Friday night recap: Round 1

Round 1 is  nearly in the books after Friday night’s slate, which saw 13 games plus an unprecedented voluntary forfeit cut the field of 32 down to 20 teams. There are two games scheduled for Saturday with Elbert County (Region 8, No. 3 seed) playing at Douglass (Region 6, No. 2 seed) and B.E.S.T. Academy (Region 6, No. 4 seed) playing at No. 4 Rabun County (Region 8, No. 1 seed).

As for Friday, nothing too crazy happened as all No. 1 seeds that played (Benedictine, Fitzgerald, Screven County, Callaway, Hapeville Charter, Washington County, Pepperell) advanced. There were a lot of blowouts – 10 games were decided by three scores or more – and a few close games as well.

(For the GHSA’s most updated AA bracket, go here.) 

We’ll start with the close games:

  • Brooks County (R1, No. 3) beat Southwest Macon (R3, No. 2), 20-16. The Trojans won as Maurice Freeman returned to beat the team he coached from 1998-2001, jumping to a three-score lead heading into halftime and holding the Patriots off. (See Ron Seibel’s writeup for The Macon Telegraph and a staff report from The Valdosta Times.)
  • Dodge County (R3, No. 3) beat No. 9 Thomasville (R1, No. 2), 17-7. The Indians had a 17-0 lead heading into the fourth quarter and staved off a Bulldogs comeback to advance. (See David Almeda’s writeup in the Thomasville Times-Enterprise)
  • No. 7 Jefferson County (R4, No. 2) beat Swainsboro (R2, No. 3), 29-22.  The Warriors controlled the game with a 29-8 lead heading into the fourth quarter before the Tigers made a run that fell short.

And the blowouts:

  • No. 5 Screven County (R4, No.1) beat Toombs County (R2, No. 4), 35-9. The Gamecocks put the game away with a big third quarter. (See Mike Anthony’s writeup in the Statesboro Herald.)
  • No. 3 Callaway (R5, No. 1) beat Model (R7, No. 4) 55-20. The Cavaliers won big behind quarterback Dylan Johnson’s five touchdown passes. (See Kevin Eckleberry’s writeup in the LaGrange Daily News
  • No. 1 Benedictine (R2, No. 1) beat Glenn Hills (R4, No. 4), 58-7. Halfback Wesley Kennedy led the Cadets with four touchdowns as the cruised to a 44-0 halftime lead and never looked back. (See Adam Van Brimmer’s writeup in the Savannah Morning News.)
  • No. 6 Pepperell (R7, No. 1) beat Spencer (R5, No. 4), 46-14. Tae Hammond’s three scores and 184 yards on 13 carries led the to the easy win. (See Tommy Romanach’s writeup in NorthwestGeorgiaNews.com.)
  • No. 8 Vidalia (R2, No. 2) beat Laney (R4, No. 3), 30-13. The Indians took a 10-0 lead into halftime and coasted from there. (See game highlights from The End Zone on WTOC.)
  • Rockmart (R7, No. 2) beat Heard County (R5, No. 3), 42-0. The Yellow Jackets took a 21-0 lead into halftime and then matched their scoring output in the second half while maintaining the shutout. (See Kevin Myrick’s writeup for NorthwestGeorgiaNews.com)
  • No. 2 Fitzgerald (R1, No. 1) beat Dublin (R3, No. 4), 42-7. The Purple Hurricane led 21-7 heading into the fourth quarter, where they tacked on an additional 21 points to make it a blowout.
  • No. 10 Hapeville Charter (R6, No. 1) beat Monticello (R8, No. 4), 42-0. The Hornets coasted to a shutout in their first-ever playoff game. No further info was available at the time of this publishing.
  • Chattooga (R7, No. 3) beat Lamar County (R5, No. 2), 44-14. The Indians jumped to a 44-0 lead to win in convincing fashion. (See Walter Geiger’s writeup in The Barnesville Herald Gazette and a staff report on NorthwestGeorgiaNews.com.)
  • Washington County (R3, No. 1) beat Berrien (R1, No. 4) 49-22. No further info was available at the time of this publishing.

Initial takeaways:

  • Thomasville was the lone ranked team to be eliminated thus far. The Bulldogs closed out the regular season on an impressive run that saw them in a position to win the Region 1 championship, but top-ranked Fitzgerald beat them in the season finale. The Bulldogs finished the year 5-5.
  • Aside from Model, Region 7 looked strong with Pepperell, Rockmart and Chattooga outscoring its opponents 132-28. Blowout wins by Rockmart and Chattooga were perhaps the biggest surprises of AA’s playoff games thus far – not that the two teams won, but the score by which they won.
  • The Hapeville Charter Hornets, in the postseason for the first time and earning the shutout win, are the only team from the revamped Region 6 to have actually played a playoff game thus far. As previously mentioned, KIPP forfeited its game in a highly questionable and controversial decision, and B.E.S.T. and Douglass play Saturday. The reason for the Saturday games is that B.E.S.T., Douglass and KIPP played a mini-games on Monday to settle seeds Nos. 2-4.
  • Check back on Tuesday for a breakdown of Round 1 results vs. my predictions.

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