Class A-Private semifinals preview

Photo by Bill Cox

Mount Paran Christian vs. Aquinas

After knocking out Savannah Christian, 35-14, in the Class A-Private quarterfinals, undefeated Mount Paran Christian makes its first-ever trip to the semifinals. The Eagles have been led by an unstoppable running attack that follows lanes paved by 6-foot-9 center Zach Strong. Dorian Walker and Emoni Williams share touches out of the backfield and can score in a variety of ways. In the quarterfinals, Williams returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown before rushing for scores on consecutive snaps in the second half. The Eagles’ first varsity season was in 2008 and the program did not win a playoff game until last year’s 31-24 win over Our Lady of Mercy in the opening round. The team that sent the Eagles home in the second round last year is the same Aquinas team they’ll be facing in the semis. Aquinas held on to a 35-32 win in the quarterfinals last year and Mount Paran will be looking to avoid the same heartbreak felt in last year’s loss. Despite, Aquinas’ success this season, Mount Paran cruises into the semis as a projected favorite in the Maxwell computer rankings and is two wins away from becoming the first Cobb County school since 1967 to win a state championship. Aquinas topped Tattnall Square 21-6 in the quarterfinals and currently stands at 12-0. The Irish have not lost a game since 2012, after a 14-0 season that led them to their first state title last year against Calvary Day. Senior running back Ruben Garrett put up 273 rushing yards against the Trojans last week, giving him a total of 1,725 rushing yards and 28 touchdowns. The defense held the Trojans to just six points in the game. Quarterback Liam Welch has 1,676 total passing yards with 21 passing touchdowns this season.

Calvary Day School vs. Eagles Landing Christian

Calvary Day earns its second visit to the state playoffs after a 35-21 victory over Mt. Pisgah Christian in the quarterfinals. The Cavaliers remain undefeated at 12-0 as they are set to play a strong Chargers team. The Cavaliers offense is led by senior running back Robert Heyward . Heyward has picked up 1,157 yards on the ground on 139 carries and has rushed for 19 scores. Quarterback Salvador Calderon passed for 1,012 yards and 13 touchdowns before an injury the final game of the regular season ended his 2014 campaign. Linebacker Brent Sanders has racked up 46 solo tackles this year and stepped in at quarterback in the quarterfinals and tossed a touchdown pass to Tyler Kilgore. Eagle’s Landing started the season at 0-6, but made the playoffs after going undefeated in region play, and now stands 6-6 overall. The Chargers played the first part of their season without quarterback DJ Hammond and tailback Trevor Gear until the transfers became eligible in October. Eagle’s Landing has cruised into the semifinals having shut out Athens Christian 34-0 in the first round of playoffs and demolishing Prince Avenue Christian 47-17 in the quarterfinals. The offense dominated the Wolverines as DJ Hammond completed all nine passing attempts for 200 yards while Trevor Gear rushed for 102 yards off 14 carries and a touchdown. As a whole, the Chargers’ compiled 525 yards of total offense against the squad it defeated for the 2012 Class A-Private State Championship. Eagle’s Landing fell to Calvary Day by 34-35 in overtime of last year’s semis.


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