Class 3A Blog: Crisp downs Cedar Grove, semifinal schedule set

No. 4 Crisp County’s 16-13 victory against top-ranked Cedar Grove was the highlight of the Class 3A quarterfinals.

Crisp avenged last year’s 21-14 loss in the state championship game, and the emphatic home victory was a testament to the Cougars defense, which held Cedar Grove to its lowest point total since Sept. 14 of last season, a 29-7 loss to McEachern.

After a time-eating drive in the third quarter, Crisp took a 16-7 lead on a 1-yard run by 6-foot-1, 235-pound two-time all-state linebacker Christopher “Pooh” Paul Jr. Cedar Grove scored on a touchdown run by quarterback Austin Smith with 8:40 left in the game, but the Saints could not manage more offensive production. Early in the game, Crisp County senior Cortez Thomas scored on an interception return, but the extra point attempt missed and the Cougars led 6-0 entering the second quarter. Cedar Grove scored with 7:57 left before halftime and led 7-6, but Crisp responded with a field goal to retake the lead just before the half.

Crisp will travel to No. 6 Pierce County for its semifinal game.

Here is how the rest of the quarterfinals played out:

No. 2 Oconee County 31, No. 3 Peach County 13: No. 2 Oconee County turned a close game into a near blowout with stifling defense in the second half of its home matchup with No. 3 Peach County, placing last season’s Class 4A state runner-up Warriors two victories from glory in a new classification. Oconee led 10-0 at the end of the first quarter on a field goal and a 15-yard touchdown pass from Jacob Wright to Justin Coleman. Peach managed two field goals after Oconee turnovers and trailed 10-6 at the break. The Trojans, who lost to Cedar Grove in the state title game two years ago, took a 13-10 lead after a Chris McMillan touchdown with 6:30 left in the third quarter, but Oconee scored on a 39-yard touchdown run by CJ Jones to regain control. Peach would not score again. After a Liam Lewis interception, Oconee County scored on a 26-yard pass from Wright to Coleman with 2:14 left in the third quarter. Whit Weeks intercepted a pass with five minutes left, and Wright passed to Johnson for a 35-yard touchdown on the ensuing drive. Oconee will face Greater Atlanta Christian in the semifinals.

No. 6 Pierce County 51, Carver-Atlanta 18: Pierce quarterback Jermaine Brewton rushed for four touchdowns and passed for one to lead the Bears to the semifinals for the second time in three seasons — and the first time under head coach Ryan Herring. Brewton’s touchdown pass — a 15-yarder to Maleek Chandel — put Pierce ahead 30-6 before halftime, and the Bears got touchdown runs from DJ Bell (14 yards) and LJ Newton Jr (56 yards) to put the game out of reach. Carver scored on three touchdown runs. Brewton was 11-of-14 passing for 142 yards and a touchdown. He rushed for 46 yards on 13 carries with four touchdowns.

No. 5 GAC 31, No. 8 Appling County 13: GAC is back in the semifinals for the second consecutive season and seventh time in coach Tim Hardy’s career at GAC. The Spartans led 17-7 at the half against Appling after a 4-yard touchdown run by Deymon Fleming Jr and a 6-yard touchdown pass from Fleming to Will Hardy. GAC pushed the lead to 24-13 at the end of the third quarter on a 38-yard touchdown run from Josh Williamson. Tre Henry’s 5-yard touchdown run with 9:04 put the game out of reach. GAC has never won a state title, but was the runner-up in 2014 and 2016. Oconee County stands between GAC and its third-ever title appearance.

3A semifinals schedule

No. 2 Oconee County at No. 5 Greater Atlanta Christian

No. 4 Crisp County at No. 6 Pierce County