Harrison wide receiver Marques Owens (22) runs the ball for a touchdown in the first half of his game against Houston County at Harrison High School Friday, November 29, 2019. PHOTO/Daniel Varnado

Class AAAAAA blog: Region 1 swept out of the playoffs

Region 1-AAAAAA went into Friday night’s quarterfinals with a chance to become the first region in GHSA history to put all four of its playoff teams in the semifinals.

Instead, it has no teams left. 

Allatoona, Richmond Hill, Dacula and Harrison beat their Region 1 opponents by an average of 20.5 points, and only one game – unranked Richmond Hill’s 16-14 victory over No. 4 Valdosta – was close. Harrison was the only one of the four winners that had been projected as a favorite by the computer Maxwell Ratings. 

Region 1 produced the past three champions in Class AAAAAA, Valdosta in 2016 and Lee County the past two years, and supplied five of the six finalists during that three-year run. Now, someone else gets to take home the trophy. 

Here’s how this year’s semifinalists advanced Friday: 

- Region 6 runner-up and seventh-ranked Allatoona (10-2-1) returned to the semifinals for the first time since its 2015 championship team with a 24-0 victory over No. 6 Coffee. Marcus Taylor (84 yards), Alex Wilson (81) and Dequon Garrett (73) led the running game, and Allatoona completed just one pass, a 38-yard touchdown from Dante Marshall to Asante Das. This marked the first time the Trojans, who had averaged 59.5 points in the first two rounds of the playoffs, had been shut out since Nov. 28, 2008. 

- Richmond Hill coach Matt LeZotte called his team’s win over Valdosta “the biggest in school history” in a postgame interview with Steve Scholar for the Savannah Morning News. It put Richmond Hill (9-3) in the semifinals for the first time in the history of the program, which began in 1986. Valdosta took a 14-9 lead early in the second half, but Richmond Hill got a 13-yard pass from Tyler Coleman to Isaiah Allen with 2:42 left in the third period and held on. Richmond Hill’s Jalen Rouse ran for 76 yards on 21 carries. 

- Top-ranked Dacula’s victory over No. 3 Lee County wasn’t as surprising as the 56-21 final score, because Lee County has had one of the top defenses in the state the past three seasons. Dacula’s 56 points were only 21 fewer than the Trojans allowed in their entire 15-game season in 2018. The game was tied 14-14, but Dacula (13-0) got two touchdowns late in the second quarter for a 28-14 halftime lead and pulled away from there. Dacula is in the semifinals in back-to-back seasons for the first time in school history. 

- Second-ranked Harrison eliminated the last No.4 seed remaining when it beat Houston County 28-7. The Hoyas (13-0) set a school record for victories in a season and advanced to the semifinals for the first time since the 2000 team finished as the Class AAAAA runner-up. Gavin Hall threw two touchdown passes to Marques Owens in the second quarter, and David Roberts ran for two touchdowns in the second half. Roberts ran for 114 yards on 15 carries to lead the Hoyas’ 217-yard effort in the running game. 

Here are the quarterfinal scores and the matchups for the semifinals: 

Quarterfinals 

Allatoona 24, Coffee 0 

Richmond Hill 16, Valdosta 14 

Dacula 56, Lee County 21 

Harrison 28, Houston County 7 

Semifinals 

(R6 #2) Allatoona (10-2-1) at (R2 #1) Richmond Hill (9-3) 

(R6 #1) Harrison (13-0) at (R8 #1) Dacula (13-0)

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