Two Paulding schools not accustomed to being in position to seek state football championships advanced to the second round of the playoffs after victories Friday, Nov. 15.
However, a third school was eliminated from the Georgia High School Association (GHSA) playoffs after losing to one of the state’s highest-ranked teams for the second time in eight days.
Quarterback Austin Seymour threw for 301 yards and five touchdowns and wide receiver Parker Self caught 13 passes for 211 yards and four touchdowns as South Paulding defeated North Atlanta in the first round of the GHSA Class 6A playoffs.
Seymour completed 27 of 36 passes in the Spartans’ victory on their home field at Tim Glanton Stadium in Douglasville, according to information from MaxPreps.
Senior running back Julian Beris ran for 123 yards, including a 66-yard dash for a touchdown.
The Spartans, who are the second-seeded team from Region 5-6A, moved to 9-2 overall this season. They were set to host Houston County in the second round Friday, Nov. 22.
Houston County, the fourth seed from Region 1-6A, upset Region 3’s top-seeded team Evans 31-21.
South Paulding’s win marked both its first playoff victory and appearance since 2015 when it earned three consecutive playoff berths from 2013 to 2015.
They were the school’s only previous state football playoff appearances since it opened in 2006.
HIRAMSenior Jermaine Banks starred for Hiram as the Hornets upset Southwest DeKalb 16-12 at Buck Godfrey Stadium in Decatur to advance to the second round of the GHSA’s Class 5A playoffs.
Banks ran 78 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter, and blocked a punt and recovered it on the one-yard line with five minutes left in the game to set up Jaylen Townser’s winning touchdown run.
Banks also rushed for 131 yards to help lead Hiram, which moved to 6-5 overall.
On defense, Samuel Garrett had six solo tackles, and Brandon Maina and Joshua Martin sacked the Southwest DeKalb quarterback three times to lead Hiram’s defensive effort.
Special teams play also proved a deciding factor as the Hornets opened the scoring with a 23-yard field goal and ended it with the blocked punt.
Southwest was the top-seeded team from Region 5-5A while Hiram was the fourth-seeded team from Region 7-5A.
The Hornets were scheduled to travel to face Griffin Friday, Nov. 22. The Bears finished 9-1 overall and were the second-seeded team from Region 3-5A.
It was Hiram’s sixth appearance in the playoffs in the school’s 20 seasons of play but first since 2010, when they also recorded their last playoff victory.
NORTH PAULDINGNorth Paulding lost to undefeated and third-ranked McEachern 47-29 Friday, Nov. 15, at Cantrell Stadium in Powder Springs in the GHSA’s Class 7A playoffs.
It was the second time the two teams played in a week. The Indians defeated the Wolfpack 49-19 in the final game of the regular season on Nov. 8.
North Paulding entered the playoffs after earning an at-large bid on the basis of a power rating that was the highest of all Class 7A schools which did not earn playoff spots. Only the top four teams in each region earned automatic playoff spots.
It was the eighth consecutive state playoff appearance for the Wolfpack, which finished 6-5 overall this season.