Long-distance travel, inter-class matchups and a hurricane that caused delays and postponements highlight the third week of the Class AAA season.
The biggest "move" this week takes No. 2 Cedar Grove 1,434 miles from home to play Valor Christian at Highlands Ranch, Co. Valor is the No. 1 team in Colorado’s highest classification.
It will be the first-ever meeting between the two defending state champions and second consecutive out-of-state opponent for Cedar Grove. Last year, Valor Christian went undefeated in Ed McCaffrey’s first season as the head coach. You may recognize McCaffrey from his time with the San Francisco 49ers and Denver Broncos. He was a member of three victorious Super Bowl teams – 1994 with the 49ers and 1998-99 with the Broncos. The Eagles opened the season with a 56-6 victory against Charlotte Christian (N.C.) last week. Valor split quarterback duties between Cole Bott and Andrew Reichardt in the first game. Bott was 6-of-9 passing for 120 yards and three touchdowns. Reichardt was 2-of-4 for 27 yards. Sophomore Gavin Sawchuck has rushed for two touchdowns, but junior Andre Wright leads with 12 carries for 119 yards and a touchdown. Senior receiver Kaiden Keefe has two catches, both for touchdowns.
Cedar Grove is coming off a 24-20 loss to Central-Phenix (Ala.), the Class AAAAAAA defending champions. Central secured the victory on a 9-yard touchdown pass with 28 seconds left in the game. Cedar Grove linebacker Isaiah Ratcliff made 17 tackles with one for loss. Defensive lineman Alvin Williams made eight tackles, two for a loss and had one fumble recovery. Defensive back Antonio Taylor made 10 tackles with a fumble recovery. Running back Chavon Wright finished with 14 carries for 93 yards and a touchdown. Janiran Bonner had six catches for 73 yards and a touchdown. Austin Smith was 12-of-23 passing for 135 yards and a touchdown.
Here are some other games worth monitoring:
-- No. 1 Peach County will play host to Class AAAAAA No. 1 Lee County in Fort Valley at 8 p.m. Friday. Lee County defeated Peach 33-0 last season in Leesburg, when both teams also were ranked No. 1. This game allows Peach a chance to make it two weeks in a row where it defeats a higher-classed program. Peach defeated Class AAAAAA Northside-Warner Robins 21-13 last week. The Trojans relied heavily on the rushing game of senior back Tijah Woolfolk, a 5-foot-11 running back, who rushed for touchdowns of 51 yards and 38 yards, both in the first quarter. Peach added a defensive score from Sergio Allen, a Clemson-commitment, on an 18-yard interception return. Woolfolk finished with five carries for 98 yards and two touchdowns. Jaydon Gibson was 7-of-12 passing for 78 yards. Justin Harris had three catches for 33 yards and an interception on defense. Peach gained 286 yards on 39 plays. Last week, Lee defeated Life Christian (Va.) 27-0 in a game that was called with 6:24 left. Quarterback Kyle Toole was 14-of-26 passing for 176 yards and two touchdowns. He connected with James Hopson (35 yards) and Tyrus Washington (2 yards) for touchdowns. Preston Simmons scored on a 1-yard run in the first quarter. Austin Beaver kicked field goals of 37 and 32 yards. Hopson had six receptions for 109 yards and a score.
-- No. 7 Hart County (2-0) will play host to Class A Public No. 5 Commerce (2-0) Friday at 7:30 p.m in Hartwell. Hart lost 33-20 to the Tigers last season and hopes to change history this week. Hart only has two victories against Commerce – in 1954 and 1955. The Bulldogs are coming off a 26-13 victory against Stephens County after defeating Elbert County 39-7 in the season-opener. Commerce defeated West Hall 48-17 in its opener and beat Athens Christian 49-7 last week.
-- No. 10 Crisp County (1-1) will play host to Class AAAAA No. 6 Dutchtown in Cordele. Crisp enters this matchup looking to avenge the 28-3 loss to the Bulldogs last year in the teams’ first-ever meeting. Crisp opened with a 29-14 victory against Class AAAA Americus-Sumter. Last week, it lost to Class AAAA West Laurens. Dutchtown is 2-0 after victories against Langston Hughes (47-27) and Creekside (59-14).
Notable: No. 4 Pierce County was schedule to play Beach, but the game was cancelled because of Hurricane Dorian and the mandatory evacuation along the coast. Pierce and New Hampstead – whose game against Bolles, Fla., also was cancelled – have set a date to play a fill-in game Sept. 12.
Class AAA top-10 schedule
1. (1) Peach County (1-0) vs. Class AAAAAA No. 1 Lee County (2-0)
2. (2) Cedar Grove (1-1) at No. 1 Valor Christian, Colorado (1-0)
3. (3) Calhoun (1-0) vs. Class AA Therrell (1-1)
4. (4) Pierce County (2-0) vs. Beach (cancelled due to Hurricane Dorian)
5. (9) Benedictine (0-1) off. Next game: Sept. 13 vs. Class AAAA No. 1 Blessed Trinity
6. (8) Greater Atlanta Christian (1-1) vs. Prestonwood Christian, Texas
7. (NR) Hart County (2-0) vs. Class A-Public No. 5 Commerce (2-0)
8. (5) Lovett (1-1) vs. B.E.S.T. Academy (1-1)
9. (NR) Appling County (1-0) at Class A-Public No. 9 Charlton County (1-1)
10. (7) Crisp County (1-1) vs. Class AAAAA No. 6 Dutchtown (2-0)