Here are previews of the four semifinal games this weekend, courtesy of Georgia High School Football Daily.
Prince Avenue Christian at ELCA
When, where: 7:30 p.m. today, Commitment Field, McDonough
Records, rankings: Prince Avenue Christian is 11-1, the No. 5 seed and No. 5; Eagle’s Landing Christian is 12-0, the No. 1 seed and No. 1.
Last meeting: Eagle’s Landing Christian won 35-14 in the 2015 Class A private-school semifinals.
Things to know: Prince Avenue WR/DB Christian Parrish is having a player-of-the-year season with 1,989 all-purpose yards, 1,287 of that receiving. He has four interceptions and five tackles for losses. But Prince Avenue’s success begins up front with Daniel Parrish (Army commit) and Harrison Jump (Georgia Tech), both 275-pound three-year starters who play on both sides of the line. Prince Avenue averages 223.6 yards passing, 148.5 rushing. Grant Roland has thrown for 2,419 yards. ELCA averages 358.0 yards rushing per game at 9.6 yards per carry with 62 rushing touchdowns. Josh Mays leads the team with 1,206 yards rushing with 17 touchdowns. Brayden Rush has thrown for 1,229 yards and 20 touchdowns with no interceptions. All-state LB Harrison Taylor had three tackles for losses and a sack in a 55-0 victory over Calvary Day last week. Khaleb Hood has returned six punts or kickoffs for touchdowns. ELCA is averaging 59.0 points and allowing 2.4 this season against Class A competition. With a victory, ELCA would become the 12th team to win 35 consecutive games.
Maxwell Ratings’ projection: Eagle’s Landing Christian by 29
Mount Paran Christian at Athens Academy
When, where: 7:30 p.m. today, Slaughter Field, Athens
Records, rankings: Mount Paran Christian is 11-1, the No. 3 seed and No. 3; Athens Academy is 12-0, the No. 2 seed and No. 2.
Last meeting: Mount Paran Christian won 17-10 in the second round of the 2016 Class A private-school playoffs.
Things to know: Mount Paran, playing its first semifinal since its 2014 state-championship season, had the closest call in the quarterfinals among the final four teams. The Eagles got two fourth-quarter touchdowns from Chandler Webber to beat Stratford Academy 14-7. Mount Paran averages almost 320 yards rushing per game. Webber, at about 950 yards, is the leader among five backs that get significant carries. Athens Academy is in its third semifinal, first on its home field. The Spartans played (and lost) their previous two in the Georgia Dome. Len’Neth Whitehead rushed for 206 yards and scored four touchdowns in Athens’ Academy’s 38-14 victory last week over Savannah Country Day. Whitehead has 933 yards rushing on the season. Payton Bowles has 958 and another 252 receiving. Henry Trapnell has 1,060 all-purpose yards. QB Jack Thomas is efficient (62-of-99, 884 yards). Athens Academy’s most remarkable statistic might be its 20 interceptions, six by Jalen Huff.
Maxwell Ratings’ projection: Athens Academy by 9
Mount Zion (Carroll) at Clinch County
When, where: 7:30 p.m. today, Donald Tison Field at Panther Stadium, Homerville
Records, rankings: Mount Zion is 10-2, the No. 8 seed and No. 9; Clinch County is 10-2, the No. 5 seed and No. 3.
Last meeting: This is the teams’ first meeting.
Things to know: Mount Zion, which began playing football in 1956, advanced the first semifinal in program history with a 10-6 upset of top-seeded Manchester last week. C.J. Ackles threw a game-winning 9-yard touchdown pass to Iaan Cousin with 23.9 seconds remaining. Ackles has passed for 1,096 yards, rushed for 482 and had a hand in 17 touchdowns. He also has 35 tackles and four interceptions on defense. Cousins has 36 receptions for 642 yards and eight TDs. Kareem Walker is the leading rusher with 785 yards and 12 TDs. The defense, led by LB Cole Helton with 95 tackles and 21 assists, is allowing just 12.9 points per game. Clinch County, the second-place team in Region 2-A behind Irwin County, won its sixth state title in 2015 and is in the semifinals for the third consecutive season. Charles McClelland rushed for 110 yards and scored on a 48-yard run in a 21-0 victory over Mitchell County last week. He has passed for 906 yards, rushed for a team-leading 1,115 yards, made four catches for 63 yards and had a hand in 28 touchdowns this season. Trezmen Marshall shares time with McClelland at QB and has rushed for 761 yards and passed for 154 despite missing several early-season games.
Maxwell Ratings’ projection: Clinch County by 11
Emanuel County Institute at Irwin County
When, where: 7:30 p.m. today, Indian Field, Ocilla
Records, rankings: Emanuel County Institute is 11-1, the No. 3 seed and No. 4; Irwin County is 11-1, the No. 2 seed and No. 2.
Last meeting: Emanuel County Institute won 44-25 in the 2016 Class A public-school quarterfinals.
Things to know: ECI and Irwin County are meeting in the playoffs for the third consecutive season. Irwin County won 19-15 in the 2015 semifinals, and ECI won in the quarterfinals last year. ECI is primarily a running team and features two 1,000-yard rushers. Eric Dixon ran for 156 yards in a 49-25 victory over Charlton County last week and has 1,301 yards for the season. Ty Carswell has run for 1,189 yards, and Bobby McNear has 867. The three backs have combined for 49 rushing touchdowns. QB Chase Whitehead has attempted just 76 passes this season, completing 41 for 928 yards and 10 touchdowns. Irwin County also relies on the running game, averaging 244.5 yards rushing and 48.5 yards passing in playoff victories over Lincoln County and defending state champion Macon County. Sophomore D.J. Lundy (1,038 yards rushing this season) ran for 122 yards last week and has 220 yards and four touchdowns on 51 carries in the playoffs. His 1-yard touchdown run with less than five minutes to play was the game-winner in the 22-15 victory last week. QB Will Stephens is 10-of-19 for 97 yards in the postseason.
Maxwell Ratings’ projection: Irwin County by 7