Wednesday May 25th, 2016 7:09AM

Nothing final for these four: Buford, GHS, Jefferson, North Hall all victorious

By Morgan Lee Sports Editor
North Hall stunned us; Gainesville impressed us; Jefferson thrilled us; and Buford showed us it is still very much Buford.

All four area prep football teams moved through the state quarterfinal round on Friday night, the Trojans and Red Elephants doing so with ease, while the Wolves ground down Carver, Columbus and the Dragons refused to yield in a three overtime defeat of Fitzgerald.

Perhaps no performance was as eye-opening as North Hall's, however, winning 52-10 over Peach County at The Brickyard.

The Trojans flat out dominated a Peach team that entered Friday's Class AAA quarterfinal with a state title (2009), runner-up finish (2011) and four-year record of 52-5.

Scroll down to see video highlights of North Hall's and Jefferson's victories.

North Hall (11-2) fell behind 7-0 before exploding to a 31-10 halftime lead, eventually outgaining Peach County 497-387, including huge nights for running backs TJ Tate (18 carries, 182 yards, 3 total TDs) and Kevin Christmas (17 carries, 172 yards, 2 TDs).

The win was the Trojans 10th straight home postseason victory and moved North Hall back into the state semifinals for the first time since 2007 and for the second time in program history. The Trojans will find out on Saturday whether they will get a chance to play for No. 11 next week, as they will have a coin flip with St. Pius (also a region champ) to determine home field advantage.

Jefferson knows it will be at home again next week.

The Dragons (12-1) played almost into Saturday this week, fighting off Fitzgerald in three overtimes to secure their first semifinal berth since 1977.

Jefferson led for much of the contest but blocked a field goal at the end of regulation to preserve a 31-31 scoreline and send the contest into overtime, where a 2-point conversion pass from Bryant Shirreffs to Tristen Jackson sealed the victory.

The Dragons will play host to Greater Atlanta Christian next week at Memorial Stadium.

The area's other two squads will hit the road again next Friday -- something Gainesville and Buford have proven adept at this postseason after both have two straight contests away from home.

One week after scoring 61 points in the second round, the Red Elephants showed their offense is capable of even more in a 64-13 thumping of Harris County in Hamilton. Gainesville (10-3) made relatively short work of the Tigers, taking a 43-7 halftime lead while finishing with an astounding 684 yards of offense.

The Red Elephants stomped to their second straight state semifinal appearance -- their third in four years -- and first in Class AAAAA with 448 yards passing. Next week they will travel to face Whitewater in Fayetteville.

While Buford didn't have quite as easy a time of it in Columbus on Friday, the Wolves still showed more than enough fire to move past Carver, 31-7.

Trailing 7-3 at the half, the Wolves (10-3) stormed back with four unanswered touchdowns, securing their sixth straight semifinal berth with a tried and true formula: 234 yards rushing and a defensive touchdown.

Buford allowed just 121 total yards against a Carver team that they have beaten in back-to-back postseasons. Next up is a trip to Cartersville.

Two other area teams did see their seasons come to a close in road battles, as North Gwinnett fell to Lovejoy 21-6 and Mill Creek dropped a 42-35 shootout at North Cobb.

Be sure to check our Sports and High School Sports pages for in-depth game stories.


Jefferson 53, Fitzgerald 51, 3 OT

North Hall 52, Peach County 10

Buford 31, Carver-Columbus 7

Gainesville 64, Harris County 13

Lovejoy 21, North Gwinnett 6

North Cobb 42, Mill Creek 35


Gainesville at Whitewater

Class AAA
Buford at Cartersville
North Hall vs. St. Pius*

Class AA
Greater Atlanta Christian at Jefferson

*-coin flip to determine home field


North Hall 52, Peach County 10

Jefferson 53, Fitzgerald 51, 3 OT
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