LILBURN — Friday night’s second-round Class AAAAAAA state playoff game between Parkview and Colquitt County was a tale of two halves at The Big Orange Jungle.
The first half saw the visiting Packers control the line of scrimmage and score two touchdowns in the last minute to take a 21-10 lead into the break.
The No. 7 state-ranked Panthers stormed back in the second half, scoring 30 unanswered points to beat the fifth-ranked Packers 40-21 and advance to host Archer in the quarterfinals next week.
Jordan Williams finished the game going 15-for-22 for 278 yards passing, while Cody Brown ran for 129 yards on 22 carries. C.J. Daniels was the leading receiver with 137 yards on nine catches, while Bryce Fleetwood had three catches for 71 yards.
The defense also contributed at key moments for Parkview (11-1) with an interception by Quincy Bryant and a strip sack by David Patterson.
Dacula 42, Glynn Academy 20
DACULA — A second-quarter Zach Gerks punt flipped the football field, and the momentum of Friday night’s Class AAAAAA second-round game.
Back-to-back Dacula turnovers led to consecutive Glynn Academy field goals, and a first-down sack then forced a quick three-and-out. Pinned near their own 10, the Falcons got a much-needed spark from their senior punter, who avoided a heavy rush and got off a 56-yarder.
No. 1 Dacula took advantage for touchdowns on its next two possessions and turned a tight game into a double-figure halftime lead, advancing to the quarterfinals with a 42-20 victory. The Falcons (12-0) play at Lee County, the two-time defending state champion in AAAAAA, next Friday in the quarterfinals.
Dacula’s 12th victory matched the school record for wins in a season — a mark reached by four previous teams.
Trenton Jones carried 18 times for 106 yards and a touchdown, Kaleb Edwards rushed 10 times for 89 yards and Jarrett Jenkins (190 passing yards) threw a pair of TDs to Konata Mumpfield, but it was a punt that shifted the game’s tide.
North Gwinnett 60, Walton 10
SUWANEE — North Gwinnett is heading back to the Class AAAAAAA state quarterfinals for the third consecutive year.
The fourth-ranked Bulldogs punched their ticket with about as convincing a win as possible, routing Walton 60-10 at Tom Robinson Memorial Stadium.
North (11-1), which has one its first two playoff games by a combined score of 111-24, picked up 329 yards of offense in the first half, and scored on six of seven possessions while its defense forced two turnovers to set the tone as the Bulldogs advanced to travel to McEachern in a state quarterfinal game next week.
Quarterback J.R. Martin finished with 203 total yards and found the end zone four times, while Seth Anderson hauled in a pair of touchdown passes, Devin Crosby ran for two scores and Jarvis Cunningham added a defensive TD with a 40-yard pick six.
Grayson 42, East Coweta 21
LOGANVILLE — After jumping out to a quick lead, Grayson seemed to take its foot off the gas during the middle two periods of its second-round Class AAAAAAA state playoff game against East Coweta, allowing the Indians to hang around and entertain thoughts of a potential upset.
Fortunately for the No. 3 state-ranked Rams, they were able to put the pedal to the metal when they needed to, with a trio of quick-strike touchdowns for 21 points in the first 4:39 of the fourth quarter to pull away for a 42-21 victory Friday night at Grayson Community Stadium.
The Rams (11-1) did their damage on the ground early, with Phil Mafah and Lafayette Gurvin combining for 245 yards on the ground to help build an early 14-0 lead on a night when the Grayson offensive line delivered in a big way.
The late surge was keyed by the combination of C.J. Dixon (16 of 21 for 251 yards, 3 TDs, 2 INTs) and Jamal Haynes (6-157, 2 TDs receiving) hooking up for a pair of touchdowns during the fourth quarter spurt to help Grayson (11-1) advance to the state quarterfinals, where a trip to top-ranked Lowndes awaits.
Archer 45, Cherokee 14
LAWRENCEVILLE — Archer’s defense held Cherokee in check for most of Friday night, and a big punt block for a touchdown and stellar running game helped the Tigers advance in the Class AAAAAAA second round with a 45-14 win.
With the ninth-ranked Tigers (9-3) holding just a 10-7 lead in the early in the second quarter, Jackson McCrary blocked a punt and immediately gained possession of the ball without it touching the ground. He ran the ball back 10 yards for a TD that gave the Tigers a big momentum swing and 17-7 lead with 8:48 to go before halftime.
Carter Peevy was 12-for-19, 129 yards with a touchdown passing and 11 carries for 85 yards and TD on the ground, while Schmari Campbell, Jordon Swain and Renoldo Spivey Jr., combined for 267 yards and three TDs on the ground, with Spivey leading the way with 117 yards and a score on 13 carries to send Archer on a trip to Parkview for the state quarterfinals.
Mill Creek 41, Roswell 17
ROSWELL — Armed with a physical run game that averaged seven yards per carry and a near-perfect run defense, No. 8 Mill Creek powered its way into the Class AAAAAAA state quarterfinals by overwhelming Roswell 41-17 in a second-round game Friday at Ray Manus Stadium.
Chancellor Lee-Parker rushed for 207 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries as part of a 327-yard performance by the Hawks’ ground game, which escaped tackles and piled up yards after contact all night against a Hornets defense that hadn’t allowed more than 21 points against any opponent this season.
Pair it with their own defense that allowed just 26 rushing yards on 28 Hornet carries, and the Hawks (10-2) earned a trip to Marietta for next week’s state quarterfinals after being eliminated in the second round the past two seasons.
Buford 34, Ware Co. 6
WAYCROSS — The Buford football team isn’t used to playing away from home in the early rounds of the state playoffs, and the Wolves weren’t exactly close to home Friday night, either.
They had to make a long bus ride to the Okefenokee Swamp in South Georgia, but the 272-mile trip to take on Ware County in the second round of the Class AAAAA state playoffs didn’t bother the Wolves in the least.
Ready to play from the opening whistle, the Wolves (11-1) ran away from the Gators from the start and advanced to next week’s quarterfinals with a 34-6 victory at Memorial Stadium.
Buford finished with 266 yards for the game but churned out 178 before halftime as they overpowered a usually strong Ware defense between the tackles. They ran for 144 yards while building the comfortable lead with junior running back Gabe Ervin Jr. carrying 12 times for 114 yards and a long score on the team’s first series.
Ervin, who rolled an ankle late in the game, ran for a game-high 159 yards on 19 carries before his night ended for the Wolves, who will travel to Carrollton for a state quarterfinal game next Friday.
GAC 38, Cook 0
NORCROSS — On the third play of Greater Atlanta Christian’s second-round Class AAA state playoff game wit Cook, Jackson Hardy zipped a pass to Zac Mixon at the sideline.
Mixon dipped his shoulder, spun inside and bolted for the end zone. The senior cut to the middle, eluding more would-be tacklers and scored 62 seconds after the opening kickoff.
The 58-yard touchdown propelled the fourth-ranked Spartans to a 38-0 rout of Cook and gave head coach Tim Hardy his 100th career win.
GAC (11-1) advances to the quarterfinals and will host Hart County, which defeated Pierce County in double overtime.
Jackson Hardy finished with 240 yards on 10 of 15 passing to six different receivers.
Wesleyan 34, Christian Heritage 13
DALTON — Wesleyan quarterback J.C. French got hit. Multiple times in the first half he was limping, slow to get up and favoring his right leg on Friday night.
That didn’t stop the sophomore, however, as he capitalized on just about every snap in leading his team to a 34-13 win over Christian Heritage in front of a Dalton crowd in the second round of the Class A (Private) state playoffs.
French finished with three touchdowns, two rushing and one passing. The seventh-ranked Wolves (10-2) scored twice with less than a minute remaining in the first half to gain momentum they never lost as they coasted into the state quarterfinals, where they will host Savannah Christian next week.
Hebron Christian 35, Mount de Sales 6
MACON — Hebron Christian used a quick start, and never looked back to run to a 35-6 upset of No. 6 state-ranked Mount de Sales in the second round of the Class A (Private) state football playoffs Friday night at Mount de Sales.
Colten Gauthier threw for two touchdowns and ran for two more scores to help the Lions (8-4) hand the Cavaliers (10-1) their first loss of the season, and also earn a berth in next week’s state quarterfinals, where they will travel to take on fifth-ranked Fellowship Christian.
Richmond Hill 48, Lanier 34
RICHMOND HILL — Lanier could not have asked for a better start to its second round Class AAAAAA state playoff game after as jumping on Richmond Hill for two touchdowns four plays into the game.
But the host Wildcats who have been a slow starting team all season, did not panic and scored 20 unanswered points in the second quarter and went from there to post a 48-34 win over the Longhorns (10-2).
Richmond Hill (8-3) advanced to the quarterfinals for the first time since 1996 in winning its seventh straight game.
Lanier’s season came to an end at 10-2.
Lowndes 44, Norcross 14
VALDOSTA — Norcross’ run into the Class AAAAAAA playoffs ended in a 44-14 second round loss to the top-ranked Lowndes Vikings (12-0) on Friday.
Despite the loss, the Blue Devils (6-6) tallied 333 yards of total offense against the stingy Vikings defense. Quarterback Mason Kaplan completed 16 of 24 passes for 300 yards and two touchdowns while Zion Alexander recorded three receptions for a game-high 117 yards.
The Blue Devils had opportunities to make things interesting in the second half, but didn’t convert on a pass dropped in the end zone that could’ve kept them in the game.
But a pair of Jacurri Brown touchdown runs slammed the door shut on the Blue Devils in the third quarter, and propelled Lowndes into next week’s state quarterfinal game against Grayson.