NORTH FULTON/FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. — The GHSA football playoffs began Friday night with 12 teams beginning their quests for state titles.
Roswell 31, Wheeler 0
Roswell shook its recent first-round playoff struggles Friday night with the Region 4 champions taking down Wheeler at home. The Hornets had dropped two straight first-round games in the state playoffs.
Roswell led 3-0 entering the third quarter but found separation in the second half.
Jacob Jarrett hauled in a touchdown reception early in the third quarter, and Savion Mccrary pushed the lead to 17-0 late in the period.
Quarterback Ethan Roberts added a rushing score with nine minutes remaining, and Jarrett iced the game three minutes later with his second touchdown reception of the night from Roberts.
Roswell (8-2) will have home field advantage again Friday when they take on Mill Creek (9-2).
Milton 42, Central Gwinnett 7
Defending state champions Milton kicked off its title defense Friday with a lopsided win over Central Gwinnett at home, the sixth straight game the Eagles have held their opponent to fewer than 10 points.
Central Gwinnett racked up 233 yards through the air but was held to just 15 yards on the ground on 15 rushes.
Milton quarterback Devin Farrell threw a 22-yard touchdown pass to Jack Rhodes on the Eagles’ opening drive, and the two-point conversion was successful.
The two teams exchanged touchdowns midway through the second quarter, including a 25-yard touchdown run from Milton’s Will Maranich. The Eagles added a 3-yard touchdown run from Ahmad Junearick in the final seconds of the first half to lead 21-7 at the break.
Farrell threw his second score of the night midway through the third quarter before two touchdown runs from Jordan McDonald allowed the Eagles to seal the win.
Milton (8-3) will return to the Eagle’s Nest Friday to take on Marietta (9-2) in a battle of top-10 ranked teams.
Norcross 21, South Forsyth 0
South Forsyth took a first-round exit from the playoffs for the fourth straight year Friday night with the War Eagles dropping their matchup with Norcross, 21-0, in Gwinnett County.
Trailing 7-0 in the second quarter, South intercepted Norcross near the goal line, but the War Eagles were forced to punt. The Blue Devils scored a touchdown on their ensuing drive.
South drove into Norcross territory late in the second quarter, but an interception set up an 88-yard touchdown for the Blue Devils in what would be the final score of the game.
South compiled a 6-5 record this season and finished third in the Region 5-AAAAAAA standings.
North Forsyth 44, Brookwood 41
North Forsyth completed an incredible comeback Friday night to give the Raiders their first playoff win since 2005.
North trailed 34-9 at the half but cut the lead 41-25 in the third quarter behind two touchdown connections from quarterback Brady Meitz to Nicky Dalmolin.
With 10 minutes remaining, North recovered a Brookwood fumble to set up another scoring throw from Meitz to Dalmolin. North put the score at 41-36 with a rushing touchdown with three minutes to go.
The Raiders then recovered the onside kick, and with just over a minute remaining, Meitz threw a touchdown pass to Patrick Corrigan for the go-ahead score. The Raiders added a two-point conversion.
Brookwood drove into North territory with seconds remaining, but the Raiders’ defense held to complete the electrifying comeback.
North (7-4) will go on the road Friday to take on undefeated McEachern (11-0).
Parkview 35, West Forsyth 14
West Forsyth fell to Region 7 champions Parkview (10-1) Friday night to bring an end the Wolverines’ 2019 season. The Panthers took the contest, 35-14, at home.
Parkview led 21-0 at the half behind two touchdown passes and a 60-yard pass that was fumbled by a receiver then run into the end zone from 10 yards out.
Parkview added to its lead early in the third quarter with a touchdown and scored its fifth unanswered score early in the fourth.
West got on the board with just two minutes remaining with a touchdown pass from Drew Southern to Casey Cowart. In the final minute, West’s Ashton Van Horn connected with Lance Corcimiglia on a 5-yard touchdown reception.
West compiled a 4-6 record this year, the 13-year old program’s first losing season.
Johns Creek 59, Alexander 34
Johns Creek made history Friday night by earning the program’s first playoff win since fielding a varsity schedule in 2010. The Gladiators entered the game 0-4 in postseason play, but the Region 7 champs downed No. 4 seed Alexander in a high-scoring contest to bring an end to their playoff drought.
The Gladiators opened a 20-0 lead in the first quarter with two touchdown runs from Will Watson and a touchdown reception from Ben Whitlock to Dalton Pearson.
Pearson added a score on special teams midway through the second quarter by returning a punt for a touchdown. Whitlock threw his second touchdown of the game late in the period, but Alexander added two touchdowns to keep the lead at 35-13.
The Gladiators kept their scoring momentum in the third quarter with another touchdown connection from Whitlock to Pearson, a Caleb Adegboyego 30-yard field goal and a 28-yard touchdown grab from Justin Campbell.
Tank Pritchett added a 2-yard touchdown run early in the fourth.
Alexander scored two touchdowns in the final six minutes, but the Gladiators’ lead was too much to overcome.
The Gladiators (10-1) will be home again Friday to take on Valdosta (9-2). The matchup will feature two teams ranked in the top-5 of Class 6A.
Creekside 28, Alpharetta 0
Alpharetta’s 2019 season ended Friday with the Raiders taking a shutout loss to No. 3 seed Creekside at home. The Raiders have dropped their last two games in the opening round of the playoffs.
Alpharetta was held to just 70 offensive yards and two first downs.
The Raiders’ defense forced three turnovers in the first half, but Alpharetta was unable to take advantage and trailed 8-0 at the break behind a Seminole touchdown and safety.
Alpharetta was set up inside Creekside territory to start the third quarter, but an interception on the first play of the drive allowed the Seminoles to drive the field and extend their lead to 15-0.
Creekside added another touchdown rush midway through the period and iced the game with a 6-minute touchdown drive in the fourth.
The Raiders compiled a 7-4 overall record this year, their fourth straight winning season. They went 7-1 in Region 7-AAAAAA play to earn the No. 2 seed behind Johns Creek.
Mays 39, Northview 7
Northview ended its four-year absence from the playoffs Friday night, but the Titans fell short of winning the program’s first playoff game with a 39-7 loss to Region 5 champions Mays (10-1).
Mays opened a 12-0 lead in the first quarter and continued to rack up points while holding Northview scoreless until a Titans’ touchdown in the second half.
Northview compiled a 6-5 overall record this season, their first winning season since 2015. The Titans also earned the 18-year-old program its third trip to the playoffs by clinching the No. 4 seed from Region 7-AAAAAA.
Blessed Trinity 40, Troup County 14
Two-time defending state champions Blessed Trinity improved to 17-2 in the playoffs over the past four seasons with a 40-14 win over Troup County at home Friday night. The Titans have won their last nine first-round playoff contests.
Troup led 8-7 before BT added a field goal and touchdown rush from Justice Haynes to lead 17-8 at the half.
The two teams traded scores in the third quarter, including an Elijah Green touchdown run, before the Titans ran away with contest in the fourth.
Green added another touchdown to push the lead to 31-14, and two minutes later, BT’s defense forced a safety. Midway through the final period, Englan Williams added a touchdown run.
The Titans (10-1) return home Friday to take on Baldwin (5-6).
Sandy Creek 42, Denmark 7
Denmark made its program’s first appearance in the state playoffs Friday night but fell short of its first postseason win with the Danes dropping their matchup with Sandy Creek, 42-7. The contest pitted the Danes, ranked No. 7 in Class 4A, against the No. 5-ranked Fighting Patriots.
After a scoreless first quarter, Sandy Creek found the scoreboard with a touchdown run. Denmark threw an interception on its ensuing drive to set up a 23-yard touchdown pass for the Patriots.
The Danes scored late in the second quarter with a 3-yard touchdown run from quarterback Aaron McLaughlin, but it would be Denmark’s only points of the game.
Sandy Creek added a touchdown just before the half and added insurance in the second half with two rushing scores and a pick-six.
Denmark compiled a 7-3 overall record this season with all three of their losses coming against teams ranked in the top-10.
Fellowship Christian (BYE)
Region 6-A champions Fellowship Christian (10-0) earned a bye in the first round of the playoffs by finishing the regular season as the No. 4 seed in the power ratings.
The Paladins will host North Cobb Christian (8-3, the No. 13 seed) in the second round Friday night. Fellowship has gone 5-3 in the playoffs the last three seasons.
St. Francis 34, Trinity Christian 31
St. Francis made history Friday night by capturing the 10-year old program its first playoff win. The Knights, No. 18 in the power ratings, took down No. 15 Trinity Christian, 34-31, on the road.
The two teams exchanged the lead in the first half with the Knights holding a 21-14 advantage at the break.
Kylen Smith extended the Knights’ lead to 27-17 early in the third.
Josh Gil threw a touchdown pass early in the fourth to put the Knights ahead 34-17, but St. Francis still had to weather a Trinity comeback attempt.
With five minutes to go, the Lions cut the lead to 10 points with a touchdown and found the end zone again two minutes later to push the score to 34-31. However, St. Francis held on the final minutes to clinch the win.
The Knights (7-4) will take on the No. 2 seed, Holy Innocents’ (10-0) on the road in the second round.