Colquitt County vs. Grayson
The Colquitt County Packers (8-5) travel to Grayson High School Stadium to play the Rams (11-3) for a berth in the 5A championship game. After losing to Camden County in the semifinal game last year, Rush Propst's Packers are looking to take the next step and play for their first state title since 1994. Grayson, coming off its fourth straight quarterfinals appearance, is hoping to finally get head coach Mickey Conn to the school's first title game after falling short in the 2008 semifinals to Peachtree Ridge. Grayson was solid on defense this season, allowing only 10 ppg.
Collins Hill at Brookwood
Long-time rivals Collins Hill (10-3) and Brookwood (12-1) face off Friday night at Brookwood Community Stadium. Mark Crews' Broncos won the regular season meeting 45-38, but first year Collins Hill coach Kevin Reach and the Eagles will have to put that behind them. The two schools have played each other nine times in the regular season since 1996, with Collins Hill's only win in the series coming in 2001. This will be the first time the two teams have met in the playoffs. Brookwood is looking for its second state title, while Collins Hill is in search of its first.
Chattahoochee at Statesboro
The undefeated Chattahoochee Cougars (13-0) head to Statesboro Friday night to play the Blue Devils (11-2) for a berth in the state championship game. Coach Terry Crowder's Cougars, coming off a 37-14 win over Dutchtown in the Class 4A quarterfinals, are looking for their first perfect season in school history, as well as their first state title. Five-time state champion Statesboro is looking for its first title since 2005, and second under current head coach Steve Pennington. The Blue Devils defeated Kell 17-7 in the quarterfinals, and have not lost since Week 7 to region foe Evans.
Starr's Mill at Tucker
Friday night the Tucker Tigers (13-0) host the Starr's Mill Panthers (13-0) at Hallford Stadium with a trip to the Georgia Dome and spot in the Class 4A state championship game on the line. Franklin Stephens' Tigers are looking for their second state title in three years and the first perfect season in school history. Meanwhile, Coach Chad Phillips' Panthers are also looking for their first perfect season as well as their first state title. Both schools have dominating defenses that have held opponents to less than 10.0 ppg. This will be the first meeting between the two schools.
Burke County at Carrollton
The Carrollton Trojans (13-0) welcome the Burke County Bears (11-2) to Grisham Stadium Friday night in the Class 3A semifinals. Trojans coach Rayvan Teague, now in his ninth year, is trying to win the eighth state title in team history, and first since 1998 when Carrollton was a 2A school. Fourth-year Burke County coach Eric Parker, who has gotten the Bears to the playoffs every year since his arrival, is looking to get his team back to the championship game for the first time since 1997. This will be the first meeting between the two schools.
Peach County at Sandy Creek
One of the most interesting matchups this weekend could be in Class 3A as the 2009 4A state champion Sandy Creek Patriots host the 2009 3A defending state champion Peach County Trojans at “The Battlefield” in Tyrone. Since both teams are undefeated, and are clearly at the head of the class, the winner will be the heavy favorite in next week’s final at the Georgia Dome. Last weekend, Peach County used a strong running game powered by Travis Richardson’s 297 yards to edge Grady 42-35. Sandy Creek’s offense was powered by quarterback Ronnie Bell (13 completions on 17 attempts for 321 yards) as the Patriots cruised past Monroe Area 41-0.
Carver-Columbus at Calhoun
It will be a battle of Class 2A undefeated teams when the Calhoun Yellow Jackets host Carver-Columbus Friday. Perennial bridesmaid Calhoun (Region 7B) looks to return to the state championship next week for the third consecutive year behind senior tailback Dustin Johnson. Last week, Johnson rushed for 155 yards in last week’s 31-13 win over Fitzgerald. Top-ranked Carver (Region 5) is fortunate to have some serious senior talent (not to mention undergraduate college prospects). AJC Super 11 Running back Isaiah Crowell, has been offered a scholarship by Alabama, Auburn and Georgia. On defense, lineman Gabe Wright is also a legit BCS school prospect.
Lovett at Buford
The good news for Lovett fans is that the Lions are 10-3 and in the Class 2A semifinals this weekend. The bad news? They travel to play Region 6 rival and three-time defending state champion Buford (11-1) tonight. The Wolves have defeated Lovett 37-14 already once this fall, in Atlanta. Lovett faithful are still probably having nightmares about Wolves’ ground game. Senior running back Seon Jones burnt the turf for 319 yards and two touchdowns in the match-up. Lovett may also be without quarterback Hunter Budd, but backup Jack Geraghty led the Lions last week with four touchdowns.
Clinch County at Wilkinson County
The Wilkinson County Warriors (Region 7) have won nine straight games, have a major college prospect (TE/DE Alvin Dupree) and are hosting their semifinal playoff game this Friday. Unfortunately for Wilkinson County, the opponent is the undefeated Clinch County Panthers (Region 1A East). Clinch County operates a high-powered, balanced offense that has averaged more than 43 points per game this fall. Quarterback Tray Dorsey has accounted for 37 touchdowns (14 passing and 23 rushing). The unenviable task of stopping Clinch County will rely heavily on the broad shoulders of Dupree, who is being recruited by Georgia Tech and Auburn.
Savannah Christian at Wesleyan
When Wesleyan hosts Savannah Christian tonight, fans should expect to see some old school football. The Raiders (12-1, Region 3) stifling defense has allowed seven or less points 11 times this season and have not allowed more than 14 points in any game. The Wolves (12-1) and all-time state rushing touchdown record holder, senior Kyle Karempelis, promise to be ready and waiting. Karempelis rushed for a whopping 298 yards and three touchdowns on 42 carries in last week’s 49-28 win over Wilcox County. Clearly, this game will be won in the trenches.
Contributors: Stephen Black