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PLAYOFF PRIMER: Here's a look at the first round of the Class 7A playoffs
Playoff_preview
South Forsyth, West Forsyth and Denmark will open the Class 7A playoffs Friday. File photos

(4) Meadowcreek at (1) West Forsyth

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday at The Den in Cumming.

Records, rankings: Meadowcreek is 3-6 and unranked in Class 7A; West Forsyth is 7-3 and unranked in Class 7A.

Series history: These teams have never met.

Last meeting: N/A.

What to know: West Forsyth is the top team out of Region 6-7A and will host Meadowcreek, the fourth-place team from Region 7-7A.

West’s defense was as impressive as its been all season last week against Denmark, holding the Danes’ potent offense to only 10 points. The Wolverines are riding a five-game winning streak and have held four of their past five opponents to 10 or fewer points. Coincidentally, West has not turned the ball over at all in the past five games, and forced a pair of fumbles against Denmark.

Meadowcreek fell to Discovery, 43-32, last week to finish fourth in Region 7-7A and owns just three wins the season – Duluth, Dunwoody and Eagle’s Landing. The Mustangs lost to Lambert earlier this season, 38-20. Meadowcreek has offensive weapons in QB Malachi Watkins, running back Rock Gaither and wide receiver Micah James, who caught three touchdown passes from Watkins and scored on a 69-yard kickoff return last week. Still, West is riding high after its region championship and appears to be playing at a higher level.

(3) Discovery at (2) Denmark

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

Records, rankings: Discovery is 4-6 and unranked in Class 7A; Denmark is 5-4 and unranked in Class 7A.

Series history: These teams have never met.

Last meeting: N/A.

What to know: Denmark will host Discovery in a game that features two programs making their first appearance in the Class 7A playoffs.

Denmark reached the Class 4A playoffs last year but fell 42-7 to a Sandy Creek team that reached the semifinals and came up one score short of a state championship berth. Discovery is not yet on the level of Sandy Creek and figures to have its hands full with Denmark’s high-flying offense. Denmark QB Aaron McLaughlin completed 10 of 20 passes for 90 yards against West but will face a Discovery defense that on average is surrendering 31 points per game.

Discovery opened in 2015 and has yet to have a winning season, but the Titans are enjoying their best season in program history, winning four games, scoring 179 points and finishing third in Region 7-7A – all school records. Discovery boasts a ground-heavy attack, led by running back Richard Seay, who owns 1,048 yards and nine touchdowns this season. He’s carried the ball 61 times for 318 yards and three touchdowns in the past two games. On defense, Ole Miss commit Jibran Hawkins leads the Titans with 10 sacks from the defensive end position.

(4) South Forsyth at (1) Norcross

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday at Norcross Stadium in Norcross.

Records, rankings: South Forsyth is 5-3 and unranked in Class 7A; Norcross is 10-0 and No. 3 in Class 7A.

Series history: Norcross leads 4-2.

Last meeting: Norcross won 21-0 in 2019.

What to know: Entering the first round of the playoffs as the No. 3 team in Class 7A, Norcross presents a tough challenge for the upset-minded War Eagles.

South didn’t get to play its final game of the regular season but sealed its fate with a 52-7 win against North Forsyth. The War Eagles snapped a three-game skid in the process and will carry some momentum into Friday’s game at Norcross. Mitch Thompson remains one of the state’s most productive receivers and the top receiver in the county, catching 34 passes for 865 yards and 10 touchdowns. With South’s quick-strike offense, led by QB Kyle Durham (102 for 159, 1,996 yards, 22 TDs and 7 INTs), Devin McGlockton (38 catches, 607 yards, 8 TDs) and Gavin Morris (24 catches, 470 yards, 6 TDs), the War Eagles can score points in a hurry.

Norcross beat Archer 31-14 to capture the Region 7-7A championship and finish the regular season 10-0. QB Mason Kaplan leads a balanced Norcross offense, completing 100 of 165 passes for 1,675 yards, 19 TDs and 3 INTs. Running backs Kaleb Jackson (73 carries, 531 yards, 7 TDs), Jahni Clarke (69 carries, 507 yards, 9 TDs) and Michael Porter (57 carries, 422 yards, 5 TDs) are each averaging more than 7 yards per carry. Linebacker Jalen Garner leads the team with 17 tackles for loss and is committed to Houston.