Class 5A blog: Each of Final Four worthy of title talk

High school football

Credit: For the AJC

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High school football

Credit: For the AJC

All the dark horses are in the stable. All the long shots are off the table. Each one of the four teams remaining in the Class 5A playoffs are legitimate contenders to win the state championship.

The big winner was Region 7, which has two of the four remaining teams – Calhoun and Blessed Trinity -- but not the regular-season champion. Calhoun has made two long road trips the last two weeks and will get a chance to host BT in a rematch of their regular-season game, which Calhoun won 32-27.

There’s also the defending state champion. Warner Robins eliminated Region 7 champion and No. 1-ranked Cartersville in the second round and dispatched Region 4 champion Jones County in the quarterfinals.

The other semifinalist is Creekside, which opened the season by going on the road to beat defending Class 7A champion Grayson. (And Grayson is one of four teams still alive in its classification.)

Calhoun 31, Clarke Central 7: Calhoun (11-2) scored early in the game when Cole Speer ran for a 46-yard touchdown on a sweep, but Clarke tied it on a 7-yard keeper by quarterback Lucian Anderson. But the Yellow Jackets quickly answered when Speer caught a 49-yard touchdown pass from Christian Lewis.

The Clarke defense turned Calhoun away at the 3 to open the third quarter and forced the Yellow Jackets to settle for a Sergio Sanchez field goal. But the floodgates began to open when Lewis threw a 29-yard touchdown to Quin Smith and a 7-yard touchdown by Caden Williams completed the scoring.

Warner Robins 49, Jones County 21: The Demons (12-1) got 134 rushing yards and five touchdowns from Fred Perry and broken open a 21-21 tie with a big second half. Jones County’s chances took a hit when quarterback John Alan Richter (who had thrown two touchdown passes) had to leave the game after a hard hit and was unable to return. Warner Robins also got a momentum-changing blocked field goal that Antwon Jackson returned for a touchdown and 25-yard touchdown from Chaz Sturn.

Creekside 20, Whitewater 13: Creekside (11-2) got another strong defensive effort and Malik Tullis returned a fumble for a touchdown. Cameron Burch and QB Nyqua Lett ran for touchdowns for the Seminoles, who ended Whitewater’s 11-game winning streak.

Blessed Trinity 49, Villa Rica 7: The Titans (9-4) got a five-touchdown performance from Justice Haynes and broke the game open in the second half. Villa Rica scored first on Ty McKey’s 70-yard run, but had two of its turnovers blossom into points for BT, whose Cole Weaver had a 40-yard scoop and score and Cole Weaver added a 35-yard pick-six.

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