In the infamous words of former Indianapolis Colts head coach Jim Mora…PLAYOFFS?!?! You’re talkin’ bout the PLAYOFFS!?!
Yes coach, this week we are talking playoffs, because from here on out that is all that really matters. The top 32 in each classification have maneuvered their way into a state championship bracket and in four short weeks we’ll form six state champions in the Georgia Dome.
In northFulton, six of the 13 teams that started the season are still in the hunt, though only five get started tonight asMountPisgahjoins the party next week.
As could be expected, the brackets are tough. Three of he five teams going tonight are pitted against Top 10 opponents on the road (always a daunting task); Alpharetta draws a home game against a team that has their number in recent history and Blessed Trinity will rematch an early season opponent that played them right down to the wire.
But that’s what playoff football is all about right? There are no more cupcakes on the schedule, no more chances to rebound from a loss, and no margin for error.
Let’s tee it up for some PLAYOFF football! Games, picks and playoff scenarios are below.
No. 4 Chattahoochee (7-3) at No. 1 Norcross (10-0)
Fresh off three straight wins that inched them back into the state playoffs,Chattahoocheewill square off against the No. 2 ranked team in the state in Norcross.
It’s the third straight state playoff appearance for both schools and the first time the two have met on the field since 2009 — a year neither made state — in what was a 20-17 Norcross win.
The Cougars have made their hay in close games of late, taking four of their last five down to the final possession. The Blue Devils have pretty much done the opposite, beating 9 of 10 opponents by 10 points or more.
My take – Hooch is the kind of team that would scare any No. 1 seed in the state, but Norcross has some serious fire power and I’ll take the Blue Devils.
No. 3 Milton (7-3) at No. 2 South Gwinnett (8-2)
A nice draw for Milton considering they were facing a date with defending state-champion Grayson before South Gwinnett hit a game-winning field goal to beat Parkview — which shuffled everything around in Region 8, dropping Parkview from 1st to third, bumping Grayson from second to first and moving the Comets from 3rd to second place.
Miltonwill be looking for their first state playoff win in their 60-something years of school history and their first really solid wins since beating Alpharetta in their season opener.
My take — maybe the best game of the bunch this week, I’ll take the Eagles to get off the playoff schnide though
No. 2 Alpharetta (7-3) vs. No. 3 Mill Creek (8-2)
With six straight wins Alpharetta played their way back into a home field advantage game in the first round against Mill Creek, but also draw a team that has beaten them in each of the last two years — including a 42-7 thumping last September.
It will be interesting to see how the Raiders stack up to the challenge, they obviously have the talent but can they get over the first round hump??
My take – Mill Creek jumps on top early but the Raiders storm back to win
No. 3 Johns Creek (8-2) at North Gwinnett (9-1)
A 35-32 loss in their season finale dropsJohnsCreekout of a home field advantage game and sends them a short drive east to play North Gwinnett inSuwannee.
The Bulldogs have become a powerhouse inGeorgiathrough the last decade, needing a win tonight to secure a tenth straight 10-win season and never losing in the first round of the playoffs under head coach Bob Sphire.
A win tonight would obviously be huge forJohnsCreekas they try to become a program ofNorth Gwinnett’s ilk, but will also be an uphill task at the same time.
My take – NG by two touchdowns
No. 2 Blessed Trinity (8-2) vs. No. 3 White County (7-3)
Blessed Trinity gets a rematch of their week 4 matchup againstWhiteCountyin the first round — a 21-19 win on the road. The first matchup was quite competitive, withWhiteCountyholding the advantage in total yardage 297-276. Freshman Milton Shelton paced the way for BT with 131 yards on the ground.
They always say it’s hard to beat the same team twice, but BT will have the home crowd on their side this time.My take — Titans by 10