High School Sports

Underdogs look to continue success in second round of high school football playoffs

Westside receiver Jaylon Barden (10) attempts to fight off a tackle from Central’s Jalik Thomas (1) and Xavier Darden (8) during their game Friday night.
Westside receiver Jaylon Barden (10) attempts to fight off a tackle from Central’s Jalik Thomas (1) and Xavier Darden (8) during their game Friday night. jvorhees@macon.com

High school football playoffs are in full swing so our games of the week story looks a little different. Reporters Justin Baxley and Hayes Rule examine the matchups around Middle Georgia and pick who they think will walk away victorious.

Northside vs. Bradwell Institute

Story of the game: The Northside Eagles pulled out a win over Tucker last week in the first round of the playoffs despite being the lower seeded team. Bradwell upset the number one seeded Grovetown. Northside being the better of the two in terms of seeding will get to play at home (actually it will be at Freedom Field, as its normal home field will be the host of the Warner Robins game). The Eagles come into the game as the favorite but Bradwell’s win last week should have Northside on high alert.

Justin pick: Northside

Hayes pick: Northside

Warner Robins vs. Ware County

Story of the game: Each team held serve in its opening round game with Warner Robins knocking off Locust Grove and Ware County beating Riverdale. The Warner Robins Demons have a high powered offense having scored 417 points on the season. Ware County relies on its defense as it gave up only 132 points this season. This game will come down to which unit executes its game plan more effectively. Warner Robins should be favored slightly but Ware County has the tools to knock off the top seeded Demons.

Justin pick: Warner Robins

Hayes pick: Warner Robins

Mary Persons vs. Woodward Academy

Story of the game: The Mary Persons Bulldogs head into this one fresh off a 59-0 win in the playoff opener over Richmond Academy. Woodward Academy battled it out with Carver prevailing in a 55-40 shootout. Mary Persons has an offense that is loaded with playmakers like running back Quen Wilson and quarterback J.T Hartage. The defense is no slouch as it has given up just 115 points this season. The combination of a great offense and a great defense makes this team hard to beat — which is why no one has beat them yet. Woodward has won three straight behind a high-powered offense of its own. The game could turn into a shootout with the first team to 50 winning or Mary Persons could turn this into a snoozer like last week.

Justin pick: Mary Persons

Hayes pick: Mary Persons

Westside vs. Benedictine

Story of the game: Westside grabbed a big win in the opening round over Cook while Benedictine opened with a shutout of Tattnall County. Westside has a lot of talent on both sides of the ball. The big, bruising back Tyshaun Freeman is the key to opening up the passing game for the Seminoles. On the other side of the ball, Benedictine has one of the best defense units in the state. The Cadets have only allowed 91 points against them all season. It will be a challenge for the Seminoles to keep pace with Benedictine and is the underdog on the road.

Justin pick: Benedictine

Hayes pick: Westside

Peach County vs. Liberty County

Story of the game: Peach County looked like a team on a mission in its playoff opening win against Ringgold: to get back to the state title game. Liberty County ended Southeast Bulloch’s season with a 38-14 win. This game could come down to the Peach County Trojans having home field advantage. Liberty County has three losses this season and all have come on the road. Peach County on the other hand is 6-1 at home this season with the lone loss coming at the hands off Mary Persons. Peach County looks to have too much fire power on offense for Liberty County to compete with.

Justin pick: Peach County

Hayes pick: Peach County

Dublin vs. Thomasville

Story of the game: These two teams won in the opening round. Who they played and by how much doesn’t factor much into this one. A year ago Thomasville knocked off Dublin in the playoffs by a score of 44-22. That has been on the minds of the Dublin Fighting Irish for the last year. This time around, Dublin comes in as the favorite with a high octane offense and stingy defense. Thomasville will look to spoil their hopes and end Dublin’s season two years in a row.

Justin pick: Dublin

Hayes pick: Thomasville

Pick Standings:

Hayes: 32-9

Justin: 30-11