Heading into Friday’s quarterfinal round games eight teams remain, including: No. 1-state ranked Griffin (12-0), No. 3 Sandy Creek (11-1), No. 4 Apalachee (12-0), No. 7 Westside-Macon (11-1), No. 8-Thomas County Central (11-1) and No. 9-North Clayton (10-2) as well as Clarke Central (10-2) and Rockdale County (9-3).
All have impressive resumes beginning with undefeated Griffin and Apalachee, the only two undefeated teams left in the bracket. They will meet Friday in the lower left hand bracket game.
Griffin has defeated one team left in the state quarterfinals, North Clayton 26-14.
Apalachee, meanwhile, has defeated two such teams, taking down Clark Central 21-7 and Rockdale County 20-14. Apalachee also eliminated Starr’s Mill 27-24 in double overtime two weeks ago and tradition state power and No. 6-ranked Marist 36-35 in overtime last week.
ONE-LOSS TEAMS LOOK STRONG: Three remaining teams — Sandy Creek, Westside-Macon and Thomas County Central — have only one loss each. Two of them, Sandy Creek and Thomas County Central, will meet Friday in the quarterfinals’ upper left hand bracket.
Both teams’ lose came in the season opener, Sandy Creek 28-27 to Class AAAAA East Coweta and Thomas County Central 13-9 to cross-town rival Thomasville.
Meanwhile, Westside-Macon’s lone loss came four games ago to fellow state quarterfinalist Thomas County Central 27-18. Westside-Macon will take on Rockdale County in the upper right hand bracket.
GIANT KILLER I: At 9-3, Rockdale County may have the worst record of all the remaining teams in the Class AAAA playoffs. However, Rockdale, which has won eight in a row, has wins to its credit against fellow state quarterfinalist Clark Central 26-23 in overtime and co-No. 4 ranked Hiram 21-7 last week in the second round of state.
GIANT KILLER II: Clarke Central’s only two loses have come against fellow quarterfinalists Rockdale County 26-23 in overtime and Apalachee 21-7 in regulation.
It should be noted, Clark Central scored an impressive win knocking off No. 3-state ranked Southwest DeKalb — many people’s pre-tournament favorite to win state — 19-17 in second-round play last week.
Clark Central will take on No. 9-ranked North Clayton in the lower right bracket game. Both teams sport 10-2 records.
North Clayton only two losses have come against No. 1-ranked Griffin 26-14 and Dutchtown 15-14.
REGION OF POWER: Rockdale/Athens based Region 8-AAAA has the most teams remaining in the Class AAAA state playoffs — three.
Region champ Apalachee, region runner-up Clarke Central and third-place Rockdale County are all alive and kicking heading into the state quarterfinals this week.
For the record, south Georgia-based Region 1-AAAA (Thomas County Central and Westside-Macon) and Clayton/Henry based Region 4-AAAA (Griffin and North Clayton) each have two teams left, while Region 5-AAAA has one team (Sandy Creek).
FOUR REGIONS, ZERO PLAYOFF TEAMS LEFT: Four region in Class AAAA don’t have a team in the remaining playoff bracket.
They include Brunswick-based Region 2-AAAA, Augusta-based Region 2-AAAA, Fayette/Douglas County-based Region 5-AAAA and Southwest DeKalb/Tucker based Region 6-AAAA.
STATISTICAL ODDITY: The right side of the bracket does not have a single No. 1 seed left, while the left side has all No. 1 seeds left.