Semifinal previews: Class AAAAA

Buford defeated Carrollton, 34-27, in the quarterfinal to advance in Class AAAAA.  (Jason Getz/Special to AJC)

Buford defeated Carrollton, 34-27, in the quarterfinal to advance in Class AAAAA. (Jason Getz/Special to AJC)

Stockbridge at Rome

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Barron Stadium, Rome

Records, rankings: Stockbridge is 13-0, the No. 1 seed from Region 5-AAAAA and No. 2; Rome is 11-2, the No. 1 seed from 7-AAAAA and No. 4.

Last meeting: This is the teams’ first meeting.

Things to know: The winner will be in a state championship game for the first time. Rome lost in the semifinals in 2008 to Marist. Stockbridge lost in the semis in 2014 to Mays. Rome has two 1,000-yard rushers – Jamious Griffin (1,264) and Jalynn Sykes (1,092) – although Sykes missed the first two playoff rounds with an injury. Sophomore QB Knox Kadum has thrown for 1,626 yards and 15 touchdowns.  Stockbridge is a run-based team. Jalen Holston has rushed for 1,378 yards, but QB Kendrick Duncan, fully healthy for the first time in a month, rushed for 105 in a 41-34 victory over Griffin last week. The game will be a showcase for two blue-chip junior defensive ends. Rome’s Adam Anderson (6-5, 230) has 29 tackles for losses and six sacks. Stockbridge’s Brenton Cox (6-4, 235) has 16 sacks and another 6.5 tackles for losses.

Maxwell Ratings’ projection: Rome by 3

Kell at Buford

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Tom Riden Stadium, Buford

Records, rankings: Kell is 11-2, the No. 3 seed from Region 7-AAAAA and No. 5; Buford is 12-1, the No. 1 seed from 8-AAAAA and No. 1.

Last meeting: This is the teams’ first meeting.

Things to know: Kell is the only No. 3 (or lower) seed remaining in the playoffs, although the Longhorns tied for first place in Region 7 and defeated region champion and fellow semifinalist Rome 33-30. Kell’s most outstanding player is LB Solon Page, a Tennessee commit with 111 solo tackles, 22 for losses. John Lampley has thrown for 1,906 yards and 16 touchdowns. Josiah Futral has rushed for 1,105 yards. DL Ismail Dabdoub, listed at only 5 feet 7 inches, has 10 sacks.  Buford could have the best pair of junior running backs in the state. Anthony Grant has more than 1,400 yards rushing, and Chris Turner has 943 – including a career-high 276 last week in a 34-27 win over Carrollton. They run behind a line with three college-bound seniors – Connor Mills (East Carolina), Dean Powell (Army) and Tyler Thurmond (West Virginia). OL/DL Powell and RB/LB Grant are prominent on defense, as well.

Maxwell Ratings’ projection: Buford by 8

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