R4#1 Woodward Academy at R5#1 Cartersville
This matchup pairs the classification’s two top-ranked teams and the only remaining undefeated teams against each other. Woodward Academy has cruised in the first two rounds of this year’s playoffs, topping Upson-Lee 40-14 in the first round and then ousting St. Pius 38-0 last Friday. Cartersville scored a 14-6 win over Flowery Branch in its first-round victory and then blanked Thomson 35-0 last Friday. Both teams feature outstanding defenses and have held a combined (Woodward 9, Cartersville 8) 17 of their opponents to single digits this season. On the offensive side, the teams are led by two experienced quarterbacks capable of leading their teams to this year’s state crown. Cartersville’s Tee Webb is 164-of-268 passing this season for 2,677 yards, 25 touchdowns and just three interceptions. Woodward Academy’s Mike Wright is 141-of-216 passing for 2,166 yards and 33 touchdowns with just four interceptions. Wright has also accounted for 593 rushing yards and 11 rushing scores this season. The teams last met in the 2016 quarterfinals where eventual state champion Cartersville advanced with a 26-15 victory.
R2#1 West Laurens at R7#1 Blessed Trinity
After failing to reach the playoffs last season, West Laurens is now taking a 10-1 overall record and a seven-game winning streak into its matchup with defending state champion Blessed Trinity. The Raiders scored a 37-6 win over Luella in the opening round and then defeated North Oconee 34-17 this past Friday. Senior quarterback AJ Mathis has led West Laurens with 2,312 passing yards and 25 touchdowns so far this season. Blessed Trinity has been in top form this postseason, toppling Troup 40-14 in the first round and then throttling Baldwin 35-3 in last week’s victory. This will be the first-ever meeting between the two schools.
R7#2 Marist at R8#1 Oconee County
Top-seed Oconee County has looked impressive this postseason with victories over Northwest Whitfield and Perry, but Marist is undoubtedly the toughest opponent that the Warriors have seen this season. Marist has battled past two tough opponents so far this postseason, defeating Cedartown 42-22 in the first round before last Friday’s 30-20 battle with top seed Carver-Columbus. Marist is 2-0 all-time against Oconee County, but this will be their first meeting since the 2000 season.
R8#4 Madison County at R5#2 Sandy Creek
Madison County made history last week with its 38-14 win over Mary Persons that sent the No. 4 seeded Red Raiders into the quarterfinals for the first time in their history. Now, the program faces arguably the hottest team in the classification right now—Sandy Creek. The Patriots are the highest scoring team in Class AAAA this season at 43.9 ppg and their 29.2 average margin of victory this season is the widest since the program’s 2012 state championship season. Sandy Creek opened the playoffs with a 42-7 win over Denmark and followed it with a 56-7 win last week against Americus-Sumter.
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