The playoffs kicked off this past weekend and it got off on the right foot as one of the top teams in AAAA went down in a big way. Gwinnett County showed it's dominance in the playoffs with it's teams going 10-1 in first round action. And the second round of the football playoffs features two heavyweights in AAAAA. These stories and more make up the top five Georgia high school sports stories for this week.
5. Northside, Warner Robins is taken down.
Last year, Northside reached the AAAAA state finals and lost to Camden County. This season, they moved down to AAAA and everyone thought they would be one of the teams that would reach the finals. The only problem was Whitewater, a team from Fayette County, was in the way and stopped Northside from advancing in the playoffs with a 28-21 win. Whitewater started off the game fast with a 28-0 run in the first quarter. Their running back Josh Clemons led the offensive attack with 200 yards on 32 carries and two touchdowns. Northside had only 48 yards on 28 attempts and completed only 11 passes on 31 attempts. Northside finishes their season at 10-1 while Whitewater improves to 9-2 and will take on Ware County in the second round.
4. Hillgrove shocks Stephenson
Another upset took place in AAAAA as Hillgrove edged Stephenson 28-23. Quarterback Gage Henry ran for 142 yards, threw for 247 yards and scored three touchdowns in the win. The defense was just as sharp for the Hawks as they intercepted passes from Stephenson quarterback Jordan Tarver and held the the Jaguars to 10 points through the first three quarters. Hillgrove improves its record to 9-2 and will have the honor making the five hour trip to Kingsland to face the defending AAAAA champs Camden County. Stephenson ends its season with a record of 9-2.
3. Gwinnett County shows it's muscles
Teams from south Georgia often dominate the playoffs, but Gwinnett County is not chopped liver when it comes to teams making a run. In fact, all but one team from Gwinnett County won their first round game last Friday. And the team that lost, Parvkiew, came up short because Roswell kicked a last-second field goal to win the game. So 10 teams from Gwinnett remain in the playoff and I would expect to see a good percentage of those teams reach the quarterfinals, especially North Gwinnett, Buford and Brookwood.
2. Battle in Marietta
One of the more interesting games going on this weekend features two 4A teams that have a lot of firepower on both sides of the ball. The Falcons of Flowery Branch will travel to Marietta to take on the Kell Longhorns. Flowery Branch is coming a a big 28-6 win over SW DeKalb. Running back Jeremy Haley is looking to build on the performance he had last week with 129 yards and one touchdown against the Panthers. Kell dominated South Forsyth 49-7 and racked up 564 yards of offense. It will be the first time these two teams have met in the playoffs or in the regular season.
1. Battle in Powder Springs
Another compelling game takes place in Cobb County, as McEachern and Valdosta go to war. McEachern has been on a roll as of late. Ever since losing to Peachtree Ridge in the first game of the year, McEachern has won nine consecutive games and seem to get better each week. Valdosta has not been the dominant team it has been in the past, but new head coach Rance Gillespie has got the team back on track and if thing go their way, Wildcats could make the championship game for the first time since 2003 and win a title for the first time since 1998. This will be the fifth time these teams have played against each other.