5A Quarterfinal Preview

The Georgia High School State playoffs used the first two rounds to separate the men from the boys, and now we're down to eight teams. Let's take a quick look at the 5A bracket and see if we can't figure out what the Dome is going to look like over Thanksgiving weekend.

5A Playoff Bracket


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We're going to start at the top right of the bracket and work our way around the horn. Walton faces Valdosta in Marietta. It's never a surprise to see a Valdosta team this deep in the playoffs. It would not have been a surprise to see Walton this deep in the playoffs last year. But after watching Walton play in the Corky Kell Classic in the first game of the season, I would have said no way would they make the Dome.

Credit Head Coach Ed Dudley and his staff and the kids at Walton for getting this team back on track after the early loss. They haven't lost since. The Raiders will face a Wildcat team that has to be road weary after coming off of a short week because of the quirky location of Region 2. The Wildcats won a shootout with Douglass last week, and will face another standout running back in Walton's Justin Forte.

The Wildcats struggled in the beginning of the season dropping three in a row, but they got it turned around to beat very good Houston County and Douglass teams.

Walton beat Berkmar in the 1st round and an upstart North Gwinnett last week to add to its 11 game winning streak. Everything logical points against Valdosta this week. Two consecutive long trips, a short week to prepare, and a hot opponent, but who said the playoffs were logical.

The Pick: The battle tested Valdosta Wildcats beat the Walton Raiders in another close game.


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Houston County is another team that has had to be Road Warriors, and this week the Bears travel to the Big Orange jungle to take on the Parkview Panthers.

Houston County has speed and size up and down the lines of scrimmage. Brandon King is one of the top playmakers in the state of Georgia from his quarterback position. Kyle Moore can be a force on the defensive lines for teams that don't run it right at him.

But this is Parkview, and this is the Big Orange Jungle.

The Panthers are not only legitimate contenders for the State Championship this year, they are playing their best ball at the right time. Quarterback Jeff Witt is playing the way people thought he would when he transferred into Parkview's district. Defensive End Stephen Gowland is a force on the line of scrimmage. Parkview has speed to match Houston County of defense.

The Pick: Gwinnett Tradition vs. Valdosta Tradition face off in the Dome after Parkview dispatches Houston County.


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Cherokee has taken out two of Gwinnett's best the past couple of weeks in Brookwood and Collins hill, but now it's time to make the long trip to Jacksonville, I mean Kingsland, Ga. to face Coach Heron's Camden County Wildcats.

Camden County is the defending State Champion riding the longest winning streak in the classification, but the Wildcats have shown signs of vulnerability this year after running roughshod through the playoffs last year.

Camden squeaked by Bradwell Institute in a look ahead game, and Colquitt County was more than a handful. Don't look now, but here comes the team that no one wants to play.

Cherokee was almost able to do the impossible last year in going down and taking it to Valdosta before coming up short. I expect them to do the same this year after having to make an even farther road trip from Canton.

The Pick: Camden County inches out a win over a very dangerous Cherokee team.


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Finally we get to the top left of the bracket. Lowndes is taking on Sequoyah in a game that might be a bit of a surprise to those expecting to see Marietta, but not to those that have gotten a chance to see Sequoyah play.

Lowndes has won its 1st two round playoff games by a combined 99-14, and they are the best team in the state not named LaGrange. Lowndes has a ferocious defense and a balanced offense. They can run the ball on anyone, but will not have faced an air attack the caliber of Sequoyah's.

Sequoyah is coming off of a big win against Marietta, and the Chiefs will be sky high for its game at Lowndes. But beating Lowndes in Valdosta is too big a task for the Chiefs this year.

The pick: Sequoyah makes it closer, but the Vikings are the better team.

Dome Matchups: Valdosta/Parkview and Lowndes/Camden. Does it get any better than that? Well it might if you're hoping to see Sequoyah, Walton, Houston County, or Cherokee!

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