One week into the state playoffs and each classification has been chopped down to just 16 teams vying for a state title.
In north Fulton, the chopping from 32 to 16 included major hits to the area’s top teams. All four Class-AAAAAA teams lost in the opening round with Johns Creekand Chattahoochee falling in blowout fashion to Norcross and North Gwinnett while Alpharetta and Milton saw their comeback efforts against Mill Creek and South Gwinnett fall just short.
That leaves just two standing this week — Blessed Trinity and Mount Pisgah.
The Titans advanced through round 1 behind a big offensive game from QB Spencer McManes and a 35-14 win over White County. Mount Pisgah, like all Class-A teams, was off last week and will open the state playoffs this week at Athens Academy.
Sweet 16 is here! Both games, picks and previews are below.
No. 2 Blessed Trinity (9-2) at No. 1 Cartersville (11-0)
Tim McFarlin’s second year as head coach and the second straight trip to the second round of the state playoffs for BT. Now it’s time to try and take the next step and forge their way into the Elite Eight though it won’t be easy as the Titans get matched up with unbeaten Cartersville.
The Purple Hurricanes, who were a state power through the late 90’s and early 2000’s, are enjoying a resurgent year under long-time head coach Frank Barden and his son Brooks Barden — a rising quarterbacks prospect in the state of Georgia.
Cartersville is undefeated on the season, champions of region 5AAA and averaging 42 points per game on offense — including at least 40 points in all seven of their region games and 56 points in their first round win over Jackson County.
BT’s defense has been good all season, allowing 24 or less in all 11 games. If the Titans can keep the ‘Canes under 24 I like their chances, if not I give the edge to Cartersville.
My take – Should be a good one and despite being undefeated I don’t think Cartersville has played anyone close to BT’s level. I think their string of 40+ games comes to an end but they still pull out a narrow win. Cartersville 28-21.
No. 16 Mount Pisgah Christian (6-4) at No. 1 Athens Academy (10-0)
Pisgah slid into the playoffs by the narrowest of margins, but all that matters is they made it. For the first time in school history the Pats are in the GHSA state playoffs.
The two weeks of extra practice and playoff experience will be great for the growing program, but Athens Academy will be tougher than anyone Pisgah has seen this season.My take — Great year for Pisgah ends here. Athens Acad. 42-21.