Six ranked teams knocked out; Allatoona assumes role of favorite

It was a stunning night in the Class AAAAA playoffs on Friday.

The defending state champion (Creekside) is gone. Two more teams that went 10-0 in the regular season (Ware County and Kell) are out. Six more ranked teams (No. 1 Ware County, No. 2 Coffee, No. 3 Kell, No. 6 Creekside, No. 9 Harris County and No. 10 Stephenson) have been eliminated. And four more region champions (Harris County, Ware County, Creekside and Kell) are done.

Here’s a look at what’s left, and how we got to this point:

- No. 4 Allatoona is the highest-ranked team remaining. The Buccaneers gained 523 yards in total offense and crushed second-ranked Coffee 45-14. Russell Halimon, the leading rusher in Class AAAAA, ran for 213 yards and two touchdowns and surpassed the 2,000-yard mark for the season. Allatoona’s quarterfinal opponent next Friday in Acworth will be Gainesville, which got 296 yards and four touchdowns passing from Mikey Gonzalez in a 49-40 victory against Harris County. Gainesville won the state championship in 2012.

- The most unlikely quarterfinal matchup will have seventh-ranked Mays taking on Jones County. Both teams finished third in their regions and both beat undefeated teams in the second round. Mays, the only surviving member of Region 6, led Ware County 21-3 in the fourth quarter and held on for a 21-18 victory. Asahnia Aderhold, Randrecous Davis and Tyshawn Brown scored the Raiders’ touchdowns. Jones County intercepted a pass in the end zone with two second remaining to preserve a 33-31 victory over Kell.

- No. 8 Northside-Warner Robins trailed Dalton 21-20 in the third quarter but got a field goal from Justin Alonso with 7:32 left and a touchdown run from Tobias Oliver in the final minute for a 30-21 victory. The Eagles’ quarterfinal opponent will be Glynn Academy, which knocked out defending champ Creekside 31-21. Glynn Academy trailed 21-7 at halftime and didn’t take its first lead until six minutes remained in the game. Northside, Glynn and Gainesville are the only remaining AAAAA teams that have won a state title.

- Region 4 champion Stockbridge has been under the radar this season, but that will change after its 27-7 victory against Stephenson. Quarterback Malachi Brown had two touchdowns passing and two rushing. “It’s a big, big win for us in this program,” Tigers coach Kevin Whitley told the Henry Daily Herald. “You know, I rarely show emotion after a game, but this was a big win. Nobody picked us to win except the hometown newspaper.” The Tigers will play the winner of Saturday’s Sequoyah-Houston County game.

- Here are the matchups for next weekend’s quarterfinals:

Mays (10-2) vs. Jones County (10-2), site TBD

Sequoyah (6-5)/Houston County (9-2) winner at Stockbridge (10-2)

Glynn Academy (9-3) at Northside-Warner Robins (11-1)

Gainesville (10-2) at Allatoona (12-0)