The Class AAAAAAA semifinals are Friday night. There’s no clear-cut favorite. Each of the top four teams in the rankings – Lowndes, Archer, Walton, Grayson – are gone.
Here is a closer look at the final four in the high class.
Colquitt County at Brookwood
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Brookwood Community Stadium, Snellville
Records, rankings: Colquitt County is 10-3, the No. 3 seed from Region 1-AAAAAAA and No. 8; Brookwood is 11-2, the No. 1 seed from 7-AAAAAAA and No. 7.
Last meeting: Brookwood won 42-25 on Sept. 15.
Things to know: Brookwood RB Dante Black rushed for 267 yards against Colquitt County in their regular-season meeting. He scored three of his five touchdowns in the first quarter as Brookwood took a 21-0 lead. Black has gone on to rush for 1,757 yards. Also prominent in Brookwood’s offense – which has not been held below four touchdowns since the opener – is AJC Super 11 WR/RB Matthew Hill, who has 1,002 yards from scrimmage and nearly 2,000 all-purpose yards. Colquitt County is trying to win for the 12th time on a region champion’s home field in the playoffs since 2009. The 11th victim was Archer, which lost 12-7 last week when Ryan Fitzgerald hit four field goals, one a 60-yarder. Colquitt is a balanced team. RB Ty Leggett has rushed for 1,164 yards and 10 touchdowns, although sophomore Daijon Edwards (805 yards) has been a little more productive in the playoffs. Steve Krajewski has passed for 2,127 yards. Four-star LB J.J. Peterson (18 tackles for losses) is the most prominent player on a young, sturdy defense.
Maxwell Ratings’ projection: Brookwood by 3
McEachern at North Gwinnett
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Tom Robinson Memorial Stadium, Suwanee
Records, rankings: McEachern is 10-3, the No. 2 seed from Region 3-AAAAAAA and unranked; North Gwinnett is 12-1, the No. 1 seed from 6-AAAAAAA and No. 5.
Last meeting: North Gwinnett won 52-49 in a 2014 regular-season game.
Things to know: McEachern, ranked No. 5 in preseason, was staring at a lackluster 8-4 finish two weeks ago when trailing 21-0 at No. 1-ranked Lowndes but turned its season around suddenly with six strong quarters. The Indians beat Lowndes 36-31, then Parkview 43-28 last week. Against Lowndes, McEachern gave a surprise start to freshman QB Carlos Delrio-Wilson and was rewarded with his 313-yard, three-touchdown effort. Against Parkview, Delrio-Wilson shared time with Malik Evans, and the pair struggled, going 6-for-21 for 118 yards. But RB Paris Brown stepped up with 150 yards rushing. North Gwinnett has won 12 consecutive games since Jimmy Urzua became the starting quarterback because of injury. He has thrown for 2,108 yards and is 34-of-43 for 649 yards and seven touchdowns in the playoffs. RB Tyler Goodson has rushed for 295 and 165 yards the past two games. These teams met one other time in the semifinals, in 2013. North Gwinnett won 27-21. Neither school has won a state title.
Maxwell Ratings’ projection: North Gwinnett by 8