Quarterfinal previews: Class AAAA

A Whitefield player warms up before a high school football game against Mount Paran Christian, Friday, Aug. 28, 2015, in Kennesaw, Ga.

Branden Camp/Special to the AJC.

Cartersville at Woodward Academy

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

Records, rankings: Cartersville is 12-0, the No. 1 seed from Region 5-AAAA and No. 1; Woodward Academy is 11-1, the No. 1 seed from 4-AAAA and No. 3.

Last meeting: This is the teams’ first meeting.

Things to know: Defending AAAA champion Cartersville has won 27 consecutive games and is in the quarterfinals for the third straight season. QB Trevor Lawrence, the nation’s No. 1 recruit among juniors, passed for 331 yards and four TDs (3,253 and 44 for the season) in a 35-7 victory over Burke County last week. It was Cartersville’s third-closest game of the season. Woodward Academy QB Ryan Glover passed for 260 yards (now 2,807 on the season) and four TDs and ran for another score in a 49-8 victory over Northwest Whitfield that put the War Eagles in the quarterfinals for the third consecutive season. Glover is committed to Colorado State. WR Josh Johnson had 106 yards receiving to go over 1,000 for the season. Woodward Academy has given up 63 points this season and just 32 in the past 10 games.

Maxwell Ratings’ projection: Cartersville by 13

Winner plays: Blessed Trinity/Mary Persons winner

Blessed Trinity at Mary Persons

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dan Pitts Stadium at Mitchell Field, Forsyth

Records, rankings: Blessed Trinity is 10-2, the No. 1 seed from Region 7-AAAA and No. 6; Mary Persons is 10-2, the No. 1 seed from 2-AAAA and No. 7.

Last meeting: This is the teams’ first meeting.

Things to know: Blessed Trinity, the runner-up in Class AAA last year, is in the quarterfinals for the fourth consecutive season. The Titans advanced with a 24-21 victory over Carver of Columbus last week. QB Jake Smith threw for just 89 yards on 15 attempts but had two touchdown passes. Steele Chambers rushed for 108 yards and has 1,447 and 21 TDs for the season. Mary Persons beat Heritage of Ringgold 38-21 last week to end a three-year losing streak in the second round and reach its first quarterfinal since 2012. Zach Harvey ran for 164 yards and three touchdowns. He has 1,315 yards on the season for a team that averages 227.2 yards on the ground (119.3 passing).

Maxwell Ratings’ projection: Mary Persons by 5

Winner plays: Cartersville/Woodward Academy winner

Jefferson at Cairo

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, West Thomas Stadium, Cairo

Records, rankings: Jefferson is 11-1, the No. 1 seed from Region 8-AAAA and No. 4; Cairo is 11-1, the No. 1 seed from 1-AAAA and No. 5.

Last meeting: This is the teams’ first meeting.

Things to know: Jefferson is in the quarterfinals for the fourth time in five seasons after a 21-0 victory over West Laurens last week. The Dragons average 314.8 yards per game in total offense but were held to a season-low 149 by West Laurens. RB Colby Wood rushed for 93 yards, giving him 1,425 for the season and 4,030 in his career. Cairo is a quarterfinalist for the first time since 2011 after a 10-7 second-round victory over Sandy Creek. QB John Michael Owens threw an 18-yard TD pass to Matt Cromer for a 10-0 lead in the third quarter, and the Syrupmakers held on. Cairo’s defense, led recent Georgia commit Walter Grant, has not allowed a point in the playoffs (Baldwin scored on a safety, Sandy Creek scored on a punt return).

Maxwell Ratings’ projection: Cairo by 1

Winner plays: Spalding/Thomson winner

Spalding at Thomson

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, The Brickyard, Thomson

Records, rankings: Spalding is 8-4, the No. 3 seed from Region 2-AAAA and unranked; Thomson is 12-0, the No. 1 seed from 3-AAAA and No. 2.

Last meeting: This is the teams’ first meeting.

Things to know: Spalding is the only team remaining in the AAAA field that did not win a region title. The Jaguars are making their first quarterfinal appearance since the 2003 team reached the semifinals. Spalding is a run-first team that features two 1,000-yard rushers (QB Naricuss Driver and RB A.J. Moses). Moses ran for 201 yards in a 38-21 win over Ridgeland last week. Thomson is trying to get to the semifinals for the first time since 2002, when it won Class AAAA. The Bulldogs have held nine opponents to 14 points or less, including last week’s 42-14 victory over West Hall. Thomson averages 322.3 yards per game rushing, led by region player of the year Michael Thomas (208 carries, 1,950 yards, 21 TDs) and Bubba Murray (106-882-16).

Maxwell Ratings’ projection: Thomson by 19

Winner plays: Jefferson/Cairo winner

Produced by Georgia High School Football Daily, a free e-mail newsletter. To join the mailing list, click here.


View Comments 0