If beating schools from higher classes was the goal of Class AAA, this weekend will present another golden opportunity when seven of the top teams in the class will play higher-classification programs.
The top two teams in the classification certainly have chances to make more noise.
Top-ranked Peach County will attempt, for the third week in a row, to beat another Class AAAAAA program when it travels to Houston County on Friday. The Trojans have beaten fourth-ranked Northside-Warner Robins 21-13 and No. 1-ranked Lee County 40-17.
Since 1994, Peach County has only lost to Houston County twice in the 13 games, including a 49-31 loss in 2016 when Jake Fromm was the Bears’ quarterback. Houston County spent the first three weeks of the season beating Perry 34-3, Central-Macon 35-7 and Rutland 54-0.
Peach County quarterback Jaydon Gibson is 17-of-24 passing for 370 yards and three touchdowns while rushing for 52 yards on 13 carries with one touchdown. Senior Tijah Woolfolk has 17 carries for 176 yards and two touchdowns. Noah Whittington has carried 24 times for 161 yards and two touchdowns. Senior Justin Harris is the leading receiver with 11 receptions for 154 yards and a touchdown.
No. 2 Cedar Grove will enter hostile territory when it travels to Class AAAAAAA No. 6 McEachern on Friday. The Saints traveled to Colorado last week and defeated that state’s Class AAAAA defending champions 27-17. Austin Smith was 13-of-26 passing for 132 yards and a touchdown against Valor Christian. Smith added two rushing touchdowns. Chavon Wright rushed 26 times for 136 yards. Janiran Bonner had five receptions for 78 yards and a touchdown. Tee Denson led the defense with six tackles, one for a loss, and a 100-yard interception return with 20 seconds left.
The game undoubtedly will be one of the most difficult for the Saints. McEachern quarterback Carlos Del Rio, a junior, is 28-of-34 passing for 457 yards and four touchdowns without an interception. He has rushed for 77 yards on 12 carries. Senior Jordon Simmons has 15 carries for 75 yards and four touchdowns. Javon Baker, a 4-star Alabama commitment, will provide a challenge for the Saints secondary. Baker, a 6-foot-1, 190-pounder, has nine receptions for 177 yards and two touchdowns this season. Junior Dacari Collins has seven receptions for 160 yards and two touchdowns.
Here are some of the other top games in AAA:
-- No. 6 Hart County travels to Class AAAA Madison County on Friday in its final game before entering 8-AAA play. Last year, Hart beat Madison County 24-14. The programs have met 40 times since 1957, and Hart has only lost eight times – the most recent a 14-7 defeat in 1991. Before last year’s games, the teams had not played since 1995.
-- No. 7 Benedictine will face Class AAAA No. 5 Blessed Trinity after losing to Burke County 55-42 in its opener on Aug. 24. Sophomore Holden Geriner is 13-of-27 passing for 128 yards and a touchdown with one interception. James Epps has nine carries for 49 yards and three touchdowns. LeShon Brooks Jr. had eight carries for 177 yards and a touchdown. Senior Gavin Stewart had two receptions for 44 yards and a touchdown last week. Blessed Trinity fell from the top of the Class AAAA poll last week after its 13-10 loss to then-No. 7 Woodward Academy.
-- No. 10 Westminster will test its mettle against Class AAAA No. 2 Marist this week. The Wildcats began the season ranked No. 4, but dropped out of the rankings after back-to-back losses to Woodward, 19-0, and Greater Atlanta Christian, 19-14. Westminster re-entered the top 10 in this week’s poll after beating St. Pius X 42-14 last week. Marist has had little trouble through two games, with victories against Lovett 49-0 and Canyon Springs (Nev.) 45-8.
Here is the top 10 schedule for the weekend.
1. Peach County (2-0) at Class AAAAAA Houston County (3-0).
2. Cedar Grove (2-1) at Class AAAAAAA No. 6 McEachern (2-0).
3. Calhoun (2-0) at Sonoraville (1-1).
4. Pierce County (2-0) vs. Class AAAAA New Hampstead (1-1) on Thursday.
5. Greater Atlanta Christian (2-1) off. Will host Class AAAA No. 10 Thomson on Sept. 20.
6. Hart County (3-0) at Class AAAA Madison County (2-1).
7. Benedictine (0-1) vs. Class AAAA No. 5 Blessed Trinity (2-1).
8. Lovett (2-1) vs. Class AAAA Mary Persons.
9. Appling County (2-0) vs. Class AA No. 10 Dodge County.
10. Westminster (1-2) at Class AAAA No. 2 Marist.
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