Class AAA Round 2 preview

Photo by Perry McIntyre

R5 T2 Callaway at R3 T1 Washington County

Washington County has not played against a team that survived the first round of the playoffs since its clash with Class AAAA’s Burke County on Sept. 19, but the Golden Hawks dominated Burke County 47-27 just like its other 10 opponents this year. AJ Gray quarterbacks an offense that averages over 50 points a game and helped lead the Golden Hawks to a 73-28 opening round victory over Jackson-Atlanta last Friday. The 73-point scoring outburst was the third time this year that Washington County has surpassed 70 points in a game. Callaway doesn’t ride an 11-game win streak into Friday night but the Cavaliers have grown accustomed to playoff success in recent seasons. Under head coach Michael Wiggins, Callaway finished 12-2 last year after suffering a 24-14 loss to Buford in the state semifinals. Washington County ended last season 13-1 after falling to Buford in the state championship.

R8 T4 Oconee County at R1 T2 Pierce County

Travis Noland led an Oconee County team that finished 2-8 last year into the playoffs in his first season at the helm, but the Warriors didn’t stop there. Oconee opened the playoffs last week with a 42-38 victory over top-seeded West Hall. Pierce County sent Jackson home with a 49-21 win last Friday and enter this week’s matchup with a 9-2 record that is tattooed with close losses to Cook (17-16) and Appling County (17-14). Oconee County had lost its last three games of the regular season and Pierce County will have to keep the Warriors from riding the momentum of last week’s victory.

R6 T2 Adairsville at R4 T1 Blessed Trinity

Adairsville has scored at least 35 points in a game nine times this season and opened the postseason with a 52-14 blowout over Cedartown. Defensively, Adairsville boasts a unit that allows just 12.7 points per game. This is the first time in school history that the Tigers will face Blessed Trinity. Blessed Trinity is one of five remaining undefeated teams in Class AAA. Conor Davis quarterbacks an offense that has scored 39 points per game while the defense has held opponents to a 9.6 points per game average.

R1 T3 Dodge County at R8 T1 Jefferson

Dodge County opened the season 7-0 but dropped back to back games to Cook and Pierce County and entered the first round as a No. 3 seed. The Indians had to visit a 9-1 Westside-Macon team in the opening round but walked away with a commanding 14-3 victory. Jefferson is among the favorites to win this year’s Class AAA title and the Dragons sit at 11-0 with an offense that averages 42 points per game and a defense that surrenders just 8.9 points per game.

R4 T2 Cedar Grove at R6 T1 Calhoun

Undefeated Calhoun hosts a talented Cedar Grove team that has enough talent to challenge the red hot Yellow Jackets. Calhoun has outscored its opponents by 35 points per game this year and comes off a 43-14 opening round rout over Rockmart. Calhoun has not lost a home game since a 17-7 loss to Cartersville in 2008, which takes the Yellow Jackets current home winning streak to an incredible 53 games. Cedar Grove is one win away from the school’s first double-digit wins season since 1991.

R1 T4 Appling County at R8 T3 Elbert County

Appling County was one of No. 4 seeds in the state to survive the opening round after the Pirates stamped a huge 14-7 upset over previously undefeated Peach County. Elbert County is a rare No. 3 seeded home team this week and comes off a 28-18 road victory over Lumpkin County. Elbert County’s most impressive performance came in its season finale when the Blue Devils cruised to a 42-13 victory over Oconee County. This is the first time these two schools have faced.

R4 T3 Westminster at R5 T1 Central-Carroll

Central-Carroll completed its first undefeated regular season since 1987 this year and cruised to a 42-14 victory over Sonoraville in the first round. The Lions held off Callaway 42-35 in the final game of the regular season and still have a defense that has allowed just 8.2 points per game this season. Westminster has not posted 11 wins since 2004, but the Wildcats are one win away from that mark at 10-1. Westminster is led by quarterback Keller Harper and a defense that held Laney to 12 points in their first round victory.

R8 T2 Hart County at R1 T1 Cook

Hart County and Cook will square off for the first time on Friday. Hart County’s lone loss came to Jefferson (21-14) in the Region 8 championship game and Cook enters the second round on a 9-game winning streak after opening the season 0-2. Cook is led by former Irwin County head coach Jon Lindsey. Hart County quarterback Cameron Fouch paces an offense that averages north of 40 points per game and the senior has thrown for 21 touchdowns this season with a 62.1 completion percentage.

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