DACULA — Dacula got more than enough firepower from Kaleb Edwards, who piled up 281 yards of total offense, and the Falcons got a strong defensive effort to smother state rushing leader Jahmyr Gibbs and Dalton 49-18 Friday night at Barron Field.
The Georgia Tech commit got his yards — 171 of them on 23 carries, including a touchdown to be exact, though 112 of those yards came on just four runs, two of which (for 69 yards) came against Dacula’s second team.
The Dacula running game was more than a match, led by 193 yards and two TDs from Edwards, plus 106 yards on 12 carries from Trenton Jones, plus two touchdowns from Kyle Efford, to send the No. 1 state-ranked Falcons (11-0) into next week’s second round, where they will host Glynn Academy.
Edwards also had three receptions for 88 yards and two TDs, took over as quarterback Jarrett Jenkins (7 of 9, 140 yards, 2 TDs) left the game with a slight ankle injury late in the second quarter and added an interception on defense.
Reggie Icilien and Voshon Porte also added an interception each, with the latter returning his 35 yards for a TD.
Archer 31, Collins Hill 28
LAWRENCEVILLE — The rally came up just short.
The Collins Hill Eagles battled back from a 10-point deficit late in the fourth quarter behind sophomore quarterback Sam Horn in search of their first playoff win since 2015.
They cut the deficit to just three points and had the ball at the Archer 48 with 40 seconds to play.
The previous play saw Collins Hill receiver Logan Brown get taken down in bounds, but the clock was stopped because of an Archer injury. When play resumed, the clock started on the ready for play instead of the snap.
The Eagles’ offense didn’t seem to realize it, and 16 critical seconds burned off the clock as they were driving for a game-tying or game-winning score. The clock ran out on them, and Archer survived with a 31-28 win in the first round of the AAAAAAA state playoffs.
GAC 35, Pace Academy 14
NORCROSS — Pace Academy thew the first punch, returning the opening kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown.
Greater Atlanta Christian absorbed the blow and knocked out the Knights with three scores in the last four minutes of the second quarter.
The Spartans advanced to the second round of the Class AAA playoffs with a 35-14 victory Friday. The Region 7 champs now face Cook, a 7-6 winner over Windsor Forest, at home next week.
Parkview 35, West Forsyth 14
LILBURN — Parkview treated its fans to a victory Friday night, using a three-headed monster of wide receiver C.J. Daniels, running back Tyler Curtis and quarterback Jordan Williams to beat West Forsyth 35-14 in the first round of the Class AAAAAAA state playoffs.
The Panthers (10-1) advance to host Colquitt County next Friday in the second round.
Curtis had seven carries for 71 yards and a touchdown in the first half, Daniels caught seven passes for 136 yards and two scores, and Williams went 11-for-13 passing for 164 yards and two touchdowns.
Wesleyan 35, First Presbyterian Day 28, OT
PEACHTREE CORNERS — Wesleyan team surrendered 352 passing yards and 28 points in the second and third quarters combined in its opening round playoff game against First Presbyterian Day.
However, the Wolves dug deep and mounted a 14-point, second-half comeback for a 35-28 victory in overtime to advance in the Class A Private playoffs Friday night.
In the extra frame, Wesleyan quarterback J.C. French converted a fourth down attempt with a seven-yard TD run as he just got the ball over the goal line.
North Gwinnett 51, Shiloh 14
SUWANEE — The North Gwinnett offense had another big night and the defense was equally stout on Friday, as the Bulldogs rolled to a 51-14 win over Shiloh in the first round of the Class AAAAAAA playoffs at Tom Robinson Stadium.
The Bulldogs had a 51-0 lead at halftime and scored on nine of their 10 first-half possessions. They have scored 45 or more points in six games and 50-plus in four games. Over the last five games, North has outscored its opponents 231-41.
J.R. Martin finished 10-for-19 for 214 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. He ran five times for 81 yards and two touchdowns. Devin Crosby rushed 15 times for 116 yards and three TDs. Josh Downs caught five passes for 59 yards and Hart had three catches for 73 yards.
Mill Creek 45, Newton 14
HOSCHTON — Before Newton got settled on the soggy turf Friday night, Mill Creek’s football team landed a series of haymakers.
The Hawks scored on their first three possessions in the first quarter and never saw that lead threatened in a 45-14 victory in the first round of the Class AAAAAAA state playoffs. Mill Creek (9-2) now travels to Roswell next Friday for the second round, while Newton ends its season with a 7-4 mark.
Chancellor Lee-Parker rushed 14 times for 175 yards and three touchdowns, including scoring runs of 58 and 65 yards to lead the Hawks. Mill Creek was opportunistic on short fields thanks to five Newton turnovers — three lost fumbles and two interceptions — and dominated special teams play.
Lanier 15, Sprayberry 14
SUGAR HILL — When it comes to the playoffs, it’s about finding a way to win and advancing to the next round.
Lanier’s game against Sprayberry wasn’t pretty, but the Longhorns squeaked out a 15-14 victory in the first round of the Class AAAAAA state playoffs.
Nahil Perkins blocked Sprayberry’s game-tying PAT in the fourth quarter and Ford Reasons recovered a fumble with 2:36 left in the game to seal the win.
Buford 43, Decatur 6
BUFORD — Buford’s football team shook off the sting of last week’s upset loss pretty quickly. A 29-point first quarter will do that.
The Wolves opened the Class AAAAA state playoffs Friday with a 43-6 victory over visiting Decatur. They led 29-0 after a quarter and 43-0 at halftime, coasting into the second round as a No. 2 seed, a surprising position after being stunned by Clarke Central in the regular-season finale.
Because of that loss, Buford must travel to Region 2-AAAAA champion Ware County in Waycross next Friday in the second round.
The Wolves (10-1) will make that trip with momentum, thanks in large part to their big first quarter against Decatur.
Grayson 31, Mountain View 0
LOGANVILLE — Grayson got 303 yards on the ground as it rolled over Mountain View 31-0 in the first round of the Class AAAAAAA playoffs.
It was the Rams’ 13th-straight first-round playoff win.
Grayson was led by Phil Mafah on the ground with 138 yards on nine carries and two touchdowns, while Lafayette Gurvin had 82 yards on 14 carries and two touchdowns. C.J. Dixon finished the game going 13-for-25 for 109 yards.
Mountain View was led by Jason Russell, who had 59 yards on 10 carries. Nathan Payne went 12-for-29 for 80 yards.
Hebron Christian 13, Mt. Vernon Presbyterian 7
DACULA — With the Hebron Christian and Mount Vernon Presbyterian offenses failing to generate much in terms of points, Jack Ihm stepped up on defense for the host Lions in the fourth quarter Friday.
On a first-down play with 8:07 to go in the game, Ihm stepped in front of a pass from Mustang quarterback Luke Barnes and returned it about 20 yards to the 10-yard line. Donnovan Moorer ran the ball in for a touchdown on the next play, and the Hebron defense kept Mount Vernon from scoring again for a 13-7 win in the Lions’ first-ever home playoff game.
Norcross 21, South Forsyth 0
NORCROSS — The Norcross Blue Devils advanced to the second round of the Class AAAAAAA state playoffs by defeating the South Forsyth War Eagles 21-0 on Friday night at Blue Devil Stadium.
Quarterback Mason Kaplan had a big night, finishing 11 of 13 for 186 yards and two touchdown passes, both to Jaylen Green, for the Blue Devils (6-5), who will travel to top-ranked Lowndes in next week’s second round. He also rushed for 83 yards on 10 carries.
North Forsyth 44, Brookwood 41
CUMMING — Brookwood led 34-9 at the half, but couldn’t stop North Forsyth’s second-half onslaught, resulting in a 44-41 win for the Raiders, who claimed the program’s first state playoff win since 2011 Friday at North Forsyth.
Brookwood quarterback Dylan Lonergan hurled the game’s final pass into a mass of mixed jerseys, finding a pair of hands and deflecting into the air for an agonizing pair of seconds, before finally striking the damp grass in the end zone and solidifying North Forsyth’s first postseason win of the decade and ending the Broncos’ season at 5-6.
Milton 42, Central Gwinnett 7
MILTON — Even a defending champion understood that shutting down Central Gwinnett’s state-leading passing game takes serious preparation.
The Black Knights, one of Georgia’s elite passing offenses, committed to their trademark air raid attack against 2018 Class AAAAAAA champion Milton in Friday’s first-round playoff game. While it still yielded the usual explosive plays, it was mostly contained by the bigger, more athletic Eagles in a 42-7 loss.
Daejon Reynolds caught seven passes for 160 yards and Central’s lone touchdown. Skylar Adams was 19 of 43 for 233 yards for the Black Knights, who bow out of the playoffs in the first round for the second consecutive year.