North Gwinnett wide receiver Josh Downs (11) catches a pass against McEachern defensive back Dacari Collins (2) in the first half during the Class 7A quarterfinals at McEachern High School Friday, November 29, 2019 in Powder Springs, Ga. (JASON GETZ/SPECIAL TO THE AJC)
Photo: JASON GETZ/SPECIAL TO THE AJC
Photo: JASON GETZ/SPECIAL TO THE AJC

Quarterfinal Roundups

Senior running back and Troy-commit Kimani Vidal exploded for 237 first-half yards on nine carries—including three touchdowns in the second quarter on runs of 4, 64 and 91 yards—in an emphatic 42-10 victory over the visiting Mill Creek Hawks that earned Marietta its first trip to the semifinals since 1994. The first-ever meeting between the two teams was also Marietta’s first post-Thanksgiving game since 1996, when they were led by the winningest quarterback in program history—and current Blue Devils receivers coach—Labron Mitchell.

Quarterback Harrison Bailey found fellow senior Taji Johnson for the first time on Marietta’s opening drive for a 9-yard touchdown completion, but the Tennessee-commit was brought down on the next Blue Devil possession by future UCLA Bruin Myles Jackson for the senior defensive end’s 11th sack of the year. Hawks star back Chancellor Lee-Parker, who entered the game with 1754 yards and 22 touchdowns on the season, then set up a 24-yard field goal by Brock Pelligrino at the 3:13 mark with a long run to the Marietta 13-yard line.

The opening frame ended with Bailey and Michigan State-commit Ricky White picking up a fresh set of downs after a rare mistake by the nation’s top-ranked tight end Arik Gilbert, whose offensive pass interference negated a Marietta touchdown. Gilbert redeemed himself later in the possession, hauling in a pass from Bailey on 4th-and-13 to keep the drive alive and set up the first of Vidal’s rushing scores with 9:20 left in the half. Vidal’s 64-yard touchdown put Marietta ahead 21-3 midway through the second before Mill Creek’s punt on the following possession was fumbled and recovered by the Blue Devils at their own 34-yard line. Marietta came up empty on the drive, and on the next drive as well; Ronald Clarke recovered a Blue Devils fumble to give Mill Creek the ball at midfield with just over a minute remaining before the break. The Hawks were unable to capitalize, and Pelligrino’s punt was downed at the Marietta 9-yard line for his 32nd career punt inside the 20, the most in Mill Creek history. Vidal was hardly thwarted, however, and he broke through for a 91-yard score and a 28-3 Marietta advantage heading into the second half.

Bailey threw touchdowns to White and Johnson in the third quarter for a 42-3 lead before resting for the remainder of the game, and Mill Creek quarterback Thurman Harris scored on a short run in the fourth for the game’s final tally. Marietta will face Parkview next week, following the Panthers’ 35-17 win over Archer.

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Class AAAAAAA

Lowndes 28, Grayson 20

No. 1 Lowndes stopped Grayson on three straight plays from its own 1-yard line, turning the Rams over on downs with 43.5 seconds remaining and then running out the clock to advance to the semifinals. The Vikings, which moved to 13-0, got two rushing touchdowns from sophomore quarterback Jacurri Brown, whose second score came on an 18-yard rush with eight minutes remaining to put Lowndes up 28-13, but a Lowndes muffed punt with six minutes to play set up Grayson for 1-yard Lafayette Gurvin touchdown run to cut the Lowndes lead to eight points. Grayson then forced a three-and-out to set up its final possession. Brown, who finished with 157 yards rushing on 24 attempts, scored his first touchdown on a 5-yard rush at the 9:50 mark of the first quarter. Grayson had a 2nd-and-goal from the 3-yard line early in the second, but fumbled, and Josh Brown returned the fumble 91 yards for a touchdown to give Lowndes a 14-0 lead. Lowndes took a 21-13 lead at 11:22 in the fourth quarter after a 2-yard rush by Tiberius Drocea. Devonn Lane led Lowndes with 10 tackles, four assists, and one tackle for loss. For Grayson, C.J. Dixon found Jaden Smith for a 35-yard touchdown with six seconds remaining in the first half, and Garwood Collins hit field goals of 32 and 18 yards. Dixon finished 23-of-42 passing for 248 yards.

North Gwinnett 32, McEachern 13

Parkview 35, Archer 17

Class AAAAAA

Dacula 56, Lee County 21

No. 1 Dacula defeated two-time defending champion Lee County on the road on the strength of three touchdown runs by running back Kaleb Edwards and two scoring rushes and a touchdown pass from quarterback Jarrett Jenkins. Dacula led 28-14 at halftime after two 1-yard touchdown runs by Jenkins, a 75-yard Jenkins touchdown pass to Konata Mumpfield and a 77-yard rushing score by Edwards. The Falcons pulled away in the third quarter with a 61-yard Edwards touchdown run, a 31-yard touchdown pass from Jenkins to Chris Scott, a 39-yard Kyle Efford touchdown rush and an Edwards run to cap the scoring. For Lee County, quarterback Kyle Toole threw second-quarter touchdown passes to James Hopson (35 yards) and Caleb McDowell (84 yards). Dacula moved to 13-0 and will host Harrison in the semifinals.

Richmond Hill 16, Valdosta 14

A 9-yard touchdown pass from Tyler Coleman to Isaiah Allen late in the third quarter was ultimately the game-winner for host Richmond Hill, which advanced to its first-ever semifinal. Richmond Hill took over possession after stopping Valdosta on fourth down with 3:26 remaining at the Richmond Hill 36-yard line, then gained one first down and took a knee to run out the clock. Jordan Clark, who knocked down a Valdosta pass and had a tackle for loss on Valdosta’s final possession, led Richmond Hill with seven tackles, two tackles for loss and two passes defended. Richmond Hill took a 9-7 lead into halftime after kicker Britton Williams hit a 37-yard field goal in the first quarter and a 22-yarder and 40-yarder in the second quarter, the last of which came with under a minute to play in the half. Jalen Rouse rushed 20 times for 84 yards for Richmond Hill, which will travel to Allatoona next Friday.

Allatoona 24, Coffee 0

The Coffee Trojans couldn’t get anything going on offense, and host Allatoona will advance to the Class AAAAAA semifinals with the 24-0 shutout. After a scoreless opening quarter that saw three Coffee punts and two from the Buccaneers (Allatoona’s second drive ended in a fumble recovered by Coffee near midfield), Dante Marshall put the home team on the board with a 38-yard touchdown completion to Asante Das. Allatoona’s next possession ended in a punt, bookended by two more punts by the Trojans, before Marcus Taylor scored on an 18-yard run with 3:17 left in the half for a 14-0 Buccaneers lead. Allatoona forced a three-and-out on Coffee’s opening drive of the second half, and Jude Kelley extended the lead with a 35-yard field goal. After two more third-quarter punts by the Trojans, Dequori Garrett put the game away with a rushing touchdown with 8:49 on the clock for the 24-0 final. Allatoona will face Richmond Hill next week, following the Wildcats 16-14 victory over Valdosta.

Harrison 28, Houston County 7

Class AAAAA

Warner Robins 49, Clarke Central 14

Warner Robins star safety Titonio Smith scored almost as many touchdowns as his quarterback during Friday night’s home game against the Clarke Central Gladiators. Warner Robins started its onslaught early with Jalen Addie throwing a 38-yard touchdown to Marcayll Jones, and Addie ran for a 40-yard touchdown on a draw play on the next possession to push the Demons’ lead to 14-0. Smith scored the first of his two touchdowns after that on a 74-yard blocked field goal in the final minutes of the first quarter, and the second came on a 17-yard interception return in the opening minutes of the second quarter. Addie then connected with Deuce Petty for a long catch-and-run touchdown midway through the second to give Warner Robins a 35-7 going into halftime. Warner Robins added two more rushing touchdowns—one of 44 yards by Rutherford and another of 31 yards by James Smith—to give the Demons a 49-7 heading into the fourth quarter, which was played with a running clock. Warner Robins plays Starr’s Mill in the state semifinals next week.

Buford 24, Carrollton 21

A 28-yard field goal by Hayden Olsen as time expired lifted Buford over Carrollton and into the semifinals in Bryant Appling’s first season as the Wolves head coach. Carrollton took a 7-0 lead early in the first quarter with a 74-yard touchdown run by Mecose Todd, and Buford tied the game early in the second quarter on a pass from Jarvis Evans to Julien Lewis. Todd capped an 82-yard drive with a short touchdown run to put the Trojans up 14-7 with 7:18 left in the first half before Buford responded with a 72-yard touchdown run from Victor Venn on a 4th-down conversion attempt. Another touchdown run from Todd gave Buford the 21-14 lead it carried to the fourth quarter. Buford tied the game on the first play of the final frame with a 5-yard run by Venn, and the Wolves defense stymied Carrollton for the remaining 11:54 before Olsen’s game-winner.

Starr’s Mill 25, Dutchtown 24

A defensive battle between the Starr’s Mill Panthers and Dutchtown Bulldogs saw host Starr’s Mill take a 10-0 lead before the break and come away with a 25-24 victory after a tightly-contested second half. Dutchtown’s capitalized with a short touchdown pass from quarterback Arendez Fedd to receiver Taurean Johnson to make the score 10-7 early in the third quarter following a fumble recovery by the Bulldogs on Starr’s Mill’s opening drive of the half. Fedd then scored a 31-yard touchdown on the ground after Dutchtown got the ball back on a turnover on downs, but Starr’s Mill responded with a second rushing touchdown from Kalen Sims to give the Panthers a 17-14 as the third quarter came to an end. Dutchtown was able to muster a successful field goal attempt in the final seconds of the fourth quarter to tie it at 17-17 and send the game into overtime, where both teams needed only a couple of plays to find the end zone. Dutchtown started overtime with the ball and scored in two plays on a short touchdown run from WR Nate McCollum, and Starr’s Mill scored on its third play of the period with a 3-yard run from Sims. The Panthers elected to go for two, succeeding with another Sims run for the win. Starr’s Mill advances to play Warner Robins in the state semifinals next weekend.

Jones County 49, Griffin 14

An early touchdown for Jones County was erased due to a penalty, and the drive ended with a missed field goal by the Greyhounds. However, a penalty by Griffin led to a 4th-down conversion by Junior Deon Richardson, leading to a rushing score from Senior Jontavis Robertson to give Jones County the lead in the first. The game took a bad turn for the Greyhounds when Griffin tied the game off a quarterback sneak from Darshaveious Foster, and the misfortune continued when quarterback Hunter Costlow got injured on a sack. The Bears took a 14-7 lead in the second and picked off backup quarterback John Richter in the end zone, but junior Maleek Wooten returned the second-half opening kickoff for a touchdown to spark the Greyhounds comeback. With the game tied, Costlow returned to the game and found Robertson for the score. A gutsy call saw Jones County recover an onside kick following the score. Robertson hit Costlow in the end zone on a trick play on the ensuing possession to extend the lead, and Costlow threw third-quarter touchdowns to Keagan Baxter and Robertson for his third and fourth touchdowns of the game. Senior Dominic Bass ended the Greyhound scoring spree with a pick-six in the fourth.

Class AAAA

Sandy Creek 41, Madison County 6

The Sandy Creek Patriots are advancing to the semifinals after a dominating win over the visiting Madison County Red Raiders. Sandy Creek held a 14-0 lead after the first thanks to touchdown passes from Matthew Williams to Dealo Parson and Ahmad Jackson. Rashad Amos ran it to the end zone in the second quarter for his 51st rushing touchdown, setting the record for most career rushing touchdowns in program history. Williams threw his third touchdown pass of the night to Miles Thornton for a 28-0 lead at the break. Sandy Creek lead 41-0 after the third with a touchdown apiece from Parson and Jackson, and Madison County scored its only touchdown of the night in the fourth quarter with Colby Smith’s completion to Martavian Cooper. Sandy Creek will play Oconee County next week.

Oconee County 17, Marist 7

Oconee County quarterback Max Johnson got the Warriors on the board with a 5-yard touchdown pass to Jake Johnson just 1:20 into the game, and the 7-0 lead held until Marist evened it up on a 51-yard touchdown pass from Connor Cigelsky to Chandler Heath with 4:35 left in the third quarter. Max connected with Jake for a 33-yard touchdown on a clutch 3rd-and-18 call with 10:10 left in the game to give Oconee County the lead. Kicker Ben Johnson connected on a field goal with 2:24 remaining to make it a two-possession game, and Liam Lewis cemented the victory with a game-clinching interception. Oconee County extended its winning streak to 11 games, and the Warriors will host Sandy Creek next Friday in the program’s first semifinal game since its 1999 state championship season.

Blessed Trinity 31, West Laurens 0

The Blessed Trinity Titans managed to shut out quarterfinals opponent West Laurens en route to a Class AAAA semifinals appearance. Senior Aaron Werkheiser gave the Titans their first points of the game with a 34-yard field goal in the first before a 15-yard rushing touchdown by Freshman Justice Haynes, and a pair of second-quarter rushing touchdowns from Elijah Green extended the Blessed Trinity lead to 24-0 at the half. Junior quarterback Duncan Reavis put the game away in the third when he found tight end James Bryant for a 45-yard score. The Titans will now face off against Woodward Academy in the semifinals.

Woodward 31, Cartersville 28

Mike Wright passed for two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to secure the Woodward comeback after the War Eagles trailed 14-0 after the first quarter and 21-7 at the break. Cartersville built its lead on a 65-yard pass from Dee Webb to Devonte Ross and a 10-yard touchdown run from Quante Jennings Jr. before Woodward got on the board with 3:29 left in the first half on a 53-yard touchdown pass from Wright to Jacorrei Turner. Cartersville responded with a 32-yard interception return by Amarai Orr before the break, and Wright’s 2-yard touchdown run with 8:04 in the third quarter made it a 21-14 game. Webb connected with Sam Phillips on a 32-yard touchdown pass with 6:38 left in the third quarter to put the Hurricanes up 28-14, but it was the last time the Cartersville offense found the end zone. James Mayfield, who was a perfect 3-for-3 on point-after attempts, kicked a 26-yard field goal with 3:20 left in the third quarter to get Woodward within two scores (28-17). Wright then found his brother, Alan, on a 13-yard, fourth-quarter touchdown pass and D.A. Allen for the go-ahead score with 1:01 left on the clock. Woodward is in the semifinals for the first time since 2015.

Class AAA

Crisp County 22, Jefferson 20

The Crisp County Cougars defended home field with a narrow 22-20 win against the Jefferson Dragons. Jefferson got the scoring started on the second play of the game with an option play in which Colby Clark pitched it to Jordan Perry for a 79-yard run. A rushing score from Crisp County quarterback A.J. Lofton tied the game 7-7 at the end of the first. Lofton helped Crisp County outscore Jefferson 15-0 in the second quarter with a rushing touchdown (and successful two-point conversion) and a touchdown pass to Katorian Raines for a 22-7 lead at the break, but the Cougars would not score for the remainder of the game. Jefferson’s Kade McNally had a 13-yard rushing score, bringing the deficit to eight halfway through the third. The Cougars attempted a 27-yard field goal to inch closer, but the attempt was blocked. Clark had a 5-yard rushing score to open the fourth quarter, but Jefferson’s two-point conversion attempt for the tie was unsuccessful. With 6:45 to go in the game, Jefferson attempted a potential go-ahead field goal with 6:45 remaining, but it was also unsuccessful. Crisp County will face off against Jenkins next week.

Greater Atlanta Christian 17, Hart County 16

With Greater Atlanta Christian trailing 16-10 late in the fourth quarter, quarterback Jackson Hardy passed to senior Zac Mixon for the game-tying touchdown pass before Tyler Curland’s point-after attempt went through the uprights to put the Spartans up for good. GAC enjoyed a 10-0 lead early after a 46-yard field goal from Curland midway through the opening frame and a touchdown pass from Hardy to Tre Henry with 2:34 in the second quarter. Hart responded with a 34-yard field goal from Tucker Kim just before the half, and Luke Lee tied the game on a 58-yard touchdown pass to Malachi Thomas early in the third quarter. Kim kicked a 28-yard field goal with 2:41 left in the third quarter to put Hart up 13-10, and his 30-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter gave the Bulldogs its 16-10 lead before Hardy’s drive-capping touchdown pass.

Jenkins 41, North Murray 14

It took Jenkins a quarter-and-a-half to score its first touchdown of the game, but the Warriors were unstoppable for the remainder of the game. Jenkins trailed 7-0 after the first, but a 52-yard pass from Jenkins quarterback Patrick Blake to Ronald Cooper set up the first of Blake’s three rushing touchdowns on the night. Jenkins opened the third half with a 65-yard touchdown pass from Blake to WR Darius Bush for a 13-7 lead, and Jenkins added a 15-yard rushing touchdown just a few plays later to push the Warriors lead to 20-7 midway through the third quarter. Damazzio Harris then scored on a 74-yard touchdown run for Jenkins, and the Warriors also got a 52-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown by Joah Cash for a 34-14 lead going into the fourth quarter. Blake ended the Warriors night with his third rushing touchdown of the game from 18 yards out early in the fourth quarter. Next up for Jenkins is Crisp County in the semifinals next weekend.

Cedar Grove 36, Peach County 3

Class AA

Dublin 35, Hapeville Charter 10

Dublin blanked visiting Hapeville Charter in the second half to turn a close game into a rout. The Fighting Irish trailed 6-0 early in the second quarter and led by a margin of just 14-12 in the final minute of the opening half before scoring the final 21 points of the night. JaQues Evans and Marcus Adams both rushed for two touchdowns, while Markelle Mitchell put Dublin on the scoreboard to make it 7-6 midway through the second quarter. A wild end to the first half saw 27 total points scored in the final six minutes, 21 of which came from the Fighting Irish. Hapeville, which got each of its touchdowns on runs by Marcus Carroll, could not recover from that flurry in the second half. Dublin advances to a road semifinal against Thomasville next week.

Callaway 41, Douglass 20

The Callaway Cavaliers advanced to the semifinals for the third time in four years with a strong win over Douglass. The Cavalier offense struggled early on, giving up three turnovers on their first three offensive plays of the game while Douglass reached the end zone twice in the first quarter. Junior Jalin Shephard then gave Callaway the spark it needed by returning a kickoff 70 yards into the end zone late in the quarter. Senior running back Cartavious Bigsby was a force for Callaway, kicking off his night with a 25-yard rushing touchdown early in the second to tie the game at 14-14. Douglass was quick to retake the lead with a touchdown (the PAT was no good), but Bigsby found the end zone again to give Callaway the lead. An 88-yard touchdown throw from Demetrius Coleman to Senior Jacob Freeman put the Cavaliers up 27-20 at the half. Following a scoreless third, a pair of fourth-quarter scores from Bigsby put the game away. Callaway will face Brooks County in the semifinals.

Brooks County 35, Metter 6

Host Metter took a 6-0 lead in the first quarter with Taj Hobbs’ 4-yard touchdown run (the PAT was no good) before Brooks County—led by junior quarterback Ni’tavion Burrus—closed out the game with 35 unanswered points to advance to the Class AA semifinals. Burrus put the Trojans on the board in the final moments of the opening half with a 4-yard touchdown completion to sophomore Willie Brown, and he ended the third quarter with a 71-yard rushing score for a 14-6 lead. Burrus was also responsible for two of Brook County’s three touchdowns in the final 4:52; he found senior receiver Raquan Manning with an 18-yarder and took another trip to the end zone on a 4-yard run before senior linebacker Ernest Whitfield sealed the win with a 45-yard pick-six with 0:51 left on the clock. Freshman kicker Reagan Chastain was 5-for-5 on PATs. The Trojans will travel to Callaway next week, where they will face a 13-1 Cavaliers team fresh off a dominating 41-20 victory over Douglass.

Thomasville 38, Rabun County 24

Thomasville outscored Rabun County 21-0 in the third quarter to grow its lead to 35-10 before closing out the visiting Wildcats to clinch its first semifinal appearance since 1993. Rabun County went up 7-0 on its third play of the game, but Thomasville’s Ricky Fulton tied it up 7-7 with a 1-yard rushing touchdown heading into the second quarter. Thomasville quarterback Ronnie Baker hit Kevin Cochran for a 13-yard touchdown to give the Bulldogs a 14-7 lead, and Rabun County made an 18-yard field goal that made it 14-0 at the end of the first half. Thomasville’s trio of third-quarter touchdowns included a 54-yard pass from Baker to Fulton, a blocked punt by Cochran that Fulton returned for a touchdown and a 12-yard run by Fulton that capped an unforgettable four-touchdown night for the freshman. Thomasville added a Hudson Waldrip 35-yard field goal in between two Wildcat passing touchdowns. Thomasville will host Dublin next Friday.

Class A-Private

Eagle’s Landing Christian 28, Athens Academy 10

Gabe Wright and Josh Rogers accounted for two touchdowns apiece as visiting Eagle’s Landing Christian took care of Athens Academy. Rogers opened the scoring with a 25-yard run in the first quarter, and he scored from 24 yards out early in the fourth to give his team a 28-3 advantage. The Chargers led 7-0 after one quarter, 14-0 at halftime, and by a 21-0 margin before the Spartans finally got on the board with a third-quarter field goal from James Williams. Athens Academy also got a 60-yard touchdown pass from Palmer Bush to Deion Colzie. Wright delivered an 88-yard scoring strike to Devon Dorsey and rushed for a 2-yard touchdown in the third quarter. Next up for Eagle’s Landing Christian is a semifinal showdown at Holy Innocents’.

Wesleyan 42, Savannah Christian 16

The Wesleyan Wolves will move on to the next round with a convincing win over the Savannah Christian Raiders. Wesleyan scored first with a first-quarter touchdown pass from J.C. French to Wyatt Hodges, and the Raiders tied the game at the beginning of the second with a score from Marquell Brown. Savannah then took the lead with a field goal by Connor Graham, but a second touchdown by French put Wesleyan up 14-10 at the half. Griffin Caldwell provided Wesleyan’s final four touchdowns—two in each quarter. His first score of the third was set up by a successful fake punt play, and the quarter ended with a 28-10 Wesleyan lead. In the fourth, Caldwell’s third and fourth touchdowns bookended a rushing score from Savannah’s Spencer Robicheaux.

Fellowship Christian 35, Hebron Christian 28

Fellowship Christian never trailed and used a dominant rushing attack to hold off visiting Hebron Christian. Murphy Reeves answered a Hebron touchdown with his second score of the night from 59 yards out with eight minutes remaining to extend the Paladins’ lead back to 14 points. The Lions responded with one more score but could not find the equalizer. Jayven Hall also ran for two touchdowns for the Fellowship Christian ground game that racked up 250 yards. Josh Cole added a 38-yard touchdown scamper for the Paladins. For Hebron Christian, Colten Gauthier threw a trio of touchdown passes and Donovan Moorer scored twice—one running and one receiving. Fellowship Christian moves on to meet Wesleyan in the semifinals.

Holy Innocents’ 28, Mount Paran Christian 0

Holy Innocents’ scored one touchdown in each quarter to steadily pull away from visiting Mount Paran Christian. The Golden Bears opened the scoring with a 55-yard touchdown pass from Matt Davis to Landon Kardian. Davis delivered a 19-yard touchdown run in the third quarter, while Kardian contributed to the defense’s shutout with an interception. Jack Felton also came up big on both sides of the ball, picking off an Eagles pass to go along with his 26-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. Michael Cox went the maximum 99-yard distance on his trek to the end zone, making the score 14-0 at halftime. Holy Innocents’ awaits four-time defending state champion Eagle’s Landing Christian in the semifinals.

Class A-Public

Irwin County 54, Manchester 12

Top-seed Irwin County gained 411 of its 512 total yards in the first two quarters and exploded to a 47-6 lead. Jamorri Colson’s 16-yard touchdown got the Indians on the board first, and a 50-yard touchdown pass from Zach Smith to Gabriel Benyard and a 49-yard touchdown run by Benyard grew the lead to 21-0 by the end of the opening quarter. Gabriel’s twin brother Garland was shot in the shoulder during a hunting accident Monday evening, according to reports by WALB 10 News, but was on the sideline Friday night to cheer on his teammates. Manchester’s Nigel Holt rushed for a 33-yard score with 10:45 left in the second quarter—marking the first time an opponent has scored a touchdown against the Indians’ first-string defense this season. Irwin County’s DJ Lundie responded with a 65-yard touchdown run on Irwin County’s first play on the following drive, and JyQuez Marshall returned an interception 51 yards for an Irwin County touchdown to extend the lead to 33-6. Lundy found the end zone on runs of 24 and 27 yards before the break to give Irwin County a comfortable 47-6 lead and a running clock in the second half. Lundy, who finished the night with 176 yards on just seven carries, capped off his four-touchdown performance with a 41-yard score on the second play of the half. The 11-0 Indians will host No. 4 seed (and two-time defending state champion) Clinch County in the semifinals, whom they defeated 14-0 in their Region 2-A meeting back on Sept. 20.

Pelham 31, Mitchell County 20

No. 5 seed Pelham avenged the 36-28 loss to Mitchell County in its regular-season finale, coming away with a 31-20 road win over the Eagles to return to the semifinals for the second-consecutive season. Pelham built a 10-0 lead at the end of the first quarter and went up 17-0 in the first minute of the second quarter before Mitchell County responded with a 78-yard touchdown pass and successful two-point conversion to pull within 17-8 at the break. Mitchell County opened up the second-half scoring to close the gap to 17-14, but Pelham widened it back to a 10-point lead heading into the final quarter, where the Hornets again answered the Eagles to close out the 11-point victory. Pelham will be back on the road next week in the semifinals against No. 2 seed Marion County.

Marion County 28, Lincoln County 21

Marion County quarterback Trice McCannon rushed for a 2-yard touchdown and threw touchdown passes to Brandon Thomas and Johnny Walker to lift the Eagles to a 21-7 lead at the half. Lincoln County caught a tipped pass and returned a fumble for a touchdown to even it up 21-21 heading into the fourth quarter, but Thomas provided the Eagles’ game-winning touchdown on a 27-yard run with nine minutes left on the clock. No. 2 seed Marion County will host fifth-seeded Pelham in next week’s semifinals.

Clinch County 38, Warren County 12 

Two-time defending state champion Clinch County defeated Warren County 38-12 to stamp its eighth-straight victory and set up a rematch with Region 2-A rival Irwin County in next week’s semis. The Panthers were defeated by Irwin County 14-0 on Sept. 20, marking the third-straight regular-season loss to the Indians. Clinch County, however, was able to avenge each of the previous two—toppling Irwin 27-20 in last year’s state championship and pulling out a 21-12 win in the 2017 finals.

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