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.
Dublin vs. Heard County
Story of the game: Dublin is coming into this showdown following a 23-7 win over Thomasville. The Fighting Irish have one of the most balanced teams in the entire state. The offense has scored over 450 points this season while the defense has given up only 92 points. The combination of a high powered offense and a stout defense comes in handy in the late rounds of the playoffs when the competition tends to take a step up.
Heard County enters the matchup fresh off a win over Douglass. The Braves are going to need to play a near perfect game to knock off Dublin. This will be a David versus Goliath matchup. The Braves don’t put up points the way that Dublin does so the goal will be to maintain position as much as possible.
Justin pick: Dublin
Hayes pick: Dublin
Peach County vs. Westminster
Story of the game: Peach County comes into the game having beaten Liberty County 47-8. The team exploded for 26 points in the second quarter and never looked back. The Trojans come into this game with home field advantage and should be favored to continue the march back to Atlanta.
On the other side of the field, Westminster rode a strong first half to grab a 44-34 win over Greater Atlanta Christian. The Wildcats have an offense that can compete with most teams but haven’t been able to beat a defense quite as good as Peach County’s. Westminster also will have to contend with a tough Trojan offense that can put up points in a hurry.
Justin pick: Peach County
Hayes pick: Peach County
Mary Persons vs. Marist
Story of the game: The Mary Persons Bulldogs are on a roll right now. The team is undefeated and looks to be getting better each week. For its opponents, getting better is the scary part. Last week, Mary Persons eliminated Woodward Academy after beating them 65-21. This marks the third time this season that the Bulldogs have put up over 60 points in a game.
Marist comes into this game off of a 24-8 win over St. Pius. The War Eagles are one of few teams that can actually matchup well with Mary Persons. The offense has scored at a similar level to the Bulldogs and the defense has actually given up less points. It should be one of the more intriguing matchups of the week.
Justin pick: Mary Persons
Hayes pick: Mary Persons
Baldwin vs. Cartersville
Story of the game: The Baldwin Braves have not yet left the ball as one of the final Cinderella teams left from the Middle Georgia area. This team continues to defy the odds. The Braves started the season 0-5. Since then Baldwin has reeled off seven straight wins including the 21-0 win over Columbus last week.
Cartersville comes in undefeated and should be able to handle Baldwin easily based on the paper stats alone. Cartersville has only allowed 74 points all season long. The Hurricanes knocked off Ridgeland 41-7. The Hurricanes are also a high scoring offense with nearly 500 points scored this season. The team is one of the best in the state and should be favored to win, but never count out a hot team.
Justin pick: Cartersville
Hayes pick: Baldwin
Warner Robins vs. Clarke Central
Story of the game: Warner Robins is coming into this game after dominating Ware County by a score of 35-0. This team has become even more dynamic with Tyler Fromm returning from injury. The Auburn football commit grabbed three passes for 40 yards last week in the win. He opens up the field more for guys like Marcayll Jones and Ty Carr. There are so many playmakers on this offense that the Demons should be favored heading into this matchup.
Clarke Central knocked off East Paulding last week in less than dominating fashion by a score of 24-7. The Gladiators have a solid defense but the offense lacks firepower. If the team gets down early to Warner Robins then it will have a hard time climbing back into the game. The running game the key for this team. The team had a pair of 100 yard rushers last week. If the Gladiators can control the ball then there is a chance of an upset.
Justin pick: Warner Robins
Hayes pick: Warner Robins
Northside vs. Sequoyah
Story of the game: Northside came into the playoffs as a 3 seed with a .500 record. The Eagles have opened up with back-to-back wins in dominating fashion, including a shutout against Bradwell Institute. Before last week you could make the argument that this team would only go as far as quarterback Jadin Daniels could carry them. Last week proved that this team is a well-rounded powerhouse poised for a deep run, even if Daniels has an off night.
Sequoyah comes off of a thrilling overtime win last week against Creekside. It was arguably the best game of the season. The Chiefs are another well-rounded football team who will look to its quarterback to help lead the team to victory. Last week, Collier Pecht put together a four touchdown performance. Northside will need to stop Pecht if it plans to advance to the next round.
Justin pick: Northside
Hayes pick: Sequoyah