Class AA blog: What to watch in Week 3

Hapeville Charter Hornets at Heard County Braves*

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Staples Stadium, Franklin

Records, rankings: Hapeville Charter is 0-1 and No. 2; Heard County is 0-1 and No. 9.

Last meeting: Hapeville Charter won 33-3 in 2018.

Maxwell's projection: Hapeville Charter by 14

Notes: Heard County suffered back-to-back lopsided losses to Hapeville Charter and Rockmart (33-0) to start the 2018 season 1-2 but responded with 12 consecutive victories to claim its first state championship. The Braves avenged the early loss to Rockmart with a 27-6 victory in the state final. Hapeville Charter finished 10-2, losing in the second round of the playoffs to Callaway, which was the runner-up to Heard County in Region 5-AA. Both teams opened the 2019 season with a loss. Hapeville had 225 yards rushing but was just 9-for-25 passing for 65 yards in its 26-16 loss to Class AAA No. 2 Cedar Grove two weeks ago. The Hornets' lineup includes three four-star recruits - senior WR Rico Powers, junior OLB Zavier Carter and junior WR Jaquez Smith. Heard County took an early 9-0 lead against LaGrange in its opener but was held without a first down in the second half and lost 24-9. LaGrange was 2-8 in 2018. Heard lost nine starters from its 2018 offense, including QB Alijah Huzzie (1,503 yards passing, signed with East Tennessee) and RB Aaron Beasley (1,964 yards rushing, Tennessee). DL Tray Owens, a preseason all-state pick, returns to lead the defense.

Callaway Cavaliers vs. LaGrange Grangers

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Callaway Stadium, LaGrange

Records, rankings: Callaway is 0-1 and No. 3; LaGrange is 1-0 and unranked in AAAA.

Last meeting: Callaway won 14-0

Maxwell's projection: Callaway by 12

Notes: These two teams share a stadium, so while it serves as a home game for both, the Cavs are technically considered the road team. They’ve shut out the Grangers in each of their last two meetings, including 26-0 in 2017. They won 37-6 in 2016. The Cavs, fresh off of a bye, will look to rebound from a disappointing 10-7 loss to Opelika, though it’s worth noting that Opelika, ranked No. 8 in AAAAAA in the Alabama Sports Writers Association polls, last week beat the No. 6 school in the state’s highest classification (AAAAAAA), Auburn, 21-13. AJC Super 11 selection Tank Bigsby rushed for 108 yards on 19 carries in last year’s game against LaGrange, while quarterback Jacob Freeman, now a senior, accounted for both touchdowns. The Grangers are also coming off a bye with confidence and momentum after defeating AA’s then-No. 5 Heard County, 24-9. They were led by senior quarterback Charles Crawford’s two touchdowns. On defense, the Grangers are anchored by senior tackle Jonathan Sutton (6-foot-3, 278 pounds), a three-star recruit.

Swainsboro Tigers at Dublin Fighting Irish*

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Shamrock Bowl, Dublin

Records, rankings: Swainsboro is 1-0 and No. 8; Dublin is 1-0 and No. 4.

Last meeting: Dublin won 20-13 in 2018.

Maxwell's projection: Dublin by 8.

Notes: This is the 100th anniversary of the first recorded game between these schools as Dublin defeated Swainsboro 45-0 on Oct. 24, 1919. Dublin leads the series 40-24-2. This is the second time in 25 years, first since 2010, that both are ranked when playing each other. Both are reigning region champions. In the 2018 game, Dublin attempted only one pass, and it went for 19 yards and a touchdown to give Dublin the lead for good, 13-10, in the third quarter. Dublin had the ball at Swainsboro's 1-yard line as time ran out. In Dublin's opener this season, a 21-0 victory over ECI, the game was called in the second quarter while Dublin led in rushing yards 144 to minus-4. JaQues Evans, a fullback, linebacker, kicker, punter and Power 5 recruit, scored two touchdowns and is "as gifted as any football player I have had the chance to coach," Dublin coach Roger Holmes said. Swainsboro ran through Jefferson County 37-14 in its opener. Kade Youmans was 15-of-26 passing for 237 yards. Ja'von Brown had five receptions for 111 yards and three touchdowns. Robert Allen rushed for 126 yards on 26 carries.

Clinch County Panthers at Brooks County Trojans*

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Veterans Stadium, Quitman

Records, rankings: Clinch County is 1-0 and No. 1 in Class A-public; Brooks County is 1-0 and No. 7.

Last meeting: Clinch County won 37-7 in 2018.

Maxwell's projection: Brooks County by 4

Notes: Brooks County had beaten Clinch County six of the previous seven meetings heading into last year's game between these Florida-bordering schools, so Clinch's 30-point victory was stunning. Clinch rushed for 408 yards. Fortunately for Brooks, Clinch RB/LB Trezmen Marshall, who ran for 132 yards and four touchdowns, is now playing for Georgia. Tyler Morehead is back. He ran for 61 yards on two carries and had five tackles from the secondary. Now a quarterback, Morehead rushed for 128 yards and returned a kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown in a 46-28 opening victory over Hebron Christian. Michael Walker rushed for 128 yards on five carries. Brooks County opened its season with a 63-50 victory over Mitchell County. The 63 points are tied for second-most scored in Brooks history. Devin Edwards rushed for 143 yards and five touchdowns, and Omari Arnold rushed for 143 yards and one touchdown.

West Laurens Raiders at Dodge County Indians

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Memorial Stadium at John M. Peacock Field, Eastman

Records, rankings: West Laurens is 2-0 and unranked in AAAA; Dodge County is 1-0 and No. 10

Last meeting: Dodge County won 22-10

Maxwell's projection: Dodge County by 4

Notes: The Indians are 3-0 against the Raiders since 2016, which was the first season the two sides renewed their rivalry. Before that, they last played in 2005, when the Raiders won 20-14. The Indians are coming off a bye and beat AAAAAA’s Bradwell Institute in a 49-37 shoot out. The Indians were led by junior running back Daylon Gordon, who rushed 13 times for 322 yards and four touchdowns, and Mykhail Carr, who had 70 receiving yards and two touchdowns. Senior defensive tackle Jamal Mahan had a team-high 15 tackles, including 3.5 for loss. West Laurens is coming off a huge 16-13 win over AAA’s then-No. 7 Crisp County, led by a defensive effort that held the Cougars to just two field goals heading into the fourth quarter. The Raiders are led on defense by senior three-star linebacker D’eryk Jackson (6-foot-2, 235 pounds), who is committed to Kentucky over offers from Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Purdue.

*Courtesy of GHSF Daily

Follow the AJC’s Class AA coverage on Twitter.

About the Author

X