What to watch: Week 8


Here are some games of note for Class AA in Week 8.

Thomasville Bulldogs at Brooks County Trojans*

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

Records, rankings: Thomasville is 4-2 overall, 0-0 in Region 1-AA and No. 7; Brooks County is 4-2, 0-0 and No. 10.

Last meeting: Thomasville won 23-20 in 2017.

Maxwell's projection: Thomasville by 6

Notes: Every team in 1-AA has a winning record heading into region play, but Thomasville and Brooks County are the only ones in the top 10, and the winner will emerge as the favorite to win the title. Thomasville is the defending region champion, and Brooks County won it most recently in 2015. Both teams have relatively balanced offenses, although Thomasville is more of a passing team (193.5 yards per game passing, 160.7 rushing), while Brooks County leans more on the running game (139.5 yards rushing, 110.5 passing). Thomasville QB Chad Mascoe is 76-of-132 passing for 1,143 yards and nine touchdowns. Jakarius Tillman (23 catches, 450 yards, six touchdowns) and Kevin Cochran (23-324-0) are the primary receivers. Tan Gellin is the leading rusher with 446 yards, but Ma'lek Miller had a season-high 144 yards on 19 carries in a 42-38 loss to Crisp County last week. Brooks County's leading rusher is Deon Fountain (50 carries, 257 yards), but Omari Arnold and quarterbacks Jacolby Brown and Ni'tavion Burrus all have at least 30 carries. Burrus and Brown are a combined 61-of-105 passing for 663 yards and eight touchdowns.

Dodge County Indians at Dublin Fighting Irish

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

Records, rankings: Dodge County is 6-0, 2-0 in Region 3-AA and No. 6; Dublin is 5-1, 2-0 and unranked.

Last meeting: Dodge County won 42-21 in 2017.

Maxwell's projection: Dodge County by 10

Notes: While Dublin and No. 8 Washington County (5-0, 1-0) are the favorites two win 3-AA, the Fighting Irish can insert themselves into the conversation with a win on Friday. They were ranked as high as No. 8 this season before Brooks County knocked them from the polls with a 13-10 win. In the two games since, the Fighting Irish are 2-0, with region wins over East Laurens (63-0) and Bleckley County (46-15). The Indians are off to a second-straight 6-0 start and are seeking consecutive undefeated regular seasons.  Their last regular season loss came on Oct. 14, 2016 to Washington County. Erin Pitts leads the Indians with 547 rushing yards on 98 carries and has six touchdowns, while R.J. Carr has eight rushing touchdowns and 486 yards on 63 carries.

Jeff Davis Yellow Jackets at Vidalia Indians

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Buck Cravey Field, Vidalia

Records, rankings: Jeff Davis is 5-1, 1-1 in Region 2-AA and unranked; Vidalia is 5-0, 1-1 and No. 9.

Last meeting: Vidalia won 24-21 in 2017.

Maxwell's projection: Vidalia by 25

Notes: The Yellow Jackets are fresh of the 300th win in program history and, at 5-1, are off to their best start since 2007. Their lone blemish is a 24-17 loss to Bacon County in their region opener and they rebounded with a 54-21 win over Bryan County. If the Jackets were to pull off an upset on Friday, it would be the first time they've beaten Vidalia since 1999. The Indians are on the rebound after last year's 5-5 finish, which marked their first non-winning season since 2008. This is their best start since 2014, when they went 12-1. Their signature win of the season thus far is 28-14 over then-No. 10 Class A-Private Emanuel County Institute. They won their region opener 54-8 over Bryan County before taking last week off.

Rockmart Yellow Jackets at Pepperell Dragons

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dragon Stadium, Lindale

Records, rankings: Rockmart is 6-0, 3-0 in 7-AA and No. 3; Pepperell is 4-2, 3-0 and unranked.

Last meeting: Rockmart won 56-42 in 2017.

Maxwell's projection: Rockmart by 27

Notes: The Jackets are heavily favored in this game as computed by Maxwell, and have certainly earned that status with their best start since 1989. However, if anyone is going to stand between them and a second-straight 7-AA title, it's going to have to be the Dragons, who are the only team remaining on their schedule with a winning record or fighting chance of keeping the game competitive. The teams have split their last two meetings, with Pepperell winning 31-10 in 2016. Rockmart is coming of a 56-0 win over Chattooga to give them back-to-back shutouts after downing Dade County 48-0. They beat Armuchee 62-13 in their 7-AA opener. They also shutout then-No. 8 Heard County 33-0 on Sept. 7. Zabrion Whatley leads the Jackets with 354 rushing yards and nine touchdowns on just 39 carries. Dylan Bailey is 30-of-49 passing for 628 yards and seven touchdowns to three interceptions. The Dragons are on a four-game win streak after an 0-2 start, losing to A-public's then-No. 6 Darlington and Pickens by an average of 43.5-14. They've beaten Heritage-Ringgold (31-17), Gordon Central (28-27), Coosa (38-14) and Model (41-7). Sophomore Gage Moses is 67-of-115 passing for 881 yards and 11 touchdowns to five interceptions and is also the team's leading rusher with 320 yards on just 35 carries.

*Courtesy of GHSF Daily

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