The semifinal round of Georgia High School Association football playoffs is upon us and AccessWDUN has three teams from its coverage area still playing for championships.
We will look at the Class 6A bracket, which houses Buford. The Wolves (11-1) are into the Final 4 in their first year in Class 6A, the 12th time in the last 14 seasons, and the 18th time in 21 years. They are coming off winning the Class 5A state title but will face the state's all-time winningest program in Valdosta at Tom Riden Stadium.
Lee County and Westlake will meet in the other Class 6A semifinal.
For the weekend's schedule involving area teams, simply scroll down. And be sure to check back with AccessWDUN's Friday Game Night throughout the night for score updates and game stories and video highlights. You can also check for scores and highlights on our Twitter feed: @FridayGameNight
CLASS 6A NOTEBOOK
The Final 4 is still loaded. The four teams left -- Buford, Valdosta, Lee County, Westlake -- have combined for 13 state titles since 2002. Lee County and Valdosta have won 3 of the last 4 Class 6A titles. Buford won the Class 5A title in 2019. ... Three region champs advanced with Valdosta as a No. 2 seed, the only non-region winner to make it through. It has been a tough row for road teams. The home team in 6A has won at a 78 percent clip, the third-highest of the eight classes in the state. ... The Buford vs. Valdosta showdown features the state’s all-time winningest program (Valdosta) against the state’s top team since 2000 (Buford). ... After having never made it past the 2nd round in its first 47 seasons, Lee County (the 2017 and 2018 champions) is into the semifinals for the third time in four years. The Trojans are 2-0 in semifinal games in their history. ... Westlake is into just its 2nd-ever semifinal, the first since 2016 in Class 7A. The Lions are 0-1 in semifinal games. ... The top three scoring teams in 6A in 2020 (Buford, Westlake, Lee County) all advanced to the Final 4. Only two of the top four defenses (Buford, 1st; Lee County, 4th) advanced. However, Valdosta, which came in allowing just under 20 ppg, is allowing more than a touchdown less in the playoffs. Lee County, which allowed just 10.4 ppg during the regular season, has yielded 69 points (23 ppg) in the playoffs. ... The best unit-vs.-unit matchup may be in the Westlake-Lee County showdown where Westlake’s No. 2 offense (goes up against the Trojans 4th-rated defense.
VALDOSTA at BUFORD
-- WHEN: 7:30 p.m.
-- WHERE: Tom Riden Stadium, Buford
-- RADIO: WDUN AM 550
-- VALDOSTA (7-4): Ranked No. 6 in Class 6A; No. 2 seed from Region 1; defeated Region 5 champion Carrollton 36-15 on the road in the quarterfinals
-- BUFORD (11-1): Ranked No. 2 in Class 6A; No. 1 seed from Region 8; defeated Hughes 44-15 in the quarterfinals
-- NOTABLE: First-ever meeting between the two programs. ... Valdosta is the state’s all-time winningest program (939 wins) but Buford is the state’s winningest program since 2000 (281-23) with 11 state titles in that span. The Wildcats also are now coached by one of the nation’s most successful coaches over the past 25 years in Rush Propst. ... Valdosta, despite being the state’s winningest program, is into the semifinals for the first time since its 2016, the last time the Wildcats won a state title. The 7 wins are the fewest they have ever had in getting to the semifinals. ... The Wolves also are working on another streak. They are 9-0 in their 9 games vs. ranked teams regardless of classification. Their last loss to a ranked team came in 2018 in a 48-24 loss to Archer. ... Buford rolled into the semifinals for the 12th time in 14 seasons and 18th time in 21 seasons. It is just the 4th semifinals for the Wildcats since 2000. ... However, Valdosta is 24-2 in semifinal games all-time. Their last semifinal loss came in 2001 (Parkview, 3014). Buford is 20-4 all-time in the semifinals. ... The two teams won in much different ways last week. After falling behind 15-14 in the 3rd quarter, Valdosta scored the final 22 points of the game. Kaleb Robinson had 136 yards rushing last week for the Wildcats. Buford jumped out to a fast start leading 23-0 at halftime and then cruised in the second half. ... The Valdosta offense has come on of late. After averaging just 24.6 ppg during the regular season, the Wildcats are averaging 44.0 ppg in the playoffs. They have allowed just 36 points (12.0 ppg) in the playoffs ... Buford comes in tops in 6A in both offense (491, 40.8 ppg) and defense (80, 6.7 ppg). ... Buford comes in as the No. 3 team in 6A in rushing (242 yards/game) but Valdosta held the state’s No. 2 rushing attack (Evans) to just 7 points in the second round. ... The Wildcats are the 9th team during the 2020 season the Wolves have faced for the first time ever.
STATE PLAYOFFS SEMIFINAL ROUND SCHEDULE FOR Dec. 18
(Games at higher seeded team)
Valdosta (Region 1, Seed 2) at Buford (Region 8, Seed 1) -- WDUN AM 550
Jefferson (R8, S1) at Benedictine (R3, S1) -- FM 102.9 WDUN
Rabun County (R8, S1) at Callaway (R5, S1)