Collin’s Hill’s Ethan Davis (9) runs away from Pebblebrook’s Alik Wyche (12) during a second-round playoff game at Collins Hill.

While the usual representation from the smaller classifications is missing, Gwinnett County high school football is still alive and well in the quarterfinals of Georgia’s two largest classes.

Each of the four quarterfinal games in Class AAAAAAA features a Gwinnett team (Brookwood, Collins Hill, Grayson and Mill Creek), while Buford and Dacula are in the Elite Eight in AAAAAA. Of those six remaining teams, only two get to stay at home for games this Friday.

One of those is Dacula, which managed a home game this week despite carrying a No. 2 seed into the quarterfinals. The Falcons caught a break because their opponent is a No. 4 seed, Johns Creek (9-3).

After a 1-3 start, Dacula has finished strong in its first season under head coach Casey Vogt. It has won seven of its last eight with the only loss coming to two-time defending state champion Buford.

The Falcons (8-4) took their long road trip this past Friday, pulling out a 29-21 victory over Region 2-AAAAAA champion Brunswick. Kyle Efford rushed for 187 yards and two touchdowns and threw a TD pass.

“We have to play a dang good Johns Creek team,” Vogt said of the upcoming quarterfinal. “We saw them this summer at our padded camp. I know they are really well-coached and talented, so we’ve got to come ready to go.”

Brookwood (10-2), on an eight-game winning streak, also is at home Friday, a reward for winning the 4-AAAAAAA championship. Up next is a tough task in Walton (8-3), which lost 42-14 to Marietta in the regular-season finale but rebounded for impressive road playoff wins over Colquitt County (41-17) and Archer (34-7).

Brookwood survived a battle to reach the quarterfinals, squeaking past North Gwinnett 17-14 thanks to 306 passing yards from Dylan Lonergan and three field goals from J.J. Silva. Malcolm McCain saved the victory with an interception, along with making 13 tackles.

“I couldn’t be more proud of our team’s grit, perseverance and the way we did the things we had to do in the second half to win the game,” Brookwood head coach Philip Jones said. “We survived and advanced.”

Collins Hill, Grayson and Mill Creek have road quarterfinal games Friday night, as does Buford, which plays at Lee County in a rematch of last year’s AAAAAA state finals, won in overtime by Buford at Georgia State. The Wolves routed Lovejoy in the second round to set up a rematch with Lee, this time in Leesburg.

“They’re one of those hard-nosed teams that played us to the end last year and they’re going to be just as good,” Buford head coach Bryant Appling said of Lee. “They’re going to be well-coached. I respect Coach (Dean) Fabrizio and his staff a lot. They do a great job. It’s going to be a four-quarter war.”

Like Buford, No. 1-ranked Collins Hill gets a long road trip the day after Thanksgiving. The Eagles, after seeing its bracket lose the Georgia High School Association coin toss for the quarterfinals, must play at 1-AAAAAAA champion Lowndes, which barely escaped Norcross in the second round.

Collins Hill (12-0), coming off a state runner-up finish, has impressed all season with a stingy defense (it has allowed 36 points over the last nine games) and an offense trigged by Missouri-bound quarterback Sam Horn. Travis Hunter, the nation’s top senior recruit, return from an ankle injury in the last round, a 48-6 rout of Pebblebrook.

“Our kids showed up and really played well in all three phases,” Collins Hill head coach Lenny Gregory said of the quarterfinals.

Grayson and Mill Creek face shorter road trips in metro Atlanta, needing only to navigate Black Friday shopping traffic for their quarterfinal destinations.

Defending state champion Grayson (9-3) travels to Roswell, which stunned North Cobb in the second round. The Rams have found offensive success in the playoffs with 48 points against East Coweta and 35 against Denmark after being held to 17 points or less four of their last five regular-season games.

They got to the quarterfinals by knocking off 6-AAAAAAA champion Denmark last Friday.

Mill Creek (11-1) faces maybe the biggest task of Gwinnett’s remaining AAAAAAA football teams with a game at talent-laden Milton (11-1), the 5-AAAAAAA champion. The Hawks fell behind 14-0 to McEachern in the second round, then scored 45 straight points to seize control.

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