Class 6A blog: Previews of the eight second-round games

The Class 6A football playoffs have reached the second round, and the remaining 16 teams will face off Friday night for berths in the quarterfinals. Here’s a brief look at each of this week’s eight games:

*Johns Creek (8-3) at Evans (9-2): Johns Creek is one of two No. 4 seeds remaining in 6A after a 31-27 victory over sixth-ranked Rome, the Region 5 champion. The Gladiators got the winning points in a back-and-forth game on an 82-yard touchdown pass from Kyle Durham to Joshua Thompson with 9:09 remaining. It was the second playoff victory in school history for Johns Creek, which had been 1-6 in the postseason. Evans reached the second round for the third time in five seasons with a 19-10 victory against Houston County. Joseph Hampton, a 1,300-yard rusher in the regular season, scored on a 60-yard run, and Fabian Klawa kicked two field goals as Evans built a 19-0 first-half lead. The Knights had been 0-7 all-time against Houston County.

*Dacula (7-4) at Brunswick (11-0): Dacula is in the second round for the sixth consecutive season after a 36-12 victory over Pope. The Falcons led 7-6 at halftime but pulled away with big-play touchdowns – a blocked-punt return (Johnathan Williams), an interception return (Kyle Efford), a 67-yard run (Matthew Haber) and a 57-yard pass (Austin Adcock to Percy Williams). Efford is a three-star linebacker prospect committed to Georgia Tech. Region 2 champion Brunswick, the only undefeated team in 6A this season, beat Tucker 60-26 to reach the second round for the third straight season. The Pirates led just 23-20 at halftime but pulled away in the second half. Chuckobe Hill ran for 100 yards and three touchdowns. Hill, Ree Simmons (105-1), Leon Charlton (58-1) and Pat Leggett (47-1) averaged 7.2 yards per carry.

*Douglas County (8-3) at Northside-Warner Robins (8-3): Douglas County is the other No. 4 seed still standing after its 24-17 victory over Region 7 champion Riverwood, which was a 19-point favorite, according to the computer Maxwell Ratings. Sire Hardaway passed for 175 yards and a touchdown, and Jirah Douglas ran for 136 yards and a score. The Tigers are in the second round for the first time since 2017. Northside, coming off rare back-to-back losing seasons, is back in the second round for the first time since its 2018 team reached the state final. In the Eagles’ 35-3 victory over Lakeside of Evans in the first round, Cameran Brown was 9-of-10 passing for 136 yards and ran for a team-high 57 yards and two TDs. The Eagles outgained Lakeside 344-170.

*Shiloh (5-6) at Hughes (10-1): Shiloh’s 19-14 first-round victory over Allatoona was the school’s first playoff win since David Pollack led the Generals to the quarterfinals in 2000. The loss was Allatoona’s first in a home playoff game since 2010 (second in school history). Shiloh sophomore Jamir Imuzai ran for 195 yards on 25 carries, according to the Marietta Daily Journal. Third-ranked Hughes led Glynn Academy 20-14 at halftime last week but pulled away in the second half for a 42-14 victory. Hughes has a balanced offense led by QB Prentiss Noland (158.6 yards per game passing) and Antonio Martin (72.3 ypg rushing). The Panthers allowed just 6.8 points per game during the regular season, second-best in Class 6A. The Panthers also played Allatoona this season, winning 6-0 in a rain-shortened game in August.

*Westlake (9-2) at Kennesaw Mountain (10-1): No. 5 Westlake had won seven consecutive region titles before settling for the No. 2 seed behind Hughes in Region 4. The Lions rolled through the first round, beating Effingham County 45-3. Zina Mulbah had three touchdown runs, QB R.J. Johnson (a 2,000-yard passer) ran for one, and Avieon Terrell scored on a 50-yard interception return. Kennesaw Mountain, which opened in 2000, reached the playoffs for the first time in 2020, clinched its first region title two weekends ago and now has its first playoff victory, 49-21 against Lanier on Saturday. The Mustangs led 21-15 at halftime outscored the Longhorns 14-0 in the third quarter. Cayman Prangley (1,882 passing yards for the season) threw for 266 yards and two touchdowns, and Jah Welch (694 rushing yards) ran for 87 yards and a score.

*Carrollton (10-1) at Alcovy (5-4): Seventh-ranked Carrollton is one win away from its sixth consecutive trip to the quarterfinals after a 47-28 victory over No. 10 Creekview. Carrollton built a 27-7 lead in the first half, and Creekview never got within 12 points. QB M.J. Morris (178 yards rushing, one TD), Jamun Evans (103-2) and Kelvin Hill (88-3) led a 365-yard rushing effort, although the Trojans were outgained 511-458. Region 3′s Alcovy, which opened in 2006, is a region champion for the first time in school history. The Tigers had a bye in the first round, moving them to the second round for the first time. They had been 0-5 all-time in the playoffs. Junior QB Ashton Evans has passed for 1,565 yards, and Tristan Mayweather has run for 748.

*Lovejoy (5-4) at (R8 #1) Buford (10-1): Lovejoy, the No. 3 seed from Region 4, advanced to the second round for the first time since 2016 with a 19-14 victory at Richmond Hill. Stephin Craig threw a touchdown pass to Keandre Hines with about 10 minutes remaining for the winning score. Defending champion and top-ranked Buford defeated Kell 38-14 for its 23rd consecutive first-round victory. Bryant Appling is 11-0 in the playoffs in three seasons as Buford’s head coach. C.J. Clinkscales (committed to Boston College) ran for 123 yards and a touchdown. and Victor Venn (Colorado) ran for 89 yards and three TDs, unofficially. Lovejoy is 1-10 all-time against No. 1-ranked teams, its only victory coming in 1996.

*Cambridge (9-1) at Lee County (10-1): No. 9 Cambridge (opened in 2012), which had never won a playoff game until last year, is in the second round for the second straight year after beating South Paulding 50-29. Jack Marlow scored on a 27-yard run 30 second into the game, his first of three touchdowns, and Cambridge led 23-0 at halftime. Zach Harris, a 2,000-yard passer in the regular season, had touchdowns rushing and passing. No. 2-ranked Lee County built a 50-0 halftime lead and beat Grovetown 57-12. Eight players scored touchdowns, and Lee held Grovetown to negative yardage in the first half. The Trojans are 17-2 in the playoffs since the start of the 2017 season. This will be Cambridge’s first game ever against a team from south Georgia.