Quarterfinal previews: Class AAA

Article and photos courtesy of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution –> Original Article Here



Peach County at Westminster

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Alfred E. Thompson Stadium, Atlanta

Records, rankings: Peach County is 11-1, the No. 1 seed from Region 4-AAA and No. 2; Westminster is 10-2, the No. 1 seed from 5-AAA and No. 3.

Last meeting: This is the teams’ first meeting.

Things to know: Peach County gets 60 percent of its offense passing. QB Antonio Gilbert was 8-of-9 for 145 yards and two touchdowns in a 49-7 victory over North Murray last week and has 2,368 yards passing on the season. Kearis Jackson had punt returns of 60, 54 and 37 yards against North Murray and has 729 yards receiving this season. Westminster RB Zay Malcome rushed for 57 yards on nine carries (giving him 1,680 on the season) and ran a punt 49 yards for a touchdown in a 45-21 victory over Savannah last week. He didn’t play in the second half. Savannah scored two of its touchdowns on kick returns. Westminster is the defending AAA champion. Peach County is seeking its first semifinal since 2011.

Maxwell Ratings’ projection: Westminster by 5

Winner plays: Greater Atlanta Christian/Liberty County winner

Greater Atlanta Christian at Liberty County

When, where: 6:30 p.m. Friday, Donell Woods Stadium, Hinesville

Records, rankings: Greater Atlanta Christian is 11-1, the No. 1 seed from Region 7-AAA and No. 1; Liberty County is 11-1, the No. 1 seed from 2-AAA and No. 7.

Last meeting: This is the teams’ first meeting.

Things to know: This game pits the state’s top two prospects, according to 247Sports’ composite rankings. GAC QB Davis Mills (committed to Stanford) is No. 1. Liberty WR/DB Richard LeCounte (Georgia) is No. 2. Mills was 24-of-27 passing for 260 yards in a 34-21 win over Worth County last week. Brooks Buce kicked field goals of 47 and 52 yards. Although LeCounte is Liberty’s best all-around player, QB Jaalon Frazier is having a huge year. He has rushed for 1,171 yards (including 120 in a 28-14 win over Sonoraville last week) and passed for 2,723 and 40 touchdowns. Neither school has won a football state title, although GAC has been in five semifinals and two finals. This is Liberty’s first quarterfinal.

Maxwell Ratings’ projection: Greater Atlanta Christian by 14

Winner plays: Peach County/Westminster winner

Pierce County at Crisp County

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Cougar Den, Cordele

Records, rankings: Pierce County is 9-3, the No. 2 seed from Region 2-AAA and unranked; Crisp County is 12-0, the No. 1 seed from 1-AAA and No. 5.

Last meeting: This is the teams’ first meeting.

Things to know: Pierce County QB Stetson Bennett has thrown for 3,517 yards and Shyhiem Clark has run for 1,305 on a team that averages 499.2 yards and 43.8 points per game. Clark rushed for 215 yards in a 49-27 win over Bremen last week. Bennett rushed for 148 and passed for 197. Crisp County will defend with a pair of blue-chip recruits. DL Markaviest Bryant (6-4, 225) is the No. 19 senior prospect in Georgia. LB Quay Walker (6-3, 215) is the No. 22 junior prospect. Walker caught a 15-yard TD pass from Patrick Felton with 37 seconds left in Crisp’s 30-29 victory over Lovett last week. Crisp is in the quarters for the first time since 2001. The Cougars’ last semifinal was 1995. Pierce is 0-3 in the quarterfinals.

Maxwell Ratings’ projection: Crisp County by 16

Winner plays: Cedar Grove/Calhoun winner

Cedar Grove at Calhoun

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Phil Reeve Stadium, Calhoun

Records, rankings: Cedar Grove is 10-2, the No. 2 seed from Region 5-AAA and No. 6; Calhoun is 10-2, the No. 1 seed from 6-AAA and No. 4.

Last meeting: Calhoun won 38-18 in the 2014 Class AAA second round.

Things to know: Both teams made the AAA semifinals last year. Only one will return. Calhoun is 8-4 in quarterfinals, all under Hal Lamb. Calhoun trailed Jackson 20-14 in the first half last week but won 41-20. Baylon Spector played quarterback, running back and linebacker and rushed for 100 yards and passed for 137. Cedar Grove RB Grant Walker rushed for 210 yards (giving him 1,509 on the season) in a 28-3 victory over Jenkins. Cedar Grove held Jenkins to 87 total yards and hasn’t allowed a touchdown against its first-team defense through the last seven games. OL Netori Johnson and OL Justin Shaffer, both 6-5 and 330-plus pounds, are committed to Georgia. They take turns on the defensive line, too.

Maxwell Ratings’ projection: Calhoun by 2

Winner plays: Pierce County/Crisp County winner

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