Allatoona is the lone surviving Cobb County team that has experience on this path, making the Class AAA quarterfinals last season.
But these three teams will take the field next week in the state quarterfinals, and all with have their sights on the final four of their classification.
The last time North Cobb was playing this deep in the season was 1959 state finals when it lost a 6-0 decision to Hawkinsville.
North Cobb had not won a state playoff game since that year until it beat Valdosta at home last week — the Warriors did go 12-1 in 1979 but that schedule involved two region tournament games which they won — and Shane Queen hadn’t won a playoff game in his 14 years as head coach until this season.
Now Queen has won two after North Cobb routed Langston Hughes 42-14 on Friday.
“We have 10 practice games before the real season starts,” North Cobb coach Shane Queen said. “That’s the mentality we want our kids to have. The luck of the (postseason) draw or brackets are out of our control but what we do control is winning one game at a time.”
North Cobb is known to have different players step up in most games. Against Langston Hughes, it was J’Vonte Herrod’s turn to shine. He rushed for 153 yards and scored five touchdowns, four of them rushing.
Walker’s only other state playoff appearance in its 11-year history came in 2005, and the Wolverines haven’t enjoyed a winning season since 2006. This season could begin a new chapter under first-year coach John East.
It was business as usual for the undefeated Wolverines. After getting an automatic week off with Class A’s bracket being only 16 teams instead of 32. Walker had a strong second half en route in its inaugural playoff win last night and used it to rout Athens Christian 28-7 at home.
After trailing 7-6 at the half, Walker’s defense shut Athens Christian down while its offense scored 22 unanswered points. Evan Kasian rushed for 187 yards in the victory and is 18 shy of the 2,000-yard mark.
“We came out and got into the mode,” Walker coach John East said. “That’s something that everyone has been hungry for. It was a great feeling for everybody involved.”
“One of our strengths last night was our coaching staff at halftime.”
The experience of being in the quarterfinals last season seemed to pay off for Allatoona.
The Buccaneers came through with a 20-19 upset over M.L. King in the second round last night.
They had to come from behind against M.L. King, much like they did in last year’s loss to Burke County. Only this time, they preserved the win after rallying from two touchdowns down.
“It helped that we were behind (Burke County) at halftime,” Allatoona coach Gary Varner said. “They had an idea that they were still in the game we kind of drew from that, especially the kids returning from last year.”
After trailing, Allatoona’s defense kept M.L. King’s offense in check, and quarterback Jeremy Uzee threw two touchdown passes in the fourth quarter to Tommy Davis and Clarence Soleberry to clinch the win.
Other key moments for Allatoona were converting a fourth-and-9 late in the third quarter, and the defense making two big stops late in the game to preserve the lead.
Kell was ahead by two touchdowns at the half and couldn’t hold on. Gainesville shut the Longhorns down on both sides of the ball before winning 61-42 and ending their season.
Gainesville quarterback Deshaun Watson came to life in the second half and scored four of his five rushing touchdowns. Its defense also applied pressure on Kell quarterback Matthew McGuigan after McGuigan threw for 265 yards and five touchdowns at the break.
Marietta also got knocked out in the second round, falling 36-15 to Lovejoy. LSU-bound quarterback Anthony Jennings threw for just 153 yards, had only 18 rushing yards and was sacked nine times.