When a team is playing well, the breaks often seem to just drop its way.
Count Gainesville (12-1) as one of those teams as, after its stunning upset of Class AAA No. 1 Sandy Creek on Friday night, it won another coin toss Saturday to determine home field for its semifinal against Burke County on Friday.
The game will be played at City Park Stadium at 7:30 p.m.
“We’d rather be lucky than good any day,” Gainesville coach Bruce Miller joked about his team’s streak of good fortune.
Simply playing in a semifinal was a result few expected.
Sandy Creek carried a state-long 41-game winning streak and two consecutive state championships into City Park Stadium on Friday.
A stellar five-touchdown effort by sophomore quarterback Deshaun Watson and a strong day for the Red Elephant defense, however, allowed the team to pull off the upset and advance to its second semifinal in three years.
It won the last one over Flower Branch, 29-21, in 2009, before losing in the title game to Peach County.
To advance this time, the Red Elephants will have to knock off another difficult opponent in Burke County (12-1), which hasn’t lost a game since Sept. 16. During that winning streak, Burke County has outscored opponents by an average of 46.7-8.9 points per game.
The Bears defeated Allatoona 32-28 to advance on Friday night.
Coach Eric Parker has been at Burke County for five years, taking it to the playoffs each year. This is the fourth time a team coached by Parker, who was at Laney High for 10 seasons prior to coming to Burke County, has advanced to the state semifinals. His teams are 0-3 in their three previous trips.
The Bears played in the semifinals last year, losing to Carrollton 49-15.
BUFORD ON ROAD FOR SEMIFINALS: Buford High, which continued its march to an unprecedented fifth consecutive state title with a 49-13 win over Elbert County on Friday, lost its coin toss today and will travel to Columbus to take on Carver High on Friday.
The game will be a rematch of a meeting between the two teams earlier this season. Buford (13-0) won that game 35-7.
Carver (12-1) was the last team to beat Buford, however. The Tigers shut out Buford in Columbus last season behind strong defensive play and timely runs by star running back Isaiah Crowell, now at the University of Georgia.
Since that loss, the Wolves have won 26 consecutive games.
WATSON HITS TOUCHDOWN MILESTONE: Gainesville quarterback Deshaun Watson’s five touchdowns (three running, two passing) against Sandy Creek on Friday night put him over 50 for the year.
He has now completed 39 touchdown passes and run in 14 scores on the ground.