Lower-seeded teams enjoy some first-round success

East Coweta running back Gerald Green celebrates with teammates after their 28-26 win against Marietta Friday in the first round of the Class AAAAAAA playoffs. (Jason Getz/Special)

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East Coweta running back Gerald Green celebrates with teammates after their 28-26 win against Marietta Friday in the first round of the Class AAAAAAA playoffs. (Jason Getz/Special)

Eight region champions and 11 ranked teams went down in the first round of the playoffs last week, a far cry from last season, when home teams and favorites dominated.

In a stunning turnaround, road teams were 32-80 (.286) in this year's first round. They were 13-99 (.116) in 2017. There were eight wins by No. 4 seeds (including at-large team Tift County), the most in an opening round since 2008, the last time that eight won.

Higher seeds won so decisively last season that some cited the outcome as proof that seven classes are too many, leading to early-round blowouts. But the lower seeds just got their revenge.

The unranked teams that beat top-10 opponents were Tift County and East Coweta in Class AAAAAAA, Coffee in AAAAAA, Loganville and Bainbridge in AAAAA and Riverside Military and Hebron Christian in A.

East Coweta, which defeated No. 10 Marietta, was 3-7 entering the playoffs. Loganville, which defeated No. 7 Southwest DeKalb, was 4-6. Bainbridge, which beat No. 8 Jones County, was 5-5. For Riverside and Hebron, the upset playoff victories represented their first-ever postseason wins in the GHSA.

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