Discovery Titans (7-AAAAAAA)
Coach: Efrem Hill
Last week: Beat Meadowcreek 43-32
Denmark Danes (6-AAAAAAA)
Coach: Mike Palmieri
Last week: Lost to West Forsyth 20-10
The state playoffs may be new for the Discovery football program — the Titans make their first appearance Friday in the Class AAAAAAA first round — but the must-win scenario is nothing new for the young program. It was the situation it faced the final two weeks of the regular season.
The Titans won both games, 21-0 over Dunwoody and 43-32 over Meadowcreek, to make the postseason for the first time.
“Like I’ve been saying, we’ve technically been in our playoffs the last two weeks,” Hill said. “It’s no different than that.”
The ultimate pressure came in Game 10, which Discovery needed to win by at least seven points to reach the playoffs. It trailed 26-14 at halftime and 26-21 after three quarters before reeling off three touchdowns in a span of 1 minute, 25 seconds just past the midway point of the fourth quarter.
That late surge made Game 11 a reality.
“It was awesome,” Hill said of the finish. “You go into halftime down 12 and knowing that was on us because we screwed some stuff up. I challenged them. I said, ‘If you’re ready to go home, go home. If not, come out and fight. They fought. You could just see the momentum switch.”
Quarterback Rashad Ray accounted for five TDs, and J.B. Seay, the school’s first 1,000-yard rusher, had 26 carries for 112 yards and a score. The Discovery defense was led by Sean Moon (nine tackles), Jovane Broomfield (interception), Christian Gray (five tackles, one for loss), J.J. Hawkins (two tackles for losses, fumble recovery), J.J. Williams (seven tackles) and Aaron Jefferson (five tackles).
That defense will be tested by Denmark quarterback Aaron McLaughlin, a North Carolina State commitment who began his high school career at Buford.
The winner of this game meets Collins Hill or Alpharetta in the second round.
When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Last meeting: First meeting
Location: Denmark High School