Class AA first round preview

Photo by Lauren Roberts

R6 T3 Wesleyan at R5 T2 Heard County

Heard County is making its 10th consecutive postseason appearance and looks to continue with their offensive prowess from the regular season. The Braves will go into the contest having averaged 26.7 points per game. However, they will face off a Wesleyan team that features a vaunted defense that plays well on the road. The Wolves were undefeated on enemy territory this year and held opponents to just 7.6 points per game in those matchups. This is the first time the two teams will play each other on the gridiron.

R4 T4 Monticello at R3 T1 Screven County

Monticello will be making their first playoff appearance since 1999 and they will have their hands full against Screven County’s Malik Prescott and the Gamecocks’ rushing attack. Prescott leads Screven County with 15 rushing touchdowns and is one of six different offensive players to have accumulated over 200 rushing yards on the season. The Hurricanes were winless on the road in regular season, finishing 0-5, but are coming off a huge victory against Northeast, Macon where they dropped a season-high 53 points.

R2 T3 Bacon County at R1 T2 Brooks County

No. 6-ranked Brooks County has made the playoffs every year in head coach Maurice Freeman’s tenure and they look to build form their state semifinal appearance last season. Bacon County has the potential to churn out points on any given night. The Raiders had four games where they scored 40 or more points during the regular season, but they will face a capable Trojans defense that allowed just 18 points per contest, a number that would have been lower if not for a 57-point outburst in a loss to Fitzgerald.

R8 T4 Washington-Wilkes at R7 T1 Darlington

It seems as if a low-scoring affair will be in order. No. 8 ranked Darlington carries a defense led by linebacker Robert Muschamp that allowed only 12 points per game in the regular season. Washington-Wilkes carries a vaunted defense as well, giving up just 15 point per contest. After opening the season with a loss, the No. 1-seeded Tigers rolled to nine straight wins going into the playoffs, with four of them seeing the opposition being held to under ten points.

R5 T3 Bremen at R6 T2 Lovett

No. 3 Lovett features a balanced offensive attack led by senior quarterback Willie Candler, who completed 60 percent of his passes for 1,261 yards on the season. For Bremen, they will rely on the legs of Daulton Pope. The senior ran for 1,690 yards during the regular season while scoring 16 touchdowns.Bremen must account for defensive end Jack Gearon and a Lions defense that allowed only 15.4 points per game. Lovett has lost at home just twice in the previous two seasons.

R3 T4 Dublin at R4 T1 Macon County

Macon County has recorded a shutout in three of the last four regular season games, and they look for similar results against a Fightin’ Irish that averaged 28.9 points per contest. Dublin features a run-heavy offense with three backs that rushed for more than 400 yards on the season, including a team-leading 880 yards by junior Johnny Willis. However, the Bulldog offense is not one to slouch on either, as they come in averaging 35.9 points per game.

R1 T3 Thomasville at R2 T2 Benedictine

Thomasville’s defense will face their largest test of the season. The Bulldogs are bound to take on a Benedictine offense that comes in averaging 46.7 points per game while scoring 60-plus points in their last three contests. Cadet quarterback Stevie Powers has passed for 2,234 yards and boasts a touchdown-interception ratio of 19-5. Thomasville will look to rely on senior leadership from Jay Bowdry and Stevan Thornton for the Bulldog defense to have a fighting chance at Benedictine.

R7 T4 Chattooga at R8 T1 Rabun County

Chattooga comes in having not won a state playoff game since 1980 and that streak may continue. The Indians offense has averaged just 18.4 points per game with their main offensive production coming from twins Isaac and Isaiah Foster. The sophomores have combined for over 1900 rushing yards and 24 touchdowns. The Rabun County offense averaged 430 total yards per contest and have relied heavily on all-purpose back Charlie Woerner who has compiled 1,551 total yards on the season.

R3 T3 Swainsboro at R4 T2 Lamar County

The No. 9-ranked Trojans carry a strong running attack that averages 6.1 yards per carry with the tandem of junior Juan Tucker and senior Nathan Eure leading the way. The pair combined for 1,184 yards and 15 touchdowns during the regular season. Swainsboro is coming off a season that saw them finish 5-5 while having trouble against quality opponents finishing 0-4 against top ten-ranked teams (Vidalia, ECI, Valdosta, and Screven Count). The experience gained with the tough regular season lineup may play big against Lamar County.

R5 T4 Chattahoochee County at R6 T1 GAC

Coach Josh Kemp’s first season back as Chattahoochee County head coach, after leaving following the 2009 season, resulted in the program’s first playoff appearance since his original departure. Chattahoochee County features an offense that averaged 31 points per game in the regular season. GAC went a perfect 10-0, their third straight season of 10-plus wins, and they did so in dominating fashion, outscoring opponents by 27 points per contest while the defense recorded four shutouts. Darius Slayton and Micah Abernathy lead the Spartans and are two of the most versatile playmakers in the state.

R8 T3 Greene County at R7 T2 Coosa

Both teams are making the playoffs for the first time under the helm of their current head coaches. Greene County  looks to earn its first postseason win since 2006 and the defense will play a key factor. All five of its regular season victories saw opponents being held to 12 points or less. Coosa finished 5-1 in Region 7-AA while their defense gave up just 4.6 points per game in region play, including three shutouts.

R1 T4 Berrien at R2 T1 Vidalia

The Rebels have not had a winning season since 1995 but secured its third playoff appearance in that span after squeaking in with 2-4 record in Region 4-AA. Berrien’s defense allowed 37.2 points per game during the regular season, including five occasions where they allowed more than 40 points. Top-seeded Vidalia dominated opponents, going undefeated, while outscoring opponents by 32 points per game. The Vidalia defense gave up just 91 points during the regular season and, at one point, recorded four straight shutouts.

R4 T3 Bleckley County at R3 T2 Jefferson County

Jefferson County is making the playoffs for the 13th consecutive season with Coach JB Arnold in charge. The Warrior offense finished the regular season on a high note, scoring 56 points in each of their last two games. Senior linebacker Daylan Williams leads a Jefferson County defense that gave up only 15.4 points per contest. Bleckley County rattled off three straight region victories to steal the number three seed but history is plotted against them. This will be the fifth all-time matchup between the teams and Jefferson County has swept the series 4-0.

R6 T4 Pace Academy at R5 T1 Bowdon

Bowdon is coming off of their 15th region title  in program history after finishing the regular season 8-2, including a perfect 5-0 in Region 5-AA. Running back Darnell Holland spearheads the offensive attack that averaged 38.7 points per game during the regular season. The senior stood out, rushing for 1,613 yards and 24 touchdowns. Pace Academy finished 5-5 in Chris Slade’s second season as head coach and struggled mightily against quality teams. The Knights were 1-5 against opponents with a winning record.

R7 T3 Model at R8 T2 Union County

Union County comes in boasting a 9-1 overall record with the lone loss coming from Region 8 champions Rabun County. The Panthers are led by the arm of junior quarterback Joe Mancuso, who finished the regular season with 2,672 passing yards and 33 touchdowns and only two interceptions. Model finished with an 8-2 record and boasts a defense that allowed just 9.2 points per game. During the season, the Blue Devils held opponents to 10 points or less in six contests.

R2 T4 Bryan County at R1 T1 Fitzgerald

Fitzgerald finished 9-1 in the regular season and carries and pre-dominantly running offense that averaged 339 yards per game on the ground. Senior quarterback Gerald Morgan is sparks the Purple Hurricanes’ offense with his versatility. Morgan has passed for 966 yards and 12 touchdowns while rushing for 1516 yards and 22 scores in regular season play. Bryan County features a similar style of offense but their defense leaves something to be desired as it allowed 29.3 points per game.

*Stats and team history provided by


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