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GHSA Semi's This Weekend
Monday, 02 December 2013

December 2--  The Georgia High School Football Daily provides a report on Friday night games and the teams who will play in this weekend's semi-final round of high school football playoffs in Georgia.

Class AAA

*Callaway 35, St. Pius 21: Eddie Culpepper rushed for 143 yards and QB Tez Parks ran for 132, each scoring two touchdowns, as Callaway finished with a 321-285 advantage in rushing yardage against run-based St. Pius. Callaway led 14-6 at halftime but broke the game open in the third quarter with back-to-back two-play scoring drives capped by a 47-yard run by Parks and a 59-yarder by Culpepper. Dre Martin returned an interception 42 yards for Callaway's final touchdown.

   What it means - Callaway, which opened in 1996, is in the semifinals for the first time. St. Pius, which lost in the Class AAA championship game last season, was knocked out in the quarterfinals for the second time in three years.


*Buford 36, Carver (Columbus) 6: Buford turned the ball over four times but held Carver to 58 yards of total offense, including minus-10 yards rushing. Taylor Mitchell and Evin Cooper had short touchdown runs, Matthew Bonadies kicked two field goals and the Wolves got a safety in building a 22-0 lead in the first quarter. Thomas Wilson led the running game with 78 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries.

   What it means - Buford has won 20 consecutive home playoff games, the third-longest streak of its kind in state history, and is one victory away from playing in the championship game for the seventh straight season.


*Washington County 46, Blessed Trinity 17: Washington County's Melvin Hill rushed for 235 yards and five touchdowns and D.J. Sanders intercepted four passes. The Golden Hawks led just 19-17 in the third quarter after a 1-yard TD run by Blessed Trinity's Carter McManes but pulled away from there. Hill's touchdown runs covered 26, 24, 22, 19 and 43 yards.

   What it means - Washington County is in the semifinals for the 10th time since 1992 but first since 2006. The Golden Hawks went 15-0 and won state championships in 1994, 1996 and 1997.


*Ringgold 35, Central (Carrollton) 10: Slade Dale ran for two touchdowns and threw a 50-yard TD pass to Christian Plott in the second quarter that gave the Lions the lead for good at 14-7. The Tigers finished with 242 yards rushing, led by D.L. Goins (126 yards, one touchdown) and Kile Sholl (85 yards, one TD). The victory avenged Ringgold's 19-15 loss to Central in September during the regular season. Damarious Owensby led Central with 100 yards on 12 carries.

   What it means - Ringgold advanced to the semifinals for the first time in its history. The school first played in the GHSA in 1949 and had never won a state playoff game until this season.


Class AA

*Lamar County 35, Jefferson 24: Jefferson led 17-14 at halftime, but Lamar County scored on three of its first four possessions of the second half to gain control. RB Lawrence Austin rushed for 129 yards. His brother, QB Lance Austin, ran for 114. Quay Searcy scored on a 40-yard interception return and 31-yard pass.

   What it means - The defending champion is out, and the No. 1-ranked team is in. Lamar County reached the semifinals for the second consecutive season and second time ever.


*Benedictine 35, Calhoun 14: Benedictine forced six turnovers and controlled the second half after taking a 21-14 lead into the break. Calhoun had 264 yards passing but was intercepted three times, lost a fumble after one reception and had only 81 yards rushing. Benedictine RB/DB Mike Huggins rushed for 96 yards and two touchdowns and recovered a fumble. J.J. Gaines rushed for 92 yards and one touchdown.

   What it means - Benedictine reached the semifinals for the first time since 1978 and ended Calhoun's streak of five, which had been one of the 10 longest in history.


*Lovett 35, Laney 33: Lovett trailed 20-7 at halftime but scored three touchdowns in the final six minutes of the third quarter to lead 28-20. Laney got within 28-26, but Grant Haley's 57-yard TD run with 6:09 remaining put Lovett back in control. Haley, committed to Vanderbilt, rushed for 219 yards and three touchdowns on 20 carries. Laney QB Horatio Keller rushed for 129 yards and passed for 163. Lovett led in total yardage 346-340.

   What it means - Lovett made the semifinals for the 12th time overall and fifth time under coach Mike Muschamp, hired in 2005. Lovett also won for the 11th time on the road in the playoffs under Muschamp.


*Brooks County 42, Bowdon 26: Brooks County QB Malkom Parrish, hobbled by a leg injury that limited his running, threw five TD passes, two to Derric Herring, one a 70-yarder. He also threw a 68-yarder to Devon Wimms and a 28-yarder to Exavius Medlock on a fourth-and-24. Mitavius Brooks' 88-yard TD run in the fourth quarter made it 42-20.

   What it means - Brooks County made the semifinals for the first time since 2008 and sixth time overall.


Class A (public)

*Charlton County 42, Seminole County 0: Andrew Lee rushed for 169 yards on 14 carries and scored on runs of 57 and 63 yards to lead Charlton County, which ended Seminole County's undefeated season and knocked out the No. 1 seed in the public-school bracket. Trae Harrington, returning to form after a knee injury, passed for 134 yards and threw touchdown passes of 32, 50 and 18 yards. Seminole County was held to 103 yards of offense and four first downs and was shut out for the first time since 2008.

   What it means - Charlton County played in four consecutive state finals beginning in 2003, but this will be the Indians' first trip to the semifinals since that streak ended in 2006. Charlton lost in the first round in 2012 and finished 5-6.


*Irwin County 56, Johnson County 26: Jakyron Young rushed for 131 yards and two touchdowns to lead a dominant running game for Irwin County, which was never threatened after building a 28-0 lead in the first half. Irwin County rushed for 516 yards on 55 carries while completing its only pass attempt for minus-1 yard. Antuane Merritt had 124 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries. Ryan Peterson (nine carries, 99 yards) and T.J. Wynn (7, 70) scored two TDs each.

   What it means - Irwin County is in the semifinals for the first time since 1997, when it lost to Manchester in the Class A final. The Indians' semifinal opponent is 2-A rival Charlton County, which Irwin beat 29-26 in the regular-season finale.


*Hawkinsville 23, Clinch County 8: J.D. Burden rushed for 198 yards and two touchdowns as Hawkinsville knocked out the No. 3 seed in a game in which neither team scored after halftime. Burden had 184 of his yards in the first two quarters. Hawkinsville also got a 3-yard touchdown run by QB Dakota Sloan and a safety when a bad Clinch County snap rolled out of the end zone. Clinch County QB Octavius Johnson rushed for 115 yards and was 5-of-12 passing for 24 yards.

   What it means - Hawkinsville won its sixth consecutive game after starting the season 3-3. The Red Devils, who were 4-6 the past two seasons and hadn't won a playoff game since 2006, are in the semifinals for the first time since 2004.


*Marion County 24, Dooly County 21: A.J. Wells, who is committed to Appalachian State, kicked a 23-yard field goal with 45.4 seconds remaining as Marion County rallied for its second victory of the year over Region 4-A rival Dooly County. Marion County trailed 21-14 midway through the fourth quarter but tied the game 21-21 on a 25-yard run by Johnny Royal with 4:56 left. Lorenzo Smothers led Marion County with 81 yards rushing on 14 carries and had a long kickoff return that set up the game-tying drive.

   What it means - Marion County is in the semifinals for the first time in the program's eight-year history and can reach its first championship game by avenging its only loss of the season when it faces another 4-A rival, Hawkinsville.


Class A (private)

*Eagle's Landing Christian 24, Darlington 10: ELCA played without preseason all-state QB Dalton Etheridge (season-ending leg injury). Sophomore Jordan Long (4-for-7 passing, 87 yards) made his first varsity start and threw a 47-yard TD pass to Jamaal Tookes in the second quarter as ELCA jumped to a 17-0 lead. Darlington got within 17-10 with 7:31 left, but ELCA drove for the clinching touchdown. ELCA RB Lane Timpson rushed for 80 yards with two touchdowns, and ELCA held Darlington to 147 yards in total offense.

   What it means - ELCA reached its third consecutive semifinal and won its 20th straight game against private-school opponents.


*Calvary Day 33, Prince Avenue Christian 14: Calvary Day trailed 14-0 in the second quarter but scored the final 33 points. QB Michael Peterson was 18-of-24 passing for 258 yards. Robert Heyward rushed for 182 yards on 17 carries and scored on TD runs of 42 and 48 yards. WR Derek Kirkland had three catches for 74 yards and TD receptions of 25 and 37 yards.

   What it means - Calvary Day made the semifinals for the first time in the GHSA. The Cavaliers, GHSA members since 1988, did make a GISA semifinal in 1983.


*Aquinas 35, Mount Paran Christian 32: Aquinas led 35-14 at halftime and didn't score in the second half but held on. Aquinas 1,000-yard rusher Ruben Garnett was limited to only six carries for 36 yards because of a strained Achilles tendon. Mount Paran RB Dorian Walker rushed for 235 yards and four touchdowns on 31 carries. His last touchdown brought Mount Paran within 35-32 with 3:42 left. Mount Paran had one more possession but failed to threaten. Picking up for Garnett, John Morris (103) and Daniel Lindsey (105) each had more than 100 yards rushing.

   What it means - Aquinas, founded in 1957, made the semifinals for the first time and prevented Mount Paran from doing the same.


*Mount Pisgah Christian 15, Holy Innocents' 7: Aaron Winchester was 15-of-24 passing for 226 yards and two touchdowns, both in the second quarter for a 12-7 lead. Winchester's first TD pass was a 27-yarder to Ben Miller against a strong rush, the other a 23-yarder to Oz Dixon at the first-half buzzer. Mount Pisgah DB Patrick Ainsworth had two interceptions, one on Holy Innocents' final drive that ended at the Mount Pisgah 14.

   What it means - Mount Pisgah, which began varsity football in 2003, made the semifinals for the first time and kept Holy Innocents' from doing the same.


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