Class A blog: Bleckley vs. Brooks highlights first round of the playoffs

In 2013, Bleckley County (8-2) and defending-champion Brooks County (7-2) met in the second round of the Class 2A playoffs in the third-ever meeting between the teams. They had played in back-to-back seasons in 1984, when Brooks won 14-9, and in 1985, when Bleckley defeated the Trojans 16-14.

Brooks County won the 2013 playoff game 55-28, but Friday’s matchup is the first time the two programs have met while ranked -- Bleckley County at No. 10 and Brooks County at No. 5. In the bottom-right quadrant, the victor will face the Claxton/Lamar County winner in the second round.

It should be one of the better Division I games in the first round of the state playoffs.

Bleckley senior quarterback Eli Mullis is 81-of-165 passing for 1,277 yards and 12 touchdowns and leads a Royals offense that averages 225 rushing yards and 134 passing yards per game. The run game features senior Jahvon Butler, who has 155 carries for 1,231 yards and 18 touchdowns. Senior T.J. Mays has 57 carries for 580 yards and nine touchdowns. Five other backs have combined for six touchdowns.

Jaden Mobley leads the Royals receivers with 22 receptions for 452 yards and four touchdowns. Junior Markeze Brown has three touchdown receptions, and Marcus Newsom has two. Four other players have scored on touchdown passes.

In summary, the Bleckley offense is loaded.

But you can say the same for Brooks County, whose playoff prowess has been consistent with a roster filled with players who have been to the finals -- and won a championship -- in each of the past three seasons.

It’s a tough first-round draw.

Brooks is the defending champion in Class A Public. The Trojans are trying to weather the loss of quarterback Jamal Sanders, who has been replaced by Javen Watts. But experience and depth are ever-present for Brooks.

Maurice Freeman famously coached Brooks to its first-ever title in 1994, his first season as head coach, before leaving in 1997. He returned to Brooks in 2018 and has taken the program to great heights, which culminated in last year’s state title, the second for Brooks County.

In other Class A Division I games: Top-ranked Prince Avenue Christian faces Mount Vernon in the top-right quadrant. Assuming the Wolverines win, it might face No. 7 Elbert County in the second round and possibly No. 9 Metter in the quarters.

In the bottom-left quadrant, No. 2 Swainsboro, No. 3 Rabun County and No. 10 Whitefield Academy will fight for the semifinal spot. Swainsboro opens against Region 1 No. 4 Bacon County, and Whitefield travels to Region 5 No. 2 Social Circle.

In the top-left quadrant, No. 4 Irwin hosts Jefferson County and would face the Heard/Bryan County winner if it advances. Past that, it’s likely Irwin will face No. 6 Darlington in the quarters.

Class A Division II: Top-ranked Bowdon is in the top-left quadrant and plays host to Aquinas in the first round. Also in the quadrant are No. 9 Emanuel County Institute, No. 8 Manchester and No. 4 Early County. If Bowdon wins in the first round, it likely will meet Manchester in the second round.

Clinch County, ranked No. 2, starts the playoffs in the top-right quadrant against Mitchell County. Also grouped with Clinch is No. 7 McIntosh County Academy, a likely second-round opponent, and No. 3 Johnson County.

In the bottom-left quadrant, No. 6 Charlton County will face Seminole County and could advance to play the Jenkins County/Dooly County winner. Also in the quadrant, Lincoln County enjoys a Bye and will face the Wilkinson/Macon County winner in the second round.

In the bottom-right quadrant, No. 5 Schley County is one of the favorites. It will begin its playoffs against Georgia Military and then could face he Washington-Wilkes/Mount Zion-Carroll winner. At the top of that bracket, Wilcox County will face Montgomery County and Lanier County will meet Miller County.

Class A Division I (Friday)

R5 #3 Jasper Co. at R6 #2 Mount Pisgah Christian

R8 #4 Athens Christian at R7 #1 Darlington

R3 #3 Bryan Co. at R4 #2 Heard Co.

R2 #4 Jefferson Co. at R1 #1 Irwin Co.

R6 #3 Whitefield Academy at R5 #2 Social Circle

R7 #4 Dade Co. at R8 #1 Rabun Co.

R4 #3 Crawford Co. at R3 #2 Screven Co.

R1 #4 Bacon Co. at R2 #1 Swainsboro

R1 #3 Pelham at R2 #2 Dublin

R4 #4 Temple at R3 #1 Metter

R7 #3 Pepperell at R8 #2 Elbert Co.

R6 #4 Mount Vernon at R5 #1 Prince Avenue Christian

R2 #3 Bleckley Co. at R1 #2 Brooks Co.

R3 #4 Claxton at R4 #1 Lamar Co.

R8 #3 Commerce at R7 #2 Trion

R5 #4 Oglethorpe Co. at R6 #1 St. Francis

Class A Division II (Friday)

R5 #3 Hancock Central at R6 #2 Manchester

R8 #4 Aquinas at R7 #1 Bowdon

R3 #3 Emanuel Co. Institute at R4 #2 Telfair Co.

R2 #4 Turner Co. at R1 #1 Early Co.

R6 #3 Macon Co. at R5 #2 Wilkinson Co.

R8 #1 Lincoln Co. bye

R4 #3 Dooly Co. at R3 #2 Jenkins Co.

R1 #4 Seminole Co. at R2 #1 Charlton Co.

R1 #3 Mitchell Co. at R2 #2 Clinch Co.

R4 #4 Wheeler Co. at R3 #1 McIntosh Co. Academy

R7 #3 Christian Heritage at R8 #2 Greene Co.

R6 #4 Chattahoochee Co. at R5 #1 Johnson Co.

R2 #3 Lanier Co. at R1 #2 Miller Co.

R3 #4 Montgomery Co. at R4 #1 Wilcox Co.

R8 #3 Washington-Wilkes at R7 #2 Mount Zion-Carroll

R5 #4 Georgia Military at R6 #1 Schley Co.