Dacula 49, Dalton 18
Dalton ended its season in the first round of the Class 6A playoffs to the No. 1 team in the state, falling to Dacula on the road Friday night, 49-18.
The Catamounts (7-4, 5-3 and the No. 4 seed in Region 6-6A) fell behind early and were down at halftime, 28-3. Their only score in the first half came on a 27-yard field goal from JJ Robledo.
Senior running back and Georgia Tech commit Jahmyr Gibbs found the end zone on a 38-yard touchdown run late in the third quarter for his only score of the night, finishing his final campaign with 40 rushing touchdowns and another score on a 97-yard kickoff return earlier in the season.
Dalton's final score on Friday night came when Karim Page caught a 22-yard touchdown from Landon Allen with a few minutes remaining in the game. Gibbs ran in the two-point conversion.
Dacula (11-0, 5-0 and the No. 1 seed in Region 6-8A) remains undefeated and advances to the second round of the playoffs.
Dalton coach Matt Land said there was a handful of things that doomed the Catamounts, but it was the sheer athletic ability of Dacula that was most piercing.
"We've made some key mistakes early in the game, especially turnovers, and it got us down, but at the end of the day, (Dacula) showed that they have so many playmakers on the field at one time," Land said. "You don't realize how impressive they really are until you see them in person, and it's impossible to zero-in on the one guy you want to stop."
Allen threw three interceptions in the game, in which two were returned for scores by Dacula. Land said the steady rain that never subsided just north of Atlanta didn't help things, either.
Despite the loss, Land was happy with many things.
"Our entire coaching staff and our players fought for 48 minutes, and that's the greatest thing about it," Land said. "It doesn't diminish how much I love these guys and how much I am proud of them for what they accomplished."
Oconee County 41, Northwest Whitfield 14
Northwest Whitfield ends its season with a loss in the first round of the Class 4A playoffs, falling to Oconee County on the road Friday night, 41-14.
The Bruins (7-4, 4-2 and the No. 4 seed in Region 6-4A) traded scores early in the game and fell behind for a deficit at the half, 21-7.
Gavin Ellis scored on a 4-yard touchdown run in the first half for Northwest Whitfield, while Ethan Ensley caught a 14-yard touchdown pass from Owen Brooker early in the fourth quarter.
Northwest coach Josh Robinson said the Bruins suffered multiple injuries in the first half, but were able to force three turnovers to keep the score just a two-possession game at halftime. Matt Redmond had an interception, Chase Humble stripped the ball on a sack for a forced fumble and Daiman Banta recovered an onside kick all in the first half for the Bruins.
When the Bruins failed to capitalize on their first drive to start the third quarter, Robinson said his team just wasn't able to recover.
"The kids worked really hard, I mean we didn't have any personal fouls or anything like that," he said. "Starting off this season, There was a lot of people who didn't give us a chance to accomplish much or certainly win seven games. We went on and had a chance to win a region championship and have made the playoffs five years in a row. That's a big deal.
"It was a testament to these seniors. I'm so proud of them."
Oconee County (9-1, 4-0 and the No. 1 seed in Region 8-4A) advances to the second round of the playoffs.