clear
Wednesday July 8th, 2015 2:38AM

Trio of area teams will continue their title defenses on the air Friday

By Morgan Lee Sports Editor
Four area teams will continue their quest toward the ultimate prize in this weekend's state football playoffs, as the quarterfinal round gets underway -- and Jacobs Media will bring you live action from three of the contests.

All three of northeast Georgia's defending state champs -- Buford, Gainesville and Jefferson -- kept up the defense of their titles last week, and all three will feature line on the air on Friday.

Buford will commence its 14th straight quarterfinal appearance when the Wolves play host to familiar foe Carver, Columbus on AM 550.

Carver (11-1) and Buford (12-0) have faced off in each of the last two postseasons and four times overall, with the Wolves winning three straight and all of the playoff match-ups. Buford knocked the Tigers out of last year's Class AAA bracket at the quarterfinal stage and will hope to do so again this time around.

Friday's showdown could feature a defensive standoff, as Buford enters the contest with perhaps the best defense in the state -- facing a Carver squad that allowed just 95 yards in last week's 19-0 second shutout of Jefferson County.

The Tigers are under a new head coach, as Joe Kegler takes over from highly successful head man Dell McGee (who claimed a state championship in 2007). Yet Carver continues to utilize an athletic and disciplined approach that looks plenty familiar to Buford fans.

Like the Wolves, the Tigers are happy to run first on offense and feature senior fullback Noah Hickey. Yet opponents underestimate quarterback Jawon Pass at their own risk, and Carver can dial up big plays through the air at any time.

Big plays through the air are a staple of Gainesville's spread attack, but on Friday the Red Elephants face a team that will put them to the test athletically in quarterfinal newcomer Mundy's Mill in a game played live on 1240 AM.

The most talented athlete for Mundy's Mill (8-4) also happens to be one of the best running backs in the state.

Senior Rodney Smith (5-foot-11, 190) has paced the Tigers on their deepest ever postseason run, rushing for 1,974 yards so far -- including a stellar two-game playoff surge that has seen the back pile up 613 yards and eight scores.

It is an impressive return for a player who suffered a torn ACL last season, and the Red Elephants (11-1) know they must shadow the explosive senior if they are to make a third successive state semifinal run.

Gainesville's defense has allowed an average of just 13 points through two playoff wins but will take on a team capable of scoring points in bunches -- just look at last week's 41-35 second defeat of Lee County -- or holding teams on defense -- the Tigers are yielding 18 points per game.

The Red Elephants' offense showed its explosive side in last week's 51-12 defeat of South Paulding, racking up almost 640 yards, and Gainesville will hope to continue that kind of play this Friday.

Offense was most certainly the name of the game for Jefferson last week, as the Dragons put up 495 yards and nine touchdowns in their 61-57 second round defeat of Heard County on the road.

Jefferson's defense will want to hold Lamar County to a much lower total this week, but the Dragons (10-2) would not mind putting up similar offensive numbers when they trek to Barnesville in a game broadcast live on 102.9 FM.

The Trojans (12-0) reached last year's Class AA semifinals, falling to Calhoun, and Lamar County is also led by a coach that knows all about winning in the postseason. Franklin Stephens is in his second campaign with the Trojans after leading Tucker 2007-2011 -- a stint that included a 54-5 record and two state championships.

Much like Jefferson, Lamar County relies on a physical attack -- though the Trojans will run the ball far more than the Dragons' balanced offense, relying on the duo of Lance and Lawrence Austin -- brothers who are committed to Georgia Tech. When Lamar County does throw the ball it looks to big-play threat Qua Searcy -- who is also committed to play for the Yellow Jackets.

It should be another intriguing match-up for Jefferson, which won its first road state playoff game last week.

Meanwhile, in Class AAAAAA, North Gwinnett will head back on the road for the third straight playoff game this week, trekking to take on Hillgrove.

The Hawks (11-1) upset Camden County in the season round and are back in the quarterfinals for the second time in four seasons. The Bulldogs (11-1), meanwhile, are back in the final eight for the sixth time in eight seasons.

QUARTERFINAL PLAYOFF MATCH-UPS FOR AREA TEAMS

CLASS AAAAAA
North Gwinnett at Hillgrove

CLASS AAAAA
Mundy's Mill at Gainesville -- Radio: 1240 AM

CLASS AAA
Carver, Columbus at Buford -- Radio: 550 AM

CLASS AA
Jefferson at Lamar County -- Radio: 102.9 FM
© Copyright 2015 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Bartus, Icemen shuts out Gwinnett
Garrett Bartus pitched a 42 save shutout, as the Evansville IceMen topped the Gwinnett Gladiators on a New year
10:23PM ( 1 year ago )
Gator Bowl Preview Capsule
A rematch of last year's Capital One Bowl, which Georgia won 45-31 in Orlando.
8:52PM ( 1 year ago )
Millsap's 34 leads Hawks past Celtics
Paul Millsap had season highs with 34 points and 15 rebounds as the Hawks rallied from an 18-point deficit for a 92-91 win over the Boston Celtics on Tuesday afternoon.
7:44PM ( 1 year ago )
Sports
Big Red Shootout: Buford foils Lady Elephants' upset bid in finale
Buford junior Camille Anderson knows to forget about the past during games.
11:09PM ( 1 year ago )
Boys basketball: Knights rebound with win over Centennial
The Johnson boys bounced back after a loss to Grayson on Friday with a 94-72 win Saturday night over Centennial in the Duluth Jingle Jam.
10:43PM ( 1 year ago )
Girls basketball: Dawson falls in Battle of States finals
Dawson County fell behind early and could not complete the comeback in a 70-65 loss to Hayesville, N.C. in the championship game of The Battle of the States Tournament Saturday night.
10:38PM ( 1 year ago )
High School Sports
Snelling to make curtain call at East-West Classic (Video)
Ask Walt Snelling about Gainesville football and you will be supplied with a litany of great players and games from a program with an illustrious history.
7:33PM ( 1 year ago )
High School football 2013: Superlatives abound after another special season
After letting it soak in for a few days we
7:42PM ( 1 year ago )
Friday Game Night
Two-A-Days: Chestatee ready to bounce back, improve
Chestatee football found itself in a transitional season with a capital "T" in 2014. But coach Bill Forman says things are very much looking up for the War Eagles, noting a, "totally different vibe than from this time a year ago."
1:01PM ( 10 hours from now )
Atlanta soccer fans 'United' as official name, colors, badge unveiled
The rising tide of soccer throughout the nation is seems to be sweeping Atlanta right into the current. Judging by the scene on Tuesday, the city may even be in the forefront.
11:59AM ( 9 hours from now )
Banuelos gets 1st MLB win, Pierzynski homers in Braves win
A.J. Pierzynski homered among his three hits, Manny Banuelos earned his first major league win and the Atlanta Braves beat the Milwaukee Brewers 4-3 Tuesday night.
By The Associated Press
7:30AM ( 4 hours from now )
NASCAR legend Baker steps down from radio show with inoperable tumor
Daytona 500 winner Buddy Baker says he has a "huge tumor" in his lung that is requiring him to immediately step down as co-host of his SiriusXM NASCAR show.
By The Associated Press
11:23PM ( 3 hours ago )
Two-A-Days: Buford looking to reload, retain title
When you're working on a 40-game win streak over a three year period, expectations usually are high, as is turnover rate at the high school level. But could 2015 be different for the Buford Wolves?
8:00PM ( 6 hours ago )