Class A semifinals breakdown: Prince Avenue Christian’s Philo still alive in record-setting hunt

Footballs are shown on the field before the game between Grayson and Parkview at Parkview High School, Friday, November 3, 2023, in Lilburn, Ga. (Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com)a

Credit: Jason.Getz@ajc.com

Credit: Jason.Getz@ajc.com

Footballs are shown on the field before the game between Grayson and Parkview at Parkview High School, Friday, November 3, 2023, in Lilburn, Ga. (Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com)a

Aaron Philo was 28-of-42 passing for 448 yards and four touchdowns to lead Division I No. 1 and defending-champion Prince Avenue Christian to a 41-7 victory against Irwin County in the quarterfinals, meaning the all-time state passing record is still in jeopardy.

Philo, who has committed to Georgia Tech, has played 45 games and is 854-of-1,216 passing for 152 touchdowns and 13,112 yards, leaving him trailing Trevor Lawrence (13,902 yards) by 790 yards. To see a record-breaking finish to his high school career, Philo will have to pass for at least 395 yards in, what could be, the final two games of the season.

It’s within reach.

Philo has done it three times this season, and his performance against Irwin County leads his season’s production. Philo passed for 408 yards in a 58-18 victory against ELCA on Sept. 15 and 406 yards against Pensacola Catholic (Fla.) in a 56-20 victory the next weekend.

The Wolverines will face Bryan County in the Division I semifinals, and the Redskins are in uncharted waters. Before this season, Bryan County had never been past the first round of the playoffs, so the Redskins decided to keep things going after upending Commerce 24-16. The reward for the quarterfinal success, however, is the top-ranked team with a stellar quarterback on a record-breaking hunt.

On the other side of the bracket, Swainsboro upended Elbert County 34-28. Bryson Tarver intercepted a pass from Elbert quarterback Jayvn Hickman to thwart the final drive. The Tigers led 26-21 entering the fourth quarter.

Swainsboro will travel to Brooks County after the Trojans defeated Rabun County 39-13. Brooks led 17-0 at the half. The Trojans entered the fourth quarter nursing a 19-7 lead but scored three times in the final five minutes to put the game out of reach.

In Division II, top-ranked and state runner-up Schley County defeated Early County 28-24 to advance to the semifinals for the second consecutive season. Quarterback Jay Kanazawa was 17-of-29 passing for 315 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Wildcats. Zayden Walker (two touchdowns) and Carson Westbrook (one) led receivers. Walker added 11 carries for 78 yards and a touchdown.

The Wildcats will face defending-champion Bowdon in the semis. Last season, Bowdon beat Schley 39-31 in the championship game. In the quarterfinals, Bowdon moved past Dooly County 55-28. Quarterback Kyler McGrinn had 25 carries for 340 yards and six touchdowns. Devan Powell and Jordan Beasley each added one touchdown.

On the other side of the bracket, Manchester outlasted Clinch County 21-17 and is in the semifinals for the first time since 1996, the year of the program’s only state championship. The Blue Devils will face Telfair County after it beat Macon County 38-14 to earn the first semifinals appearance in program history.

Class A Division I quarterfinals scores

R5 #1 Prince Avenue Christian 41, R1 #2 Irwin County 7

R3 #1 Bryan County 24, R8 #1 Commerce 16

R2 #3 Swainsboro 34, R8 #2 Elbert County 28

R1 #1 Brooks County 39, R8 #3 Rabun County 13

Class A Division II quarterfinals scores

R6 #2 Manchester 21, R2 #1 Clinch County 17

R4 #2 Telfair County 38, R6 #3 Macon County 14

R7 #1 Bowdon 55, R4 #1 Dooly County 28

R6 #1 Schley County 28, R1 #1 Early County 24

Class A Division I semifinals schedule

R3 #1 Bryan County at R5 #1 Prince Avenue Christian

R2 #3 Swainsboro at R1 #1 Brooks County

Class A Division II semifinals schedule

R4 #2 Telfair County at R6 #2 Manchester

R6 #1 Schley County at R7 #1 Bowdon

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