cloudy
Monday August 31st, 2015 1:52PM

Two big semifinal showdowns set for broadcast

By Morgan Lee Sports Editor
Related Articles
Four is a magic number, and for three area teams the state semifinals are moving quickly onto the horizon. Two of those contests will be broadcast live on Friday by the Jacobs Media family of radio stations, as the hunt for No. 1 continues.

For Gainesville and Buford, the task ahead is steep -- certainly so for the Red Elephants, who will battle in one of THE marquee match-ups of the postseason.

Gainesville (12-1) ended the regular season ranked No. 3 and will bring its high-octane style to bear against a Tucker team that is 13-0, ended the regular season at No. 1 and features one of the best defenses left in the playoffs.

The Red Elephants will travel for the first time this postseason to face the Tigers, heading to Clarkston's Hallford Stadium for a game broadcast live on 1240 AM. (Click here for a map of Hallford Stadium)

The defending Class AAAAA champ Gainesville enters its third straight semifinal contest against a Tucker program that won the 2011 and 2008 Class AAAA championships.

Both teams feature plenty of talent, though most eyes will be on the battle between the Tigers' defense -- which is allowing just 12.7 points per game -- and the Red Elephants' spread offense -- which is averaging 49.3 points.

Tucker has upped its defensive game this postseason, allowing just 17 points through three games -- including a 29-0 shutout of last season's Class AAAAA runner-up Ware County in the quarterfinals in which the Tigers racked up nine tackles for loss.

Tucker is loaded with collegiate recruits -- and the vast majority on defense, including defensive tackle Elisha Shaw (6-foot-6, 299 pounds), who holds offers from every major program in the nation, linebacker Detric Dukes (Georgia commit) and defensive back Kirk Tucker (Stanford commit). Junior defensive back Duke Shelley also holds an offer from Clemson.

The unit should prove the toughest playoff test yet for the Red Elephants' multi-faceted offense and quarterback Deshaun Watson.

Tucker's offense, meanwhile, leans on the run first and quarterback Joseph Farrar is a playmaker that can hurt any opposing defense. The Tigers are averaging 45 points per game -- though just 26.6 through the postseason.

Callaway, meanwhile, has been all about offense in this season's Class AAA playoffs. The Cavaliers have reached their first ever state semifinal thanks in large part to an option attack that is averaging 41 points per game -- 48.6 through three postseason wins.

Callaway (12-1) will face its toughest test so far when they take on a Buford defense that is allowing just 6 points per game and has dominated in the playoffs, allowing 13 total points in three victories. Friday's showdown at Buford's Tom Riden Stadium will air live on AM 550.

Callaway, which has made eight straight state playoff appearances, features running back Eddie Culpepper, fullback Devon Rosser and quarterback Tez Parks behind an imposing offensive line.

The Cavaliers' defense, meanwhile, is yielding 14.8 points per game -- 23.3 through the postseason and is led by linebacker KeShun Freeman (Georgia Tech commit) and junior defenisve back Terry Godwin.

Buford, meanwhile, will be making its seventh straight state "Final Four" appearance. The Wolves have played 11 semifinal contests since 2000 and have not lost once in that time.

The area's other remaining team, North Gwinnett, will travel to face McEachern in a Class AAAAAA showdown. The Bulldogs (12-1) are in the semifinals for the first time since 2007. McEachern (11-2) is in its first semifinal contest since 1998.

STATE SEMIFINAL MATCH-UPS FOR AREA TEAMS

CLASS AAAAAA
North Gwinnett at McEachern

CLASS AAAAA
Gainesville at Tucker -- Radio: 1240 AM

CLASS AAA
Callaway at Buford -- Radio: 550 AM
© 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
5 things: What we learned from Week 1 of high school football
Here’s a look at five things we learned from week 1 of the high school football season...
5:17PM ( 3 hours from now )
Carter's cancer rekindles memories of 1980 Olympic boycott
Thirty-five years after his hopes for a gold medal were dashed by Jimmy Carter's boycott of the Moscow Olympics, Craig Beardsley is at peace.
10:53PM ( 14 hours ago )
Braves' woes continue in 'demoralizing' 20-6 loss to Yankees
A Braves team that was at .500 through 84 games has since been in a downward slide that gained speed with three straight losses to the Yankees.
10:50PM ( 15 hours ago )
Turner Field US flag at half-staff, players' families deal with grief after fan dies in fall
ATLANTA (AP) — The U.S. flag flew at half-staff at Turner Field on Sunday, one day after a fan died following his fall from the upper deck into the lower-level stands during a game between the Atlanta...
7:26PM ( 18 hours ago )
Jones cruises to Truck win in Canada, takes points lead
Two weeks ago in the NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Alex Tagliani got turned out of the lead by Regan Smith and lost his shot at a win.
By Stephanie Wallcraft-NASCAR Wire Service
6:17PM ( 19 hours ago )