Quarterfinals pairings quench season-long anticipation
Seven No. 1 seeds and No. 3 seed Spalding, which defeated No. 1 Ridgeland 38-21 on Friday, set up the lineup of matchups we’ve been waiting for. Ridgeland took a 14-0 lead into the second quarter before Spalding used a 35-0 scoring burst to claim a 35-14 lead early in the fourth quarter. The win marks Spalding’s first trip to the quarterfinals since a 12-2 season in 2003. Head coach Nick Davis continues to lift the program in his sixth year at the helm. After posting just five combined wins his first three seasons, Spalding is now 24-6 in its last three years.
Spalding faces 12-0 Thomson in the quarterfinals, undoubtedly its toughest test of the year. Thomson running back Michael Thomas finished with 24 carries for 224 yards and two touchdowns, while also catching a 14-yard touchdown pass from Mills Ridings in the Bulldogs’ 42-14 win over West Hall on Friday.
In the upper right side of the bracket, Jefferson won a defensive battle 21-0 over West Laurens. The Dragons got two rushing touchdowns from Colby Wood and another from Colby Clark, while outgaining West Laurens 136-to-70 in total yardage. Jefferson faces Cairo next, which held Sandy Creek’s offense scoreless in a 10-7 victory.
Zach Harvey sparked Mary Persons with a 53-yard touchdown run and the Bulldogs went on to defeat Heritage-Catoosa 38-21. This sets up a quarterfinal showdown with Blessed Trinity, which led Carver-Columbus 24-7, before closing out a 24-21 win.
The focus will be drawn to the upper left of the bracket this upcoming Friday as Woodward Academy hosts Cartersville. Woodward Academy posted 518 yards of offense in its 49-8 win over Northwest Whitfield on Friday. Cartersville was also unstoppable in a 35-7 win over a talented Burke County squad. Trevor Lawrence led the Purple Hurricanes with 19-of-31 passing for 316 yards and four touchdowns while adding 57 yards rushing on six carries. Avery Showell caught nine passes for 133 yards and two scores. Trey Creamer caught four for 96 yards and a touchdown. Nyvin Nelson led the defense with 12 stops.