Top 10 games of Round 1

Hillgrove defensive end Myles Murphy (98) rushes in on Marietta quarterback Harrison Bailey (5) in the second half of their game at Marietta on Nov. 1, 2019. (Daniel Varnado/Special)
Hillgrove defensive end Myles Murphy (98) rushes in on Marietta quarterback Harrison Bailey (5) in the second half of their game at Marietta on Nov. 1, 2019. (Daniel Varnado/Special)

Top opening games of the Georgia high school football playoffs (Click here for complete schedule and brackets):


Camden County at Marietta 

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Northcutt Stadium, Marietta

Records, rankings: Camden County is 8-2, the No. 3 seed from Region 1-AAAAAAA and unranked; Marietta is 8-2, the No. 2 seed from 3-AAAAAAA and No. 6.

Last meeting: Camden County won 48-7 in the second round of the 2011 Class AAAAA playoffs.

Watch the game: On television on GPB.

Things to know:Marietta, the preseason No. 1-ranked team, is the state's most talented outfit in terms of college prospects. Marietta QB Harrison Bailey (committed to Tennessee) recently surpassed 10,000 yards passing in his career and ranks fifth all-time in Georgia. He's surrounded by the talents of Arik Gilbert (1,107 yards receiving), Ricky White (853 receiving) and Kimani Vidal (866 rushing), all major Division I recruits. Marietta was upset in the first round last season when Bailey was out with an injury. This is the last go-round for a special group of seniors that includes seven projected Power Five Conference signees. Camden County, a top-10 team in every computer poll, has worked its way back into state prominence in the third season under coach Bob Sphire, who got his 300th victory as a high school and pro head coach last week. Like Marietta, Camden gets more than 60 percent of its yards passing. Senior QB Logan Watson is averaging 202.4 yards passing per game.

Winner plays: Central Gwinnett/Milton winner

> RELATED: Top story lines for the state playoffs

High School Sports

Hillgrove at Lowndes 

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

Records, rankings: Hillgrove is 7-3, the No. 4 seed from Region 3-AAAAAAA and unranked; Lowndes is 10-0, the No. 1 seed from 1-AAAAAAA and No. 1.

Last meeting: Lowndes won 92-61 in the first round of the 2016 Class AAAAAAA playoffs.

Things to know:The 92-61 game in the 2016 first round remains the highest-scoring game in state history. The teams combined for 1,152 total yards, 54 first downs and 22 touchdowns. Don't count on a repeat of that, as Lowndes is allowing 8.8 points per game, fewest in Class AAAAAAA, while playing five ranked opponents. That's also the fewest points allowed for a Lowndes team since 2008. Lowndes' offense is built around sophomore Jacurri Brown, a major Division I recruit who has rushed for 1,008 yards and passed for 781. Also watch for Gary Osby, who has 12 tackles for losses as a linebacker and 16 touchdowns as a short-yardage, ball-control fullback. Hillgrove started 5-0 and was ranked as high as No. 6 but lost its momentum the past two weeks, especially on defense, in losses to Marietta (38-17) and North Cobb (35-24). QB Matthew McCravy, a senior two-year starter, has thrown for 2,002 yards and 24 touchdowns with just five interceptions. WR Trevarus Walker has 970 all-purpose yards and 11 touchdowns, two returning punts. DE Myles Murphy (committed to Clemson) is the consensus No. 1 recruit in the state.

Winner plays: South Forsyth/Norcross winner


Dalton at Dacula

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Barron Field, Dacula

Records, rankings: Dalton is 7-3, the No. 4 seed from Region 6-AAAAAA and unranked; Dacula is 10-0, the No. 1 seed from 8-AAAAAA and No. 1.

Last meeting: This is the teams' first meeting.

Things to know: Dalton was ranked as high as No. 7 in September after a 4-0 start but went 2-3 over its next five games and eventually settled for fourth place in Region 6-AAAAAA, securing its playoff berth with a win in the final game of the season. Dacula, which won its appeal this week to remain in Class AAAAAA for the next two years, has won four consecutive region titles and is 20-0 in region play since dropping from the highest class in 2016. Dacula allows just 12.0 points (fourth-best in AAAAAA) and 92.3 rushing yards per game, but that run defense will face the ultimate challenge from Dalton's Jahmyr Gibbs. The Georgia Tech-committed senior has rushed for a state-best 2,358 yards along with 39 touchdowns and leads an offense that averages 41.5 points per game (second-best in AAAAAA). Dalton throws about 10 passes and averages 94 yards passing per game. Dacula's offense is led by Jarrett Jenkins (1,789 yards, 14 touchdowns passing), Trenton Jones (924 yards, 11 TDs rushing) and Chris Scott (644 yards, three TDs receiving). Konata Mumpfield has a team-leading 30 catches for 487 yards and eight TDs and has returned 13 punts for an average of 20 yards.

Winner plays: Tucker/Glynn Academy winner

North Atlanta at South Paulding

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Timothy D. Glanton Sr. Field, Douglasville

Records, rankings: North Atlanta is 7-3, the No. 3 seed from Region 7-AAAAAA and unranked; South Paulding is 8-2, the No. 2 seed from 5-AAAAAA and unranked.

Last meeting: This is the teams' first meeting.

Things to know: One Cinderella story will end, the other will live on, as these are two of the four most unlikely playoff teams, according to the computer Maxwell Ratings. North Atlanta - making its first playoff appearance since 1996 - was given 19-to-1 odds in preseason to qualify this year by Maxwell. South Paulding - 2-8 last season - was a 63-to-1 shot. Both have second-year coaches with big-game pedigree. North Atlanta's Sean O'Sullivan was on Westminster's staff for the 2015 state championship. South Paulding's Jason Thompson was on North Gwinnett's staff during the 2012 state runner-up season. Both teams have explosive offensive players. North Atlanta RB T.K. Mack has rushed for 2,001 yards, second-most in the state, and scored 23 touchdowns. South Paulding's Parker Self has 1,223 yards receiving, second most in the state, and scored 14 touchdowns, and QB Austin Seymour has thrown for 2,416 yards and 26 touchdowns. North Atlanta, which opened in 1991, has never won a playoff game. South Paulding, opened in 2006, has never gone past the second round.

Winner plays: Houston County/Evans winner


Bainbridge at Griffin

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Memorial Stadium, Griffin

Records, rankings: Bainbridge is 7-3, the No. 3 seed from Region 1-AAAAA and unranked; Griffin is 9-1, the No. 2 seed from 3-AAAAA and No. 9.

Last meeting: Bainbridge won 35-7 in the first round of the 2015 Class AAAA playoffs.

Things to know: Bainbridge, which went on a memorable run to the state title in 2018 after a 5-5 regular season, was 5-0 and ranked No. 3 this year before a three-game losing streak dropped the Bearcats out of the top 10 and into the No. 3 seed. Griffin finished the regular season with nine victories for the 11th time in 16 seasons. The one loss, 38-35 against Starr's Mill on Oct 4, proved decisive in the region-title race, as the teams finished tied for first place. Bainbridge and Griffin both run and pass the ball well. Bainbridge QB Quayde Hawkins has passed for 1,763 yards and 16 touchdowns, and sophomore WRs Braxton Johnson (534) and Deyon Bouie (510) have combined for more than 1,000 yards receiving. Rashad Broadnax has 915 yards and 11 touchdowns rushing. Griffin QB Darshaveious Foster has passed for 2,046 yards, including 269 and three TDs in a 47-14 victory over Riverdale last week that secured the No. 2 seed. Three Bears have at least 500 yards receiving - Jamoi Hayes (611), Quaman Williams (561) and Terrell Jester (524). Aalijah King has run for 1,177 yards and 20 touchdowns.

Winner plays: Hiram/Southwest DeKalb winner

Stockbridge at Wayne County

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Donaldson-Madray Field at Jaycee Stadium, Jesup

Records, rankings: Stockbridge is 8-2, the No. 3 seed from Region 4-AAAAA and unranked; Wayne County is 7-2, the No. 2 seed from 2-AAAAA and unranked.

Last meeting: Stockbridge won 42-21 in the second round of the 2012 Class AAAA playoffs.

Things to know: Both teams have been ranked for nine of 12 weeks, with Stockbridge peaking at No. 6 and Wayne County at No. 7. They've won seven region titles between them in the past six seasons. This is the first week this season that neither has been ranked, and now one is about to go home for good. Stockbridge - trying to extend a streak of seven seasons with 10 wins and quarterfinal-or-better playoff finishes - might've been written off last month when the Tigers lost to Union Grove 25-20, then Dutchtown 33-7, but stunned then-No. 3 Jones County 44-14 last week. Jevon McDonald threw TD passes of 55, 43 and 31 yards to Jalen Taylor. This is the first year as head coach for Steve Boyd, who had some rebuilding to do after the Tigers graduated all five of their first-team all-region players from 2018 and for the first time in years don't have a major Division I prospect. Wayne County is looking for redemption after playing perhaps its worst game of the year against Ware County. Trey Pierce (1,108 yards passing) teamed up with Shamar Taylor (536 yards receiving) for the offense's only touchdown. The other TD came on a kickoff return.

Winner plays: Lithia Springs/Clarke Central winner

Class AAAA

Denmark at Sandy Creek

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, The Battlefield, Tyrone

Records, rankings: Denmark is 7-2, the No. 3 seed from Region 7-AAAA and No. 8; Sandy Creek is 9-1, the No. 2 seed from 5-AAAA and No. 5.

Last meeting: This is the teams' first meeting.

Things to know:This is the only first-round game in any classification between two teams with GHSF Daily top-10 rankings. Denmark, which opened last year in Forsyth County, is making its first playoff appearance. Sandy Creek has qualified 17 of the past 18 seasons but hasn't advanced since 2016. Both teams have explosive offenses. Sandy Creek is second in scoring offense (42.9 points per game) in AAAA, while Denmark is fourth (38.2). Sandy Creek QB Matt Williams has thrown for 2,795 yards. Rashad Amos has rushed for 1,040 yards. Ahmad Jackson has 853 yards receiving. CB/WR Brian Branch, who is committed to Alabama, might be the best two-way player in the classification. Denmark junior QB Aaron McLaughlin, formerly of Buford, has thrown for 1,913 yards and 17 touchdowns. He's committed to Auburn, as is his favorite target, Ze'Vian Capers, who has 887 yards receiving and 10 touchdowns. Denmark allows 12.9 points per game to Sandy Creek's 15.4. The teams have played comparable schedules.

Winner plays: Americus-Sumter/Burke County winner

Flowery Branch at Cartersville

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Weinman Stadium, Cartersville

Records, rankings: Flowery Branch is 7-3, the No. 4 seed from Region 7-AAAA and unranked; Cartersville is 10-0, the No. 1 seed from 5-AAAA and No. 1.

Last meeting: This is the teams' first meeting.

Things to know: Flowery Branch is trying to get to the second round for just the second time since 2011, when it reached the quarterfinals in its last season under coach Lee Shaw. To get there, the Falcons must beat a Cartersville team that is 50-0 in the regular season and 15-2 in the playoffs since the start of 2015. Flowery Branch gets about 75 percent of its offense from a running game led by junior Jaizen Ellingham (157 carries, 1,018 yards, 18 TDs) and senior Chandler White (109-671-8). Both have had 200-yard rushing games this season. Elijah Gainey, a two-year starter at quarterback who committed to South Alabama, has missed the season after suffering a knee injury in August. Cartersville averages 222.6 yards passing and 142.4 rushing. QB Tee Webb has passed for 2,198 yards and 22 touchdowns. His top targets are Devonte Ross (36 catches, 808 yards, nine TDs) and Sam Phillips (41-591-7). Quante Jennings is the leading rusher with 376 yards, but five players have between 32 and 54 carries. Cartersville allows 12.1 points per game (fourth in AAAA); Flowery Branch gives up 12.9 (seventh).

Winner plays: Hardaway/Thomson winner

Troup at Blessed Trinity

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Blessed Trinity Stadium, Roswell

Records, rankings: Troup is 6-4, the No. 4 seed from Region 5-AAAA and unranked; Blessed Trinity is 9-1, the No. 1 seed from 7-AAAA and No. 3.

Last meeting: Blessed Trinity won 51-35 in the 2018 Class AAAA semifinals.

Things to know: This is a rematch of the 2018 semifinal game that included 86 points and 988 yards of total offense. Blessed Trinity got three touchdowns in a five-minute span in the second quarter to build a 34-6 lead, and Troup never got closer than 10 points the rest of the way. Blessed Trinity graduated a stellar senior class that won the past two Class AAAA championships. The Titans have leaned heavily this year on a running game that averages 281.4 yards per game. Freshman Justice Haynes has run for 1,210 yards and 14 touchdowns, and senior Elijah Green has run for 746 yards and 10 TDs despite missing four games. Blessed Trinity has won eight consecutive first-round games and reached at least the quarterfinals six straight years. Troup's highest-profile player is back. QB Kobe Hudson, committed to Auburn as a wide receiver, had more than 200 yards both rushing and passing and accounted for all five of his team's touchdowns in last year's game. He has gotten a lot of help offensively this year from senior Trey Williams, who has rushed for 1,415 yards and 14 TDs on 210 carries. The Tigers were ranked No. 3 after a 3-0 start but went 3-4 the rest of the way.

Winner plays: Baldwin/Cairo winner

Class AA

Washington County at Brooks County

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Veterans Stadium, Quitman

Records, rankings: Washington County is 7-3, the No. 3 seed from Region 3-AA and unranked; Brooks County is 6-4, the No. 2 seed from 1-AA and No. 7.

Last meeting: Washington County won 34-30 in the second round of the 2018 Class AA playoffs.

Things to know: This is a matchup of No. 2 and No. 3 seeds that both came close to winning region titles. Brooks County lost 31-20 to Thomasville, which was 2-4 at the time and had been projected as a 12-point underdog by the Maxwell Ratings, in the game that ultimately decided the Region 1-AA title. Washington County was upset by 17-point underdog Northeast on Nov. 1, or its game against Dublin last week (which Washington County won 27-23) would have been for the Region 3 championship. Washington County is led by two 1,000-yard rushers, senior Sha'Marcus Poole (160 carries, 1,476 yards, 21 touchdowns) and junior Malyk Walker (90-1,033-12). Poole ran for 165 yards and three TDs in the victory against Dublin. Brooks County averages 207.4 yards rushing and 146.0 passing. Junior QB Ni'tavion Burrus has passed for 1,367 yards and 15 TDs and has run for 462 yards. Omari Arnold is the leading rusher with 1,023 yards and 10 TDs. In last year's playoff meeting, Brooks County QB Jacolby Brown was stopped inches short of the goal line on a fourth-down play with 14 seconds remaining. Brown, then a senior, was the 1-AA player of the year in 2018.

Winner plays: Temple/Rockmart winner

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