(Branden Camp / Special to AJC)
*Peachtree Ridge (6-5) at No. 2 Roswell (11-0): Peachtree Ridge QB Fred Payton passed for 309 yards and rushed for 149 in a 28-23 win over Archer last week. He was 31-of-48 passing. Payton has thrown for 2,181 yards on the season. Roswell QB Malik Willis was 15-of-22 passing for season highs of 259 yards and four touchdowns in a 45-7 win over Pebblebrook. Willis has thrown for 1,859 yards. RB Sheldon Evans, a 1,000-yard rusher, was unable to play. Peachtree Ridge leads this series 2-1-1. The most memorable game was the 14-14 tie for the 2006 Class AAAAA championship.
*No. 8 North Cobb (9-2) at Lambert (7-4): North Cobb QB Will Lovett threw for 187 yards and rushed for 73 in a 35-7 victory over Tift County last week. He has passed for 1,974 yards on the season. C.J. Cole rushed for 109 yards. North Cobb can reach the quarterfinals for the fourth time, first since 2012. Lambert, which opened in 2009, won its first region title this year, then won a playoff game for the first time, a 44-14 decision over Central Gwinnett, stifling a team that averaged 36 points per game. Richie Kenney threw for 193 yards and three touchdowns. He has thrown for 1,971 yards. Justin Bruno rushed for 104 yards.
*South Gwinnett (8-3) at Westlake (8-3): South Gwinnett QB Seth Johnston rushed for 164 yards in a 17-13 victory over North Gwinnett last week. South defensive linemen Justin Mascoll and Robert Cooper are major Division I recruits. Westlake advanced with a 24-23 victory over Etowah after James Miller kicked a 22-yard field goal with three seconds left. Westlake also has a pair of major D-I defenders – LB Jaden Hunter and A.J. Terrell. Westlake reached the quarterfinals last season. South Gwinnett is one victory from its first quarterfinal since 2003. Both teams spent a couple of weeks in the Top 10 in the first half of the season.
*No. 7 Lowndes (9-2) at No. 5 Norcross (11-0): Lowndes defeated Hillgrove 92-61 last week in the highest-scoring game in state history. Michael Barrett threw for 240 yards and four touchdowns and rushed for 188 yards and three touchdowns. He has surpassed 2,000 yards passing and 1,000 rushing for the season. Lowndes averages a class-best 46.9 points per game; Norcross allows only 10.7 Norcross took a 21-0 first-half lead against Milton and won 24-10. Baron Radcliff threw for 200 yards and two touchdowns, giving him 2,133 and 22 on the season. Norcross beat Lowndes 28-7 in the 2013 quarterfinals, their only previous meeting, and the last time either made the quarters.
*Woodstock (7-4) at No. 1 Grayson (10-1): Woodstock came from 27 points down to beat East Coweta 35-34 last week. It was the Wolverines’ first playoff victory since 2009. Garrett Bass threw for 356 yards. The winning touchdown was a 47-yard halfback pass from Louis Hall to Noah Frith with 2:19 left. Woodstock is seeking its second quarterfinal, first since 2008. Grayson led 49-0 in the first half of its 56-7 win over Mountain View. Chase Brice, a Clemson commit, was 14-of-18 passing for 228 yards. Grayson’s defense has not allowed a touchdown in seven games against Class AAAAAAA opponents except when leading by 50 points or more.
*No. 9 Brookwood (8-3) at No. 6 Colquitt County (7-4): This is a rematch of a Sept. 16 game in which Colquitt County won 52-14, the first of seven consecutive Packer victories after an 0-4 start. Colquitt County QB Jay Saunders (2,257 yards passing on season) has come of age during the streak. He threw for 220 yards in the first half and 252 for the game in a 48-7 victory over North Paulding last week. Brookwood beat West Forsyth 45-42 after running out the final 6:16 with a drive to the 6-yard line. Matthew Hill scored five touchdowns and had 347 all-purpose yards. Brookwood is bidding for its first quarterfinal since its 2010 championship season, when the Broncos beat Colquitt 52-38 in the title game.
*Cherokee (7-4) at No. 3 Mill Creek (11-0): Cherokee won its first playoff game since 2007 last week with a 45-21 victory over Wheeler. Cherokee RB/WR Montrell Washington rushed for 167 yards. He has 765 yards rushing and 930 receiving. Nolan Donley’s 2,307 yards passing rank second among AAAAAAA quarterbacks still playing. Mill Creek QB Cameron Turley threw four TD passes in a 41-0 win over Newton, but his team is known for defense. Mill Creek had five sacks and three interceptions. Mill Creek allowed only 28.7 yards rushing per game in the regular season.
*No. 10 Parkview (8-3) at No. 4 McEachern (10-1): Parkview came from 14-0 down to beat South Forsyth 30-27 last week. Caleb Mitchell, third in AAAAAAA passing in the regular season (2,482 yards), threw a 33-yard touchdown pass to Jaylen Askew with 4:54 left. That was Parkview’s first playoff win since the 2012 run to the quarterfinals. McEachern scored all of its points in the second half of a 35-10 victory over Lassiter. McEachern’s offense, led by Florida State-committed QB Bailey Hockman, is erratic but averages 33.6 points per game. The defense allows just 10.5.
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Conventional thinking says it’s extremely difficult to beat a good football team TWICE in the same season. I think the probability calculates out in the 58-60 % range. Brookwood is a good football team. The Hawgs will hafta play a lot more focused this Friday night than they did against North Paulding. Rush says we’ll be ready. I believe him.
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