High School Sports

Stratford-Tattnall rematch, GISA title games headline games coming up

Mary Persons’ Ladondre Buckner charges up the middle of the field against North Clayton November 11, 2016, at Dan Pitts Stadium.
Mary Persons’ Ladondre Buckner charges up the middle of the field against North Clayton November 11, 2016, at Dan Pitts Stadium. photo@macon.com

Hughes at Northside

All of Hughes’ losses are pretty solid: 47-28 to Class 5A No. 6 Mays, 23-19 to Class 6A No. 8 Alexander and 37-35 to Class 6A No. 11 Northgate. The Panthers are solid on both sides.

Jones County at Buford

And the Greyhounds’ reward for the first-round win? A visit to Tom Riden Stadium, where the residents haven’t lost since Sept. 7, 2012, 19-15 to Gainesville. The lone loss this year was to undefeated Class 7A Roswell in the opener.

Heritage-Catoosa at Mary Persons

Heritage, located about 15 miles from Chattanooga, is happy. The Generals won Friday in their first playoff game ever and had no easy trip to Stephens County. They’ll be loose and confident.

West Laurens at Jefferson

The Raiders’ stout defense now faces an offense that has failed to score fewer than 31 points in only three games. The No. 4 Dragons’ past two losses were this year to No. 2 Thomson and Nov. 28, 2014, 28-21 to Blessed Trinity in a quarterfinal.

North Murray at Peach County

North Murray, located a little east of Dalton, might be one of those sneaky and unheralded teams. The Mountaineers are 8-3, winners of four straight, and have cracked the 45-point mark five times this season.

Chattooga at Washington County

Chattooga went into a pretty tough place, Lamar County, and cruised out with a 30-point win, its first in the postseason. The Indians are hit or miss: the average win is by 32.7 points and average loss by 23.8, with only one game decided by single digits. The Golden Hawks have won eight of their past nine home playoff games.

Dodge County at Pepperell

The Indians are a hot team, having won five of their past six and coming up big at Thomasville, especially on defense. Pepperell is warmer, on an eight-game winning streak, with 14 points the closest margin of victory. The drive of about 3½ hours awaits Dodge County.

Turner County at Macon County

Plenty of eyes will be on Montezuma. The Bulldogs have a clear target, and Turner County has won seven of its past eight with only three close games in the bunch. The Rebels haven’t been this far since 2008.

Twiggs County at Manchester

Some common-opponent math: Twiggs County just beat Marion County 46-7, and Manchester beat Marion County 35-7 in late September. The Blue Devils had the week off to ponder their 55-13 loss to Macon County, their first of the season. The Vikings are the one-loss team in this meeting with the momentum.

Taylor County at Commerce

Commerce has played five teams with “academy” in the name and three with “Christian” in the name. But the Tigers are in a quality region that put six teams in the postseason. Taylor County had a close game just in time to tighten up.

Stratford at Tattnall Square

If this game is anything like their regular-season meeting, this should wind up becoming the game of the year in Bibb County. Stratford gave unbeaten Tattnall its closest call this season, leading 3-0 into the final minutes before the Trojans’ Ahmad Barron broke free for a 40-yard touchdown run. Stratford’s defense was a bit dinged up in the first meeting, but the Eagles’ run game has stepped up a notch in the past two weeks.

FPD at Eagle’s Landing Christian

FPD used a fourth-quarter surge to defeat Aquinas in the first round. Now the Vikings have to take on top-seeded ELCA, which has won 18 straight including last year’s GHSA Class 1A private championship. The Chargers have given up 10 or more points just twice this season, against Class 5A Eagle’s Landing and Class 1A private No. 8 seed Wesleyan.

Gatewood vs. John Milledge, 8 p.m. at Five Star Stadium

A Middle Georgia team will win the GISA Class 3A championship. John Milledge is 13-0 with five shutouts and only one game in which it allowed more than 14 points, while Gatewood (11-2) held the Trojans to their lowest scoring total in a 17-10 loss Oct. 21. Briarwood and Flint River meet for the Class 2A title at 5:30 p.m., also at Five Star Stadium.