Class AAA Quarterfinal previews

Photo by Hart County Football

R1 T2 Pierce County at R3 T1 Washington County

Undefeated Washington County has blown out all 12 opponents by at least 20 points this season. The Golden Hawks are paced by an offense that produces 52.3 points per game and a defense that allows just 10.7 points per game. Player of the Year candidate A.J. Gray quarterbacks Washington County and he led the Hawks to a 31-7 victory last Friday, despite his least productive game of the season. Gray was held below 100 yards both rushing and passing for the first time all season and fumbled twice in the red zone. Despite the miscues, Gray still scored on a pair of rushing touchdowns in the second half. Pierce County likes to run the football and the Bears will need to keep the football on the ground to keep the clock moving and limit the possessions the potent Washington County offense will see. Pierce County has allowed 14.3 points per game defensively, while scoring just under 37 points per game. The last time these schools faced was during the first round of the 1994 playoffs. Washington County, led by All-Classification Player of the Year Takeo Spikes, went on to win 28-3 and used the victory to propel a playoff run that took the 15-0 Golden Hawks to their first-ever state title.

R4 T1 Blessed Trinity at R8 T1 Jefferson

Undefeated Blessed Trinity at undefeated Jefferson sets up one of the top matchups in any classification. Jefferson cruised in its first season in Class AAA and opened the playoffs with commanding victories over Franklin County (38-7) and Dodge County (27-7). The Dragons are giving up just 8.75 points per game this season and have won every game by double-digits besides their 21-14 victory over Hart County in the Region 8 championship. Like Jefferson, Blessed Trinity’s only victory that was not by double-digit points came in a 28-21 win over Cedar Grove in the Region 4 championship. Conor Davis is a championship-caliber quarterback that leads the Titans but in order for Blessed Trinity to make it all the way to the Dome, the team will have to prove it has the speed to matchup with the elite remaining field in Class AAA. This will be the first time these schools have ever faced.

R8 T3 Elbert County at R6 T1 Calhoun

Calhoun has won its last 54 home games and has not lost a playoff game at home since 2007. The Yellow Jackets faced a big and athletically-gifted Cedar Grove team last round and pulled off a commanding 38-18 victory. Elbert County rides a six-game winning streak into its visit to Phil Reeve Stadium with a red-hot offense that has sparked the recent success. Elbert County topped Appling County 54-3 last Friday and has scored 43.8 points per game over the last six weeks. Calhoun quarterback Kaelan Riley is a 6-foot-3, dual threat that has poise and athleticism to spark big plays.

R4 T3 Westminster at R8 T2 Hart County

Westminster and Hart County’s last meeting was a 6-3 Wildcat victory in the first round of the 1996 playoffs. Eighteen seasons later and Gerry Romberg is still at the helm and looks to lead Westminster to its first 12-win season since 1978. Hart County’s only loss was its 21-14 defeat to Jefferson in the Region 8 title game and the Bulldogs held off a dangerous Cook team 7-0 last Friday. Hart County made it to the quarterfinals four years in a row from 1998-01 but have only made it back twice since and still searches its first state title. Cameron Fouch quarterbacks a balanced Hart County offense that has seen nine different receivers haul in touchdowns this season. Junior Anthony Turner is a 6-foot-4 wide receiver that leads the way with seven receiving touchdowns.

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