North Gwinnett quarterback J.R. Martin (17) and running back Devin Crosby (31) celebrate the closing seconds of their win against McEachern in the quarterfinals last week at McEachern. North Gwinnett won 32-13 and advanced to face Marietta in the semifinals. (JASON GETZ/SPECIAL TO THE AJC)

Class AAAAAAA blog: Previews of Marietta-Parkview, Lowndes-North Gwinnett

The Class AAAAAAA semifinals are Friday at Parkview and Lowndes. Here’s a look at each of those. 

Marietta at Parkview

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Big Orange Jungle, Lilburn

Records, rankings: Marietta is 11-2, the No. 2 seed from Region 3- AAAAAAA and No. 6; Parkview is 12-1, the No. 1 seed from 7-AAAAAAA and No. 7.

Last meeting: Parkview won 20-14 in the second round of the 1996 Class AAAA playoffs.

Things to know: Marietta is playing in its first semifinal since 1994, Parkview in its first since 2004. Their 2019 success is not surprising, though, as Marietta was ranked No. 1 in preseason, Parkview No. 3. No team has brought more offensive weapons into a highest-class semifinal than Marietta. Harrison Bailey has thrown for 3,577 yards and 39 touchdowns. Arik Gilbert has 1,436 yards receiving and 12 touchdowns. Ricky White has 1,107 yards receiving and 14 touchdowns. All are major Division I recruits. And then there's Kimani Vidal, a Troy recruit who has rushed for 556 yards in three playoff games (183.5 per game) and 1,427 on the season. Parkview has a pretty good foursome of its own. Jordan Williams has thrown for 2,164 yards and 20 touchdowns. Cody Brown has rushed for 1,479 yards and 18 touchdowns despite missing a game. And C.J. Daniels (809 yards receiving, eight touchdowns) and Jared Brown (862-11) form one of the state's top WR pairs. Parkview hopes for the same pass-rushing effort that it had last week, when the Panthers registered eight sacks in a 35-17 victory over Archer. Mason Huntley had three.

Maxwell Ratings' projection: Marietta by 3

North Gwinnett at Lowndes

When, where: 8 p.m. Friday, Martin Stadium, Valdosta

Records, rankings: North Gwinnett is 12-1, the No. 1 seed from Region 6-AAAAAAA and No. 5; Lowndes is 13-0, the No. 1 seed from 1-AAAAAAA and No. 1.

Last meeting: Lowndes won 34-6 in the 2007 Class AAAAA championship game.

Things to know: Lowndes is in the semifinals for the  second straight season and third time since defeating North Gwinnett for the 2007 state title. North is back for the first time since its 2017 championship season. They have two common opponents. Both defeated Norcross by 30 points, but Lowndes beat Colquitt County 28-17 while North lost to Colquitt 17-6 in the opener. North Gwinnett hasn't lost since, nor been strongly challenged except in a 26-23 win over Florida Class 7A semifinalist Armwood in the second game. North Gwinnett has a 2,000-yard passer (J.R. Martin), 1,400-yard rusher (Devin Crosby) and 1,000-yard receiver (Josh Downs). Martin is committed to Western Carolina, Downs to North Carolina. North Gwinnett hasn't allowed more than 23 points in a game. Neither has Lowndes, as these teams rank 1-2 in scoring defense in AAAAAAA. Lowndes is the least-balanced team left in the AAAAAAA semis as the Vikings get two-thirds of their total yards on the ground. QB Jacurri Brown has rushed for 1,308 yards and 18 touchdowns. He's 84-of-144 passing for 1,341 yards and six touchdowns with five interceptions. LB/RB Gary Osby, perhaps Lowndes' best all-around player, has missed the past two games with an injury.

Maxwell Ratings' projection: Lowndes by 10

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