Middle Georgia football playoff capsules
Head coach: Dexter Copeland.
Region seed: No. 3 in Region 2-AAAA.
Playoff opponent: at Wayne County (5-4-1).
Key wins: Jefferson County, Perry.
Key players: OL Derrick Washington, Sr.; QB Tahjea Chambers, Soph.; RB Kentavious Thomas, Soph.; WR Marcus English, Sr.
Scouting report: When healthy, the Braves have shown to be dangerous. They had close calls against Washington County and Westside, leading both of those ranked teams in the second half before eventually losing. Chambers is a difference maker when healthy and when he has protection. He has several weapons on offense, led by Thomas, English and Deon Kelsey. The defense is talented and fast, but they’ve struggled against big, physical wide receivers.
Mary Persons (8-2)
Head coach: Brian Nelson.
Region seed: No. 2 in Region 2-AAAA.
Playoff opponent: vs. Statesboro (8-2).
Key wins: Jones County, Perry, Baldwin.
Key players: RB Nick Davis, Sr. (1,082 yards, nine touchdowns); QB Jordan Banks, Sr. (905 yards, six touchdowns); DB Akebren Ralls, Jr. (six interceptions); WR Macey Zellner, Sr. (438 yards, three touchdowns); LB Tra Taylor, Jr.; LB Quen Shannon, Soph.; DB Quen Head, Soph.
Scouting report: The Bulldogs have been remarkably consistent this season, their loss to Westside notwithstanding. The running attack has been especially strong, led by Davis, Josh Mays and Dee High both have more than 350 yards on the ground as the Bulldogs average 5.5 yards per carry. Banks has shown quite a bit of improvement in the passing game this year. He was thrust into a starting job a year ago, and he appears more confident under center this season. The Bulldogs’ defense has 22 interceptions this season, ranking them near the top of schools in Middle Georgia.
Head coach: Stacey Harden.
Region seed: No. 4 in Region 2-AAAA.
Playoff opponent: at Burke County (9-1).
Key wins: West Laurens, Veterans.
Key players: RB Malik Doyle, Sr.; RB Mark Riley, Jr.; WR Nick Martens, Sr.
Scouting report: Perry won four of its final five games to claim the final playoff spot out of Region 2-AAAA, averaging just shy of 32 points per game during that stretch. The Panthers will be facing a high-scoring Burke County squad, ranked third in the AP Class AAAA poll, that has scored more than 30 points in each of its nine victories.
Head coach: Sheddrick Risper.
Region seed: No. 1 in Region 2-AAAA.
Playoff opponent: vs. South Effingham (6-4).
Key wins: Baldwin, Mary Persons, Perry.
Key players: QB Noah Grayer, Sr.; WR Shannon Smith, Sr.; RB Daniel Hall, Sr.; DB Kimball Magee, Sr.; LB Brian Whitaker, Sr.; WR DeQavius Walker, Jr.; DL Jalen Lawrence, Sr.
Scouting report: The Seminoles might have stepped off the gas a little after the win over Baldwin. They probably haven’t played their best football the past three weeks, but they might get re-energized by the start of the playoffs. Grayer and Smith have a special relationship in the passing game, and the emergence of Walker has made the aerial attack even more dangerous. Hall and Cedric Hollingshed get most of their carries in the read option attack. Magee is a very talented kick returner.