Carrollton, North Gwinnett serve up first-round upsets to 7A top-5 teams

Credit: GHSA

Credit: GHSA

The endless list of cliché phrases about brackets being busted are ever tiring. But a few might be applicable when discussing two top-5 teams losing to unranked opponents in the opening round of the Class 7A playoffs.

Could there be a few 7A Cinderellas lurking? Are there more stunning upsets to come? Will the results be world-shattering? Will little brother beat up big brother any more in the second round?

You get the point. Back to the pitch.

Top-ranked Hillgrove’s first-round loss to unranked Carrollton 8-7 in penalty kicks after ending regulation tied at 2 marked the lowlight, or highlight, depending on perspective.

Carrollton, the Area 2 No. 4 seed, entered the playoffs with an 11-6-1 record while top-ranked Hillgrove had every bit of momentum.

The Hawks (18-2, 8-0) had lost one match – to West Forsyth 3-2 on Feb. 9, the third match of the season. And since, Hillgrove won 16 consecutive matches and has outscored teams 80-15.

But it’s all for naught.

In the penalty kicks, Carrollton struck first and in each of the seven ensuing penalty goals, Hillgrove found answers after each score, except for the eighth and decisive goal. Carrollton’s will travel to against No. 7 Archer after it beat Camden County 3-1.

Another bracket-shattering-state-breaking-other-worldly-insane-buster-upset?

Unranked North Gwinnett moved past No. 4 South Forsyth 3-2 and were led by junior Constantine Dallis, who scored two goals and senior Javen Leung, who added one goal. The Bulldogs entered the bracket as the No. 4 team from Area 7 and left South Forsyth (12-3-2, 4-1) wanting more.

Elsewhere, the 7A ranked did well.

No. 2 Discovery moved past Area 6 No. 4 Denmark 2-0. Lambert, ranked No. 3, will travel to Walton after the Longhorns’ 4-1 victory over Duluth. In a matchup between ranked teams, No. 5 Milton upended No. 8 Peachtree Ridge 2-1 to advance to play No. 9 Collins Hill. The Eagles moved past North Cobb 4-0.

In other top 10 first-round matches, Grayson, ranked No. 6, defeated Lowndes 11-1 to advance and No. 10 Pebblebrook moved past Marietta 3-2.

The first-round matches in Classes 7A, 5A, 3A and A-Divisions I and II completed first-round play to field the second-round schedule, while Classes 6A, 4A and 2A will finish the opening round matches Friday.

Let’s take a glance at the other classes below.

Class 5A

-- No. 6 Greenbrier was the highest-ranked team to lose in the first round against No. 10 Decatur 5-1. Kell, ranked No. 7, lost to No. 3 Dalton 2-1. Centennial, ranked No. 5, moved past No. 9 Calhoun 6-0 in the first round.

Class 3A

-- All top 10 teams advanced, leaving championship quality matchups in the second round including No. 2 Oconee County at No. 4 Wesleyan, No. 9 Richmond Academy at No. 1 Savannah Country Day and No. 10 Thomasville at No. 8 Pike County.

Classes A Division I and II

-- In Class A Division I, No. 2 Dalton Academy lost to No. 3 Whitefield Academy 3-2 while the rest of the top 10 either won or enjoyed byes in the first round. In Class A Division II, Washington-Wilkes beat Treutlen 6-0, No. 9 Atlanta Classical beat Lanier County 7-1, Mount Zion-Carroll beat Hawkinsville 6-2, Portal defeated Lincoln County 3-1 and Chattahoochee County defeated Bowdon 6-0.

Follow the link to the boys brackets to see the second-round schedule.