Norcross 40, Roswell 20
Roswell’s 2020 season ended Friday with the Hornets taking a 40-20 loss to undefeated Norcross on the road. The Hornets have been ousted from the playoffs in the second round the last two seasons.
Roswell’s defense struggled to contain Norcross’ stout run game while the Hornets’ offense was stymied throughout much of the affair.
Norcross opened a 27-6 lead in the first half, with Roswell ‘s scores coming off Caden Long field goals.
The Hornets broke through for a touchdown on their opening possession of the third quarter, a touchdown throw from Robbie Roper to Shaun Spence.
Following another Blue Devils score, Roper hit Marquis Willis to cut the Hornets’ deficit to 34-20 late in the third.
Looking to potentially put the game away, Norcross converted a fourth-and-short play inside Roswell’s 10-yard line to set up another touchdown, stretching the lead to 34-20.
Roswell had two more possessions, but both ended with a turnover on downs in Norcross territory.
The Hornets compiled an 8-3 overall record under first-year head coach Chris Prewett. It is the first winning season for a first-year Roswell coach since Tim McFarlin, now the Blessed Trinity head coach, led the Hornets to 6-5 record in 1998.
Milton 17, Archer 9
Milton punched its ticket to the quarterfinals for the second time in three years Friday night, downing Archer 17-9 at home. The contest marked head coach Adam Clack’s 50th game leading the Eagles and put his record at 41-9.
Playing without standout quarterback Devin Farrell, the Eagles struggled to move the ball in the first half but completed their comeback bid with two touchdowns in the fourth quarter.
Archer took a 9-0 lead following a safety on an errant Milton snap before driving to the end zone on its ensuing possession. However, Milton’s defense kept the Tigers in check the remainder of the game.
Milton kicker Jason Aussin hit a 40-yard field goal early in the second quarter for a 9-3 score at the half.
After a scoreless third, Milton running back Jordan McDonald scored on a 10-yard run, and Aussin’s PAT gave the Eagles their first lead of the game.
Backup quarterback Adam Freas gave the Eagles some insurance with six minutes remaining in the game with a 5-yard scoring run.
On the Tigers’ ensuing drive, LT Overton and Dayne Edwards each recorded sacks on the opening set of downs, forcing a punt. The Eagles were punted with 31 seconds left, but Milton held to secure the win.
The Eagles (11-0) will host Lowndes (9-1) in the second round for a top-10 showdown. Milton beat the Vikings 28-17 in the 2018 semifinals.
Collins Hill 17, Denmark 6
Denmark captured its program’s first playoff win this season, but the Danes will have to look to next year to get postseason win No. 2. The Danes dropped their matchup with Region 8 champions Collins Hill Friday night, 17-6, on the road.
Quarterback Aaron McLaughlin was intercepted on the Danes’ opening possession and the Eagles took advantage with a touchdown to lead 7-0. Collins Hill extended the gap with a field goal on their next possession.
The Eagles blocked Denmark’s field goal attempt just before the half to lead 10-0 at the break.
The Danes broke through in the fourth quarter with a 43-yard touchdown pass from Aaron McLaughlin to Azari Brown, and the PAT was missed to keep the score at 17-6.
After the Danes defense forced a punt, McLaughlin was intercepted with under three minutes to go to end Denmark’s comeback bid.
Denmark went 6-5 overall in its first season under head coach Mike Palmieri and went 4-1 in Region 6-7A play.
West Forsyth 17, North Gwinnett 16
West Forsyth is on to the quarterfinals for the second time in program history after the Wolverines earned a 17-16 comeback win over North Gwinnett at home Friday night. West’s last trip to the third round was 2011.
The Wolverines were held off the board before a touchdown pass from Keegan Stover to Drew Southern cut their deficit to 10-7 just before the half.
The Bulldogs extended their lead midway through the second with a touchdown, but West’s Dalton Tjong took the ensuing kickoff back for a touchdown to keep the Wolverines within one score at 16-14.
Senior kicker Liam Badger gave the Wolverines the lead for good early in the fourth quarter with a converted field goal.
The Bulldogs looked to reclaim the lead with a field goal with under three minutes remaining, but the kick was no good.
The Wolverines (9-3) will take on Grayson in the quarterfinals. Both teams are No. 1 seeds but West will go on the road because of the universal coin toss, which gave home-field advantage to the team on the top portion of each bracket for the quarterfinals.
Buford 42, Cambridge 7
Cambridge’s historic 2020 season ended Friday night with the Bears taking a 42-7 loss to powerhouse Buford on the road. The Bears were making their first appearance in the second round of the playoffs.
Cambridge trailed by three scores before crossing midfield, but their scoring bid ended with a turnover. On the next play, Buford had a 68-yard touchdown to take a 28-0 lead into the half.
Buford added two touchdowns in the second half before Cambridge avoided the shutout with a touchdown pass from Zach Harris to Hayden Gardella in the final minute of play.
Cambridge compiled a 6-6 overall record this season and earned the program’s second postseason berth and first playoff win.
Blessed Trinity 44, Decatur 0
Blessed Trinity’s dominance this season continued Friday night with the Titans earning their fourth shutout in five games in what was remarkably their lowest offensive point total during that span.
With the win, the Titans (9-0) earned their eighth straight trip to the quarterfinals.
BT broke through with two minutes remaining in the first quarter with a 12-yard touchdown run from Justice Haynes.
Blessed Trinity backed up Decatur on their ensuing possession and forced a punt from the end zone to set up the Titans’ offense with a short field. A few plays later, Haynes was back in the end zone on a 34-yard score.
Following a run of over 55 yards from Haynes, BT quarterback JC French hit fullback Ryan DuPont with a 3-yard touchdown pass to extend the Titans’ advantage to 21-0 in the second.
Decatur’s 46-yard field goal attempt with six seconds remaining in the second quarter was missed.
Haynes earned his third touchdown of the night on BT’s opening drive of the third quarter, bowling over a defender for a 27-yard score to push the score to 28-0.
BT poured it on with Evan Dickens intercepting a pass on Decatur’s next drive and returning it to the Bulldogs’ 13-yard line. Englan Williams furthered the gap with a rushing score a few plays later.
Williams added another touchdown from 4-yards out later in the third ahead of a safety on a Decatur backwards pass to push the score to 44-0.
The Titans will take on Warner Robins (10-1) in the quarterfinals in a heavyweight battle between the two top ranked teams in Class 5A.
Fellowship Christian 49, Athens Academy 14
Fellowship Christian took down Athens Academy Friday night, 49-14, in a battle off top-5 ranked teams to advance to the quarterfinals for the third straight season. The Paladins are 3-0 this season against ranked teams.
The Paladins led 21-0 at halftime behind three touchdowns from Josh Cole. The junior rushed in from 8- and 29-yards out and hauled in a 76-yard touchdown reception.
Athens Academy showed signs of life early in the third quarter, scoring twice to cut its deficit to 21-14, but the Paladins ran away with the game following the scores.
Murphy Reeves reeled off a 58-yard touchdown run following Athens’ second touchdown to reset the momentum.
Fellowship’s Jayven Hall rushed in from 32-yards out and quarterback Eli Hildebrandt had a 63-yard touchdown within one minute of play early in the fourth to effectively seal the win. Hall scored another touchdown before the final buzzer.
Fellowship (11-0) faces Region 4 champions Trinity Christian, the No. 7 ranked team in Class A-Private, in the third round.