Northwest travels to Bainbridge for second round playoff game in search of school history

Daniel Mayes/Daily Citizen-News

Northwest Whitfield High School's defensive line prepares for a play during the Bruins' win over Fayette County on Nov. 12 in the first round of the Class 4A playoffs.

Northwest Whitfield High School's football team heads south looking for school history tonight.

The Bruins, who have already reached the second round of the playoffs in back-to-back years for the first time in program history, play at Bainbridge at 7:30 p.m. in search of Northwest's first trip to the state quarterfinals.

Northwest defeated Fayette County 36-33 with a late touchdown in the first round of the Class 4A playoffs last week. The Bruins also reached the second round of the playoffs last season, falling to Riverdale 42-17.

Northwest, the second seed in Region 7-4A, takes on the Region 1-4A champion in Bainbridge. The second-round matchup pit two that come in at 8-3 and are in the midst of a win streak.

After the Bruins lost to Region 7-4A champion Cedartown, Northwest has rattled off five straight victories, including the playoff win last week. Bainbridge, meanwhile, started the season 1-3 against strong competition before winning seven straight down the stretch, finishing undefeated in region play and downing Islands 42-0 in the first round.

While Northwest is searching for its first run to the quarterfinals, Bainbridge is a program used to making deep playoff runs. The Bearcats reached the state semifinals just a season ago and were Class 5A champions in 2018.

Led by quarterback Owen Brooker, the Northwest offense has averaged 41.6 points per game in the five-game winning streak. Offense might be a little bit harder to come by for Northwest against a staunch defense of Bainbridge. The Bearcats have allowed an average of 9.7 points per game during their winning stretch.

Bainbridge's defense is bolstered by senior safety Deyon Bouie, a four-star recruit who is committed to Texas A&M and boasts offers from several Southeastern Conference Schools. He's ranked as the fifth best prospect in Georgia for the class of 2022, according to recruiting website 247Sports.

Just like Northwest and Brooker, Bainbridge is led by a junior quarterback that powers the offense. Bainbridge's Bo Smith has 18 touchdown passes and just four interceptions.

Tonight's matchup is the first game between the teams from opposite ends of Georgia. Bainbridge is in the southwest corner of the state, about 300 miles from Tunnel Hill.

Northwest, under head coach Josh Robinson, is in the midst of one its most successful stretches in program history.

This year's playoff run is the seventh straight postseason appearance for the Bruins, the longest stretch in school history. This is the fifth total appearance in the second round of the playoffs. Three of them have been since Robinson took over in 2011.

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