Round 2 playoff roundup

Photo by Terance Johnson

Mays went on the road to upset Class AAAAA No. 1 Ware County 21-18 to advance to the state quarterfinals. After Ware County scored 15 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to pull within three points, a Mays punt with 1:05 remaining gave the Gators the ball on their own 24-yard line. On the next play, Monquavion Brinson recovered a Ware County fumble, allowing Mays to run out the clock. Mays led 7-3 at halftime after a quarterback sneak for a score by Asahnia Aderhold and then scored two more touchdowns in the third quarter on a 26-yard Randrecous Davis reception and a 36-yard Tyshawn Brown catch. Ware was the top seed in Class AAAAA Region 3 while Mays came in as the No. 3 seed in Region 6.


Colquitt County 51, Dacula 30: Colquitt County remained undefeated but got a major scare from Dacula when the visiting Falcons surged to a 20-0 lead in the first quarter. The Packers tied the game early in the third quarter after Bull Barge returned a fumble 57 yards for a touchdown. Colquitt County rode Sihiem King the rest of the way. King rushed for 134 yards and six touchdowns on 17 carries and he also caught a 22-yard scoring strike from Chase Parrish. King now has 11 touchdowns in two playoff games.

McEachern 44, Alpharetta 14: Visiting McEachern took a 27-0 lead in the first quarter and punched its ticket to the quarterfinals behind a five-touchdown performance from sophomore quarterback Bailey Hockman. Hockman found sophomore receiver Tyler Smith for three touchdown passes in the first quarter and connected with T.J. Rahming twice for McEachern scores. Hockman has thrown a state-high 37 touchdown passes this year with Smith (17) and Rahming (16) combining for 33 of the scores.

Milton 17, Langston Hughes 14: Ethan Suda’s 41-yard field goal late in the third quarter would be the difference for host Milton, which came back from a 14-7 third-quarter deficit. Micco Brisker rushed 36 times for 106 yards and a three-yard touchdown in the first quarter for Milton, and Obe Fortune rushed for a four-yard game-tying touchdown in the third quarter. Fortune also had four receptions for 73 yards, and Austin McLeod was 9-of-14 passing for 142 yards.

Newton 15, Central Gwinnett 14: Romario Johnson gave host Newton the lead on a 1-yard touchdown run late in the third quarter, and the Rams held on by recovering a Central Gwinnett fumble and turning the Black Knights over on downs twice in the fourth quarter. Central Gwinnett scored both its touchdowns in the first quarter, then Newton rallied with a DeAndre Huff touchdown reception from Johnson and a Nick Ramirez field goal.


Gainesville 49, Harris County 40: Mikey Gonzalez passed for 365 yards and four touchdowns to lead Gainesville past Harris County. The touchdown receptions went to Chris Williams, who caught eight passes for 196 yards and two touchdowns, Rodney Lackey, who had eight catches for 114 yards and one touchdown, and Messiah Dorsey, who had seven catches for 101 yards and one touchdown. Dorsey also completed a 61-yard touchdown pass. Gainesville finished with 546 total yards, 416 passing and 130 rushing. Mike Byrd had 121 yards on 25 carries.

Glynn Academy 31, Creekside 21: Glynn Academy dominated the second half by a 24-0 margin to stun host Creekside. The Terrors got off to a quick 7-0 start only to see Creekside reel off 21 unanswered points for a 21-7 halftime advantage. Glynn Academy finally took its first lead of the game at 24-21 with six minutes remaining. All four Terror touchdowns were scored on the ground; two by Garrison Hurd and one each by Justin Larson and Adrien Cross. Scout Churchwell tacked on a field goal.

Jones County 33, Kell 31: Jones County intercepted Kell in the end zone with two seconds left to seal the road win. Chandler Ramage rushed 21 times for 200 yards and scored four rushing touchdowns for Jones County, one in the fourth quarter to spark a comeback from a 29-21 deficit. Bradley Hunnicutt found Nick Singleton on a 27-yard touchdown pass with six minutes to play to give Jones County the lead.

Northside-Warner Robins 30, Dalton 21: Justin Alonso kicked a 21-yard field goal with 7:32 remaining, and Tobias Oliver scored on a 1-yard run with 52 seconds remaining to lift the Eagles to a come-from-behind victory against Dalton. Dalton had taken a 21-20 lead with 6:15 left in the third quarter on Payton Veraldi’s third touchdown pass, a 29-yarder to Zek Cobb. Alonso had two other field goals of 26 and 41 yards. Oliver had touchdown runs of 32 and 23 yards in addition to the 1-yard dive. Northside led 17-0 in the middle of the second quarter before Veraldi completed touchdown passes to Chase Westfall and Tyler Nolan. Nolan’s 72-yard TD reception cut the lead to 17-14. Alonso’s 41-yard field goal pushed the Eagles ahead 20-14, setting the stage for Veraldi’s touchdown pass to Cobb, which gave Dalton a 21-20 lead, and Northside’s final two scores.

Stockbridge 27, Stephenson 7: Malachi Brown threw a pair of touchdown passes and rushed for two additional scores to do all of the offensive damage for host Stockbridge as it cruised past Stephenson. Brown gave the Tigers a more comfortable 14-0 lead at halftime instead of 7-0 after he connected with Marquez Ezzard from 26 yards away as time expired. Stephenson closed the gap on a touchdown run by Cortese Logan, but Brown scored on a quarterback sneak then tossed another touchdown strike to Ezzard.

Class AAAA

Sandy Creek 29, Wayne County 7: Sandy Creek got two touchdown runs from Eric Swinney and moved to an easy victory against Wayne County. Swinney scored on runs of three and six yards. The Patriots also got a 25-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Trey Walker to Christian Branch and a seven-yard touchdown run by Drezan Parson. The Sandy Creek defense also contributed a safety.

St. Pius 52, Eastside 20: St. Pius outscored visiting Eastside 42-6 starting early in the second quarter to book its fourth consecutive trip to the quarterfinals. The Golden Lions racked up 384 total rushing yards, including 107 from Joey Connors. Carlos Huggins rushed for Eastside’s first two touchdowns before St. Pius took its second lead of the game at 17-14 on a 9-yard scoring run by Connors. Dalton Wilson also turned in a big performance for the Golden Lions, finishing with 87 yards on the ground while scoring touchdowns to give his team leads of 24-14 and 31-14.

Woodward Academy 28, Burke County 6: Elijah Holyfield rushed for 124 yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries as host Woodward Academy eventually pulled away from Burke County. Holyfield scored each of his two touchdowns in the first half en route to a 14-6 lead at the intermission. Burke County was still within eight points going into the fourth quarter, but Woodward’s Darien Wiggins returned a fumble 96 yards for a score to ice the game. Jes Sutherland tacked on a touchdown pass to Joshua Johnson.

Class AAA

Blessed Trinity 42, Adairsville 8: Host Blessed Trinity improved to 12-0 while earning its second consecutive trip to the Class AAA state quarterfinals. Conor Davis tossed a touchdown pass to Logan Craighead before Garrett Dupuis ran in three Blessed Trinity touchdowns to put the Titans up 28-0. Davis found the end zone on a one-yard run in the third quarter and Dupuis recovered a fumble forced by Bailey Grady for a touchdown that gave Blessed Trinity a 42-0 lead.

Calhoun 38, Cedar Grove 18: Calhoun scored the first 17 points of the game but led by just 10-0 at halftime before rolling over visiting Cedar Grove. The Yellow Jackets surged to a 38-6 advantage midway through the fourth quarter then saw the Saints score two inconsequential touchdowns. Kaelen Riley tossed a 45-yard scoring strike to Thomas Lester and scored on a quarterback sneak. Calhoun also got two touchdown runs from Cole Jackson and a field goal by Alex Flores.

Westminster 27, Central-Carroll 10: Westminster scored 27 of the game’s last 30 points to overcome Central-Carroll and reach the quarterfinals for the first time since 2003. Zay Malcome rushed for 77 yards and caught a touchdown pass from receiver Sebastian Mosso on a trick play. Cortez Alston returned a fumble 21 yards for a score early in the third quarter to erase the Wildcats’ 10-6 halftime deficit. Westminster also got two field goals from Blake Gillikin and a touchdown run by Chase Williams.

Class AA

Greater Atlanta Christian 48, Lamar County 20: Visiting Lamar County took a 20-14 lead at the half, but GAC forced four second half  turnovers and used 34 unanswered points to improve to 12-0 and set a new school record for wins in a season. Micah Abernathy ran in three GAC touchdowns and Jaelen Venable ran in a third quarter touchdown that put the Spartans ahead 28-0. GAC’s Darius Slayton recorded a pair of interceptions and also caught two touchdown passes from quarterback Davis Mills.

Lovett 42, Macon County 8: Jay Harris ran in a 36-yard touchdown to put visiting Lovett up 7-0 and quarterback Willie Candler added a one-yard touchdown run and a 31-yard touchdown pass to Jonathan Thomas to give the Lions a 21-0 halftime lead. Murphy Lee opened the second half with a Lovett touchdown run and Candler ran in his second score two minutes later. Harris iced the game with a 37-yard touchdown run that made it 42-0. Macon County scored on a late 27-yard pass from K’hari Lane to Devontae Hudson.

Pace Academy 57, Jefferson County 50: Pace Academy outlasted host Jefferson County in a wild showdown that featured seven lead changes and fourth-quarter ties of 43-43 and 50-50. The final three touchdowns were scored in the last 1:03 of the game. Kevin Johnson threw a 40-yard scoring strike to put Pace Academy ahead 50-43 only to see Kobe Jackson of the Warriors return the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown. The Knights answered with a game-winning, 25-yard touchdown pass from Johnson to Deon Jackson with seven seconds remaining.

Class A-Private

Eagle’s Landing Christian 34, Athens Christian 0: Quarterback D.J. Hammond rushed for 144 yards and three touchdowns to lift Eagle’s Landing past Athens Christian. Hammond scored on runs of 1, 2, and 14 yards. Eagle’s Landing also got a touchdown from Trevor Gear on a 25-yard run. Kicker Alex Usry completed all four extra point attempts and also added two field goals of 31 and 39 yards. The Chargers had 398 yards of total offense, 388 yards rushing.

Mount Pisgah 38, Landmark Christian 14: Landmark Christian cut the deficit to 17-14 before visiting Mount Pisgah ended the game with 21 unanswered points and stamped its second straight quarterfinals appearance.  Mount Pisgah quarterback Aaron Winchester threw four touchdown passes and ran in a fifth score from seven yards out that made it 38-14. Jacob Greene and Connor Richey each hauled in Winchester touchdown passes in the second half and Chase Clarke kicked a Pisgah field goal between two Ben Miller touchdown receptions in the first half.

Tattnall Square 23, Pinecrest Academy 0: J.J. Battle rushed five times for 102 yards, including an 83-yard touchdown run in the first quarter for host Tattnall Square. Quarterback Ian Herndon (8-of-10 passing, 104 yards) accounted for two scores in the fourth quarter, throwing a 46-yard touchdown pass to Ahmad Barron and rushing for a 4-yard touchdown. Jonathan Ward added 15 rushes for 85 yards for Tattnall, and Loftin Whiddon made a 34-yard field goal right before halftime.

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