North Gwinnett at West Forsyth
When, where: 8 p.m. Friday at The Den in Cumming.
Records, rankings: North Gwinnett is 8-3 and unranked in Class 7A; West Forsyth is 8-3 and unranked in Class 7A.
Series history: North Gwinnett leads 1-0.
Last meeting: North Gwinnett won 41-7 in 2018.
What to know: West Forsyth rides a six-game winning streak into a matchup with North Gwinnett, facing the Bulldogs in the second round of the Class 7A playoffs for the second time in three seasons.
West dominated Meadowcreek 39-14 in the first round of the playoffs, despite a sluggish second half, and did so without top receiver Oscar Delp. West QB Keegan Stover was an efficient 9-of-14 passing for 87 yards and two touchdowns, while three different players (Ryder Stewart, TJ Jennings, Cooper Johnson) caught a touchdown pass. The Wolverines will again be without Delp, who still leads the team in receptions (43), receiving yards (730) and receiving touchdowns (9). Stewart enjoyed his highest rushing total since taking over for the injured Daba Fofana, carrying the ball 18 times for 103 yards and a score, adding a 38-yard TD catch. In the past two games, linebacker Hudson Posey has 15 tackles, including eight tackles for loss, three sacks, three QB hurries, a safety and an interception returned for a touchdown. Raleigh Herbert is building an impressive sophomore campaign and made 14 tackles in each of the past two games, while Kobe Haynes’ 97 tackles (17 TFL) lead the Wolverines. The winner of North Gwinnett/West Forsyth gets the Harrison/Grayson winner.
West will face a talented athlete in four-star Clemson commit Barrett Carter, a linebacker (38 tackles, 11 TFL, 5 sacks) who moonlights at running back (46 carries, 429 yards, 10 TDs). Nearly half of Carter’s rushing yards came last week in a 29-16 win against Cherokee, when he carried the ball 17 times for 202 yards and four touchdowns. Also in North Gwinnett’s backfield is running back Marcus McFarlane, who played at Denmark last season. McFarlane is the Bulldogs’ leading rusher with 633 yards and five touchdowns on 101 carries. North Gwinnett has a pair of Division I recruits in its defensive backfield in four-star Jordan Hancock (Ohio State) and three-star Jayson Gilliom (Kansas). Dual-threat QB Ethan Washington took over under center in October and has 30 carries for 295 yards and four TDs in the past three games.
Denmark at Collins Hill
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday at Collins Hill in Suwanee.
Records, rankings: Denmark is 6-4 and unranked in Class 7A; Collins Hill is 9-2 and ranked No. 6 in Class 7A.
Series history: These teams have never met.
Last meeting: N/A.
What to know: Denmark picked up its first playoff win in its three-year school history with a lopsided 63-0 win against Discovery, while Collins Hill won its first playoff game since 2015.
Denmark tied a school record for most points scored in a game (63-0 vs. North Springs, Sept. 6, 2019) as QB Aaron McLaughlin accounted for six scores and Amon Williams rushed for three more. Azari Brown (3), Teddy Davenport (1) and Lake Thoman (1) also scored for the Danes, while Brandon Britton (12 carries, 118 yards) and Amon Williams (14 carries, 112 yards) reached the century mark on the ground. Denmark is outscoring opponents 216-67 in its six wins this season and has posted three defensive shutouts. The Denmark/Collins Hill winner will get the winner of Parkview/East Coweta.
The Danes will face one of the top juniors in the state in five-star defensive back Travis Hunter, who also leads the team with 97 catches for 1,318 yards and 20 TDs. Hunter is committed to Florida State. Sam Horn, a four-star QB, is also a top prospect and is 244 of 371 for 2,838 yards and 33 TDs with eight interceptions this season. Linebacker James Smith owns 139 tackles and 46 tackles for loss this season. Collins Hill, the Region 8-7A winner, has only two losses this season – No. 1 Grayson, No. 5 East Coweta – and has won five straight games.