Archer safety Jalyn Phillips (5) warms up before Friday's game against Mill Creek. (Jason Getz/Special)

Top 10 games of Week 9

Appling County at Liberty County 

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Donell Woods Stadium, Hinesville 

Records, rankings: Appling County is 5-1 overall, 1-0 in Region 2-AAA and No. 6; Liberty County is 4-0, 1-0 and No. 5. 

Last meeting: Appling County won 34-0 in 2018. 

Things to know: This will be the first regular-season game between top-10 teams ever played on Liberty County's home field. The winner will emerge as the top challenger in 2-AAA to third-ranked Pierce County, the defending region champion and a semifinalist last season. Appling County has improved rapidly in two seasons under coach Rick Tomberlin, who inherited a team that went 3-6 in 2017. The Pirates average 315.3 yards rushing and 51.2 passing. Sharode Roberts (57 carries, 408 yards, six touchdowns), R.J. Conaway (60-361-5), Jeremiah Holmes (37-343-4) and Matthew Nails (32-259-2) share the workload. Liberty County, which had two games canceled because of bad weather, is 4-0 for the first time since 2016. The Panthers have the No. 5 offense (41.75 points per game) and No. 1 defense (8.25) in AAA. Liberty County runs the ball about 70 percent of the time, averaging 286 yards per game on the ground, led by Markel Johnson's 410 yards on 55 carries. QB Dionte Bowens is 29-of-46 passing for 624 yards. 

Carrollton at Kell 

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, C.J. Kell Stadium, Marietta 

Records, rankings: Carrollton is 7-0 overall, 5-0 in Region 7-AAAAA and No. 2; Kell is 5-1, 3-1 and No. 7. 

Last meeting: Kell won 31-10 in 2018. 

Things to know: Carrollton can clinch its first region title since 2011 with victories this week and against Hiram in the regular-season finale. Hiram is also undefeated in region play but has yet to face Carrollton, Kell or Rome, the region's three ranked teams. A win by Kell would keep alive the Longhorns' hopes of finishing in no worse than a three-way tie for first place. Both teams are relatively balanced on offense. Carrollton averages 186.7 yards passing and 149.1 rushing. QB Myles Morris has passed for 1,212 yards and 14 touchdowns. Mecose Todd (42 carries, 381 yards seven TDs) and Brandon Marenco (57-248-1) lead the running game. Terrell Carmicheal is the top receiver with 374 yards, and he has 245 yards on punt returns. Kell has found a nice combination in junior QB Corbin LaFrance (1,361 yards passing) and freshman RB David Mbadinga (more than 700 yards rushing). Senior LB Branson Hall leads a defense that allows just 9.67 points per game, best in Class AAAAA. Hall averages 13 tackles, among the top five in Cobb County. 

Carver (Atlanta) at Riverwood 

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Bill Hoskyn Stadium, Sandy Springs 

Records, rankings: Carver is 5-1 overall, 3-0 in Region 6-AAAAA and unranked; Riverwood is 6-0, 3-0 and unranked. 

Last meeting: Riverwood won 51-33 in 2018. 

Things to know: The game matches the only remaining unbeaten teams in 6-AAAAA. Carver has won five region championships, most recently in 2017. Riverwood began playing football in 1971 and has never won a region title. If the Raiders win it this year, they will be the fourth different team to win the title since the region was formed in 2016, following Grady (2016), Carver (2017) and Banneker (2018). Carver has rushed for 360.2 yards per game and attempted just 45 passes for the season. The Panthers lean heavily on Jo'Quavious Marks, a Mississippi State commit who is rated as the nation's No. 14 running back. Marks has run for 1,387 yards (231.2 per game, 12.3 per carry) and 20 touchdowns this season. Riverwood, in its second season under coach Robert Edwards, is much more balanced offensively, averaging 178.5 yards passing and 177.7 rushing. Sophomore QBs Burke Cigelske and Avery Smith have combined for 1,058 yards and 11 touchdowns passing. Freshman RB Quinterio Lawson has run for 577 yards. LB/FS Kaleb Patton leads the team in total tackles (54), tackles for losses (15) and sacks (12) and has caused six fumbles and recovered four. 

Colquitt County at Camden County 

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Chris Gilman Stadium, Kingsland 

Records, rankings: Colquitt County is 6-1 overall, 0-0 in Region 1-AAAAAAA and No. 10; Camden County is 7-0, 0-0 and No. 10. 

Last meeting: Colquitt County won 38-9 in 2018. 

Things to know: The winner of this game will be the logical main contender to challenge No. 1-ranked Lowndes in their four-team region. Camden is 7-0 for the first time since 2015, also the last time that Camden played a game matching two top-10 teams. In the 2018 game against Colquitt, Camden trailed 21-3 in the first quarter, but the issue wasn't decided until Colquitt scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns, one on a 97-yard fumble return. Camden leads Class AAAAAAA in scoring offense (45.2 points per game) with a balanced attack led by Logan Watson (1,174 yards passing) and Jamie Felix (605 rushing). Micah Morris is the consensus No. 6 tackle prospect nationally among juniors. Camden's defense has allowed 19.9 points, 24th best in class. Colquitt ranks fourth in scoring (38.6) and eighth in scoring defense (12.3). Jaycee Harden has the highest QB rating among AAAAAAA quarterbacks registered on MaxPreps as he's 124-of-189 passing for 1,916 yards and 24 touchdowns (eight to Lemeke Brockington) with only two interceptions. Daijun Edwards has 571 yards rushing, 332 receiving. 

Grayson at Archer 

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Archer Community Stadium, Lawrenceville 

Records, rankings: Grayson is 5-1 overall, 1-0 in Region 8-AAAAAAA and No. 4; Archer is 4-2, 1-0 and No. 9. 

Last meeting: Grayson won 41-14 in 2018. 

Things to know: Grayson has won region titles six of the past eight seasons. Archer has won the others in 2017 and 2013. The 2018 game was competitive until Grayson returned an interception for a touchdown for a 33-14 lead in the third quarter. This season, Archer QB Carter Peevy, a four-year starter, is passing less (742 yards) but has thrown seven touchdowns and no interceptions. Renoldo Spivey, Jordon Swain and Schmari Campbell have one 100-yard rushing game each as Archer has become more of a ball-control team. MLB Kameron O'Rourke (36 solo tackles, six for losses) is a region defensive player-of-the-year candidate for a unit that ranks fourth in the class in scoring defense (11.5 points allowed). Grayson is more of a passing team now as C.J. Dixon (committed to Illinois) has thrown for 1,267 yards. Lafayette Gurvin has rushed for 654 yards, or about 75 percent of Grayson's ground game. Grayson ranks 18th in both scoring offense and defense. 

McEachern at Marietta 

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Northcutt Stadium, Marietta 

Records, rankings: McEachern is 6-0 overall, 1-0 in Region 3-AAAAAAA and No. 2; Marietta is 5-1, 1-0 and No. 5. 

Last meeting: Marietta won 28-27 in 2018. 

Things to know: This is the first game at Northcutt Stadium between top-five teams since Marietta lost to No. 1 Southwest DeKalb in 1990. The winner will emerge as the front-runner in Region 3-AAAAAAA, although Hillgrove, North Cobb and North Paulding remain in the mix. All are 5-1. This game will feature more high-profile offensive recruits than perhaps any in the state. For McEachern, those include QB Carlos Del Rio-Wilson (committed to Florida, 981 yards passing), receivers Dacari Collins (Clemson, 314 yards) and Javon Baker (Alabama, 316 yards) and RB Jordon Simmons (Michigan State, 302 yards rushing). Marietta's lineup includes QB Harrison Bailey (Tennessee, 1,817 yards passing), receivers Arik Gilbert (uncommitted, 772 yards), Ricky White (Michigan State, 513 yards) and Taji Johnson (Boston College, 311 yards) and RB Kimani Vidal (Troy, 545 yards rushing). Gilbert is the No 1 tight end prospect nationally and the No. 2 player in Georgia. In last year's game, Ra'Shun Bass intercepted a pass in the end zone in the final seconds to preserve a one-point win, which ended Marietta's 10-game losing streak in a series that McEachern leads 18-12-1. 

North Murray at Haralson County 

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Taylor Memorial Stadium, Tallapoosa 

Records, rankings: North Murray is 6-1 overall, 5-0 in Region 6-AAA and unranked; Haralson County is 6-0, 4-0 and unranked. 

Last meeting: Haralson County won 24-22 in 2018. 

Things to know: North Murray opened in 2009. Haralson County started varsity football in 1968. Neither has won a region title in football. Both are trying to end Calhoun's state-record streak of 19 region championships, which became threatened on Sept. 20, when North Murray became the first region opponent to beat Calhoun since 2000. In the 2018 game between these two, Haralson RB Treylon Sheppard rushed for 412 yards. He's now at Cumberland University. Haralson has a new marvel, Clay Hyatt, who has rushed for 1,098 yards (the most of any quarterback in the state) and 18 touchdowns on 103 carries. He has attempted only 15 passes and completed nine. North Murray's quarterback can be spectacular as well. Against Coahulla Creek last week, Ladd McConkey rushed for two touchdowns, passed for two, returned two punts for touchdowns and returned an interception for a score. He returned a kickoff for a touchdown earlier in the season. North Murray gets about two-thirds of its yardage rushing. The team leader is Dante Tidwell with 752 yards. 

Pepperell at Rockmart 

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, The Rock, Rockmart 

Records, rankings: Pepperell is 5-1 overall, 3-0 in Region 7-AA and unranked; Rockmart is 6-0, 3-0 and No. 1. 

Last meeting: Rockmart won 40-10 in 2018. 

Things to know: These are the only teams without a loss in the region. Pepperell won the region title in 2016. Rockmart has won the past two and can win a third straight for the first time since 1954-57. There are no other opponents with winning records on Rockmart's schedule. Rockmart dominated Pepperell in the most recent matchup, leading 34-0 at halftime. Pepperell has improved its defense. It is allowing 9.5 points per game, fifth-fewest in AA. DE Tyler Loggins (nine sacks, seven other tackles for losses) and FS Josh Ross (38 solo tackles) lead a senior-dominated unit. The top rusher is a freshman, D.J. Rogers (416 yards). Payton Rhoades (429 yards receiving, five touchdowns) is the team's primary offensive threat. Rockmart's top playmakers are QB Javin Whatley (762 yards rushing with 16 touchdowns, 844 passing with seven touchdowns) and preseason all-state WR Juke Boozer (343 yards receiving). Rockmart ranks third in scoring offense (44.6) and fourth in scoring defense (8.7). 

Sandy Creek at Cartersville 

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Weinman Stadium, Cartersville 

Records, rankings: Sandy Creek is 6-0 overall, 2-0 in Region 5-AAAA and No. 4; Cartersville is 7-0, 3-0 and No. 2. 

Last meeting: Cartersville won 7-0 in 2018. 

Things to know: Cartersville leads the series 6-0. In the 2018 game, Cartersville scored the game's only touchdown with 3:08 left. Sandy Creek then drove to Cartersville's 24-yard line but was intercepted. Cartersville remains a defensive-minded team, allowing 5.4 points per game, fewest in Class AAAA. While Sandy Creek has scored no fewer than 28 points in a game this season, Cartersville has not allowed 28 point to a Georgia opponent since 2015. On offense, Cartersville relies on QB Tee Webb, who has thrown for 1,358 yards and 14 touchdowns. The Louisville commit has cut his interception rate 30 percent while improving his yards per pass to 11.0 from 8.3 over his junior season. Sandy Creek's quarterback is less known but even more prolific this season. Matt Williams is 87-of-121 passing for 1,513 yards and 18 touchdowns with just one interception for a team that gets two-thirds of its offense through the air. Ahmad Jackson (26 receptions, 486 yards, five touchdowns) and Alabama-committed WR/CB Brian Branch (18-350-6) are the top receivers. 

Valdosta at Coffee 

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jardine Stadium, Douglas 

Records, rankings: Valdosta is 6-1 overall, 1-0 in Region 1-AAAAAA and No. 2; Coffee is 6-1, 1-0 and No. 6. 

Last meeting: Valdosta won 37-22 in 2018. 

Things to know: The winner of this matchup of top-six teams will take over sole possession of first place in Region 1-AAAAAA, but both must still contend with fourth-ranked Lee County, the two-time defending Class AAAAAA and Region 1 champion. Valdosta last won a region title in its 2016 state championship season. Coffee last won one in 2015. Both teams average close to 300 yards per game of offense. Coffee is the more balanced of the two, rushing for 157.6 yards per game and passing for 128.7. Maurice Turner is third in the region with 344 yards rushing on 34 carries. A.J. Wilkerson is 61-of-96 passing for 833 yards and 10 touchdowns. Jaylen Suggs has 314 receiving yards and five touchdowns on 12 catches. The Trojans allow 10.14 points per game, second-fewest in Class AAAAAA. Valdosta leans on a passing game led by Tate Rodemaker, who is 110-of-148 (74.3 percent) for 1,543 yards and 21 TDs. Rodemaker threw for 394 yards and three touchdowns against the Trojans last year. Javonte Sherman has a region-leading 490 yards and eight touchdowns receiving. T.J. Dailey has rushed for 343 yards and nine TDs on 67 carries. 

Produced by Georgia High School Football Daily, a free e-mail newsletter. To join the mailing list, click here.

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.

About the Authors

X