Only two of the six Northside schools that advanced to the second round of the Georgia High School Association (GHSA) football state playoffs moved on to the quarterfinals.
Marist and Wesleyan each advanced, but Lovett, St. Pius X, Whitefield and Woodward were eliminated. The second-round games were Dec 4 and 5, with the quarterfinals Dec. 11 and 12 and the semifinals Dec. 18 and 19. Results of the quarterfinals were not available at the Neighbor’s print deadline.
In Class 5A, St. Pius X (9-2) fell to Cartersville 31-19 in the second round. The Golden Lions trailed 14-7 at halftime but the Purple Hurricanes jumped out to a 31-7 lead in the fourth quarter before St. Pius tacked on two touchdowns.
QB Dennis O’Shea ran for 80 yards on 14 carries and passed for another 82 and a touchdown to lead the Golden Lions’ offense, and SS Grayson Carney led the defense with seven tackles, including one for a loss.
Woodward (7-5) lost to Warner Robins 30-7 in the second round. Just a minute into the game, the War Eagles took a 7-0 lead on RB Damari Alston’s 56-yard touchdown run. But the Demons tied it at 7 early in the second quarter on RB Ahmad Walker’s 1-yard TD run and took the lead for good with four minutes left in the half on another 1-yard scoring run by Walker.
In Class 4A, Marist (10-0) flogged Flowery Branch 24-0 in the second round. QB Champ Davis’ 50 yards on 13 rushes led a group of nine players who had at least one carry for the War Eagles, who ran for 190 yards as a team.
DB Tyler Hare (6.5 tackles and a sack) led Marist’s defense, which held the Falcons to 185 yards of total offense and has not allowed a point in its first two playoff games. Including the regular season, the War Eagles are giving up only 2.7 points per game.
Marist will visit Perry in the quarterfinals, with the winner playing the Cedartown-Bainbridge victor in the semifinals.
In Class 2A, Lovett (8-3) lost to Callaway 16-9 in the second round. The Cavaliers took a 9-0 lead at halftime before the Lions rallied to cut the lead to 9-3 on K Lucas Hyman’s 26-yard field goal in the third quarter.
Lovett tied it at 9 on RB Michael Hollingsworth’s 4-yard touchdown run with 8:25 left in the game, but Hyman’s extra point was blocked. Callaway took the lead on RB Charlie Dixon’s 7-yard run with 1:45 remaining and clinched the win on the ensuing possession, when Jalin Shepherd intercepted a pass from Lovett QB Preston Lusink.
Hollingsworth finished with a team-high 104 yards rushing on 21 attempts. The Lions were led by Lusink, who was 14-for-26 passing for 162 yards but had four interceptions, WR Collin Goldberg, who had seven catches for 94 yards. The defense was paced by LBs Luke Ham and Stevie Bracey, who had eight tackles each.
In Class A Private, Wesleyan (10-2) nipped North Cobb Christian 20-17 in the second round. Wolves K Brooks Sturgeon booted a 42-yard field goal as time ran out to win the game and cap a second-half rally. The Eagles led 10-3 at halftime, but Wesleyan outscored North Cobb 17-7 in the final two quarters.
Wesleyan tied the game at 10 on QB Ryan Rose’s 10-yard touchdown pass to WR Cooper Blauser with 2:02 left in the third quarter and then took a 17-10 lead when Rose connected with Blauser on a 12-yard TD with 4:43 left in the game.
But on the ensuing possession, North Cobb tied the game at 17 on QB Walker Ormsby’s 7-yard touchdown run with 43 seconds left in the game. The Wolves then marched from their own 31-yard line to the Eagles’ 32 with 2 seconds left before Sturgeon made the game-winning kick.
Wesleyan will visit Savannah Christian in the quarterfinals, with the winner playing the Prince Avenue Christian-Eagle’s Landing Christian victor in the semifinals.
Whitefield (5-4) lost to Trinity Christian 54-13 the second round. The WolfPack’s game plan changed drastically after star RB Eric Little Jr. exited the game with a knee injury in the first quarter and did not return.
Whitefield was led by QB Cole Peterson, who was 11-for-24 passing for 154 yards and a touchdown, and WR Myles Redding, who had eight catches for 123 yards and a score and threw a 27-yard TD pass to WR Jonathan Cassady. But the WolfPack were plagued by turnovers, losing five of seven fumbles on the night.