Class 2A blog: Week 4 games to watch

Athens Academy, Mount Pisgah meet after last year’s playoff thriller; Laney eyes 3-0 for 1st time since ‘07; North Cobb Christian can exceed ‘21 win total with victory Friday

For a preview of the Columbia-Cartersville and Fitzgerald-Madison County (Fla.) games, see GHSF Daily’s “Top 10 games of Week 4″.

Athens Academy Spartans at Mount Pisgah Patriots

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Mount Pisgah High, Alpharetta

Records, rankings: Athens Academy is 2-1 and unranked in 2A, Mount Pisgah is 3-0 and unranked in Class 1A’s Division I.

Last meeting: Athens Academy won 27-21 in OT in Round 1 of the 2020 Class 1A Private playoffs.

Watch the game: NFHS Network

Maxwell’s projection: Mount Pisgah by 1

Notes: This is an encore to last year’s playoff overtime thriller, which was decided by Spartans quarterback Sam Bush’s 15-yard touchdown run, which came after Spartans freshman Tristan Puckett picked off Mount Pisgah’s touchdown pass on its OT possession. The Spartans will look to shake off a 48-14 loss last week at home to Prince Avenue Christian, the top-ranked team in Class 1A’s Division I. They’ll play another opponent from that classification, and four of their five non-region opponents are from there. The lone exception is Alabama’s Mobile Christian, which they beat 23-7 on Aug. 26. Until this season, the Patriots had competed in 1A since its founding in 1976. Josh Alexander is in his eight season as coach of the Spartans, and he’s never had a losing season. In fact, last season’s 8-4 record was the lowest win total he’s finished with. He’s 74-15 with three region titles. The Patriots are looking for a season sweep against Region 8-2A opponents. They beat Fellowship Christian 21-18 in the Kell Classic on Aug. 19. After stumbling to a 5-6 record last year in coach Ryan Livezey’s first season, the Patriots are officially 3-0 for the first time since 2013, when they won their first 12 games. In 2016, they were credited with a 3-0 start despite trailing Rabun County 21-14 in their second game, which wasn’t completed due to weather.

First Presbyterian Vikings at Laney Wildcats

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Laney Memorial Stadium, Augusta

Records, rankings: First Presbyterian is 1-1 and ranked No. 3 in the GIAA’s Class 4A, according to the MaxPrep computer rankings; Laney is 2-0 and unranked in 2A.

Last meeting: This is the first meeting between these teams.

Maxwell’s projection: Even

Notes: The Wildcats appear to be building something under coach Ronnie Baker, who last year in his first season guided them to their first winning record (6-5) since 2015, and their first playoff appearance since 2016. This season, they’re 2-0 for the first time since 2007 after shutting out South Carolina’s Strom Thurmond 14-0 on Aug. 19, and Hephzibah 26-17 on Aug. 26 before heading into their bye. The Wildcats started 4-0 in 2007 but finished 6-4 with a first-round exit. This is the Wildcats’ final tuneup before their region schedule, which opens at home with the 4-2A’s highest-ranked team, No. 8 Thomson. The Vikings are playing their first GHSA opponent since bolting for the GISA this offseason, as one of six schools to leave over the latest reclassification disagreements. They beat Alabama’s Chambers Academy 34-3 in their opener, then lost 34-28 to GISA’s Brookstone last week. They’ll play two more GHSA schools this season when they host Mount Pisgah on Sept. 23 and Commerce the following week. They are led by 4-star dual-threat quarterback Jakhari Williams, who holds Power 5 offers from NC State, Pitt and Virginia Tech.

Copper Basin (Tenn.) Cougars at North Cobb Christian Eagles

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jacob Dennis Field, Kennesaw

Records, rankings: Copper Basin is 0-3 and unranked in the TSSAA’s Class 1A, North Cobb Christian is 3-0 and No. 10.

Last meeting: This is the first meeting between these teams.

Watch the game: NFHS Network

Notes: The Eagles entered the rankings last week with a goose-bump-inducing 19-15 win over Wesleyan on the last play, which was a 65-yard touchdown pass with five laterals. After struggling to a 3-8 record in coach Matt Jones’ first season, the Eagles could be back on the track they were on in 2020, when they finished 8-3 in 1A Private and reached the second round in Mark Hollars’ final season. Hollars guided the Eagles to their only quarterfinals appearance in 2018, and again to the second round in 2019. The Eagles have already matched last season’s win total. The Eagles have used two quarterbacks thus far. Junior Brock Parker is 14 of 16 passing for 154 yards and two touchdowns to one interception, senior Matty Go is 12 of 22 for 181 yards and two touchdowns to no interceptions. Senior Jadin Coates leads the team with 345 yards and three touchdowns on on just 34 carries. Senior Jacob Cruz, a 3-star athlete committed to Georgia Tech, leads the team defensively with 30 tackles and six tackles for loss, and offensively with nine catches for 157 yards. Like the Eagles, the Cougars struggled last year after an 8-3 finish in 2020, finishing 2-7. Unlike the Eagles, they don’t appear to have turned a corner this season.