Friday night recap: Round 2

Of all the second round games in the Class AA playoffs, perhaps none was more exciting than the No. 9 Callaway Cavaliers at the Rockmart Yellow Jackets, where the Cavs pulled out a clutch 40-35 road win to advance to the quarterfinals for the second year in a row.

The Cavs (11-1) will once again be on the road next week to play the No. 6 Brooks County Trojans, which handed Dodge County its only loss of the season on Friday. Both the Cavs and Trojans are No. 2 seeds, but Brooks County will host thanks to a universal coin toss that determined bottom teams in the official GHSA bracket to be designated as the home team of the quarterfinals in cases where equal seeds meet.

(For the GHSA’s most updated AA bracket, go here.)

In the Callaway-Rockmart matchup, the play of the game belongs to the Cavs’ Courtney Williams, who made a 95-yard interception return for a touchdown with less than two minutes remaining in the game to give Callaway a 40-28 lead.

For more about this thrilling matchup, see game stories from the LaGrange Daily News’ Kevin Eckleberry and the Rome News-Tribune’s Kevin Myrick.

Here’s how the rest of Round 2 went down:

  • No. 10 Jefferson County fell to top-ranked Benedictine 70-21. The Cadets’ point total is the most they’ve ever scored in the playoffs and the second-most in program history. They notched 76 points in a regular season game in 2002. Dennis Knight has the game story for the Savannah Morning News. The Cadets (12-0) advance to host Hapeville Charter in a No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup that’s probably happening two rounds too soon.
  • The No. 2 Hapeville Charter Hornets continue to dominate defensively, shutting down Elbert County 56-10 and improving to 12-1. It’s the first time the Hornets have allowed an opponent to score in the double digits since they lost to Thompson (Alabama) 21-20 in their second game of the season. Their defensive is giving up an average of just 8.2 points since then.
  • No. 3 Screven County fended off Toombs County 34-20 and move to 11-0. Josh Aubrey has the game story for the Statesboro Herald and Toombs Now also has coverage. No team has scored more than 20 points on the Gamecocks this season and the defense will face perhaps its toughest task of the season when it hosts No. 5 Rabun County’s high-powered offense next week.
  • The No. 4 Thomasville Bulldogs took care of business at home against Dublin, winning 44-22 to move to 12-0. They’ll host No. 8 Heard County next week. David Almeda of the Thomasville Times-Enterprise has the game story.
  • The No. 5 Rabun County Wildcats coasted to a 35-2 win over B.E.S.T. Academy to move to 12-0. AccessWDUN has the game recap.
  • As mentioned in the second paragraph, the No. 6 Brooks County Trojans defeated No. 7 Dodge County 35-17, moving to 10-1 while ending the Indians’ season at the same record. WGXA has the highlights.
  • The No. 8 Heard County Braves downed Pepperell 41-28 to set up a quarterfinals date in Thomasville. The Braves are 11-1. See game stories from Tommy Romanach of the Rome News-Tribune and Doug Browning for the Times-Georgian.

Takeaways, etc:

  • Of the eight quarterfinalists, five reached at least this far last season. Those teams are Benedictine, Hapeville Charter, Screven County, Rabun County and Callaway. Benedictine is in the quarterfinals for the fifth season in a row and Rabun County is in for the third straight year.
  • The first ranked teams have exited the playoffs with No. 10 Jefferson County and No. 7 Dodge County.
  • Two No. 1 seeds are gone — Dodge County and Rockmart.
  • All No. 3 and No. 4 seeds were eliminated in the first round.
  • There are no unranked teams alive.
  • Only three games thus far have been decided by single digits: Temple at B.E.S.T. Academy (34-27) and Fitzgerald at Toombs County (34-31) in Round 1 and Callaway at Rockmart (40-35) in Round 2.
  • There are four undefeated teams remaining and no team has more than one loss.
  • Check back on Tuesday for a breakdown of Round 2 results vs. my predictions. (My bracket is still perfect.)

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