The opening round of the Georgia High School Association playoffs is always a bittersweet time in the Augusta area.
Like it or not, It’s a time many of our teams serve as stepping stones to the second round for Atlanta-area or South Georgia programs. This time, however, several area teams were able to secure home games and earn first-round wins.
Evans gets over the hump
Evans (9-2) logged its most complete performance of the year in a 42-21 rout of Statesboro (4-7). The Knights ran the football with authority, defended the run and forced turnovers. They are now staring down Valdosta (5-4) and embattled Coach Rush Propst in the Sweet 16.
This is noteworthy because Evans dropped its playoff opener 31-21 a year ago to Houston County.
Richmond Academy keeps rolling
Richmond Academy (10-1), in the midst of its best season since the mid-1970s, shut out Brantley County (1-10) at home. I feel like a broken record every time I say the Musketeers’ biggest test is right around the corner. I said that before they played Evans, Thomson and Burke County – all wins for Lyle Burns’ squad
Once again, their biggest test is next up as they play host to Crisp County (10-1) on Friday.
Don’t forget about Thomson
Thomson continues to prove why Richmond Academy’s region title was such a miraculous feat. The Bulldogs (9-2) hung 62 on Tattnall County in their first-round win on Friday.
Junior Swiss army knife Tay Martin posted 187 all-purpose yards and found the end zone three times. Senior Lilvasco Winfrey broke the century mark on the ground and found paydirt twice. Three more Bulldogs backs also scored.
Thomson hits the road for the Sweet 16 this week, traveling to face Peach County (8-2). The Bulldogs continue to prove why they’re possibly the best No. 2 seed in the 3A classification.
Greenbrier isn’t going anywhere
When Greenbrier finished last season with a 2-9 record, there were a lot of questions swirling around the Wolf Den. Those questions are long gone as Tony Kramer and staff checked all the appropriate boxes in 2020.
Replace a two-year starting quarterback: check. Develop the area’s most lethal passing attack by putting the emphasis on getting the ball in the hands of playmakers: check. Make life difficult for opposing offensive lines and quarterbacks: check. Navigate and find success in a new region: check.
Sure, the Wolfpack (7-4) fell to Decatur 51-31. Sure, senior stars Beau Shugarts and Brayden Collett are set to graduate. But with the emergence of quarterback Brooks Pangle and rising stars like Malik Leverett and Matt Knapp, Greenbrier isn’t going anywhere.
A tale of two seasons for Aquinas
Aquinas’ season came to an end with a 45-17 loss to Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy.
While I chose Harlem to beat the Irish easily coming into the first week, it was obvious the combination of James Schlegel, RJ Edwards and Darius Stone was going to be one of the more potent rushing attacks we’ve seen in a number of years. That was true for seven weeks.
For a team that played the first half of the season with arguably the most promise of any in the area, Aquinas (7-5) fell hard once region play began, finishing the season with five-straight losses.