Waycross

Records, rankings: Ola is 6-4, the No. 4 seed from Region 4-AAAAA and unranked; Ware County is 6-3, the No. 1 seed from 2-AAAAA and No. 6.

Last meeting: This is the teams’ first meeting.

Three things to know: 1. Ola, which opened in 2006 in Henry County, has its first winning record and is making its first playoff appearance in school history. Ware County is making its 15th consecutive playoff appearances and has not lost in the first round since 2006. 2. Ola averages 171.5 yards rushing, and most of it comes from junior RB Christopher Rodriguez, who has 1,510 yards and 22 touchdowns on 238 carries. Rodriguez has games of 391 yards (and six TDs in a 51-50 victory over Eagle’s Landing) and 256 yards (24-21 loss to Jones County) this season. QB Bryce Lawrence is 70-of-134 passing for 1,120 yards and five TDs. 3. Ware County gets about 74 percent of its offense from a running game led by QB Jemar Lincoln, who has rushed for 921 yards and 13 TDs on 134 carries in nine games. Lincoln is 56-of-90 passing for 710 yards and eight TDs. Ware County gave up 21.6 points per game during the regular season but just 6.3 during region play. LB Toussaint Benjamin is the leading tackler (50 total), and LB Trey Cobb has 10 sacks.

Winner plays: Riverwood/Loganville winner

Class AAAA

St. Pius at Ridgeland

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Ridgeland Stadium, Rossville

Records, rankings: St. Pius is 2-8, the No. 4 seed from Region 8-AAAA and unranked; Ridgeland is 8-1, the No. 1 seed from 6-AAAA and unranked.

Last meeting: St. Pius won 28-19 in the first round of the 2015 Class AAAA playoffs.

Three things to know: 1. The roles are reversed in this rematch of a 2015 first-round game. This time, Ridgeland is a No. 1 seed and St. Pius is a No. 4. Ridgeland is having its first winning season since the 13-2 finish in 2012. St. Pius is destined to its first losing season in coach Paul Standard’s 16 seasons. Per the Maxwell Ratings, Ridgeland is only a 10-point favorite. 2. St. Pius lost its first eight games, all to playoff teams and four to region champions. Ridgeland hasn’t played a ranked team. St. Pius beat North Oconee and Madison County in the final two games to qualify and did it in St. Pius fashion – passing only five times total in the two games (completing them all). Grant Holloman, a preseason all-state player, rushed for 130 yards and caught both pass attempts against Madison County last week. 3. Ridgeland passed only 7.0 times per game. Jalyn Shelton has rushed for 1,081 yards and 19 touchdowns, including four in a game twice. Ridgeland has scored at least 32 points in every game but has surrendered at least four touchdowns in a game three times, including in a 35-34 loss to Pickens.

Winner plays: Spalding/Eastside winner

Sandy Creek at Marist

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Hughes Spalding Stadium, Atlanta

Records, rankings: Sandy Creek is 7-3, the No. 3 seed from Region 5-AAAA and unranked; Marist is 7-3, the No. 2 seed from 7-AAAA and No. 9.

Last meeting: Marist won 28-14 in 1995.

Three things to know: 1. Marist is 18-2 in first-round games over the past 20 years but faces a significant obstacle in a Sandy Creek team that is projected as a 12-point favorite by the Maxwell Ratings. Sandy Creek fell to the No. 3 seed in Region 5-AAAA when it was upset by Troup 28-20. Marist and Sandy Creek met each year from 1992-1995, with Marist winning all four games. 2. Sandy Creek averages 361.7 yards per game (208.2 rushing, 153.5 passing). Jaelen Greene has rushed for 920 yards and 12 TDs in nine games, and Drezyn Parson has 517 yards and seven TDs. QB Bryant Walker is 89-of-172 passing for 1,486 yards and 15 TDs. His top target has been Javan Hawes (35 catches, 655 yards). 3. Marist, as always, is a running team. The War Eagles average 274.5 yards per game on the ground and have attempted just 88 passes, completing 29. QB Jack Dinges is the leading rusher (144-980-10), although Michael Addicks (130-890-16) isn’t far behind. LBs David Sharkey and Paul Stanley are the leading tacklers (69 total tackles each).

Winner plays: Baldwin/Cairo winner

Class AAA

Lovett at Dawson County

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Tiger Stadium, Dawsonville

Records, rankings: Lovett is 7-3, the No. 3 seed from Region 5-AAA and No. 8; Dawson County is 7-2, the No. 2 seed from 7-AAA and unranked.

Last meeting: This is the teams’ first meeting.

Three things to know: 1. Lovett is 10-4 in first-round games during its current streak of 15 consecutive playoff appearances. Dawson County is in the playoffs for just the fourth time during that 15-year stretch. The only time the Tigers made it out of the first round was last year, when they beat Ringgold and Spencer in the first two rounds before losing to state runner-up Blessed Trinity in the quarterfinals. 2. Both teams have balanced offenses that focus on the quarterback. Lovett’s Brady Tindall is 126-of-215 passing for 1,404 yards and 12 touchdowns and leads the team in rushing with 629 yards and 16 TDs. Dawson County’s Coey Watson is 98-of-169 passing for 1,494 yards and 14 TDs and leads his team in rushing with 607 yards and 14 TDs. 3. Dawson County’s games have been higher-scoring contests than Lovett’s. The Tigers have outscored opponents by an average of 39-20, while Lovett’s average score has been 29-16. Lovett has been putting its games away early, outscoring teams 175-34 in the first half (116-21 in the second quarter).

Winner plays: Islands/Crisp County winner

Pace Academy at Greater Atlanta Christian

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Spartan Stadium, Norcross

Records, rankings: Pace Academy is 6-4, the No. 4 seed from Region 5-AAA and No. 9; Greater Atlanta Christian is 9-1, the No. 1 seed from 7-AAA and No. 1.

Last meeting: Pace Academy won 45-20 in the 2015 Class AA semifinals.

Three things to know: 1. Greater Atlanta Christian and Pace Academy played twice last season. GAC won the regular-season meeting 33-13, but Pace won in the semifinals on the way to a Class AA championship. Both returned major figures from their 2015 teams. GAC QB Davis Mills is the consensus No. 1 recruit in Georgia. Pace OL Andrew Thomas, OL Jamaree Salyer and WR Trey Blount are four-star prospects or better. 2. Mills is 105-for-150 passing for 1,651 yards and 25 touchdowns, but GAC is well-balanced. Kyler McMichael has rushed for 1,048 yards and 13 touchdowns. GAC has not allowed more than 21 points in any game. 3. Pace is at its best when it establishes RB Deon Jackson, who has had four 100-yard rushing games. Pace’s defense struggled in region losses to Westminster (49-36), Cedar Grove (49-0) and Lovett (35-3). Pace will be down four players this week who were ejected for fighting in a 29-6 victory over Towers last week.

Winner plays: Southeast Bulloch/Worth County winner

Class AA

Dublin at Fitzgerald

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jaycee Stadium, Fitzgerald

Records, rankings: Dublin is 8-2, the No. 4 seed from Region 3-AA and unranked; Fitzgerald is 9-1, the No. 1 seed from 1-AA and No. 2.

Last meeting: Fitzgerald won 41-21 in the first round of the 2013 Class AA playoffs.

Three things to know: 1. This will be the third time in seven seasons that these teams have played each other in the first round. Fitzgerald won the previous two. In 2004, Dublin upset 11-0 and fourth-ranked Fitzgerald in the Class AA second round. These schools first met in 1919, according to the Georgia High School Football Historians Association. 2. Fitzgerald QB James Graham was primarily a running quarterback last season, rushing for more than 1,000 yards, but has developed into a good passer. He’s 57-of-110 for 1,136 yards and 18 touchdowns. Fitzgerald RB J.D. King, committed to Oklahoma State, has rushed for 1,182 yards and 16 touchdowns and has another 316 yards and six touchdowns receiving. TE Lecitus Smith (Virginia Tech) is a returning all-state player. 3. Dublin runs the Wing-T, as does Fitzgerald, but from under center whereas Fitzgerald runs it from the shotgun. Dublin upset Region 3 champion Washington County 27-26 last week after Tyler Strickland blocked a tying extra point late in the fourth quarter. RB Ramon Pittman has rushed for 956 yards. Sophomore QB Rodriguez Martin has passed for 700 yards.

Winner plays: Heard County/Rockmart winner

READ MORE

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