Semifinals wrap-up: Mill Creek, Carrollton, defending champs have big nights

Credit: Jason Getz /

Credit: Jason Getz /

Defending football champions Warner Robins, Benedictine, Cedar Grove and Fitzgerald are back in championship games after semifinals victories Friday night, and Mill Creek and Schley County reached state finals for the first time.

Carrollton won the marquee matchup of the semifinals, defeating No. 2 Colquitt County 35-27 in a battle of unbeaten Class 7A teams, while its finals opponent, Mill Creek, was impressive in a 48-14 victory against No. 7 Milton.

Carrollton was unranked in preseason after moving into the highest classification from 6A but is now 14-0 with freshman quarterback Julian Lewis, who passed for 248 yards and two touchdowns. Bryce Hicks, also having a breakout postseason, rushed for 205 yards on 37 carries

The Trojans will play No. 3 Mill Creek, a 48-14 winner over No 7 Milton after leading 42-7 at halftime. Mill Creek, a Gwinnett County school playing its 19th season, will be playing for its first championship. Its star player is AJC Super 11 safety Caleb Downs.

The 6A finalists will be No. 1 Hughes and No. 4 Gainesville. Hughes, the 2021 runner-up, beat No. 6 Rome 42-3, and Gainesville defeated No. 3 Roswell 35-28. Both are undefeated.

Reigning champions were 4-0 on Friday.

In Class 5A, two-time champ Warner Robins, ranked No. 8, beat No. 3 Cartersville 35-10. The Demons have won nine consecutive games after a 1-4 start and will play in their sixth consecutive final. Their opponent will be No. 1 Ware County, which beat No. 7 Dutchtown 31-7 to stay unbeaten. Ware County has never won a state title.

Benedictine, ranked No. 4, defeated No. 5 Troup 42-21 in a 4A game. Benedictine will play No. 1 Cedartown, a 28-20 winner over No. 2 North Oconee. Cedartown is unbeaten and chasing its first state title since 1963.

Cedar Grove, going for its fifth title in seven seasons in 3A, beat No. 9 Oconee County 23-0. Cedar Grove will play No. 3 Sandy Creek, a 49-14 winner over Carver-Atlanta. Cedar Grove beat Sandy Creek 49-34 in the regular season.

In 2A, No. 1 Fitzgerald beat unranked Fellowship Christian 19-9 for its state-best 20th consecutive victory. Fitzgerald will play No. 4 Thomson, which beat No. 3 Appling County 20-14.

Prince Avenue Christian, the No. 1 team in Class A Division I, beat No. 8 St. Francis 24-21 and will play No. 2 Swainsboro in the final. Swainsboro ended Irwin County’s five-year run of reaching state finals with a 22-21 victory.

In Class A Division II, No. 1 Bowdon beat No. 8 Lincoln County 45-28. Bowdon will play No. 5 Schley County, the preseason No. 1 team. Schley County, a southwest Georgia school that opened in 2000, beat No. 2 Johnson County 35-6 to make its first final.

The finals are Dec. 8-10 at Center Parc Stadium.