The first round of the Class AAA playoffs is in the books, and 16 teams are vying spots in the quarterfinals. With eight regions across the state, it’s worth a look to see which had the most success in Round 1. A lot of attention has been given to certain regions, with some slipping under the radar. Let’s break it down:
Who remains? No. 1 seed Crisp; No. 2 seed Cook.
How did they get here? Crisp County (9-1, 4-0) and Cook (6-5, 3-1) lived to fight another day. Crisp handled Appling County 56-7 and will face Pike County in the second round. Cook defeated Tattnall County 26-13 in the first round and will face Savannah’s Jenkins.
Who lost? No. 3 seed Monroe and No. 4 Dougherty were eliminated. Monroe lost to Pierce County 28-21, and Dougherty fell to Liberty County 43-6.
Notes: Crisp is averaging 184.8 yards receiving and 163.2 yards rushing per game. Cook has not lost since meeting Crisp on Oct. 20 (31-7).
Who remains? No. 1 seed Liberty County; No. 2 Pierce County
How did they get here? Top-seeded Liberty County (8-3, 5-0) hit its stride in the second half of the regular season and carried the momentum into the playoffs. The Panthers went 2-3 in the first five games before reeling off five victories in region play. Liberty defeated Dougherty in the first round, 43-6, and will face Westside-Macon in the second round. Pierce County (5-5, 3-2) will face Region 4 No. 1 seed Peach County in the second round.
Notes: Run-heavy Liberty averages 283 yards rushing per game and 89.8 passing. Kris Coleman is the leading rusher for Liberty with 1,642 yards on 173 carries and 18 touchdowns this season. Jermaine Brewton leads Pierce County, completing 69 of 138 pass attempts for 1,027 yards and nine touchdowns. He has been intercepted 12 times.
Who remains? No. 1 seed Jenkins
How did they get here? Jenkins (10-0, 7-0) is the only team from Region 3 to survive the first round. The Warriors defeated Jackson 28-21, while the other three seeds fell. No. 2 Southeast Bulloch lost to Pike, No. 3 Windsor Forest to Westside-Macon and No. 4 Savannah to Peach County. Jenkins will face Cook in the second round.
Notes: Jenkins averages 165.5 yards receiving and 266.1 yards rushing. Javonte Middleton has completed 95 of 172 passes for 1,778 yards and 16 touchdowns. He has thrown eight interceptions. Tyrone Scott leads in receiving yards with 918 yards on 44 receptions and 11 touchdowns.
Who remains? No. 1 Peach County; No. 2 Westside-Macon; No. 3 Pike County
How did they get here? The Trojans (9-1, 6-0) moved past Savannah 45-0 and will face Pierce County in the second round. Westside-Macon (7-3, 5-1) earned its second-round berth by defeating Windsor Forest and will face Liberty County in the second round. No. 3 Pike County (7-3, 4-2) moved past Southeast Bulloch, 43-28, and will face Crisp County in the second round.
Notes: Peach County’s high-powered offense averages 186.9 yards receiving and 139.2 yards rushing per game. Antonio Gilbert has passed for 2,066 yards and 18 touchdowns (137-of-205). His favorite target, UGA commitment Kearis Jackson, has 736 receiving yards and seven touchdowns on 38 receptions.
Who remains? No. 1 Cedar Grove; No. 2 Lovett; No. 3 Westminster
How did they get here? Region 5 has arguably the most talent spread across its three remaining seeds. Cedar Grove (10-0, 7-0), the No. 1 ranked team at the end of the regular season, defeated Adairsville 48-13 and will face Dawson County in the second round. Lovett (6-4, 5-2) handed Bremen a ticket home with a 32-0 victory. The Lions will have a tough test against Greater Atlanta Christian in the second round. Westminster (5-5, 5-2), which entered the playoffs with five losses, defeated North Murray 37-7 and will face a high-powered East Hall team, led by Austin Parker.
Notes: Of the three remaining teams, Cedar Grove should have the easiest second-round matchup against Dawson County. Lovett’s game against GAC will be a test, and if the Lions win, it will be a bracket-buster. Westminster will need a strong defensive stand to silence East Hall’s Parker.
Who remains? No. 1 seed Calhoun
How did they get here? The top-seeded Yellow Jackets (9-1, 4-0) held Pace Academy to just a field goal in the first-round victory. Calhoun has a tough second-round game against a high-powered Monroe Area offense. The other teams faced stout first-round opponents and suffered. Bremen lost to Lovett (32-0), North Murray to Westminster (37-7) and Adairsville to Cedar Grove (48-13).
Notes: If the Yellow Jackets and Liberty County advance in the bottom right corner of the bracket, be ready for a quarterfinal game between two high-powered offenses.
Who remains? No. 1 Greater Atlanta Christian; No. 2 Dawson County; No. 4 East Hall
How did they get here? GAC (9-1, 6-0) defeated Jackson County 49-0 to advance. Dawson County (7-3, 5-1) earned its second-round berth by defeating Hart County (SCORE). East Hall (6-4, 3-3), a four-seed, upended No. 1-seed Morgan County 50-36.
Notes: GAC will face Lovett in the second round, and that will be a test for the Spartans, although there is no indication that their offense could stall against the Lions. Dawson County faces a tall task in the second-round matchup against top-ranked Cedar Grove. East Hall will travel to Westminster for its second-round game.
Who remains? No. 2 seed Monroe Area
How did they get here? The Purple Hurricanes (9-1, 4-1) stormed through North Hall 42-7 and will face Calhoun. The remaining seeds lost in the first round. Top-seeded Morgan County lost to East Hall; third-seeded Hart fell to Dawson County, and No. 4 Jackson County lost to GAC.
Notes: Monroe Area averages 123 yards receiving and 216.9 yards rushing per game. Quarterback Chandler Byron has passed for 1,518 yards and 22 touchdowns on 79-of-131 passing.