First round Friday night roundups


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The first round of the GHSA football playoffs will be played Friday for classes 7A, 5A, 4A, 3A and 2A while Classes 6A, A Public and A Private will play their first round games Saturday. The AJC has writers at Grayson 48, East Coweta 14, McEachern 34, South Gwinnett 28 2OT , Blessed Trinity 41, Southwest DeKalb 20 on Friday.

You can view the Playoff Brackets, the Schedule/Scores and Todd Holcomb’s Friday Night Wrap by following the links. Stay tuned for Saturday night coverage.

Here are the first round Friday playoff roundups below.


North Cobb 44, Camden County 6

North Cobb quarterback Malachi Singleton rushed for touchdowns of 55 and 44 yards and threw two touchdown passes to De’Nylon Morrissette in the third quarter for the host Warriors. North Cobb got a touchdown on a pass from Reggie Givhan to Samuel Mbake on a trick play, and Givhan also returned a kickoff for a touchdown. The Warriors got a field goal from Javier Morales in the fourth quarter for their final points. North Cobb will host Roswell in the second round.

Norcross 28, Cherokee 21

Norcross quarterback AJ Watkins found Nakai Poole for six and Lawson Luckie for two with 0:07 remaining to spoil Cherokee’s comeback and send the Blue Devils to the second round for the fourth year in a row. A rushing touchdown and receiving touchdown by Luckie and a pair of field goals put Norcross ahead 20-7 in the third. Warriors quarterback AJ Swann connected with Caleb Richardson later in the quarter and Aidan Moore gave Cherokee its first lead of the night with a 2-yard run in the fourth before Norcross ate up the rest of the clock with its final drive. The Blue Devils will travel to Lowndes next week.

Walton 41, Colquitt County 17

Marcus Allen returned a blocked field-goal attempt 85 yards for a touchdown and Lucien Michelin made two field goals to put the visiting Raiders ahead 13-0 in the second quarter, and Sutton Smith rushed for a score late in the second to give Walton a 20-3 halftime lead. In the third quarter, Zak Rozsman had a QB sneak for a touchdown and Cade Thompson put the game away with a 100-yard fumble return for a score to make it 34-10. Walton’s A.J. Brown had a short rush for a touchdown in the fourth. Walton will travel to Archer in the second round.

Marietta 28, Tift County 14

Host Marietta led 21-0 at halftime and Tift County never got closer than a 14-point deficit in the second half. Marietta quarterback Tyler Hughes threw three touchdown passes in the first half, two to Kamryn Perry and one to Christian Mathis. Marietta pushed the lead to 28-7 late in the third quarter after returning a Tift County kickoff for a touchdown. Marietta will travel to Milton in the second round.

Denmark 23, Mountain View 20

Denmark’s Trey Glymph hit his third field goal of the night in the final seconds of the game to give the Danes the win over visiting Mountain View. The matchup featured three ties, the last of which came on Carson Vanhorn’s made field goal for the Bears with 42.3 seconds remaining (20-20). Vanhorn provided Mountain View’s lone first-half points with a 35-yarder, and the Bears got touchdowns from Meiki Williams and a Mason Kidd completion to Justin Wilson. The Danes’ touchdowns came on a pass from Jacob Nelson to Lake Thoman and Amon Williams’ 22-yard run, and Glymph made field goals from 34, 39 and 38 yards out. Denmark will host Grayson next week.

Milton 45, Dalton 14

A sound victory for Milton sends the Eagles to the second round where they’ll be matched up against Marietta. Senior quarterback Devin Farrell finished the game going 11-of-16 passing for 214 yards and touchdowns to Debron Gatling and Jack Nickel. Farrell also used his legs to account for 60 rushing yards and a score, while senior Jordan McDonald also racked up 60 rushing yards and a pair of touchdowns.

Lowndes 45, Harrison 35

Lowndes took a 45-21 lead early in the fourth quarter on Chase Belcher’s third rushing touchdown, and although Harrison cut the deficit to 10 points with four minutes remaining, the Vikings held on for the home win. Belcher’s first two scores helped Lowndes take a 35-14 halftime lead. Lowndes quarterback Jacurri Brown threw a 38-yard touchdown pass to Justin Barron in the first quarter and rushed for a 1-yard score in the second quarter, and Josh Pickett had an interception return for a touchdown in the first quarter for the Vikings. Lowndes will host Norcross in the second round.

Collins Hill 56, Lambert 13

Top-ranked Collins Hill got four total touchdowns from quarterback Sam Horn in its home win. Horn threw a 27-yard touchdown pass to Cam Pedro in the first quarter and a 39-yard touchdown pass to Ethan Davis in the second quarter, and Horn also rushed for touchdowns of 70 and 61 yards in the second quarter to give Collins Hill a 42-7 halftime lead. Spenser Anderson rushed for touchdowns of 55 and 23 yards for the Eagles, and Ryan Stephens had rushing scores of 32 yards and 1 yard. Collins Hill will host Pebblebrook in the second round.

Pebblebrook 44, Parkview 41

It took nine lead changes to decide the winner of this first-round matchup on Friday night. Parkview trailed by 10 points midway through the third quarter, then rallied to take a 4-point lead early in the fourth. With just over two minutes left in the game, Pebblebrook quarterback Qamar Grant connected with wide receiver Damion Thompson for a 4-yard touchdown pass to put the Falcons ahead 44-41. The Falcons then intercepted the Panthers on the ensuing drive to seal the victory at home. Pebblebrook advances to play Collins Hill next week.

North Gwinnett 29, South Forsyth 15

Bulldogs quarterback Ethan Washington threw two touchdown passes (Kenan Holmes for 30 yards and Dylan Gary for 34 yards) and Marcus McFarlane scored rushing touchdowns of 7 and 28 yards in the first-round road win. South Forsyth scored its second touchdown and a 2-point conversion early in the fourth, but was unable to trim the deficit any further. North Gwinnett plays Brookwood next week.

Mill Creek 49, West Forsyth 20

No. 4-ranked Mill Creek defeated visiting West Forsyth for the second time this season to improve to 10-1 on the year and advance to the second round of the playoffs. The Wolverines got on the board first with a completion from Keegan Stover to Oscar Delp before the Hawks scored six straight touchdowns — five of which came in the second quarter. Donovan Journey had three scores during that stretch for Mill Creek, which will face McEachern next week.

Archer 46, Alpharetta 7

Chase Sellers and Chadrick Alexander II each scored three touchdowns for Archer in the Tigers’ first-round matchup against Alpharetta at home on Friday night. Sellers had touchdown runs of 53 and 13 yards and hauled in a 9-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Caleb Peevy, and Alexander had rushing scores of 73, 55 and 30 yards. Wide receiver Frank Osorio was responsible for the Tigers’ other touchdown. Archer plays Walton at home next week.

Roswell 52, Meadowcreek 8

Roswell quarterback Robbie Roper threw four touchdowns in Friday night’s first playoff matchup against Meadowcreek. Three of Roper’s first-half scores ended up in the hands of senior wide receiver Shaun Spence, and running back Jayven Hall also scored two touchdowns for the Hornets. Roswell plays North Cobb next week.

Brookwood 56, Newnan 7

No. 7-ranked Brookwood is advancing to the second round of the playoffs for the first time since 2017 following a 56-7 rout of visiting Newnan. The Broncos got four first-half touchdown passes from Dylan Lonergan — two of which went to Stone Bonner — and a pair of early interceptions by Michael Haynes and lead 42-7 at the break, and they will host North Gwinnett next week.


Clarke Central 46, Jackson-Atlanta 6

Clarke Central’s 46-6 victory over Jackson marked its ninth win in a row and earned the Gladiators a trip to the second round of the playoffs for the fourth-straight year. They will host Starr’s Mill next week following the Panthers’ 34-25 victory over Union Grove.

Cartersville 51, Lithonia 0

A shutout victory over Lithonia sends the undefeated Purple Hurricanes to the second round where they’ll face Warner Robins. Cartersville’s defense was dominant, starting with a fumble recovery returned for a touchdown by junior Myles Forristall on Lithonia’s opening drive. Junior safety Kace Adams scored off two interceptions while his third pick helped set up an 85-yard rushing touchdown by senior Amari White. On offense, senior quarterback Jake Parker threw a touchdown pass to Jacob Ray and junior running back Malachi Jeffries added a rushing score.

Whitewater 19, Ola 16

Ola jumped out to a 7-0 lead on its first offensive play of the game. Whitewater immediately responded with a touchdown and 2-point conversion, then add a pick-six to take a 16-7 lead before the break. Ola missed two field goals in the first half but scored a touchdown to open the second half and reclaim the lead. Whitewater scored a field goal in the third, but gave up a safety in the fourth and its lead stood at 19-16. The Wildcats defense held on through the rest of the game to seal the win and set up a second-round showdown with Apalachee next week.

Villa Rica 42, Jackson County 14

Villa Rica’s Ty Mckey rushed for two touchdowns and TJ Harrison added a rushing score to give the Wildcats a 21-0 halftime lead. The win gives Villa Rica (8-2) eight-straight victories after opening its season 0-2.

Creekside 28, Coffee 18

Creekside quarterback Nyqua Lett completed a 68-yard touchdown pass to Derrick White and found Lorenzo York in the back of the endzone to give the Seminoles a quick 14-0 lead. Cameron Burch exploded for a 37-yard touchdown that increased the lead to 21-0, but Coffee was able to get back in the game with a field goal and Brady Skipper’s two-touchdown performance.

Calhoun 35, Decatur 21

The Yellow Jackets came out on top in the first round over Decatur to earn a trip to top-seeded Ware County next week. Senior quarterback Christian Lewis was 15-of-29 passing for 253 yards and three touchdowns, finding his man senior Cole Speer on two of his scores. Speer ended the night with five receptions for 85 yards and also snagged an interception on defense. Senior receiver Quin Smith had three receptions for 81 yards and a score. Sophomore running back Caden Williams also contributed heavily on offense, finishing with 21 carries for 145 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

Starr’s Mill 34, Union Grove 25

Starr’s Mill held a 27-13 lead at halftime thanks to a pair of touchdowns from Brandon Mathis and one each by Greigh Joseph and William Yarbrough. Union Grove scored two unanswered touchdowns but couldn’t convert for two on its second one, leaving them trailing 27-25 in the fourth. The following Starr’s Mill drive would see another Brandon Mathis touchdown — his third of the night — put the Panthers ahead 34-25 for good. Starr’s Mill will play Clarke Central in the second round of playoff action next weekend.

Ware County 42, Banneker 28

Ware County quarterback Thomas Castellanos rushed for a 35-yard touchdown to put the Gators up 7-0 and threw three touchdown passes—two to Jarvis Hayes (27, 40) and one to Dae’Jeaun Dennis (9 yards). Cartevious Nornton rushed for two touchdowns—including his 7-yard score that pushed the lead to 42-22 with 1:33 left in the fourth quarter.

St. Pius X 42, Cass 9

A dominant defensive performance propelled St. Pius X past visiting Cass. The Golden Lions scored twice on defense with a 52-yard fumble return by Jack Tchienchou in the first quarter and a 65-yard interception return by Austin Taylor in the third. They also got touchdown runs by Alex Possert, Shug Bentley, and Liam Whitlark. St. Pius X will host Creekside in the second round.

Marist 49, Cedar Shoals 7

Marist scored the first 28 points of the game and led by the final 49-7 margin going into the fourth quarter, easing past visiting Cedar Shoals. The War Eagles have advanced out of the first round of the playoffs nine times in the last 10 years and will play for a quarterfinal berth when they host LaGrange next week.

Woodward 48, Veterans 14

Damari Alston was unstoppable in leading Woodward to a convincing win over visiting Veterans. Alston rushed 17 times for 142 yards and four touchdowns. The War Eagles scored the first 41 points of the game, led 41-7 at halftime, and extended their lead to 48-7 going into the fourth quarter. Woodward will host Blessed Trinity in the second round.

Harris County 56, Dutchtown 35

Harris County led 26-14 at the half and outlasted the host Bulldogs to score its first playoff victory since 2014. The Trojans will visit top seed Villa Rica in the second round.


Benedictine 59, Thomas County Central 0

No. 2-ranked Benedictine advanced to the second round for the 10th-straight season with a 59-0 shutout of Thomas County Central. Star two-way player Justin Thomas had two touchdowns and two interceptions in the first half alone for the Cadets, who led 38-0 at the break. Benedictine will host Luella next week.

Dougherty 44, Jenkins 17

Dougherty was 0-5 last season and had a combined two victories in the three seasons prior to 2021. Friday’s 44-17 road win over Jenkins was the program’s first playoff win since the 2005 season and the Trojans are cruising into their second round matchup with Riverdale carrying an outstanding 9-2 overall record.

Bainbridge 42, Islands 0

Bainbridge scored all 42 points in the game during the first half against visiting Islands before a running clock brought the game to a quick close. The Bearcats are through to the second round of the playoffs for the sixth time in the last seven seasons and will host Northwest Whitfield with a spot in the quarterfinals at stake.

Riverdale 49,Central-Carroll 28

Jacorey Walker scored on a fumble recovery touchdown and teammate Larrence George returned a punt for a touchdown to give No. 9 ranked Riverdale a 14-0 lead. Marcus Polite rushed for a touchdown and sophomore Autavius Ison tallied three rushing touchdowns before Dacien Robinson iced the game with a late interception.

Luella 20, Heritage-Catoosa 13

Luella went into the half tied 13-13 and got the go-ahead touchdown late in the third quarter. Mychal Metcalfe’s interception set up Destin Ingram’s game-winning touchdown pass to Markelo Green. With the victory, Luella improved to 8-3—marking the most wins in school history.

North Oconee 56, Miller Grove 21

The Titans’ sound victory over Miller Grove earns them a second-round spot where they’ll be matched up against Spalding. Dominic Elder led the ground game with a trio of touchdowns, and Rodrick Finch, Khalil Barnes and Louden Schnake each added one rushing score. Sophomore receiver Brooks Thompson caught the only touchdown reception of the game. On defense, senior Ryland Laturell scored off a fumble recovery and Jack Fabris had a blocked punt.

Northwest Whitfield 36, Fayette County 33

The Bruins escaped the first round with a narrow victory over Fayette County and will face Bainbridge in the next round. Down 13-7 at the half, a 29-point second-half outing helped fuel the Northwest Whitfield comeback. Junior quarterback Owen Brooker finished the night with 19 completions for 229 yards and a passing touchdown to go with 94 rushing yards and two scores, and senior running back Adrian Reyes added a pair of touchdowns — including the go-ahead score with 13.3 seconds left in the game to secure the victory. Senior Ray Morrison led the Bruins in receiving with five catches for 74 yards, while Hudson Gray caught the only receiving score of the game.

Perry 31, Hardaway 12

No. 7 ranked Perry blocked two punts and returned one for a touchdown to go up 21-6 late in the third quarter. With the win, Perry (10-1) achieved its first double-digit win season in school history.

Hapeville Charter 12, Jefferson 10

No. 6 ranked Jefferson took a 10-0 lead into the fourth quarter before the Hornets’ rallied back to stun the Dragons. Hapeville made it a 10-6 game early in the final frame and missed the 2-point try. The Hornets stopped Jefferson and got the ball back with 6:20 left. Hapeville eventually scored with 1:46 left and then stopped Jefferson’s last-second hail mary to score the upset. Hapeville Charter will visit Carver-Columbus in the second round.

Flowery Branch 33, Mays 28

Flowery Branch quarterback David Renard found Brody Jordan on a 10-yard touchdown pass with less than a minute left to give Flowery Branch a dramatic road win.

Cedartown 55, Hampton 14.

Harlem Diamond scored a pair of touchdowns (26, 27) and Cedric Washington ran in an 8-yard touchdown to give No. 4 ranked Cedartown a 21-0 lead in the first quarter. Patrick Gardner tacked on an 8-yard touchdown and Diamond rushed in his third score to push the lead to 35-0 at the half.


Dawson County 36, Sandy Creek 27

In one of the larger first-round upsets in the state, Dawson County upended a Sandy Creek team that was a week away from beating top-ranked Cedar Grove. The Tigers trailed 7-0 after the first quarter but outscored Sandy Creek 19-7 in the second quarter and 10-6 in the third quarter to lead 29-20 entering the fourth quarter. Sandy Creek pulled within two points (28-27) after a Geimere Latimer touchdown run with nine minutes left in the game, but the Tigers responded with a 30-yard touchdown pass from Dominic Leblanc to Braedon Hubbard to bring the game to its final tally. Leblanc kicked two field goals (35, 33 yards) and passed to Conley Dyer for a touchdown. Mason Palmour connected with Hubbard for a touchdown and Jackson Grindle kicked a 33-yard field goal for Dawson. Matt Bennett returned a fumble 11 yards for a touchdown for the Tigers. Sandy Creek quarterback Geimere Latimer passed to Miles Thornton on passed of 83 and 25 yards for touchdowns and Dorian Graham II scored on a 55-yard run.

Cherokee Bluff 38, Greater Atlanta Christian 17

After leading 14-10 at the half, Cherokee Bluff outscored GAC 24-7 in the second half to pull further ahead and put the game away. Cherokee Bluff back Jayquan Smith scored on runs of 75, 70 and five yards to lead the Bears. Sebastian Irons passed to Marlion Jackson for a 75-yard touchdown, Brayden Nance scored on a 2-yard run and Michael Arbour kicked a 15-yard field goal for Cherokee Bluff. GAC got two touchdown receptions from Will Hardy and a 30-yard field goal from Mekhi Blocker.

Stephens County 27, Rockmart 13

No. 4 seed Stephens County jumped out to a 20-6 lead at the half and snapped host Rockmart’s nine-game win streak. Stephens County led 27-6 until Rockmart’s Mason Phillips’ 26-yard touchdown pass to Jakari Clark with less than a minute left.

Oconee County 29, Adairsville 22

Oconee County won its eighth straight home playoff win and the Warriors had to come from behind to do it. A touchdown pass from Jacob Wright to Whit Weeks gave Oconee the lead for goo. An interception from Billy Lewis sealed the victory after the Warriors trailed early. Adairsville built a 15-0 lead on a short touchdown run from Eli Agnew and a touchdown following an onside kick recovery. Oconee began its comeback on a 1-yard touchdown run from Wright which was set up by an interception from Darius Johnson. But, Adairsville extended the lead with a 20-yard touchdown pass and led 22-7 early in the second quarter. A touchdown run from CJ Jones cut the lead and a Wright touchdown run and Jack Ward 2-point conversion reception tied the game at 22.

Ringgold 30, Hart County 21

Ringgold outscored visiting Hart County 13-0 in the fourth quarter to pull out a hard-fought victory. The Tigers scored the first 10 points of the game, but Hart County took a 14-10 lead on a Hail Mary from Austin Whitworth to Malachi Kelley on the final play of the first half. Landon Eaker booted three field goals for the Tigers, the last two of which gave them a 23-21 lead midway through the fourth quarter. Kori Dumas clinched the victory with a 24-yard touchdown run on a fourth down with two minutes remaining. Mason Parker threw a 55-yard scoring strike to Peyton Williams and had a 15-yard touchdown run. Ringgold will visit Thomson in the second round.

Peach County 42, Morgan County 3

Peach County will face top-ranked Monroe Area in the second round following the romp of Morgan County. Colter Ginn passed for six touchdowns in the victory. The game was tied 0-0 entering the second quarter.

Carver-Atlanta 56, North Hall 17

Carver led 24-3 after the first quarter, 37-3 at the half and 50-10 entering the fourth quarter to overwhelm North Hall. The Panthers will face Liberty County in the second round on the road.

Monroe Area 58, North Murray 14

Top-ranked Monroe Area had no trouble with No. 4 seed North Hall and led 14-0 at the end of the first quarter and 34-0 at the half. Selatian Straughter scored on runs of 40, six and three yards and passed to Jahlun Flud for a touchdown. Flud also ran for a 5-yard touchdown. Jakyri Jones scored on a return from a blocked punt and Braydn Sorrow added a 13-yard touchdown run for Monroe Area.

Liberty County 30, Brantley County 28

Liberty County led 30-15 with 8:35 left and held on to victory to score its first playoff win since 2018. The Panthers will host Carver-Atlanta in the second round.

Appling County 42, Johnson-Savannah 8

No. 6 ranked Appling County returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown and led 21-0 at the half. The Pirates improved their record to 10-1 under first-year head coach Jordan Mullis and will visit No. 1 seed Cherokee Bluff in the second round.

Southeast Bulloch 42, Long County 16

Southeast Bulloch continued its historic season under first-year head coach Jared Zito—notching the program’s first playoff win since 1974 and improving to 10-1 on the year. The Yellow Jackets will visit defending state champion Cedar Grove in the second round.


Callaway 29, Pepperell 22

The defending champion Cavaliers are advancing to the second round following a close win over Pepperell and will face Bleckley County next week. Callaway struck first off a 27-yard touchdown run by Jaquavious Whitfield in the first followed by another rushing score from Whitfield in the second, and Kier Jackson extended the lead to 21-0 with a 3-yard rushing score. After 15 consecutive points by Pepperell, Callaway responded in the third with a 46-yard catch-and-run by Carlos Billingslea for the score. A successful two-point conversion capped Callaway’s scoring for the night.

Rabun County 63, Pace Academy 14

Rabun County led 30-0 at halftime and scored the first 39 points of the game to overwhelm visiting Pace Academy. Gunner Stockton threw five touchdown passes and rushed for two more scores for the Wildcats, who will host Jeff Davis in the second round.

Fitzgerald 15, Dodge County 6

No. 4 Fitzgerald held off No. 9 ranked Dodge County to advance to the second round and improve to 9-2. The Purple Hurricanes will visit Fannin County next in a rematch of last year’s 48-14 quarterfinal victory.

South Atlanta 46, Banks County 12

South Atlanta extended its win-streak to 10 games, improving to 10-1 on the season and recording its first double-digit win season in program history. The Hornets jumped out to a 34-6 lead late in the second quarter and will host Westside-Augusta in the second round.

Haralson County 34, Chattooga 7

No. 6 ranked Haralson County (10-1) won its first-ever region title this season and achieved its first 10-win season since 1990 with its first-round win over Chattooga. Clay Hyatt rushed for four touchdowns and JoJo Chandler also rushed for a touchdown.

Laney at Swainsboro 42, Laney 6

No. 10 ranked Swainsboro led 29-0 at the half and closed out its sixth-straight victory. The Tigers led 48-0 until late in the fourth quarter when Laney broke the shutout. Tyler Griffin completed a touchdown pass to Jontavious Scott and Tyler Griffin rushed for a 25-yard touchdown in the first quarter. The Tigers added two Khristian Clark rushing touchdowns in the second quarter to push the lead to 29-0. Tradon McBride scored on a 17-yard run in the third quarter and Clark found the endzone for the third time on a 4-yard score to push the lead to 42-0.