Friday February 12th, 2016 1:15PM

Three area teams battle on into semifinal showdowns (VIDEO)

By Morgan Lee Sports Editor


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It wasn't always pretty, but three area football programs found more than effective ways to march on through the postseason on Friday, as Buford, Gainesville and North Gwinnett each battled into the state semifinals.

Jefferson also fought from start to finish on Friday but could not keep its defense of the Class AA crown alive, falling 35-24 at Lamar County.

Scroll down for a complete look at Friday's scores for area teams, as well as the semifinal slate for the area's programs.

The Dragons (10-3) erased an early deficit to take a 17-14 halftime lead over the Trojans (13-0) but Lamar fired back with 21 straight points to pull away for the victory and knock Jefferson from the postseason.

Neither Gainesville not Buford ever faced a deficit on Friday, but both teams committed multiple turnovers and never hit top gear on offense.

Luckily both teams have pretty good defenses too.

Buford's defense is proving to be one of the best in program history, and the Wolves (13-0) showed that again on Friday, holding Carver to 48 yards for the game -- and no that is not a typo.

The Tigers could not even gain positive yardage in rushing, finishing the night minus-9, as Buford moved into the semifinal round for the seventh straight season.

The Wolves will wait until Saturday to see where they will take on Callaway -- which defeated St. Pius 35-21 on Friday -- meeting up with the No. 4 seed for a Saturday morning coin flip.

Gainesville too will find out if it has played its final game of the season at City Park on Saturday, meeting up with Tucker on Saturday morning.

The Red Elephants (12-1) will compete in their third straight semifinal after fending off Mundy's Mill 42-28 on Friday at City Park. Gainesville overcame four fumbles in the contest and fought on thanks in large part to an opportunistic defense and an offense that kept its composure.

The Red Elephants forced one Mundy's Mill fumble and halted the Tigers on fourth down on three separate occasions to offset 213 yards rushing and two touchdowns for Rodney Smith. Meanwhile, Gainesville came up with 384 yards led by Deshaun Watson's 331 total yards. And even on an "off" night the senior quarterback racked up six touchdowns.

There was plenty of offense to behold in North Gwinnett's Class AAAAAA quarterfinal at Hillgrove, where the Bulldogs (12-1) battled back and forth before securing their first state semifinal berth since 2007.

North Gwinnett might even get to host the "Final Four" battle, as they will face No. 3 seed McEachern for yet another coin flip. It would be the Bulldogs first home game of the postseason.

With three Georgia Dome berths on the line in seven days time, you can expect another action-packed night.

Check our Sports and Friday Game Night pages for complete game stories and video highlights from Friday's quarterfinal battles.


Buford 36, Carver, Columbus 6

Gainesville 42, Mundy's Mill 28

Lamar County 35, Jefferson 24

North Gwinnett 35, Hillgrove 31


North Gwinnett vs. McEachern*

Gainesville at Tucker

Callaway at Buford

*-Coin flip for home-field advantage will take place Saturday.
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