Class A-Public Semifinals Preview

No. 8 seed Mt. Zion-Carroll (10-2) at No. 5 seed Clinch County (10-2)

The No. 5 seeded Clinch County Panthers will host No. 8 seed Mt. Zion-Carroll Friday night at Panther Stadium for the first-ever meeting between the schools. Mt. Zion is coming off the biggest win in program history even though it started playing in 1956. The Eagles upset top seed Manchester 10-6 last Friday night and advanced to the state semifinals for the first time. C.J. Ackles gives Mt. Zion great leadership at the quarterback position and he continues to contribute on both sides of the ball. It was Ackles that the Eagles’ game-winning 9-yard touchdown pass to Iaan Cousin last week 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.

Clinch County is in familiar territory, with its sixth state title coming in 2015. Trezmen Marshall splits quarterback duties with Charles McClelland and this opens up offensive opportunities for both of them. Marshall has rushed for 761 yards and passed for 154 despite being sidelined for the start of the season. McClelland rushed for 110 yards and scored on a 48-yard run in a 21-0 victory over Mitchell County last week, but he can contribute in a variety of ways. 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.

No. 3 seed Emanuel County Institute (11-1) at No. 2 seed Irwin County (11-1)

Unlike the first-ever meeting occurring across the bracket, ECI and Irwin County will be meeting in the playoffs for the third-straight year. Irwin County took the semifinals 19-15 in 2015 and ECI topped Irwin County last year in the quarterfinals. ECI prides itself in the running game and features a three-headed attack out of its backfield. Eric Dixton (1,301 yards), Ty Carswell (1,189) and Bobby McNear (867) have combined for 49 rushing touchdowns on the season. Quarterback Chase Whitehead is more than a game manager and can be an effective passer. Whitehead has attempted just 76 passes this year, but 41 have been completed for 928 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Irwin County will also rely on the running game, with a unit that has averaged 244.5 rushing yards per game this season. Sophomore D.J. Lundy has had a breakout season with 1,038 rushing yards and has stepped up in the playoffs with 220 yards and four touchdowns coming off 51 carries.

Tags: , , , , , ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply