Class 2A blog: What to watch in Week 2

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Exciting news — I now have a podcast, appropriately titled “Class 2A Blogcast.” Listen here.

Now onto what to watch this week.

Sometimes, there is overlap between my previews of the week’s games and GHSF Daily’s coverage since it sometimes picks a game or two involving a Class 2A as well. This week, however, four of the 10 games GHSF Daily previews involve 2A schools, so instead of placing those capsules here, I’ll direct you to the GHSF Daily story for the following top games:

  • Bleckley County at Wilcox County
  • Irwin County at Fitzgerald
  • Lovett at GAC
  • Prince Avenue Christian at Rabun County

Below are some other notable games involving 2A schools.

NOTE: Jefferson County had been slated to play Swainsboro on Friday, but had to cancel due to a confirmed COVID-19 case within the program. On the Jefferson County High School homepage, it’s noted that football activities will resume Sept. 14.

Troup Tigers at Callaway Cavaliers

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

Records, rankings: Troup is 0-1 and unranked in 4A; Callaway is 0-0 and No. 2 in 2A.

Last meeting: Callaway won 56-45 in 2019.

Maxwell’s projection: Callaway by 6

Notes: Last year’s game was a high-scoring affair and, going in, they were both ranked No. 3 in their respective classifications. The Tigers were ranked heading into this season but lost 28-14 to unranked Harris County of 5A. Now, the Tigers are in pursuit of redemption and the opportunity to knock the Cavaliers a few pegs down in the rankings. The Cavs didn’t play last week so they will becoming in fresh, and how prepared they are to face a team that’s already gone to battle the week prior could be the difference in what should be a tightly-contested game between teams that always appear to be evenly matched. The all-time series, which dates back to 2008, is knotted at 5-5. The Tigers have AJC preseason all-state selection Royce White, a senior lineman and 3-star committed to Memphis and Zy Varner, a senior 3-star athlete with offers from Cincinnati and Nebraska. The Cavs are led by senior 3-star Demetrius Coleman, in his third year starting at quarterback. He holds four Power 5 offers in Alabama, Ole Miss, Mississippi State and North Carolina. Senior 3-star Charlie Dixon, with offers from Mississippi State, Nebraska and West Virginia, is the team’s starting running back and senior 3-star Jalin Shephard, whose five offers including Auburn, Colorado and Nebraska, is a preseason all-state selection at defensive back. Coleman and senior defensive lineman Keshawn Suggs are also preseason all-state picks.

Thomas County Central at Thomasville Bulldogs

When, where: 8 p.m., Veterans Memorial Stadium, Thomasville

Records, rankings: Thomas County Central Yellow Jackets is 0-0 and unranked in 4A; Thomasville is 0-1 and ranked No. 6 in 2A.

Last meeting: Thomas County Central won 31-17 in 2019.

Watch the game: NFHS Network

Maxwell’s projection: Thomasville by 6

Notes: This crosstown rivalry between schools three miles apart dates back to 1962, with the all-time series tied at 26. The Yellow Jackets are 6-2 against the Bulldogs since 2010, with the Bulldogs' wins coming 2017 and 2018. The Bulldogs, who lost 20-14 against former Region 1-2A rivals Brooks County last week in their opener, are looking to avoid their second 0-2 start in a row. However, they might not be discouraged should they lose, because last year they started 0-3 and 2-4, but managed to win the region title and advance all the way to the semifinals, where they lost 55-45 to eventual champions Dublin. It was the Bulldogs' deepest run since 1993, when they reached the 3A title game and lost 14-12 to...Thomas County Central. The Bulldogs are led by senior quarterback Ronnie Baker, who threw for 2,579 yards and rushed for 616 last year, and preseason all-state selections Ricardo Johnson, a senior receiver, and junior linebacker Ty Anderson — a 3-star with Power 5 offers from Georgia Tech and South Carolina. This will be the season opener for the Jackets, who haven’t had a winning season or playoff appearance since going 8-4 in 2016. Though they don’t have any preseason all-state selections, sophomore receiver Adam Hopkins has nine Power 5 offers including Florida State, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Michigan State, Penn State and South Carolina. Sophomore defensive end Gabriel Harris has eight Power 5 offers including Florida State, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Penn State and Tennessee.

Heard County Braves at Pepperell Dragons

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

Records, rankings: Pepperell is 0-1 and unranked; Heard County is 1-0 and ranked No. 10.

Last meeting: Pepperell won 27-7 in 2019.

Maxwell’s projection: Heard County by 4

Notes: Both schools rest relatively close to the Alabama border, with Pepperell 75 miles north of Heard County. This is a series with little history, with their three meetings spread out between 2013, 2017 and last year. The Braves won the first two contests, first 27-14 and then 41-28, when the Dragons were members of 3A. The Dragons played their opener last week — a 28-10 loss to Haralson County — without starting quarterback Gage Moses, who was injured during the preseason, according to the Rome News-Tribune. It’s unclear Moses' status for this week and moving forward, but whether he plays could prove the difference this week. Pepperell has a preseason all-state selection in junior offensive lineman Clay Crawford. The Braves are looking to bounce back from a down year in which they went 4-7 a season after winning the only state title in their program’s history. They’re off to a good start, having beaten South Atlanta 20-6, earning themselves a spot in the polls. Senior Alex Boyd led the Braves with 159 yards and a 40-yard score on 12 carries, according to HeardCitizen.com.

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