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High school football notebook: Defense does really win
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Playoff schedule

Class A: Commerce at Bremen

Class AA: Buford vs. Hart County

Class AAA: Gainesville vs. Haralson County; White County vs. LaGrange

Class AAAA: Flowery Branch vs. SW DeKalb

All games are 7:30 p.m. Friday

Friday night’s results showed once again why “defense wins championships” is one of football’s oldest clichés.

With region titles and playoff berths on the line, three area teams (Flowery Branch, Johnson and Lumpkin County) were shutout this week, Buford shutout Westminster, and the only score Gainesville allowed to White County came on a fourth-down pass.

The performance of the Buford defense in a 42-0 win in the 6-AA championship game may have been the most impressive. The Wolves held Westminster to 107 yards of offense on 37 plays (2.9 yards per play) and four first downs.
Stalwart defense has been a hallmark of Buford teams during its run of nine region championships in the last ten years.

This year is no exeption.

For the season, Buford’s defense is giving up fewer than eight points per game, and the unit has been especially stingy in recent weeks, yielding only 16 total points in the last five games combined.

STREAKS ALIVE: In coach Steve Savage’s final season, Commerce is going to back to the playoffs for the 14th straight season. The Tigers will be the No. 3 seed from Region 8-A, and will travel to take on Bremen in the first round Friday.

The Tigers own the longest active postseason streak in the area, followed by Buford (12 straight appearances), Gainesville (11) and Flowery Branch (six).

Hart County extended its Northeast Georgia-best streak to 19 straight postseasons with a 34-13 win over Banks County in a Region 8-AA playoff game on Friday.

The playoff streaks came to an end this season for North Hall and Jefferson. The Trojans had reached four straight postseasons, while the Dragon had played in 10 consecutive.

SCOUTING 6-AAA: As the top seeds from Region 8-AAA, Gainesville and White County will play host to the No.3 and 4 seeds from Region 6-AAA on Friday.

Gainesville’s opponent, Haralson County (3-7), has never won a playoff game, according to the Georgia High School Football Historians Association. The Rebels last reached the postseason in 2007, when they were eliminated by Apalachee 23-13 in the first round.

This season, Haralson County is averaging 15.9 points per game while giving up 29.9.

White County’s first-round foe, LaGrange (5-5), has a much richer postseason history. The Grangers own 11 state titles and have reached the quarterfinals in eight of the last 10 seasons. They’ve struggled at times this year, finishing with the school’s lowest regular season win total since 1999. A tough schedule has been one of the culprits; LaGrange’s four losses came to Class AAAAA Newnan, Class AA No. 1 Carver-Columbus, and Carrollton and Troup — Region 6-AAA’s top two teams.

NORTH AVOIDS SWEEP: Throughout the season, Region 8B-AA proved itself considerably stronger than the region’s northern half.

It did so again Friday when the top six teams from each subregion squared off. But Union County helped the North avoid a sweep by scoring an impressive 35-6 win over East Jackson.

The South with take three of the region’s four playoff spots: No. 1 Elbert County, which hammered No. 2 Fannin County 45-7 in the region championship game; No. 3 North Oconee, a 42-12 winner over Dawson County; and No. 4 Hart County.

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