Archer played its first full season of football in 2010 and made history this season with its 11-0 start. The Tigers claimed their first-ever region title and also won their first playoff game. No other team in Class 6A in Georgia has a perfect record. Quarterback Gabe Tiller was 13-of-16 passing for 127 yards and three touchdowns last Friday, and also rushed nine times for 52 yards in Archer’s 34-7 first-round stomping of North Forsyth (Ga.). Running back Randy Nails added 13 carries for 115 yards and a touchdown, and Dylan Singleton had one rushing and one receiving touchdown. Archer has improved throughout the season and have won by at least two scores in its last eight contests. The team’s 34.0 points per game effort on offense has been matched with a 14.0 point-per game defensive effort.
North Gwinnett lost the coin flip in its three-way tie for the Region 7-6A championship and wears the No. 3 seed this playoffs with a 10-1 record. The Bulldogs are the only team in Georgia that was able to beat defending champion Norcross (Ga.) this season and have the offense to outscore any opponent. Quarterback Hayden Sphire returned to the starting role after missing a few weeks with an injury last week in North Gwinnett’s first-round matchup with Milton and connected with his favorite target, Nate Brown, for an 80-yard touchdown in their 34-10 first-round win.
The Bulldogs have posted eight straight winning seasons and have been one of the most consistent programs in the state. Upstart Archer will have to find a way to slow down Brown and fellow receivers Caleb Scott, Almonzo Brown and Daniel Imatorbhebhe to pull off the upset in this Gwinnett County showdown. The only meeting between the schools was in the first round of the 2011 playoffs when North Gwinnett cruised to a 49-3 win.
York (S.C) at Northwestern (S.C.)
Undefeated Northwestern has averaged 47.83 points per game this season with quarterback Mason Rudolph under center. The Oklahoma State-commit completed all seven of his pass attempts for 138 yards and three touchdowns as the Trojans cruised to a 52-22 win over West Florence (S.C.) in their first-round matchup.
York sits at 10-2 this season and one of the losses came last month when York fell 45-15 to the mighty Trojans. The Cougars led 8-7 heading into the second quarter but Northwestern outscored York 38-7 the remainder of the game.
Florence (Ala.) at Hoover (Ala.)
Hoover’s 27-game winning streak has been fueled by its incredible defense that has allowed only 6.75 points per game this season. The Buccaneers can also make big plays on the offensive side of the ball and on special teams with Marlon Humphrey. In Hoover’s 33-14 second round win over Shades Valley (Ala.), Humphrey returned a kickoff for an 80-yard kickoff touchdown. Bradrick Shaw added two rushing touchdowns for the Bucs last week and is the primary threat out of the Buccaneers’ backfield.
Florence pulled off a shocking 37-30 upset over Clay-Chalkville (Ala.) last Friday when Falcons quarterback Kendrick Doss found William Barnett for a 39-yard touchdown with 23 seconds left to win the game.
Deerfield Beach (Fla.) at Miramar (Fla.)
In this battle of unbeaten teams, both Miramar and Deerfield Beach survived scares last Friday in the first round of the playoffs. Miramar trailed 13-2 at the half to Monarch (Fla.), but quarterback Nick Jeanty completed a 65-yard touchdown pass to receiver Kahlil Lewis and began a run of 29 points by the Patriots to secure its 31-21 win. Deerfield Beach was forced to overtime with Flanagan (Fla.) and it took a Danarious Graham 13-yard touchdown run in overtime to lift the Bucks past Flanagan 14-7.
Meridian (Miss.) at Brandon (Miss.)
Brandon cruised to a 42-14 win when the Bulldogs played host to Meridian in its Oct. 18 meeting and come off a dominant 44-17 first-round win over Harrison Central (Miss.). Devin Wilson paced the Brandon offense with 81 yards rushing and two scores in the win.
Meridian put up an outstanding offensive effort and gutted out a 46-43 road win over Gulfport (Miss.) last Friday. Jamarius Smith paced the Wildcats with 208 passing yards and a passing touchdown while taking 15 carries for 82 yards and a score.
Greeneville (Tenn.) at Fulton (Tenn.)
The Fulton offense has averaged 60.6 points per game while the defense has allowed just 6.3 points per game during the Falcons’ 12-0 start this season. Sullivan South (Tenn.) took a 14-13 deficit into the half last week, but Fulton responded with a 28-6 scoring advantage in the second half and secured a 41-19 win. Penny Smith completed 10-of-14 passes for 183 yards and passed for three touchdowns.
Greeneville is 12-0 this season and averages 54.1 points per game on offense while allowing 6.2 points per game. The Green Devils have outscored their first two playoff opponents 100-20 and this game features the two best offenses and the top defenses in Class 4A.