Upset Alert: Two Region 7 games make the list

Jim Weaver

Flowery Branch at Class AAAAA No. 4 Gainesville


Gainesville had a dream season last year behind sensational QB Deshaun Watson, but Flowery Branch found a way to beat the Red Elephants in the regular-season finale to clinch the Region 8 title.


This year, Watson is leading the state is passing with 2,546 yards and Gainesville has scored at least 48 points in each game aside from its 38-14 blowout loss to Buford in Week 2.


The Falcons, meanwhile, have won seven straight since starting the season 0-2 with losses to West Forsyth and Northside-Warner Robins. Flowery Branch has allowed just eight points per game in its last five games.


Pick – Gainesville 45, Flowery Branch 31



Peachtree Ridge at Class AAAAAA No. 5 North Gwinnett


Like Mill Creek, Peachtree Ridge is good enough to be ranked. It’s just that the Lions play in Region 7, where five teams are legitimately as good as any in the state. Unlike the Hawks, however, Ridge is playoff-bound due to its 31-30 victory over Mill Creek on Sept. 20.


North Gwinnett looked like the state’s best team by far earlier in the season, but has had issues defensively since a 50-47 win over Mill Creek in October. The Bulldogs have as much talent as anyone, especially offensively, but QB Hayden Sphire (1,830 passing yards) is a game-time decision.


Peachtree Ridge has survived a brutal schedule with QB Chance Thrasher (1.775 passing yards) and Virginia-commitment Jordan Ellis (1,200 rushing yards) leading the way.


This looks like another high-scoring, Region 7 slugfest.


Pick – Peachtree Ridge 35, North Gwinnett 28



Class AAAAAA No. 4 Collins Hill at Mill Creek


Mill Creek has been eliminated from the playoff chase but may be the best team in the state not in the postseason. The Hawks lost heartbreakers to Peachtree Ridge and North Gwinnett by a total of four points in what has to be a maddening season for coach Shannon Jarvis’ team. But the Hawks will look to take out their frustrations on a Collins Hill squad that looks to clinch a share of the Region 7 title tonight.


QB Tyler Herman has lit up the metro Atlanta sky with 2,053 passing yards while RB Tyler Henderson has run for more than 1,000 yards for Collins Hill, which is scoring points as fast as any team in Class AAAAAA right now.


The only loss Mill Creek has taken this season by more than a field goal was a 27-13 defeat by Norcross in September. This matchup looks like another barnburner.


Pick – Collins Hill 45, Mill Creek 42



Class AAAAA No. 1 Tucker at Mays


This is an unexpected battle for the Region 6 championship. Mays took down Stephenson last week and set up this showdown for the region’s top seed. Perennial-power Tucker edged Mays last year 14-7 in the season-finale and kept the Raiders out of the playoffs.


The Tigers went onto the quarterfinals where they were topped by Northside-Warner Robins 23-20. This year, Tucker has won all its games and only really struggled against Stephenson. Mays, meanwhile, lost to Carver-Atlanta 20-19 and to Arabia Mountain 32-29.


Duke Shelley leads Tucker on offense, defense and special teams while Mays is led by Khalil Brooks, running back and defensive back.


Pick – Tucker 28, Mays 21



Class A-Private No. 7 Calvary Day at Class A-Public No. 2 Johnson County


Johnson County is undefeated and hasn’t had a close game since Sept. 27 when the Trojans beat Savannah Christian 14-7, but Calvary Day beat that same team 37-0. The Cavaliers, meanwhile, haven’t lost since a Week 2 defeat at Class AA Bryan County.


According to Dennis Knight of the Savannah Morning News, Calvary Day QB Michael Peterson has thrown for more than 1,900 yards and 20 touchdowns while tossing just three interceptions.


Johnson County has a solid defense, but has not seen a passing offense like the Cavs’ all year and will struggle to stop it. Calvary Day, meanwhile, has allowed just 33 points since Week 2.


Pick – Calvary Day 35, Johnson County 21


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