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Football: Preview of first-round playoff matchups
Ashton van Horn
West Forsyth senior Ashton van Horn hauls in a pass earlier this season during the Wolverines' 38-10 loss to Mill Creek. Photo by Jay Rooney Photography for the Forsyth County News

Mountain View at Denmark 

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday at Denmark High School in Alpharetta. 

Records: Denmark is 7-2 and unranked in Class 7A; Mountain View is 4-6 and unranked in Class 7A. 

Series history: These teams have never met. 

Last meeting: N/A 

What to know: Fresh off its Region 6-7A championship, Denmark will host a first-round matchup against fourth-seeded Mountain View. The Danes won 21-7 against West Forsyth last week, marking the eighth time this season Denmark's defense has held an opposing offense to 14 or fewer points. Mountain View has one common opponent with Denmark in Shiloh, winning 14-13 two weeks before the Danes beat the Generals 8-0. Mountain View has six losses this season — each coming against a team that was ranked at one point this season [37-24 to Parkview, 41-14 to Jefferson, 34-0 to Brookwood, 56-0 to Mill Creek, 28-0 to Collins Hill, 27-13 to North Gwinnett]. The Bears are led by QB Mason Kidd, a 6-foot-3 junior who owns 1,561 passing yards with 12 TDs and 11 interceptions this season. Through the past five games, however, Kidd is just 64-of-116 passing for 490 yards, 1 TD and seven interceptions. Jaquan Ivy leads the Bears on defense with 93 tackles, including 12 tackles for loss. Mountain View also has a stout defensive line, including four-star sophomore Justin Greene [48 tackles, 4 1/2 sacks] and Emmanuel Gyamfi [56 tackles, 12 1/2 tackles for loss, 6 1/2 sacks]. Denmark's front four of Will Hodges, Charley Croiner, Hayden Songer and Asher West has been up to the task all season, sacking West QB Keegan Stover five times last week and forcing a fumble. Amon Williams rushed for a career-high 158 yards in the win.

North Gwinnett at South Forsyth 

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday at War Eagle Stadium in Cumming. 

Records: South Forsyth is 8-2 and unranked in Class 7A; North Gwinnett is 5-5 and unranked in Class 7A. 

Series history: North Gwinnett leads 6-0. 

Last meeting: North Gwinnett won 42-7 in 2009. 

What to know: South Forsyth wrapped up its first home playoff game in four years last week with a dominant 34-0 win against Forsyth Central. The War Eagles have now reached the postseason in eight straight seasons. The two teams met unofficially in a preseason scrimmage, with North Gwinnett winning 41-21 against a South team that played without Gavin Morris for much of the game. Morris leads South in carries [77], rushing yards [373] and rushing TDs [9], part of a multi-pronged rushing attack that has rushed for 1,659 yards and is averaging 5.4 yards per carry this season. QB Ty Watkins was perfect last week, completing 5 of 5 passes for 150 yards and three touchdowns. This season, he owns 1,750 passing yards with 23 total touchdowns and just one interception. The War Eagles' offense will be tested against a North Gwinnett defense with playmakers at all three levels. Jordan Buchanan is a three-star safety who is committed to Purdue and leads the team with four interceptions, while four-star juniors Kayden McDonald [75 tackles, 42 tackles for loss, 9 sacks] and Grant Godfrey [57 tackles, 8 tackles for loss, 4 fumble recoveries] anchor the Bulldogs' front seven. Marcus McFarlane, who began  his career at Denmark, eclipsed 1,000 yards rushing for the season last week with a 102-yard, two-touchdown performance against Mountain View. 

West Forsyth at Mill Creek 

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday at Mill Creek High School in Hoschton.  

Records: West Forsyth is 5-5 and unranked in Class 7A; Mill Creek is 9-1 and ranked 4th in Class 7A. 

Series history: Mill Creek leads 5-0. 

Last meeting: Mill Creek won 38-10 on Sept. 17, 2021. 

What to know: West Forsyth's first meeting with Mill Creek didn't go according to plan, but the Wolverines have a chance for revenge Friday in the first round of the Class 7A playoffs. The Wolverines enter the game with three wins in their past four games, the lone misstep coming last week in a 21-7 loss to Denmark. The loss marked West's lowest offensive output of the season and snapped QB Keegan Stover's streak of three straight games with multiple passing touchdowns. Stover enters the postseason with 2,128 passing yards and 22 touchdowns with just three interceptions. Oscar Delp leads the Wolverines with 803 yards and seven touchdowns on 49 receptions, while Peyton Streko leads the team in rushing [659 yards, 11 TDs] despite having missed the past five games. Ryder Stewart owns two 100-yard rushing efforts in Streko's absence, including a 110-yard performance two weeks ago in a 27-3 win against Lambert. On defense, Raleigh Herbert [97 tackles, 11 1/2 tackles for loss] is three tackles shy of 100 stops on the season. Mill Creek suffered its first loss of the season against Collins Hill, 40-10, but bounced back last week with a 42-7 win against Peachtree Ridge. Four-star safety Caleb Downs picked off two passes, returning one for a score. Running back Donovan Journey leads the Hawks' backfield and had 82 yards and two touchdowns earlier this season against West.

Lambert at Collins Hill 

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday at Fahring Field in Suwanee. 

Records: Lambert is 7-3 and unranked in Class 7A; Collins Hill is 10-0 and ranked 1st in Class 7A. 

Series history: Collins Hill leads 2-1. 

Last meeting: Collins Hill won 24-6 in 2017. 

What to know: Lambert has a chance to shock the world Friday against the No. 1 team in Class 7A and one of the top teams in the entire country. Collins Hill's last loss came last season against Grayson in the Class 7A state championship game. Since then, the Eagles are 10-0 and are outscoring opponents 350-49 with five shutouts. Collins Hill's closest game this season came Sept. 3 in a 37-22 win against Greenville Christian [Miss.]. The Longhorns are in the playoffs for the first time since 2016, when they won the Region 5-7A championship and reached the Sweet 16. QB James Tyre leads Lambert in both passing [1,263 yards, 13 TDs, 1 INT] and rushing [470 yards, 4 TDs], while running back Harrison Peyton has rushed for 218 yards and three touchdowns since returning from injury last month. Meanwhile, wide receiver Brandon Jones enjoyed the best game of his high school career against Forsyth Central, catching five passes for 159 yards and three touchdowns, giving the Longhorns another vertical threat opposite Ohio State commit Kojo Antwi. Collins Hill has played without Travis Hunter, the nation's top senior and a Florida State commit, the past three games but hasn't missed a beat, winning against North Gwinnett 35-7, Mountain View 28-0 and Mill Creek 40-10. QB Sam Horn [2,390 yards, 22 TDs, 6 INT] is a four-star senior committed to Missouri, while tight end Ethan Davis [473 yards, 3 TDs] is a four-star junior.