Game: Marietta (7-4) at Milton (10-1), 7:30 p.m. (TV: GPB)
Last meeting: Marietta 38, Milton 24 (Nov. 22, 2019)
All-time series: Marietta leads 8-1
Prediction: Milton 31, Marietta 28
There seems to parallels between this year’s Marietta team and the one that won a state championship two years ago.
Just like in 2019, the Blue Devils are the second seed from Region 3AAAAAAA. Also, the Marietta squad two years ago made a stop at Milton in the second round along the way. In that game, the Blue Devils prevailed 38-24 over Milton, the defending state champion.
Friday, Marietta is heading back to Milton for another second round matchup in the Class AAAAAAA playoffs.
Other similarities between the two Marietta teams — both have explosive offenses with a quarterback who can throw it down field and a bevy of receivers who can make plays.
This year’s team would like to come away with a win, just like the state title team did.
“(Milton has) a lot of talent and a lot of experience,” Marietta coach Richard Morgan said. “They play sound defense and are in the right spots. We have to create matchups and do a good job up front.”
The Eagles are led by quarterback Devin Farrell, who has thrown for 1,761 yards, 22 touchdowns and two interceptions. He is also second on the team in rushing with 669 yards and nine touchdown.
Jordan McDonald has run for 993 yards and 17 touchdowns, and Debron Gatling is Milton’s leading receiver with 33 receptions, 603 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Defensively, Milton is great at forcing turnovers, including 15 interceptions.
However, Marietta seems to be hitting its stride at the right time.
The Blue Devils beat Walton 42-14 to end the regular season, and won 28-14 over Tift County in the first round of the state playoffs.
Quarterback Tyler Hughes threw for three touchdowns against Tift County with the first two going to Kamryn Perry in the first quarter to help Marietta set the tone.
He threw six touchdowns the previous week against Walton.
Also, Marietta has been efficient in running the ball as of late. Marietta went on a fourth quarter drive that chewed more than 9 minutes of clock. Although the Blue Devils didn’t score any points, the drive stalled with 51 seconds left in the game.
“I thought we did a good job running the ball,” Morgan said. “We ran a lot of clock in that fourth quarter. We want to continue to do those things at a higher rate.”
Marietta’s defense has also stepped up the last two weeks, giving up only 14 points per game.
Linebacker Ellis Reed had 13 tackles and a sack last week against Tift and Devin Clark came away with a pair of interceptions. Against Walton, Daniel Martin and Carlos Cervantes had 11 tackles apiece with Martin came away with two sacks.