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Local football teams begin state playoff action this week
by Greg Oshust
November 14, 2013 10:50 AM | 2589 views | 0 0 comments | 32 32 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Staff / Erin Gray<br>
Daniel Clements is among the key players for Alpharetta, which begins play in the Class AAAAAA state football playoffs Friday.
Staff / Erin Gray
Daniel Clements is among the key players for Alpharetta, which begins play in the Class AAAAAA state football playoffs Friday.
Alpharetta, Milton, Blessed Trinity and Mount Pisgah Christian have earned postseason berths as the state football playoffs get underway this weekend.

Region 6AAAAAA champion Alpharetta (8-2) will host South Gwinnett, the fourth seed from 8AAAAAA in a first-round Class AAAAAA playoff game Friday at 7:30 p.m.

Alpharetta enters the postseason with plenty of momentum after winning its last seven games in a row, including last week’s 31-26 win over Johns Creek in its regular-season finale.

The Raiders will play a South Gwinnett team that won four of its last five games after getting off to a 1-4 start.

“South Gwinnett is a very talented football team that has size up front along both the offensive and defensive lines and speed at every skill position,” Alpharetta coach Jason Dukes said. “Their intention is to get the ball to their playmakers in space and on defense; they apply pressure from multiple places on the field.”

Milton (8-2) will join Alpharetta in the AAAAAA playoffs and will host its first-round game after earning the second seed from 5AAAAAA.

“We are excited to host a home game for our community and fans,” Milton coach Howie DeCristofaro said. “They have supported us through the last three years and it is great to give them something back.”

The Eagles will certainly need that home field advantage as they host North Gwinnett (9-1), the sixth-ranked team in AAAAAA in this week’s Georgia Sports Writers Association poll, Friday at 7:30 p.m.

North Gwinnett ended with the third seed from 7AAAAAA after finishing in a tie for first with Norcross – which ended up with the top seed – and Collins Hill – the second seed.

“It’s an opportunity to play a first-class program at home,’ DeCristofaro said. “They are well coached, fast and fundamentally sound. We are preparing for them as we would for any other team. We expect to compete and let the chips fall where they may.”

Region 6AAA champion Blessed Trinity (7-3) begins play in the AAA playoffs with a first-round game at home against Jackson County, the fourth seed from 8AAA.

It is a big comeback for a Titan team that was 3-3 midway through the season and was in danger of not making the playoffs at all before bouncing back with four straight wins to clinch the 6AAA title and a postseason berth.

“Winning the region was a great way for our kids to end the regular season in more ways than one,” Blessed Trinity coach Tim McFarlin said.

“It’s always one of your long term goals. But for us this year, it gave our players a significant learning opportunity.

“When we lost at Decatur midseason, we were looking at the possibility of not making the playoffs at all. The region title was the last thing on our minds and our only option was to approach the remainder of the season one game at a time. That turned out to be a blessing and is probably the key factor in us being able to win tough games against Woodward, Cedar Grove and St. Pius.”

Mount Pisgah Christian (10-0) earned a spot in the Class A private school playoffs after being ranked second in the final power rating of the season for that classification, which came out Tuesday.

The Patriots will host Pacelli in their first-round game Nov. 22.

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