It’s not easy taking a loss in the high school football state quarterfinals. But the four coaches who were eliminated Friday took the time this week to break down what they saw from the teams that beat them Friday night. And their words set the stage for what should be two great matchups in the semifinals this weekend.
The semifinal matchup: GAC at Peach County in Fort Valley.
Quarterfinal results: No. 2 Peach County 27, No. 3 Westminster 17; No. 1 Greater Atlanta Christian 44, No. 7 Liberty County 38 (3OT)
Westminster coach Gerry Romberg on Peach: “They are very well-coached and have a lot of
team speed. They play very disciplined and did a very good job at capitalizing on their opportunities. There is not too much margin for error, and they did a great job defending our running game. We just did not capitalize on some other opportunities. But they are and excellent team with great tradition and great support. Their fans were all here and gave them a lot of support throughout the game, and it was a great atmosphere for high school football, that’s for sure.”
Liberty County coach Kirk Warner on GAC: “I guess you can sum it up in two words. Quarterback and receiver. They’re pretty good. They have some of the best route-running receivers we have faced all year. And Mills, he is not the No. 1 player in the state for nothing. He can make all the throws. Better guard them tight. And (Kyler) McMichael did a pretty good job, too. He hurt us on a long kick return when we thought we had momentum. He ran it down about 70 yards and set them up at about the 20-yard line. They’re just good, man. They’re just well-rounded, well-coached, disciplined football team. So I’m pretty sure coach (Chad) Campbell is watching the film and is trying to figure out something.
“The semifinal matchup: Cedar Grove at Crisp County in Cordele
Quarterfinal results: No. 5 Crisp County 56, Pierce County 21; No. 6 Cedar Grove 47, No. 4 Calhoun 21.
Pierce County coach Sean Pender on Crisp: “They have very good athletes up front. Defensively, we just did not show up. They can be very simple in the passing scheme. They like to attack deep early. If they aren’t successful with it early, they move away from it. Defensively, they are very good. They’re the best defense I’ve seen overall. (Quay Walker) and (Markaviest Bryant), those D-1 guys, they are as good as advertised. (Bryant) is more of a run-stopper and (Walker) is more of your pass-coverage guy. They’re very athletic in the secondary. They’re big up front, and they play very aggressive. Offensively, they don’t really do anything special. They run a spread offense. They just play with a lot of heart. They are not into anything complicated on the offensive side of the ball. They are well-coached. Coach Shelton Felton does a great job with his boys. The key to the game against them is to have success early.”
Calhoun Coach Hal Lamb on Cedar Grove: “I can tell you that I was very impressed with Cedar Grove. Their size is unbelievable; their speed is unbelievable. They are very well-coached. They had a lot more discipline this time than the last time we played them two years ago. I was very impressed with their football team. I think the quarterback (Jelani Woods) is the key. He has gotten 100 percent better since being a sophomore. He is the one who makes them go, offensively, for sure. Defensively, they have just got so much team speed on that side of the ball. The secondary is loaded with talent, and I think (Jadon Haselwood) is incredible to be a sophomore. There are several others in the secondary that I think are very good. “