Class 3A Blog: Cedar Grove, Carver-Atlanta, Peach, Oconee eye upset opportunities

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

It’s Week 5 and you could say that things in Class 3A are getting pretty serious.

No. 1 Cedar Grove (3-0) and No. 2 Carver-Atlanta (3-0) will travel to play teams ranked in the top 5 of the state’s highest class this week for a chance to prove that Class 3A might be as strong as any in the state.

Defending-champion Cedar Grove is a week removed from defeating 7A defending champion Collins Hill 40-6 and will travel to Class 7A No. 4 Mill Creek (3-0). Buford (3-0) is the top-ranked program in 7A and will host No. 2 Carver-Atlanta, providing the Panthers a chance to make history as the first 3A program to upend a top-ranked 7A team.

What’s to expect from Cedar Grove’s trip to Mill Creek? Quality football.

The Saints have beaten Bainbridge 30-14, Westlake 30-20 and then 7A No. 5 Collins Hill 40-6. Quarterback Elliott Colson is 39-of-57 passing for 580 yards and four touchdowns, but the Saints prefer to run the ball. Colson leads with four rushing touchdowns.

Demarcus Smith (191 yards) and Boden Walker (131 yards) each have two rushing touchdowns, and Quinterio Lawson scored on one run. Barry Jackson (two touchdowns), Devin Carter (one touchdown) and Jakyre Horton (one touchdown) lead the receivers.

On defense, Cedar Grove could face its toughest test yet, despite facing ranked opponents throughout its pre-region schedule. Mill Creek will be no easy task.

The Hawks are coming off victories against then-7A No. 9 (now No. 7) Walton 44-41, Norcross 49-17 and Archer 33-0 last week. Mill Creek senior quarterback Hayden Clark is 53-of-97 passing for 663 yards and five touchdowns without an interception. That’s something cornerback Kaylin Lee, Cedar Grove’s AJC Super 11 Ohio State-commitment, would like to change.

Makhail Wood (three touchdowns), Cameron Robinson (one) and Kyne Pickney (one) are Clark’s favorite targets. The Hawks are led in rushing by Robinson (five touchdowns), Caleb Downs (four) and Kevin Mitchell (one). Downs, a five-star safety committed to Alabama, anchors the Mill Creek defense.

Carver-Atlanta faces arguably the biggest game in program history, and a Panthers victory would be an unprecedented classification-shattering upset.

The Panthers are 3-0 after victories against South Cobb 22-6, Riverdale 44-22 and Stephenson 32-27.

Senior quarterback Bryce Bowens is 44-of-64 passing for five touchdowns to lead a balanced Carver offense which averages 218 passing and 193 rushing yards per game. He has 12 carries for 191 yards and three touchdown runs. Shoun Bilal has 25 carries for 195 yards and two touchdowns. Deandre Buchannon (17 receptions, 256 yards, three touchdowns) and Zyee’k Mender (11 receptions, 268 yards, three touchdowns) are the leading receivers..

In other games: In recent history, No. 6 Peach County has owned the local rivalry against Class 4A No. 4 Perry and has gone 23-1 in 24 seasons while expanding its lead to 33-9 in a series that dates to 1972. Since Perry won 5-3 over the Trojans in 1989, Peach County has won each meeting with the Panthers except a 48-27 Perry victory in 2007. It’s been a smothering effort, but this season’s game could be one of the most competitive in memory. Peach is 2-1 after victories against Baldwin (50-20) and Class 5A No. 10 Jones County (35-3) last week. The Trojans lost 35-7 against Northside-Warner Robins at home. Perry is also 2-1 with a loss to Houston County 57-56 and victories against 5A then-No. 3 Jones County 42-14 and Class 6A Veterans 37-6 last week.

Another game between ranked teams sends No. 4 Oconee County to Class 4A No. 8 Burke County. The Warriors are coming off a 9-7 victory against Class 4A No. 9 Jefferson last week. Burke County is 3-0 after victories against Thomson (24-21), Effingham County (28-10) and Evans (50-14), but Oconee County is the first ranked opponent for the Bears.

Class 3A top-10 schedule

1. (1) Cedar Grove (3-0); Friday at 7A No. 4 Mill Creek

2. (3) Carver-Atlanta (3-0); Friday at 7A No. 1 Buford

3. (4) Calvary Day (2-0); Friday at Liberty County

4. (7) Oconee County (3-1); Friday at Class 4A No. 8 Burke County

5. (5) Sandy Creek (3-1); Friday vs. 7A Collins Hill

6. (8) Peach County (2-1); Friday at 4A No. 4 Perry

7. (6) Crisp County (3-1); Off.

8. (9) Dougherty (4-0); Friday at Terrell County

9. (10) Stephens County (3-1); Friday vs. White County

10. (NR) Mary Persons (3-1); Off.