The no-upset trend continued through the second round of the playoffs, with seven of the remaining eight teams all ranked among the top 10. Six of the teams still standing won their region championship and the other two were runner-up.
Now it’s time for the good stuff.
In the uber-loaded left half of the bracket, No. 1 Rome (12-0) will travel to play No. 8 Starr’s Mill (11-1), with No. 3 Stockbridge (12-0) hosting No. 2 Buford (10-1).
In the right side of the bracket, No. 10 Carrollton (10-2) visits No. 4 Warner Robins (12-0), with No. 6 Jones County (11-1) traveling to Atlanta to face Carver (11-1).
24 straight for Rome: The defending state champion Wolves picked off Southwest DeKalb quarterback Justin Tomlin five times in the second quarter and rolled to a 56-0 win at Barron Stadium. Quenterrious Kennemore had two interceptions and Marquis Glanton, Trai Hodges and Adam Anderson each had one. Hodges and Anderson returned their interceptions for touchdowns.
Jamious Griffin rushed for 50 yards and quarterback Knox Kadum threw for 51 yards and one touchdown and ran for 53 yards and one touchdown.
Tomlin completed 16 of 27 passes for 152 yards.
Starr’s Mill runs wild: The Panthers continued to baffle the opposition with its option attack, running for 364 yards in a 49-28 win over No. 5 Bainbridge. Nick Brown rushed for 89 yards and two touchdowns and Mitch Prowant ran for 64 yards. Starr’s Mill also got two pick-six interceptions from Ryan Cockes.
Bainbridge (8-4) running back Dameon Pierce rushed for 194 yards and two touchdowns and caught a 74-yard touchdown pass.
Stockbridge scores late to survive: The Tigers got a 37-yard field goal from Rico Sanders with 3:59 remaining to beat Ware County 10-7. Ware County (5-6) scored on a 84-yard pass from Acy Paulk to Jeremiah O’Hara. Stockbridge tied the game on a 4-yard keeper by quarterback Gabe McKenzie.
Wright’s return sparks Carrollton: Quarterback Mark Wright returned from a shoulder injury that caused him to miss five games to lead the Trojans to a 44-0 win over Arabia Mountain. Jaylan Thomas scored three times for Carrollton. It was the most points allowed by Arabia Mountain (9-3) all season.
Warner Robins hangs on: The Demons won the game when Jarius Burnette scored on a 1-yard run in overtime to give them a 26-23 win over Eagle’s Landing, the only remaining team in the field that was neither a region champion nor a runner-up.
Eagle’s Landing (7-5) sent the game to overtime when Logan Friddell kicked a 39-yard field goal with 5.7 seconds remaining. Friddell kicked a 28-yard field goal in the first possession of overtime.
Warner Robins was led by senior Jaeven West, who rushed for 155 yards and had a 95-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. Quarterback Dylan Fromm threw for 188 yards.
No trouble for Buford: The Wolves had no trouble with Maynard Jackson, dispatching the Jaguars 48-0 at Tom Riden Stadium. It was the first time Jackson (10-3) had reached the second round of the playoffs. Buford advanced to the third round for the 18th straight season.
Buford got 138 yards and three touchdowns from Anthony Grant, 81 yards and one touchdown from Christian Turner and 82 yards and one touchdown from Derrian Brown. Two of Grant’s touchdowns came in the first quarter, when the Wolves built a 20-0 lead.
The Buford defense had four interceptions, picked up two fumbles and posted its fifth shutout of the season. Jackson saw its seven-game winning streak come to an end.
Carver gets over hump: Carver is back in the quarterfinals for the first time since 2007, the year of its previous region championship, after a 33-19 win over Flowery Branch (9-3). Carver’s Jo’Quavious Marks rushed 21 times for 277 yards and three touchdowns.
Jones County moves on: The Greyhounds scored 20 points in the fourth quarter to score a 26-21 win at Wayne County. Hunter Costlow threw two touchdown passes for Jones County, which advanced to quarterfinals for the first time since 2014. Costlow connected with Dayton Hunt and Jontavis Robertson for scores. The Greyhounds also scored on a 4-yard run from Drake Bolus and a 35-yard run from Robertson.
Wayne County (9-2) was without injured quarterback Garrett Overholt, but senior Trenten Jackson was excellent as the replacement. Jackson threw three touchdown passes – 6 yards to Cooper Martin, 15 and 46 to Demario Nelson. The Yellow Jackets turned things around this season under coach Ken Cribb, who inherited a team that went 3-8 a year ago.