Class AAAAAAA teams are still trying to find themselves before the start of region play, which isn’t until next month for many. Here are the most intriguing games in this high class this week:
McEachern at Collins Hill: Collins Hill (2-1) was 3-8 last season but better than its record with all eight losses to playoff teams. One of those was McEachern, which won 35-13, but it was 7-6 midway into the third quarter. The Eagles have avenged two of those 2018 losses (against Brookwood and Walton) and lost to Marietta 28-9. Isaiah Love rushed for 267 yards last week in a 28-12 victory over Brookwood. Trouble is that McEachern is better, too. Carlos Delrio-Wilson was 17-of-23 passing for 223 yards and two touchdowns in the 2018 game. He’s back and now committed to Florida. He’s 40-of-53 (.755 completion percentage) for 589 yards and five touchdowns. Jordon Simmons, another D-I prospect, has rushed for 142 yards and had 149 receiving. Dacari Collins (11-208-3 receiving) and Javon Baker (11-185-2) are two of the best WR pairs in the state.
Miami Northwestern (Fla.) at Lowndes: Lowndes has been playing Florida teams routinely since Randy McPherson, a Florida native, became head coach in 2002. The Vikings are 8-0 against them in that time. Northwestern, Florida's defending Class 6A champion, presents the greatest Florida challenge to date. The Bulls' loss this season came to IMG Academy, a consensus top-five team nationally. LB Terrence Lewis is a five-star prospect. Wide receivers Marcus Fleming and Romello Brinson are committed to Miami. Lowndes has reverted to its running ways this season to suit the skills of QB Jacorri Brown, who has rushed for 432 yards and seven touchdowns on 47 carries. He's 17-of-29 passing for 244 yards. Michael Israel has 259 yards rushing. RB/LB Gary Osby is the team's best all-around player. He has 133 yards rushing, five touchdowns and 5.5 tackles for losses. Lowndes, vulnerable on defense in recent years, is allowing just 7.5 points per game compared to 20.8 over the previous five seasons.
Milton at Roswell: In the 2018 game, won by Roswell 22-20, Milton entered ranked No. 3 - its highest to that point in history - but was ambushed when Roswell overcame a 20-10 fourth-quarter deficit with a pair of TD passes from Ethan Roberts, who is back for his senior season. Roswell also returns WR Jacob Jarrett, TE John Copenhaver, OL Trey Zimmerman and LB Will Troutman, all first-team all-region players. Copenhaver and Zimmerman are committed to North Carolina. Roswell has beaten Campbell (35-0) and Centennial (49-10) handily. This will be the Hornets' first home game, as last week's West Forsyth game was canceled because of weather. Milton, which recovered from the Roswell defeat last year to win its first state title, remains ranked despite losses to Buford (No. 1 team in AAAAA) and JSerra Catholic (No. 8 overall in California, per MaxPreps). Ahmad Junearick has rushed for 344 yards and four touchdowns against the stiff competition and behind one of the state's best offensive lines. Milton graduated star QB Jordan Yates to Georgia Tech and is rotating Jackson Weaver (senior, better passer) and Devin Farrell (sophomore, better runner, also plays cornerback) at the position.
Walton at North Gwinnett: In the 2018 game, won by Walton 27-24, Dominick Blaylock scored on an 11-yard run with 32 seconds left for the game-winning touchdown. Blaylock, now at Georgia, is one of Walton's 13 departed seniors who were first- or second-team all-region last year. Coincidentally, North Gwinnett also graduated 13 first- or second-team all-region players. Both teams returned two all-region linemen - Walker Hurst and Tal Brill at Walton, Chris Miles and Jared Ivey at North Gwinnett. The difference is that North is more proven in the backfield, as QB J.R. Martin (20 TD passes last season), WR Josh Downs (North Carolina commit) and RB Devin Crosby (220-pound power runner) are back. For Walton, Zak Rozsman, who played significantly as a freshman, is now starting at quarterback and is 25-of-44 passing for 435 yards and two touchdowns. K.D. Stokes has rushed for 342 yards and five touchdowns. The teams have a common opponent. Walton edged Norcross 21-20 in the opener at the Corky Kell Classic. North Gwinnett defeated Norcross 51-21 in a game that was completed on Monday night, meaning North will be playing on three days' rest.
Warner Robins at Colquitt County: Colquitt County sacked Warner Robins QB Dylan Fromm eight times in the 2018 game and won 41-14. Daijun Edwards scored four touchdowns. Edwards (452 yards from scrimmage in three games) is back, along with QB Jaycee Harden, who has thrown for 883 yards and 10 touchdowns. The Packers put up 601 yards of total offense last week in a 50-49 loss to Valdosta, but Colquitt endured a similar debacle in 2017, losing to Lowndes 51-47, while still reaching the state finals. Warner Robins is so-far, so-good in the post-Fromm era under first-year coach Marquis Westbrook with wins over Tift County, Locust Grove and Baldwin. The Demons returned 10 all-region players. New QB Jalen Addie is 40-of-72 passing for 613 yards and eight touchdowns with three interceptions. He has rushed for 131 yards. Jahlen Rutherford, a 1,000-yard rusher last season, has run for 189. Marcayll Jones, whose 2,046 yards receiving set a state record last year, has 202 this season.
*Here are the projected margins of victory for AAAAAAA schools according to the Maxwell Ratings. Games against out-of-state opponents are not rated.
Archer vs. Norcross -18
Berkmar vs. Clarkston -30
Camden Co. vs. Brunswick -28
Colquitt Co. vs. Warner Robins -15
Dacula at Central Gwinnett -20
Grady vs. Lithia Springs -18
Grayson vs. Westlake -27
Hillgrove vs. Etowah -24
McEachern at Collins Hill -16
Milton at Roswell -1
North Cobb vs. East Coweta -18
North Forsyth vs. Kennesaw Mtn. -18
North Gwinnett vs. Walton -15
North Paulding vs. Woodstock -29
Parkview vs. Tift Co. -21
Pebblebrook vs. Lithonia -21
Shiloh at Meadowcreek -15
West Forsyth vs. Peachtree Ridge -21
Wheeler vs. Lassiter -4
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