Georgia high school football playoff preview: Class AAAAAA

by: GHSF Daily Updated:

Colquitt County at North Cobb

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Emory Sewell Stadium, Kennesaw

Records, rankings: Colquitt County is 9-2, the No. 2 seed from Region 1 and No. 3; North Cobb is 9-2, the No. 1 seed from Region 4 and No. 10.

Last meeting: This is the teams’ first meeting.

Three things to know: 1. Both teams made the semifinals last season. Colquitt lost to Norcross, and North Cobb lost to Lovejoy. A victory would put Colquitt in the quarterfinals for the fifth consecutive season. North Cobb is trying to make the quarters for the second straight season and third time since making the state final in 1959. Colquitt County is 11-3 in playoff road games over the past five seasons. No other Georgia school has won more than 10 playoff road games since 2000. 2. Colquitt County RB Sihiem King rushed for 124 yards in the 41-10 first-round victory over Newnan and has 1,183 yards rushing on the season. QB Daniel Mobley was 25-of-36 passing for 236 yards, putting him over 2,000 yards on the season (2,025). 3. QB Tyler Queen passed for 190 yards and a touchdown and scored three touchdowns in North Cobb’s 60-18 first-round victory over Luella. Queen has thrown for 1,971 yards this season. RB JeVonte Herrod has rushed for more than 1,100 yards.

Maxwell Ratings’ projection: Colquitt County by 8

Winner plays: Peachtree Ridge/Dacula winner

Peachtree Ridge at Dacula

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Barron Field, Dacula

Records, rankings: Peachtree Ridge is 8-3, the No. 4 seed from Region 7 and unranked; Dacula is 7-4, the No. 2 seed from Region 8 and unranked.

Last meeting: Peachtree Ridge won 17-0 in the first round of the 2008 Class AAAAA playoffs.

Three things to know: 1. Peachtree Ridge RB Jordan Ellis rushed for 263 yards and scored six touchdowns in a 59-20 victory over Region 5 champion Lassiter last week. Ellis, who is committed to Virginia, has rushed for 1,546 yards on the season. Dacula had trouble stopping the run last week as West Forsyth RB Trevor O’Brien rushed for 188 yards. 2. Dacula is primarily a running team. QB Aaron Grove has about as many yards rushing (team-leading 624) as passing. Running backs C.J. Mayes and Jaqque Evangelister each have more than 500 yards rushing, but in the 36-30 victory over West Forsyth, it was Bijan Sirleaf (137 yards rushing, three touchdowns) and Kelan Fraise (105 yards rushing, 71-yard TD run) that got the most yardage. 3. Both teams had losing records last season. Peachtree Ridge was 4-6; Dacula was 1-9. This will be the sixth time in nine seasons that one or the other (but not both) has made the quarterfinals. Dacula advanced in 2005 and 2011, Peachtree Ridge in 2006, 2008 and 2009.

Maxwell Ratings’ projection: Peachtree Ridge by 14

Winner plays: Colquitt County/North Cobb winner

Lowndes at Lovejoy

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Twelve Oaks Stadium, Lovejoy

Records, rankings: Lowndes is 8-3, the No. 3 seed from Region 1 and unranked; Lovejoy is 10-1, the No. 1 seed from Region 2 and No. 6.

Last meeting: Lovejoy won 43-3 in the first round of the 2002 Class AAAAA playoffs.

Three things to know: 1. These teams have played each other three times in the playoffs, with Lowndes winning in 1999 and 2001 and Lovejoy winning in 2002. The first playoff game that Lovejoy coach Al Hughes lost came against Lowndes in 2001, and the first playoff game that Lowndes coach Randy McPherson lost came against Lovejoy in 2002. Lovejoy’s 43-3 victory in 2002 remains the most lopsided loss of McPherson’s Lowndes career. 2. Lovejoy WR Preston Williams, a junior, caught seven passes for 275 yards and four touchdowns in the 27-23 first-round victory over Marietta. Williams, who has committed to Tennessee, has 50 receptions for 1,235 yards and 14 touchdowns on the season. His 47-yard reception in the final seconds was the winning touchdown. 3. Lowndes held East Coweta to 10 yards rushing in the Vikings’ 38-10 victory in the first round. A.J. Harper had three tackles for losses, forced two fumbles and returned a third fumble (forced by LB Tre Jackson) 13 yards for a touchdown and a 20-0 lead. Lowndes is a run-oriented team (198.0 rushing per game to 65.5 passing) without a player with more than 500 yards rushing.

Maxwell Ratings’ projection: Lovejoy by 4

Winner plays: Brookwood/Norcross winner

Brookwood at Norcross

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Norcross Stadium, Norcross

Records, rankings: Brookwood is 6-5, the No. 3 seed from Region 8 and unranked; Norcross is 9-2, the No. 1 seed from Region 7 and No. 5.

Last meeting: Brookwood won 34-24 in the second round of the 2010 Class AAAAA playoffs.

Three things to know: 1. Norcross, the defending state champion and preseason No. 1 team, has won eight consecutive games since a 36-17 loss to North Gwinnett on Sept. 13 and not allowed more than 20 points in a game in that time. That includes a 28-0 shutout of Etowah in the first round. Norcross allowed only 134 yards in total offense but did struggle on offense as the first half was scoreless, and 1,000-yard rusher Josh Boyd was not a big factor. 2. Brookwood RB Jesse Brown rushed for 239 yards and scored touchdowns on runs of 3, 56, 51 and 55 yards in a 35-16 first-round victory over Lambert. It was the fourth time in five seasons that Brookwood has won a first-round game on the road. The other wins were against McEachern (2009), Peachtree Ridge (2011) and Lassiter (2012). 3. Brookwood’s first-round victory was its second must-win game in two weeks. The Broncos had to beat Grayson (30-27 in overtime) in the final week of the regular season to make the playoffs. Brookwood leads the series against Norcross 8-3, although they have played only four times in the past 20 years.

Maxwell Ratings’ projection: Norcross by 30

Winner plays: Lowndes/Lovejoy winner

McEachern at Hughes

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

Records, rankings: McEachern is 9-2, the No. 3 seed from Region 4 and unranked; Hughes is 10-1, the No. 1 seed from Region 3 and No. 9.

Last meeting: This is the teams’ first meeting.

Three things to know: 1. McEachern freshman QB Bailey Hockman, the son of head coach Kyle Hockman, threw for 205 yards in his first varsity start in the Indians’ 36-21 first-round victory over Newton. Hockman was playing for injured starter Ty Clemons. McEachern star RB Taj Griffin was hurt in the Newton game. Clemons and Griffin are not ruled out from playing this week. McEachern, a No. 3 seed, has not made the quarterfinals since 1999. 2. Hughes RB Keion Davis rushed for 202 yards and two touchdowns on 18 carries in a 34-20 victory over Valdosta in the first round. Davis, who has committed to Marshall, has rushed for 1,614 yards, second-most in AAAAAA to the 1,735 of Campbell’s Mike Rogers, whose season is finished. 3. Hughes, which opened in 2009, won its first region title and made its first playoff appearance last season but lost to one of McEachern’s Region 4 rivals, third-seeded North Cobb, 42-14 at home in the second round.

Maxwell Ratings’ projection: Hughes by 7

Winner plays: Collins Hill/Alpharetta winner

Collins Hill at Alpharetta

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Alpharetta Stadium, Alpharetta

Records, rankings: Collins Hill is 10-1, the No. 2 seed from Region 7 and No. 7; Alpharetta is 9-2, the No. 1 seed from Region 6 and unranked.

Last meeting: This is the teams’ first meeting.

Three things to know: 1. Collins Hill has won five consecutive games since a 28-0 loss to Norcross on Oct. 11 and scored at least 41 points in each, including the 41-7 victory over Walton last week. RB Tyler Henderson rushed for 111 yards, giving him 1,410 on the season, and four touchdowns. QB Tyler Herman passed for 207 yards, giving him 2,530 on the season. 2. Alpharetta, which opened in 2004, won its first playoff game in history with a 41-23 victory over South Gwinnett after three first-round losses in three years. Austin King was 12-of-29 passing for 216 yards and three touchdowns, two in the fourth quarter. King has 2,252 yards passing this season. 3. Collins Hill, the only ranked team in its quarter of the draw, is seeking its third quarterfinal appearance in history. The others were 2001 and 2010, when the Eagles made it the semifinals. Collins Hill beat another region champion from north Fulton County (Roswell) on the road to make the quarters in 2010.

Maxwell Ratings’ projection: Collins Hill by 22

Winner plays: McEachern/Hughes winner

Hillgrove at Camden County

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Chris Gilman Stadium, Kingsland

Records, rankings: Hillgrove is 10-1, the No. 2 seed from Region 4 and No. 8; Camden County is 10-1, the No. 1 seed from Region 1 and No. 2.

Last meeting: Camden County won 52-17 in the first round of the 2012 Class AAAAAA playoffs.

Three things to know: 1. Hillgrove’s 2010 second-round victory over Camden County, 28-26, was one of the more memorable upsets in recent playoff history. Camden entered the game as two-time defending state champion and ranked No. 1. Camden won the rematch in the 2012 first round 52-17. Camden County is 26-5 in home playoff games since 2002 but has been eliminated at home each of the past three seasons (Hillgrove, Colquitt County, Norcross). 2. Hillgrove QB Elijah Ironside passed for 180 yards and five touchdowns – three to Justin Denton – in a 41-13 victory over Alcovy in the first round. Ironside has 2,269 yards passing on the season. RB Richardre Bagley ran for 187 yards against Alcovy and has 1,373 yards rushing on the season. 3. Camden County went over 3,000 yards rushing as a team for the season in a 36-7 victory over Westlake last week. Tyrone Rauls (569) and Antonio Wimbush (571) are the leading rushers. Camden has passed for 485 yards.

Maxwell Ratings’ projection: Camden County by 10

Winner plays: North Gwinnett/Archer winner

North Gwinnett at Archer

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Archer Community Stadium, Lawrenceville

Records, rankings: North Gwinnett is 10-1, the No. 3 seed from Region 7 and No. 1; Archer is 11-0, the No. 1 seed from Region 8 and No. 4.

Last meeting: North Gwinnett won 49-3 in the first round of the 2011 Class AAAAA playoffs.

Three things to know: 1. This is one of three AAAAAA games matching Top 10 teams (No. 8 Hillgrove at No. 2 Camden County and No. 3 Colquitt County at No. 10 North Cobb are the others) and one of 11 in all classifications. But only one other (No. 4 Carrollton at No. 3 Monroe Area in AAAA) matches teams in the top four. The previous meeting between the two was Archer’s first playoff game. 2. Archer QB Gabe Tiller (144-of-206 passing for 1,719 yards and 19 touchdowns) is completing more than 70 percent of his passes. He was accurate on his first nine last week in a 34-7 victory over North Forsyth. RB Randy Nails had 102 yards rushing and has 967 on the season. 3. North Gwinnett held Milton to 114 yards in total offense in the 34-10 victory in the first round. C.J. Leggett rushed for 138 yards, giving him 1,032 on the season. QB Hayden Sphire returned from injury and was 8-for-19 passing for 99 yards, 80 of that on a screen pass to Nate Brown. Sphire has thrown for 1,919 yards in nine games.

Maxwell Ratings’ projection: North Gwinnett by 15

Winner plays: Hillgrove/Camden County winner

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