Friday highlights: Rome, Warner Robins, Toombs County beat defending champs

Jason Getz /



Jason Getz /

Rome, Warner Robins and Toombs County eliminated defending champions in the second round of the football playoffs Friday night while Lumpkin County and Bryan County reached the quarterfinals for the first time in school histories that date back more than four decades.

Rome defeated Class 6A’s reigning champ, Hughes 42-14, reversing a 42-3 defeat from the 2022 semifinals. Rome (11-1) is ranked No. 6. Hughes entered ranked No. 4 and finished the season 9-3.

Warner Robins also reversed a 2022 result by defeating Ware County 23-21, as Ware had beaten Warner Robins in last year’s Class 5A final.

Warner Robins, ranked No. 9, has won seven consecutive games after a 1-3 start and has reached seven consecutive quarterfinals. Ware County, ranked No. 5, and finished 8-4.

Toombs County beat No. 1-ranked and defending 2A champion Thomson 41-30. Toombs County (12-1) is in the quarterfinals for the first time since 2008. Thomson finished 10-2.

A fourth defending champion, Bowdon of Class A Division II, barely escaped at sixth-ranked Greene County, winning 28-23 after trailing 23-14 in the fourth quarter. Bowdon is 10-2 and ranked No. 5.

Lumpkin County of Class 3A and Bryan County of Class A Division I continued their magical seasons. Neither had won a playoff game until this season.

Lumpkin County (12-0) beat Oconee County 45-42 in overtime. Lumpkin lost to Oconee 49-21 in last year’s first round. Lumpkin County began football in 1961.

Bryan County (11-1) defeated Pelham 34-8. Bryan broke a 23-game losing streak only two seasons ago but is now 11-1. Bryan County started football in 1976.

Four other teams reached the final eight for the first time this century.

Douglas County (last quarterfinal in 1988) beat Sequoyah 48-14 in Class 6A. Cass (1983) beat Mays 17-7 in Class 5A. Columbia (1997) beat North Cobb Christian 18-13 in 3A. Telfair County (1993) beat eighth-ranked Portal 14-12 in Class A Division II.

No. 1 teams, aside from Thomson, won comfortably. They are Mill Creek in 7A, Gainesville in 6A, Coffee in 5A, Benedictine in 4A, Calvary Day in 3A, Prince Avenue Christian in A Division I and Schley County in A Division II. Mill Creek won 59-20 against Peachtree Ridge, which entered 10-1.

Two second-ranked teams lost. No. 9 Cook beat No. 2 Appling County 24-14 in 2A, and No. 4 Elbert County beat No. 2 Trion 42-41 in A Division I.

Other notable wins were had by Buford, Woodward Academy and Wesleyan.

Buford, ranked No. 4 in Class 7A, won on the road at Norcross 28-25 after taking a 28-10 lead into the fourth quarter.

Woodward Academy, ranked No. 10 in 6A, beat No. 9 Houston County 27-7.

Wesleyan, unranked in 3A, upset No. 6 Stephens County 33-26.