Grayson-Colquitt County showdown headlines quarterfinals

FootballNorth Cobb at Roswell

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Ray Manus Stadium, Roswell

Records, rankings: North Cobb is 10-2, the No. 2 seed from Region 3-AAAAAAA and No. 8; Roswell is 12-0, the No. 1 seed from 4-AAAAAAA and No. 2.

Last meeting: Roswell won 40-7 in 1999.

Things to know: North Cobb is in the quarterfinals for the first time since its 2012 team went 11-3 and reached the semifinals. The Warriors got 140 yards rushing from C.J. Cole in a 35-7 victory over Region 5 champion Lambert last week. Drew Tejchman returned a kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown. Roswell RB Sheldon Evans (1,334 yards rushing for the season) was limited by an ankle injury and rushed for a season-low 23 yards on seven carries in a 29-12 victory over Peachtree Ridge last week, but QB Malik Willis passed for a season-best 292 yards. Roswell’s two closest games this season were a 17-14 victory over Etowah and a 20-14 win over Cherokee. North Cobb also played those teams, beating Etowah 24-20 and Cherokee 41-26.

Maxwell Ratings’ projection: Roswell by 15

Winner plays: Lowndes/Westlake winner

Lowndes at Westlake

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

Records, rankings: Lowndes is 10-2, the No. 2 seed from Region 1-AAAAAAA and No. 7; Westlake is 9-3, the No. 1 seed from 2-AAAAAAA and unranked.

Last meeting: This is the teams’ first meeting.

Things to know: Lowndes is in the quarterfinals for the first time since 2013 and trying to reach its first semifinal since 2007. The Vikings have amassed 149 points and 1,320 yards in playoff victories over Hillgrove (92-61) and No. 5 Norcross (57-21). QB Michael Barrett has passed for 622 yards and rushed for 415 in the two games. Westlake is in the quarterfinals for the second consecutive season and third time in school history but has never reached the semifinals. Westlake got four non-offensive touchdowns in a 41-7 victory over South Gwinnett last week – interception returns by Demond Guice (31 yards) and Carrington Huffman (42 yards), a fumble return by Jaden Hunter (7 yards) and a kickoff return by Tre Person (78 yards).

Maxwell Ratings’ projection: Lowndes by 14

Winner plays: North Cobb/Roswell winner

Grayson at Colquitt County

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Mack Tharpe Memorial Stadium, Moultrie

Records, rankings: Grayson is 11-1, the No. 1 seed from Region 8-AAAAAAA and No. 1; Colquitt County is 8-4, the No. 1 seed from 1-AAAAAAA and No. 6.

Last meeting: Colquitt County won 21-6 in 2013.

Things to know: Grayson and Colquitt County have been perhaps the top two programs in the highest classification over the past decade, winning a combined three state titles (Grayson in 2011, Colquitt County in 2014 and 2015). Grayson has had nine 10-win seasons and seven quarterfinal appearances since 2007, and Colquitt County has reached the semifinals in the highest class a state-record seven consecutive times. The quarterback battle will be worth watching. Colquitt’s Jay Saunders passed for a season-high 357 yards in a 66-35 win over Brookwood last week and has 2,615 yards and 22 TDs for the season. Grayson’s Chase Brice threw for 316 yards and five TDs in a 59-21 win over Woodstock, giving him 2,324 yards and 25 TDs on 212 attempts.

Maxwell Ratings’ projection: Grayson by 16

Winner plays: Mill Creek/McEachern winner

Mill Creek at McEachern

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Walter H. Cantrell Stadium, Powder Springs

Records, rankings: Mill Creek is 12-0, the No. 1 seed from Region 6-AAAAAAA and No. 3; McEachern is 11-1, the No. 1 seed from 3-AAAAAAA and No. 4.

Last meeting: This is the teams’ first meeting.

Things to know: Mill Creek is in the quarterfinals for the second consecutive season and fourth time in school history. McEachern reached the semifinals in 2013 and 2014 before losing in the second round last year. McEachern’s running game has emerged as a force late in the season, averaging 266 yards in its past three games. Quay Holmes ran for 201 yards and Paris Brown had 140 in a 47-29 second-round victory over Parkview. This week, however, the Indians face a Mill Creek defense that gives up just 28 yards per game rushing through the first 11 games and allowed 15 total yards in the first half of a 56-21 win over Cherokee last week. Mill Creek gets a little more than half of its offense from a passing game led by Cameron Turley, who has thrown for 2,139 yards.

Maxwell Ratings’ projection: Mill Creek by 3

Winner plays: Grayson/Colquitt County winner


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