The days of fall might be getting shorter, but the action in high school football is getting hotter as we get into playoff season, and the race to Atlanta. With one week in the books for post season action, it’s time to look toward week #2, and teams that will be traveling or hosting 2nd round games this year. Before we get to the week 2 action, let’s look back at the results from week one.
In Class AA, region 8-AA powers Union County and Rabun County opened play with wins at home on Friday. Union County defeated South Atlanta 19-15, in a game played at Blairsville, while Region Champion Rabun County defeated B.E.S.T Academy from Atlanta by the score of 38-0.
Putman County and Elbert County both opened state play on the road this past weekend. Putman County fell to Hapeville Charter of Atlanta by the score of 56 – 0, while Elbert County fell to Douglas of Atlanta 42 -21 in a game played on Saturday. “Looking back at the game, we really did a lot of good things against Douglas. We made some mistakes and you can’t do that against a quality opponent, especially in the post season,” said Brad Waggoner of Elbert County. “This team really worked to get better each week and I’m excited about what the future holds for us.” Looking ahead to the off season, Waggoner said,” we must continue to build on the good things of this year. We’re going to be looking toward some young people in 2020, and it’s important for us that we work to maximize their talents, in order for this team to be successful next season.”
In Class AAAA, region teams went 4-0 for the opening round. The highlight of the weekend occurred when Madison County came from behind to defeat Ridgeland 27-20, for the schools first ever win in the post season. Dayton Gresham scored from 5 yards out with less than 2 minutes, to give Madison their first post season win in the 63 year history of the school. Oconee County and North Oconee both opened post season play with wins. Oconee County defeated Northwest Whitfield by the score of 41-14, while North Oconee defeated Pickens County by the score of 45-24. St. Pius X made it a 4-0 weekend for the region thanks to their 42 – 14 win over Heritage.
In the matchup of playoff teams between Region 8-AAA and Region 6-AAA, home fans were the winners. Both Hart County and Jefferson captured wins at their homes while Calhoun and North Murray opened the playoffs with home wins for Region 6-AAA. In Jefferson, Colby Clark continued his hot play as Jefferson defeated Sonoraville by the score of 49-17. Clark carried the ball 24 times for 146 yards and added 4 touchdowns for the Dragons in their opener. Kade McNally added 111 yards on just three carries for Jefferson. In Hartwell, the host Bulldogs used big plays on the ground to defeat Haralson County 56 – 27, for Hart County’s first home playoff win since 2014. Malaki Thomas lead the Bulldog ground game with 238 yards on just 15 carries, scoring three touchdowns on the ground, while Ja Len Lackey added 177 yards on 17 carries with three touchdowns. Quarterback Luke Lee was 13 of 17 through the air for 179 yard and two scores on the night. His leading receiver was Malaki Thomas who had 101 yards and a touchdown on just 5 receptions.
Both Monroe Area and Morgan County saw their season come to the end in the first round. Morgan County fell to Calhoun by the score of 38-10 to finish with a record of 7-4. Monroe Area fell to North Murray, the regular season champion from Region 6-AAA, by the score of 28-14. The Hurricanes also finish the 2019 season with a record of 7-4.
In action this weekend, its Region 8-AAA vs Region 2-AAA as the top teams from each region face off in the second round of the AAA state playoffs. At Jefferson, the Dragons will host the Appling County Pirates in a matchup of two teams that love to run the football. Appling and Jefferson both average nearly 300 yards a game running the football, and sport the fourth and fifth rated scoring defenses in the state in Class AAA. Down at Blackshear, the Bears of Pierce County, rated #2 in some state polls, play host the Bulldogs of Hart County in a matchup of contrasting styles. Pierce County is the 3rd stingiest defense in Georgia Class AAA, while Hart County counters with an offense that is averaging more than 37 points per game.
In Region 8-AAAA, the Madison County Red Raiders look to build on their playoff win against Ridgeland, when they go on the road to take on Mary Persons in a matchup of teams that scored upsets in round one. Oconee County plays host to Perry at Watkinsville while North Oconee goes on the road to take on sixth ranked West Laurens, in a matchup of 10-1 teams.
Good luck to all of the area teams in action this weekend, hope to see each of you in the Elite 8 next Weekend.