Cherokee at Milton
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Eagles' Nest, Milton
Records, rankings: Cherokee is 5-1 overall, 3-1 in Region 5-AAAAAA and unranked; Milton is 4-1, 2-1 and No. 8.
Last meeting: Milton won 42-7 in 2013.
Three things to know: 1. Cherokee's Andrew Harris is the state's leading receiver with 918 yards on 53 catches. He has scored 12 touchdowns (10 receiving, one rushing, and one on an interception return) and has thrown a TD pass. QB Spencer Ashley is 121-for-168 passing for 1,783 yards and 19 touchdowns. He has two consecutive games with more than 420 yards and just surpassed 5,300 yards for his career. 2. Milton's defense ranks ninth in Class AAAAAA, giving up 11 points per game, and the average is just 5.5 points allowed in the Eagles' four victories, including shutouts against ninth-ranked Norcross and Lassiter, which was averaging 32 points per game. In a 37-12 victory last week, Milton held Etowah RB Raishod Devezin, who was second in AAAAAA with 191 yards per game, to 20 yards rushing, according to the Cherokee Tribune. 3. Cherokee and Milton are two of four 5-AAAAAA teams with one loss in region play. Woodstock and Roswell are the others. Cherokee beat Woodstock last week and plays Roswell on Oct. 24. Milton lost to Roswell on Sept. 19 and plays at Woodstock on Oct. 24. Cherokee will win the region title if it wins its remaining games.
Creekside at Carver (Atlanta)
When, where: 8 p.m. Friday, Lakewood Stadium, Atlanta
Records, rankings: Creekside is 5-1 overall, 1-0 in Region 6-AAAAA Div. B and No. 2; Carver is 5-1, 1-0 and unranked.
Last meeting: Creekside won 51-8 in 1997.
Three things to know:1. Creekside's 2013 state-championship team threw for more than 2,500 yards and returned a Super 11 wide receiver in Jayson Stanley, but he's out for the season with an ACL injury, and Creekside is hanging its hat on a more physical style this season. Creekside RB Bricen Terry has 921 yards rushing on 165 carries. Over the past two games against Stephenson and Mays, both Top 10 teams with three major Division I prospects each on defense, he has averaged 36 carries and 190 yards. Creekside held Mays to 23 yards rushing and turned the Stephenson game with a goal-line stand after Stephenson had a first-and-goal from the 1. 2. DB/WR Aaron Williams (committed to Nebraska) is Carver's most high-profile player, but Gregory Payton (5-6, 160) is making a bid for all-region if not all-state as a running back. He has rushed for right at 1,000 yards. He rushed for 286 yards and three touchdowns against Dunwoody earlier this season. 3. Carver is viewed as the most likely spoiler in Region 6, which includes ranked teams Creekside, Mays and Stephenson. Carver's only loss is to Carver of Columbus, 12-6, but its victories have been tight (four by eight points or less) against middling sorts of teams, so this is the Panthers' chance to make a mark. These schools are about 25 miles apart, but they've played only twice. They are the only teams without a loss in their subregion besides Banneker (0-0), which is 0-5 overall.
Dodge County at Appling County
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jimmy Swain Stadium, Baxley
Records, rankings: Dodge County is 6-0 overall, 3-0 in Region 1-AAA Div. A and No. 10; Appling County is 4-1, 2-0 and unranked.
Last meeting: Appling County won 30-8 in 2013.
Three things to know:1. Dodge County, which has clinched its first winning season since 2007 (9-3), distributes the ball fairly evenly out of a Wing-T offense. The main four backs are QB Landon Martin (42 carries, 410 yards, six touchdowns), FB Kyle Glover (50-288-7), RB Roscoe Wilcox (34-350-3) and RB Gerard Davis (56-299-4). Martin is 19-of-40 passing for 175 yards. 2. Appling is 33-8-1 over the past four seasons, and a big reason is three-year starting quarterback Vernon Dasher. He threw TD passes of 59 and 55 yards to Brandon Jones and 75 yards to Maurice Paulk last week in a 42-0 victory over Toombs County. 3. Appling has beaten Dodge the past seven times they've played, with Dodge's last victory coming in 1973. This game will leave the winner as one of potentially two unbeaten teams in the subregion. The other is Cook (4-2, 3-0).
Dooly County at Hawkinsville
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Bobby Gentry Stadium, Hawkinsville
Records, rankings: Dooly County is 4-1 overall, 2-1 in Region 4-A and No. 9; Hawkinsville is 6-0, 4-0 and No. 5.
Last meeting: Dooly County won 17-6 in 2013.
Three things to know: 1. Dooly County scored 28 second-half points in a 28-21 victory against previously unbeaten Pacelli on Sept. 26 in its most recent game. Jerome Pressley scored the winning points on a 4-yard run with 1:27 to play and had a 30-yard TD run in the third quarter. Jordan Miles threw a 30-yard touchdown pass to Stevie Rhodes. It was Dooly County's closest victory in a series the Bobcats lead 9-0. 2. Hawkinsville has the top-ranked defense in Class A, giving up an average of 4.7 points and no more than eight in any game. The leading tackler is Royce Owens, who has 1.5 sacks and nine tackles for losses. Offensively, the Red Devils average 238 yards rushing and 47.2 passing. Six players have at least 15 carries and one touchdown, led by Reginald McDonald (394 yards, 59 carries, seven TDs). 3. The battle for the championship in a tough Region 4-A has essentially turned into a three-team race involving Dooly, Hawkinsville and Marion County, all of which are in the top five of this week's Class A public-school power rankings. Dooly County lost to Marion 40-19 on Sept. 12. Hawkinsville will play next week at Marion, which won the region and state titles last season.
Gainesville at Lanier
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Longhorns Stadium, Sugar Hill
Records, rankings: Gainesville is 4-1 overall, 4-0 in Region 8-AAAAA and unranked; Lanier is 5-0, 4-0 and No. 9.
Last meeting: This is the teams' first meeting.
Three things to know: 1. Gainesville averages 298.6 yards per game and gets about 75 percent of it from the passing game. QB Mickey Gonzalez has thrown for 1,057 yards and 12 touchdowns. His top target is Messiah Dorsey (28 receptions, 291 yards, two TDs). Chris Byrd, the only player on the team with more than 100 yards rushing for the year, will miss the rest of the regular season with an ankle injury. 2. Lanier rushes for 233.4 yards per game, and the workload is shared primarily by four backs. Tario Fuller missed one game but has by far the most carries with 72 (319 yards and four touchdowns). The yardage leader, however, is Ashton Barnes, who has 33 carries for 358 yards, including 241 in a 35-20 victory against Clarke Central. QB Tahj Tolbert throws about 20 times per game and has 753 yards passing. 3. Lanier and Gainesville are the only remaining unbeaten teams in 8-AAAAA games, and the winner is likely to take the region title. Since 2008, Gainesville has won a region title every year except 2012, when it won the state championship. Lanier, which is playing its third full season and was in Class AAAA last year, is seeking its first region title.
Lee County at Colquitt County
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Mack Tharpe Memorial Stadium, Moultrie
Records, rankings: Lee County is 5-0 overall, 1-0 in Region 1-AAAAAA and unranked; Colquitt County is 6-0, 1-0 and No. 1.
Last meeting: Colquitt County won 34-31 in 2007.
Three things to know: 1. Despite a 10-2 finish in 2013, Lee County was predicted by many to finish last in 1-AAAAAA because of the move up in classification and the graduation of all-state QB Stephen Collier, now at Ohio State. But junior Garet Morrell (64-of-112 for 1,130 yards and 12 touchdowns) has been done well in Collier's absence. His top targets are Emmanuel Eafford (19-456-4) and J.Q. Quimbly (17-292-4). The leading rusher is Willie Kelley with 233 yards on 34 carries. 2. The winner will be no worse than tied for first in the region. Valdosta (6-0, 1-0) is the other unbeaten team. Lee County is 0-8 against Colquitt County, although it took two overtimes for the Packers to prevail in their last meeting in 2007, the year before Colquitt coach Rush Propst arrived. 3. Colquitt County QB Chase Parrish has completed 72.3 percent of his passes (94 of 130) for 1,040 yards. Juniors Kiel Pollard and Ty Lee each have more than 300 yards receiving. Sihiem King has rushed for a region-best 653 yards.
St. Pius at Marist
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Hughes Spalding Stadium, Atlanta
Records, rankings: St. Pius is 3-2 overall, 3-0 in Region 6-AAAA and unranked; Marist is 6-0, 4-0 and No. 4.
Last meeting: St. Pius won 28-3 in 2009.
Three things to know: 1. This rivalry game between DeKalb County Catholic schools was played every season from 1962 to 2009 but interrupted when 6-AAAA required Marist to play a 10-game region schedule. They could've played in 2012 and 2013 but did not, leading many St. Pius fans to complain that it was a result of St. Pius' first two-game winning streak in the series (2008-09) since the 1970s. Marist leads the series 30-15-3 and won 21 straight until 2003. 2. Marist is averaging 299.7 yards rushing out of its option offense. Only 34 passes have been thrown. RB Ian Gipson has rushed for 559 yards and six touchdowns. PK Joey Gogol has put 18 of 32 kickoffs in the end zone and made five of six field-goal attempts, one of 53 yards against Redan. Eight different Marist players have intercepted passes. 3. St. Pius also runs an option offense and passes even less than Marist (12-of-19 for the season) while averaging 320.3 yards rushing. FB/LB Dalton Wilson (5-1, 225) got 34 of his 60 rushing attempts for the season last week against Columbia and ran for 225 yards. PK Nick Jones has put 18 of 26 kickoffs in the end zone.
Savannah Christian at Calvary Day
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, M.C. Anderson Field, Savannah
Records, rankings: Savannah Christian is 5-0 overall, 1-0 in Region 3-A Div. A and No. 7; Calvary Day is 5-0, 1-0 and No. 4.
Last meeting: Calvary Day won 37-0 in 2013.
Three things to know: 1. Savannah Christian is a running team that averages 38 rushing attempts and less than five passes per game. Wade Benton is the leader in rushing yards (297), carries (60) and touchdowns (six, including two in a 21-14 victory against Montgomery County two weeks ago). The Raiders are averaging 191.4 yards per game rushing and 81.6 passing. 2. Calvary Day also is a run-first team, although QB Salvador Calderon is 40-for-60 passing for 478 yards and eight touchdowns. Robert Heyward (53 carries for 295 yards) and Calderon (44-234) get most of the carries, but AJ Keene is the leader in yards with 373 on 19 attempts. Keene scored on a 72-yard run, an 18-yard reception and a 95-yard kickoff return in a recent 47-6 victory against Wheeler County. 3. Savannah Christian or Calvary Day has won Division A every season since Region 3-A became subdivided in 2008, and the winner of this game will be the favorite to extend that streak. The biggest hurdle remaining for both teams is Claxton, which is 4-1 overall and 1-0 in the subregion.
Whitewater at Sandy Creek
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, The Battlefield, Tyrone
Records, rankings: Whitewater is 4-1 overall, 0-0 in Region 5-AAAA and No. 9; Sandy Creek is 5-0, 0-0 and No. 2.
Last meeting: Sandy Creek won 43-20 in 2011.
Three things to know: 1. These are two of three ranked teams from Region 5-AAAA. No. 7 Woodward Academy is the other. Carrollton (2-3) and Troup (3-2) have been ranked in at least one poll this season. The computer Maxwell Ratings consider 5-AAAA the sixth-best region statewide in any classification, the best in AAAA and better than any other region outside of AAAAAA.2. Sandy Creek has won 42 consecutive region games, the third-longest active streak of its kind in Georgia. The team is more run-oriented than in past seasons. Eric Swinney, an Ole Miss-committed player, has run for 722 yards and eight touchdowns. QB Trey Walker is 32-of-50 passing for 423 yards and five TDs. Most of the teams college prospects are on defense - DE Javonte Lain (Old Dominion), DE Trent Sellers (Georgia Tech) and DB Brian Miller (Ole Miss offer). 3. Whitewater was ranked in preseason largely because it was a 2013 playoff team (and 2012 state semifinalist) in a higher classification (AAAAA) moving down. The Wildcats' loss this season is to AAAAAA East Coweta 17-14. They've beaten three winless teams, so Sandy Creek represents the real litmus test. RB Christian Wafford (Marshall offer) is the leading rusher with 510 yards and six touchdowns on 81 carries. Ian McIntyre has run for 300 yards. Both start in the secondary. QB Jay Ashley is 52-of-92 passing for 714 yards and nine TDs in a spread offense.
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