Georgia high school football playoff preview: Class AAAAA

by: GHSF Daily Updated:

Watch Kell vs. Creekside Friday night on wsbtv.com at http://www.wsbtv.com/s/sports/highschoolfootball/.

Harris County at Creekside

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Arrowhead Stadium, Fairburn

Records, rankings: Harris County is 9-2, the No. 2 seed from Region 1 and unranked; Creekside is 11-0, the No. 1 seed from Region 4 and No. 4.

Last meeting: This is the teams’ first meeting.

Three things to know: 1. RB Bricen Terry rushed for 187 yards and three touchdowns in Creekside’s 47-14 victory over Lakeside of Evans in the first round. Creekside had more than 300 yards rushing but is an effective passing team, too. QB Felix Harper was 6-of-8 passing for only 82 yards last week but has thrown for 2,174 yards on the season. 2. Harris County trailed Glynn Academy 21-17 in the fourth quarter of the first round until RB Esaias Chapman scored on a 61-yard run. Harris won 24-21. Chapman rushed for 102 yards, bringing his season total to 1,556. Chapman rushed for 2,164 yards last season. 3. Harris County is trying to reach the quarterfinals for the second consecutive season. Creekside has made the quarters in 2006, 2000 and 1988.

Maxwell Ratings’ projection: Creekside by 19

Winner plays: Stephenson/North Paulding winner

Stephenson at North Paulding

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, The Den, Dallas

Records, rankings: Stephenson is 9-2, the No. 3 seed from Region 6 and unranked; North Paulding is 10-1, the No. 1 seed from Region 5 and No. 8.

Last meeting: This is the teams’ first meeting.

Three things to know: 1. North Paulding RB Corn Collins rushed for 146 yards and a touchdown in the 50-14 victory over Riverwood in the first round. Collins has rushed for 1,173 yards on the season. QB Chase Noonan has passed for 2,241 yards and 27 touchdowns with only three interceptions. 2. North Paulding, opened in 2008, won its first region title this season. In 2012, North lost to Tucker, Stephenson’s Region 6 rival, 40-21 in the second round. Stephenson made the quarters last season (lost to Ware County) and five other times since 2001. 3. Stephenson’s defense held Flowery Branch to 183 yards in a 27-7 first-round victory. Flowery Branch had scored 45 points and amassed 524 yards in total offense the previous week against defending state champion Gainesville. Defensive leaders include South Carolina-committed junior DE Chauncy Rivers, who has 14 sacks and 24 tackles for losses, and senior DT Braxton Butler, who has nine sacks and 18 tackles for losses.

Maxwell Ratings’ projection: North Paulding by 7

Winner plays: Harris County/Creekside winner

Richmond Hill at Warner Robins

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, McConnell-Talbert Stadium, Warner Robins

Records, rankings: Richmond Hill is 10-1, the No. 2 seed from Region 3 and unranked; Warner Robins is 10-1, the No. 1 seed from Region 2 and No. 6.

Last meeting: Warner Robins won 17-15 in the first round of the 2012 Class AAAAA playoffs.

Three things to know: 1. Warner Robins beat Richmond Hill in the first round last season on a 32-yard field goal in the final minute. 2. Warner Robins beat 2012 semifinalist Whitewater 34-27 in the first round last week after a fourth-and-goal stop from the 2-yard line in the final minute. Warner Robins trailed 27-7 at halftime. Caden Johnston threw three TD passes, but Warner Robins is better known for its run game that features running backs Danny Hite Jr. (1,076 yards rushing) and Jacquan Burns (977). 3. Richmond Hill’s 6-foot-5 QB Nick Fitzgerald rushed for 134 yards in a 13-7 victory over Thomas County Central in the first round. Fitzgerald, who has committed to Mississippi State, rushed or passed on 23 of his team’s 35 offensive plays. He has 1,317 yards rushing and 25 touchdowns on the season. He can lead his team to its first quarterfinal since 1996 with a victory.

Maxwell Ratings’ projection: Warner Robins by 9

Winner plays: Mays/Kell winner

Mays at Kell

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, C.J. Kell Stadium, Marietta

Records, rankings: Mays is 8-3, the No. 2 seed from Region 6 and unranked; Kell is 11-0, the No. 1 seed from Region 7 and No. 2.

Last meeting: This is the teams’ first meeting.

Three things to know: 1. Kell QB Cameron Rosendahl, making his third start in place of injured Matthew McGuigan (ankle), was 9-of-16 passing for 124 yards and two touchdowns in the 31-17 victory over Allatoona in the first round. RB Jay Moxey rushed for 100 yards, bringing his season total to 1,015 (unofficially). 2. Mays sophomore RB Randrecous Davis rushed for 156 yards on 23 carries in a 14-10 victory over Clarke Central in the first round. Davis has spent more time at wide receiver this season but won the job as feature back for the playoffs. 3. Kell is seeking its second quarterfinal appearance and first since 2010. Mays has never made the quarters and is 0-3 in second-round games, losing in 2003 (St. Pius), 2006 (Habersham Central) and 2007 (East Paulding).

Maxwell Ratings’ projection: Kell by 18

Winner plays: Richmond Hill/Warner Robins winner

Northside (Warner Robins) at Ware County

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Memorial Stadium, Waycross

Records, rankings: Northside is 10-1, the No. 2 seed from Region 2 and No. 7; Ware County is 10-1, the No. 1 seed from Region 3 and No. 5.

Last meeting: Ware County won 24-17 in overtime in the 2012 Class AAAAA semifinals.

Three things to know: 1. This is a rematch of a 2012 semifinal game that Ware won in overtime. Northside drove 90 yards to pull within 17-14 with 18.4 seconds left, recovered an onside kick and made a 42-yard field goal to tie. Ware scored on its overtime possession to lead 24-17, and Northside was flagged for a personal foul on the extra point and had to start its overtime possession from the 30-yard line. Ware held. 2. Dedrick Mills rushed for 166 yards and three touchdowns on 12 carries in a 49-7 victory over Bainbridge last week. Ware held Bainbridge to 84 yards rushing and forced four turnovers. 3. Northside trailed 21-14 in the fourth quarter of its 31-21 victory over McIntosh in the first round. The game-winning touchdown came on a lateral to Glenn Smith, who threw a 75-yard TD pass to Jumon Weaver. The comeback clinched a state-record 16th consecutive 10-win season for Northside.

Maxwell Ratings’ projection: Northside by 4

Winner plays: East Paulding/Tucker winner

East Paulding at Tucker

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Hallford Stadium, Clarkston

Records, rankings: East Paulding is 8-3, the No. 3 seed from Region 5 and unranked; Tucker is 11-0, the No. 1 seed from Region 6 and No. 1.

Last meeting: This is the teams’ first meeting.

Three things to know: 1. Tucker is averaging 50 points per game. RB Elijah Sullivan has 11 rushing touchdowns, two receiving. RB/DB Dominick Sanders has 11 touchdowns rushing, two returning kicks and one returning an interception last week against East Paulding. Yaquis Sullivan has scored nine touchdowns, four on kickoff returns, including one in a 35-14 first-round victory against Heritage of Conyers. 2. East Paulding won its first-round game against Creekside 34-33 after nearly letting a 34-19 fourth-quarter lead get away. RB Tae Ray scored three touchdowns in the second half. 3. East Paulding is trying to reach the quarterfinals for the fifth time since 2006 and has won three times on the road in the second round to get there, most recently at Northgate in 2011. Tucker is bidding for its 10th quarterfinal since 2000 and fourth in a row. Tucker has won nine consecutive second-round home games, although all of those were at Adams Stadium. This game has been moved to Hallford Stadium.

Maxwell Ratings’ projection: Tucker by 18

Winner plays: Northside (Warner Robins)/Ware County winner

Mundy’s Mill at Lee County

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Trojan Field, Leesburg

Records, rankings: Mundy’s Mill is 7-4, the No. 2 seed from Region 4 and unranked; Lee County is 10-1, the No. 1 seed from Region 1 and No. 10.

Last meeting: This is the teams’ first meeting.

Three things to know: 1. Lee County QB Stephen Collier, who has committed to Ohio State, has thrown for 2,053 yards and rushed for a team-leading 867 with 17 touchdowns. But he has been prone to turnovers (12 interceptions, seven fumbles). His top receiver is J.Q. Quimbley (46 catches, 797 yards and 12 touchdowns). 2. Mundy’s Mill RB Rodney Smith, a preseason all-state pick, rushed for 348 yards and four touchdowns in a 33-13 victory over Houston County in the first round. Smith has rushed for more than 1,000 yards each of the past two seasons (1,709 this season) despite an injury-shortened junior season and the ensuing recovery. 3. Neither team has reached the quarterfinals. Lee County is in the second round for only the third time (1999, 2005). Mundy’s Mill’s victory Friday was its first win in the state playoffs. Mundy’s Mill, a Clayton County school, opened in 2003.

Maxwell Ratings’ projection: Lee County by 8

Winner plays: South Paulding/Gainesville winner

South Paulding at Gainesville

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, City Park Stadium/Bobby Gruhn Field, Gainesville

Records, rankings: South Paulding is 10-1, the No. 2 seed from Region 5 and No. 9; Gainesville is 10-1, the No. 1 seed from Region 8 and No. 3.

Last meeting: This is the teams’ first meeting.

Three things to know: 1. This game features two of the top dual-threat quarterbacks in the state. Gainesville’s Deshaun Watson has thrown for 2,810 yards and rushed for 849 with 48 touchdowns passing and rushing. South Paulding’s Chandler Burks has passed for 2,334 yards and rushed for 1,367 with 41 touchdowns passing and rushing. 2. Both teams have dual-threat running backs who are overshadowed in the backfield. Gainesville junior Michael Byrd has rushed for 878 yards and caught 49 passes for 477 yards and scored 13 touchdowns. South Paulding’s Jae Bowen has rushed for 1,158 yards and caught 50 passes for 741 yards and scored 31 touchdowns. 3. South Paulding, which opened in 2006, is making its first state-playoff appearance. Gainesville is the defending state champion with a playoff record of 68-44 since the GHSA began running a statewide tournament in 1947.

Maxwell Ratings’ projection: Gainesville by 9

Winner plays: Mundy’s Mill/Lee County winner

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