Hillgrove's Chase Rivers, left, grabs Milton's Jordan Yates during the second half of the playoff game, Friday, Nov. 23, 2018, in Powder Springs, Georgia. (Annie Rice/AJC)
Photo: Annie Rice/AJC
Photo: Annie Rice/AJC

Milton the only team left with chance to stop Gwinnett/Region 1 streak

Teams from Gwinnett County or south Georgia’s Region 1 have won or shared every state championship in Georgia’s highest classification since Southwest DeKalb won the title in 1995.

This year, three of the four remaining teams come from those two areas – Colquitt County and Lowndes from Region 1, and Archer from Gwinnett County. 

The only team still standing with a chance to stop the streak is Fulton County’s Milton, the Region 5 champion. 

Here’s a look at this week’s Class AAAAAAA semifinals: 

Lowndes at Milton 

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Denmark High School, Alpharetta 

Records, rankings: Lowndes is 10-3, the No. 2 seed from Region 1-AAAAAAA and unranked; Milton is 11-2, the No. 1 seed from 5-AAAAAAA and No. 8. 

Last meeting: This is the teams' first meeting. 

Things to know: Milton is in the semifinals for the first time since 1952, when the team was in its third season and won Region 4-B with only 13 players on its roster. The Eagles' balanced offense is led by RB Josh Edwards (1,071 yards rushing), QB Jordan Yates (2,238 yards passing, 849 rushing), WR Dylan Leonard (757 yards receiving, nine TDs) and OL Paul Tchio (committed to Clemson). LB Allen Walker (nine sacks, committed to Louisiana Tech) and DB Joe Charleston (committed to Clemson) are among the standout defensive players. Lowndes is in the semifinals for the first time since its state-championship team of 2007. The Vikings get nearly 75 percent of their offense rushing and lean on Travis Tisdale, a Kentucky commit with 1,724 yards rushing. DL/RB Gary Osby might be the team's best all-around player. He has a team-leading 43 solo tackles, 14.5 for losses, on defense and has 10 rushing touchdowns as a 220-pound power back. The teams have played one common opponent. Parkview beat Milton 22-20 and Lowndes 39-27. Milton, the designated home team, moved the game to Denmark High in Forsyth County to fulfill the GHSA's requirement of 6,000 permanent seats. 

Maxwell Ratings' projection: Lowndes by 2 

Archer at Colquitt County 

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Mack Tharpe Memorial Stadium, Moultrie 

Records, rankings: Archer is 11-2, the No. 2 seed from Region 8-AAAAAAA and No. 9; Colquitt County is 13-0, the No. 1 seed from 1-AAAAAAA and No. 1. 

Last meeting: Colquitt County won 12-7 in the 2017 Class AAAAAAA quarterfinals. 

Things to know: This is Archer's first semifinal since 2014, when the Tigers went on to lose in the championship game to Colquitt County 28-24. These teams also played last season, when Colquitt won in the quarterfinals. Their semifinal rematch is not unexpected as Colquitt was ranked No. 2 and Archer No. 3 in preseason. The Tigers' balanced offense is led by RB Semaje Banks (936 yards rushing), QB Carter Peevy (2,338 yards passing) and WR Braylon Weems (864 yards receiving, 11 TDs). Colby Wooden and Soloman Zubairu have 27 tackles for losses. Wooden is committed to Auburn. Defensive backs Jaylen Phillips and Andrew Booth are committed to Clemson. Booth is also explosive catching passes and returning punts. Colquitt County's balanced offense is led by RB Daijun Edwards (1,318 yards rushing, 26 touchdowns), RB Ty Leggett (862 rushing, 227 receiving), QB Jaycee Harden (2,293 yards passing, 22 touchdowns to 12 different receivers) and OL Kamaar Bell (three-star recruit, 320 pounds). LB Rashard Revels (UAB commit) and CB Jay Ward (multiple SEC offers) lead what has been the stingiest defense in Rush Propst's 11 seasons in Moultrie. The teams have two common opponents. Grayson beat Archer 41-14 and lost to Colquitt County 26-14. Tift County lost to Archer 16-10 and to Colquitt County 45-7. 

Maxwell Ratings' projection: Colquitt County by 20

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