Class 6A blog: A by-the-numbers preview of this week’s semifinals

Buford players warm up before Friday's home game against Dacula.

Credit: Jason Getz/Special to the AJC

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Buford players warm up before Friday's home game against Dacula.

Credit: Jason Getz/Special to the AJC

Here’s a by-the-numbers look at the Class 6A semifinals, which will be played Friday night:

*4 – Losses this season by Dacula, more than the other three semifinalists combined. But that requires some context. The Falcons lost consecutive early games against Brookwood, Mill Creek and Mountain View, three Class 7A teams that all made the playoffs and had a combined record of 25-12. The other loss came against Buford. The Falcons’ nine victories have come by an average of 25 points.

*7 p.m. – Kickoff time for the 6A championship game on Dec. 10, at Georgia State’s Center Parc Stadium. The game will be one of 11 championship games played next week. The action will begin on Thursday with flag football finals at 11 a.m., 12:45 p.m. and 2:30, followed by the Class A football finals at 5 and 8. Classes 2A, 4A and 6A will go on Friday, followed by 3A, 5A and 7A on Saturday.

*8 – Years since no teams from middle or south Georgia made it to the semifinals in the state’s second-highest classification. In 2013, the final four was made up of eventual champion Creekside (Fulton County), Kell (Cobb), Tucker (DeKalb) and Gainesville (Hall). This year’s semifinalist are Buford and Dacula of Gwinnett County, Carrollton of Carroll County and Hughes of Fulton County.

*12 – Consecutive games won by Hughes since losing its opener against Class 7A Newton 7-6. That’s the longest active winning streak of any of the Class 6A semifinalists. The Panthers started the winning streak the next week with a 6-0 victory over Allatoona in a rain-shortened contest. Only one other game (31-24 over Westlake) has been closer than 20 points. The 12 wins are a school record.

*13-0 – Bryant Appling’s record in the playoffs in three seasons as Buford’s head coach. The Wolves went 5-0 in the 2019 playoffs, defeating Warner Robins 17-14 in overtime in the final. Last year’s five-game playoff run ended with another overtime victory in the final, defeating Lee County 34-31. This year, the Wolves have beaten Kell, Lovejoy and Lee County by an average of 29.3 points.

*20 – Combined state championships won by the four semifinalists. Buford has the majority of those with 13, including 12 since 2001. The Wolves have won state titles the past two years. Carrollton has the other seven, most recently in 1998. Dacula is in the semifinals for the sixth time in its history but is seeking its first trip to the championship game. Hughes is in the semifinals for the first time.

*21.5 – Average margin of victory for Dacula the past two weeks in wins against Brunswick (29-21) and Johns Creek (35-0). Each game had an interesting twist. Brunswick was the only team in Class 6A that was undefeated in the regular season. Johns Creek was the only No. 4 seed in 6A (and one of only two in the state, along with Manchester of Class A Public) to reach the quarterfinals.

*41 – Seconds remaining in the game when Carrollton’s M.J. Morris threw a 33-yard touchdown pass to Bryce Hicks for a 37-32 victory over Westlake in the quarterfinals. Carrollton had led 24-0 midway through the third quarter but was outscored 32-7 over the next 16 minutes before pulling out the victory. Hicks ran for 141 yards and scored four touchdowns. Morris passed for 196 yards.

*42.15 – Points per game scored by Carrollton this season, the most by any 6A team. The Trojans have scored at least 40 in eight games and even got 27 in their only loss (45-27 vs. Rome). They’ll be tested this week by a Buford defense that allows just 6.46 points per game, best in 6A and second-best in the state. The Wolves have held 10 opponents to a touchdown or less, with five shutouts.

*50.7 – Percent of its offense Hughes gets from the running game, making the Panthers one of the most balanced teams in the state. Antonio Martin is the leading rusher with 786 yards and 13 touchdowns on 119 carries in 10 games. He ran for 95 yards and four touchdowns in a 48-6 victory over Northside-Warner Robins last week. Prentiss Noland has passed for 2,225 yards and 29 TDs.

Quarterfinals

Dacula 35, Johns Creek 0

Hughes 48, Northside, Warner Robins 7

Carrollton 37, Westlake 32

Buford 27, Lee Co. 0

Semifinals

Dacula at Hughes

Carrollton at Buford

Championship

7 p.m., Dec. 10

Center Parc Stadium, Atlanta

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