High School Sports

Five Middle Georgia teams take part in GHSA quarterfinal action

Northside’s Tobias Oliver (12) and the Eagles travel to Glynn Academy on Friday in the GHSA Class 6A playoffs.
Northside’s Tobias Oliver (12) and the Eagles travel to Glynn Academy on Friday in the GHSA Class 6A playoffs. photo@macon.com

Class 6A

Northside at Glynn Academy

On Northside: 10-2, second in Region 1-6A; beat Grovetown 52-0, Langston Hughes 38-10.

On Glynn Academy: 11-1, first in Region 2-6A; beat Jonesboro 45-3, Allatoona 47-7.

Series record: Northside leads 2-0.

Last meeting: Northside won 31-7 in 2014.

Next round: Mays (11-1, first in Region 5-6A) or Tucker (11-1, first in Region 4-6A).

Scouting report: The teams have won their first two playoff games by an average of 40.5 points, and the Eagles’ two wins against the Red Terrors have been by 24 and 26. There will be no margins like that in this meeting, which is a showcase of two of the state’s most explosive quarterbacks, Deejay Dallas of Glynn Academy and Tobias Oliver of Northside. Dallas is 35-of-64 for 776 yards and seven touchdowns with no interceptions while Oliver is 111-for-184 for 1,428 yards with 15 touchdowns and five interceptions. Dallas has rushed 115 times for 1,022 yards and 14 scores to 181 for 1,259 and 16 for Oliver. Kendall Cross has 1,396 yards and 21 touchdowns rushing for Glynn Academy, which hasn’t lost since falling 24-7 to Benedictine in the season-opener. Only two games since then have been decided by single digits. The Eagles have gotten healthier, which may lead to a few tweaks on offense. The Red Terrors have scored 17 more points than the Eagles, who have given up seven fewer points.

Class 4A

Blessed Trinity at Mary Persons

On Blessed Trinity: 10-2, first in Region 7-4A; beat Chapel Hill 33-0, Carver-Columbus 24-21.

On Mary Persons: 10-2, first in Region 2-4A; beat North Clayton 45-12, Heritage-Catoosa 38-21.

Series record: First meeting.

Next round: Woodward (11-1, first in Region 4-4A) or Cartersville (12-0, first in Region 5-4A).

Scouting report: Both teams have shown an ability to win close games. Blessed Trinity has wins of four, 12, two and three points, and Mary Persons has wins of seven, three and 12. And both have the requisite blowouts. The Titans’ losses are to out-of-state teams, by 42-28 to St. Peter’s of New Jersey (in Dublin, Ireland) and 56-6 to McCallie of Tennessee. Only two in-state opponents have scored more than 20 points. The teams are similar in balance, Blessed Trinity trying 13 more passes than Mary Persons, which has seven more carries (and 273 more rushing yards). Both defenses are balanced and have plenty of playmakers, although Mary Persons has a few more in Malik Herring, Tre Howard and Dan O’Neal, who have teamed for 50 tackles for loss, while Tyricus Danielly has five interceptions. Blessed Trinity’s J.R. Biven and Raleigh Barden have combined for 7.5 sacks, and Steele Chambers adds four interceptions. Worth noting in a game of even teams is that Blessed Trinity is 9-of-10 on field goals to 3-of-7 for Mary Persons. 

Class 3A

Peach County at Westminster

On Peach County: 11-1, first in Region 4-3A; beat Tattnall County 42-13, North Murray 49-7.

On Westminster: 10-2, first in Region 5-3A; beat North Hall 49-18, Savannah 45-21.

Series record: First meeting.

Next round: Liberty (11-1, first in Region 2-3A) or Greater Atlanta Christian (11-1, first in Region 7-3A).

Scouting report: Both teams have cruised since the start of the season, Peach County after falling in the opener to Houston County and Westminster after getting beaten by Woodward Academy (36-17) and Greater Atlanta Christian (19-16, OT) in the first two weeks, both at home. The Trojans have found ways to win some close games, while the Wildcats have only one win by less than 10 points. Westminster beat Mary Persons’ opponent, Blessed Trinity, for the Class 3A title last year, 38-31 in overtime, a year after losing to Calhoun in the semifinals. Zay Malcome ran for 266 yards and five touchdowns in the first-round win over North Hall. Malcome can go the distance on the ground, catching a pass or returning some sort of kick. The Wildcats face a fast defense that has playmakers on all three levels, and a senior quarterback in Antonio Gilbert who has passed for more than 2,200 yards with 25 touchdowns and only four interceptions, and an ability to find whoever is open. Peach County also has one of the best kicking games in the state with Mitchell Fineran and Omar Cervantes, and playing on turf adds to that value.

Class 1A private

Tattnall Square at Calvary Day

On Tattnall: 11-0, first in Region 7A-1A, won Region 7-1A championship, No. 5 seed; beat Stratford 13-7.

On Calvary Day: 10-0, first in Region 3A-1A, won Region 3-1A championship; beat Savannah Christian 10-7.

Series record: Tattnall Square leads 2-1.

Last meeting: Calvary Day won 20-19 in 1987.

Next round: No. 8 Wesleyan (9-2, third in Region 5-1A) or No. 1 Eagle’s Landing Christian (11-0, first in Region 5-1A).

Scouting report: Tattnall head coach Chance Jones defeated one of his mentors, Stratford head coach Mark Farriba, twice this season. His reward? Having to go up against another veteran in Rick Tomberlin, who led Washington County to three GHSA titles before taking Valdosta’s program for a spin. Tomberlin is in his first season at Calvary Day, and he has the Cavaliers unbeaten heading into the quarterfinals on the strength of strong defensive play (no more than 14 points allowed in a game all season) and some young offensive talent. Jones does, however, have a member of his coaching staff who went up against Tomberlin in offensive line coach Bryan Way, the former head coach at Warner Robins.

Class 1A public

Manchester at Macon County

On Manchester: 10-1, first in Region 4A-1A, Region 4-1A runner-up, No. 8 seed; beat Twiggs County 39-18.

On Macon County: 9-2, first in Region 4B-1A, won Region 4-1A championship; beat Turner County 47-37.

Series record: Macon County leads 11-4.

Last meeting: Macon County won 55-13 on Nov. 4.

Next round: No. 21 Irwin County (8-4, third in Region 2-1A) or No. 4 ECI (10-0, first in Region 3B-1A, Region 3-1A runner-up).

Scouting report: These teams met three weeks ago in the Region 4-1A championship game, which became a late-night affair because of issues regarding assignment of officials. Macon County dominated that contest, but the Bulldogs struggled last week before putting Taylor County away. Manchester, meanwhile, beat a solid Twiggs County team by 21 points after getting the first week of the playoffs off. Macon County quarterback K’Hari Lane threw his first interception of the year last week, but has another target back with the return of wideout Tra Mathis, who was hurt in the loss at Northside. Mathis returned a kickoff for a touchdown last week in his first touch since returning. The Bulldogs were flat in the first half last week, but took control in the second half.