AA blog: Friday night recap, bracket breakdown, final standings

After all the what-ifs and whatnots, it all broke clean for Class AA Friday night. Other than the three-way tie atop Region 1, which was pretty well determined before the week began, there was no need for any coin flips or complicated formulas. Good, old-fashioned region records and head-to-head results did the trick.

We've got quite a bit to cover here, so let's get to it. If you want to go straight to the bracket, you can get a printable version here.

Friday night

- Macon County won the Region 4-AA championship, 36-21, over three-time defending champ Lamar County behind a huge performance from Roquan Smith.

Smith, ranked by recruiting services as one of the top linebackers in the country, made the most noise Friday night with the ball in his hands. The 6-foot-1, 205-pound senior rushed 16 times for 263 yards, including a 72-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter that sealed the win.

Lamar County held a 21-13 lead midway through the fourth quarter before a long kickoff return set up the game-tying touchdown and two-point conversion. The Bulldogs then recovered a fumble on the ensuing kickoff, setting up a 10-yard touchdown run for Smith.

Macon County will host Dublin next week, while Lamar County will host Swainsboro.

- Heard County's Duranta Dunson made it clear he's back to full health in Friday's 49-20 win over Bremen, which clinched Region 5-AA's No. 2 seed for the Braves.

Dunson, a two-way senior standout who missed time this season with a broken collarbone, put on a show in the victory. With 303 rushing yards on Friday night, he surpassed 1,000 yards on the season for the fourth time and 6,000 yards for his career. He also recorded an interception on defense.

Heard County will host Wesleyan in the first round of the playoffs next week.

- Rabun County clinched the Region 8-AA title with a 30-7 win over Greene County. It's the Wildcats' first region title since 1998, and just the second in the program's history. The Wildcats have now won eight games in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 1963-64 and will host Chattooga in the first round of the playoffs next week.

- Berrien broke an even longer streak of futility Friday night, clinching a playoff spot for the first time since 1993 —about three years before most the current senior class was born. It's the second such milestone of the season for the Rebels, who defeated Pelham, 31-28, on Friday. Earlier this year, they snapped a 16-game losing streak to rival Cook.

Berrien will travel to play second-ranked Vidalia next week.

The bracket

Top left quadrant

R6 3 Wesleyan at R5 2 Heard County

R4 4 Monticello at R3 1 Screven County

R2 3 Bacon County at R1 2 Brooks County

R8 4 Washington-Wilkes at R7 1 Darlington

Notable: Landing in Region 1's No. 2 spot wasn't a terrible place for Brooks County. This is the only quadrant without a top-five team, and Darlington is the only other team here that entered the final week of the season in the top 10.

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Bottom left

R5 3 Bremen at R6 2 Lovett

R3 4 Dublin at R4 1 Macon County

R1 3 Thomasville at R2 2 Benedictine

R7 4 Chattooga at R8 1 Rabun County

Notable: Four top-10 teams here (Lovett, Macon County, Thomasville, Benedictine), and two of the state's top four (Lovett, Benedictine). … Features a top-10 matchup in the first round with Thomasville at Benedictine. … If this were the World Cup, this would be the Group of Death.

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Top right

R3 3 Swainsboro at R4 2 Lamar County

R5 4 Chattahoochee County at R6 1 GAC

R8 3 Greene County at R7 2 Coosa

R1 4 Berrien at R2 1 Vidalia

Notable: Poor Lamar County. Drop a tough one on Friday to Macon County and get stuck here. For the Trojans to get to the semifinals, they'll likely have to beat GAC and Vidalia, the No. 1 and 2 teams in AA, respectively.

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Bottom right

R4 3 Bleckley County at R3 2 Jefferson County

R6 4 Pace Academy at R5 1 Bowdon

R7 3 Model at R8 2 Union County

R2 4 Bryan County R1 1 Fitzgerald

Notable: Fitzgerald's nonregion wins served them well, helping the Purple Hurricanes win Region 1's tiebreaker and thereby landing them in the only quadrant without another top-10 team.

The final standings

For posterity …

Region 1

Fitzgerald                                                         5-1        9-1

Brooks County                                                 5-1        7-3

Thomasville                                                     5-1        6-4

Berrien                                                               2-4        4-6

Early County                                                     2-4        3-6-1

Seminole County                                              1-5        4-6

Pelham                                                                1-5        4-6

Nov. 7

Thomasville 31, Early County 13

Fitzgerald 54, Seminole County 19

Berrien 31, Pelham 28

Region 2

Vidalia                                                                7-0         10-0

Benedictine                                                        6-1          8-2

Bacon County                                                    5-2          6-4

Bryan County                                                     4-3          5-5

Groves                                                                  3-4         6-4

Jeff Davis                                                            2-5          4-6

Long County                                                       1-6          3-7

McIntosh County Academy                            0-7         0-10

Nov. 7

Bacon County 55, McIntosh County Academy 26

Vidalia 45, Bryan County 13

Groves 21, Jeff Davis 14

Benedictine 62, Long County 15

Region 3

Screven County                                                 5-1         9-1

Jefferson County                                              5-1         7-3

Swainsboro                                                       4-2         6-4

Dublin                                                                4-2         6-4

Metter                                                                 2-4          4-6

Harlem                                                               1-5          2-8

East Laurens                                                    0-6          2-7-1

Nov. 7

Harlem 22, East Laurens 21

Jefferson County 56, Swainsboro 30

Screven County 28, Metter 14

Region 4

Macon County                                                  5-0         8-2

Lamar County                                                   4-1         7-2-1

Bleckley County                                                3-2          5-5

Monticello                                                         2-3           4-6

Northeast-Macon                                            1-4          3-7

Putnam County                                                0-5          2-8

Nov. 7

Macon County 36, Lamar County 21

Monticello 53, Northeast-Macon 37

Bleckley County 55, Putnam 20

Region 5

Bowdon                                                             5-0          8-2

Heard County                                                  4-1           5-5

Bremen                                                              3-2          6-4

Chattahoochee County                                  2-3         6-4

Manchester                                                      1-4          3-7

Temple                                                               0-5         2-8

Nov. 7

Heard County 49, Bremen 20

Bowdon 55, Chattahooche County 20

Manchester 45, Temple 27

Region 6

GAC                                                                    7-0        10-0

Lovett                                                                 6-1          7-3

Wesleyan                                                          4-3          6-4

Pace Academy                                                 4-3           5-5

BEST                                                                  3-4           5-5

Hapeville Charter                                           3-4           4-6

Holy Innocents’                                              1-6           2-8

KIPP                                                                   0-7          1-9

Nov. 7

Pace Academy 20, BEST 16

GAC 41, Wesleyan 0

Hapeville 26, KIPP 20

Region 7

Darlington                                                   6-0            9-1

Coosa                                                             5-1             7-3

Model                                                             4-2            8-2

Chattooga                                                      3-3            4-6

Gordon Lee                                                   2-4             3-7

Dade County                                                 1-5             2-8

Armuchee                                                      0-6             1-9

Nov. 7

Coosa 49, Armuchee 0

Gordon Lee 14, Dade County 13

Darlington 27, Chattooga 14

Region 8

Rabun County                                                6-0          8-2

Union County                                                 5-1          9-1

Greene County                                                4-2          5-5

Washington-Wilkes                                     3-3          6-4

RMA                                                                  2-4          3-7

Oglethorpe County                                         1-5          1-8

Social Circle                                                    0-6          0-10

Nov. 7

Rabun County 30, Greene County 7

RMA 34, Social Circle 13

Union County 35, Washington-Wilkes 34