Top-ranked Class A teams still alive with chance for title appearances

Three footballs are shown before the game between Peachtree Ridge and North Gwinnett at North Gwinnett high school, Friday, October 13, 2023, in Suwanee, Ga. (Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com)

Credit: Jason.Getz@ajc.com

Credit: Jason.Getz@ajc.com

Three footballs are shown before the game between Peachtree Ridge and North Gwinnett at North Gwinnett high school, Friday, October 13, 2023, in Suwanee, Ga. (Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com)

The defending champions are still alive in Divisions I and II of Class A, and top-ranked Division I Prince Avenue Christian and Division II No. 5 Bowdon will host contests for a chance to return to the championship game.

We have reached the semifinals.

Top-ranked Prince Avenue Christian is favored by the Maxwell Projections computer rating to win 32-20 victory against visiting No. 10 Bryan County in the Division I semifinals.

Prince Avenue Christian’s Aaron Philo, who has committed to Georgia Tech, has played 45 games during his career and is 854-of-1,216 passing for 152 touchdowns and 13,112 yards. He trails Trevor Lawrence (13,902 yards) by 790 yards.

Philo will have to pass for at least 395 yards in, what could be, the final two games of the season to break the all-time state passing record.

Bryan County won its first-ever playoff game this season by defeating East Laurens 55-14, Pelham 34-8 and No. 3 Commerce 24-16 last week. The Redskins – in head coach Cherard Freeman’s fourth season – have amassed more victories (12) than the program has since 2016, combined.

On the other side of the bracket, No. 8 Swainsboro will travel to unranked Brooks County and Books is favored by the computer to win 20-14. Swainsboro lost 52-34 to Prince Avenue Christian in last year’s championship game. The Tigers are looking for their second title and first since 2000.

Brooks County is in the semis after defeating No. 6 Rabun County 39-13 and will be playing for a chance for the program’s third title after winning the 1994 Class A championship and the A-Public title in 2021, both under head coach Maurice Freeman.

In Class A Division II, No. 1 Schley County will travel to defending-champion Bowdon. Schley’s Wildcats are favored by Maxwell’s simulations to win 31-26 in what will be a rematch of last season’s title game. Bowdon won 39-31 last season.

Schley senior quarterback Jay Kanazawa is 186-of-273 passing for 2,750 yards and 31 touchdowns – 11 to Jalewis Soloman. Junior Zayden Walker has 59 carries for 412 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Bowdon senior quarterback Kyler McGrinn is 107-of-171 passing for 1,767 yards and 22 touchdowns and has run 187 times for 1,847 yards and 30 touchdowns. Senior Jordan Beasley has 134 carries for 1,195 yards and 14 touchdowns. Sophomore Kaiden Prothro has 30 catches for 703 yards and 11 touchdowns.

On the other side of the bracket, unranked Telfair County will travel to No. 2 Manchester, which is favored to win 20-7 by the computer. The Blue Devils lost in the second round to eventual-champion Bowdon last season and are trying for their first championship appearance since winning the program’s only title in 1997.

Telfair County defeated No. 3 Macon County 38-14 last week in a bracket-breaking upset and is trying for the program’s first championship appearance. Before this season, the Trojans had not been past the second round since 1993, when it lost in the Class A quarterfinals.

Class A Division I schedule.

No. 10 Bryan County at No. 1 Prince Avenue Christian

No. 8 Swainsboro at Brooks County

Class A Division II schedule

Telfair County at No. 2 Manchester

No. 1 Schley County at No. 5 Bowdon

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