Class 3A blog: No. 3 Pierce County faces another big non-classification challenge

Credit: Jason Getz

Credit: Jason Getz

Pierce County has not shied away from stiff competition in its pre-region schedule, and this week’s home stand against Class 2A No. 3 Fitzgerald should provide another test.

The No.3-ranked and defending-champion Bears are coming off a 33-13 victory against Class 2A No. 5 Clinch County and have Class 2A No. 2 Rabun County scheduled in Blackshear next week.

Talk about a tough stretch.

Add in that Fitzgerald handed Pierce its only loss (27-17) during 2020′s championship season, and it’s obvious the Bears want revenge and the program’s first-ever victory against Fitzgerald (0-7).

Pierce should -- or possibly could or just maybe, they hope -- benefit from the return of all-state running back D.J. Bell, who has been out because of a knee injury. It will be a game-time decision whether Bell takes the field. Last season, Bell rushed for 177 yards and passed for a touchdown in the loss to Fitzgerald.

Pierce gets most of its offensive production from the running game, with 10 rushing touchdowns. The possible addition of Bell’s talents will aid those efforts.

For now, seniors Donelius and Danarius Johnson lead the running game. Donelius has 19 carries for 198 yards and five touchdowns and Danarius has 30 carries for 166 yards and two touchdowns. Jaquez White (two touchdowns) and quarterback Daytin Baker (one touchdown) also factor in the rushing attack.

The Bears only have attempted nine passes this season, but Baker has been efficient -- 4-of-6 passing for 164 yards and two touchdowns, one to senior Knox Bennett and one to sophomore Carson Sloan.

Other games worth watching:

-- Three programs face higher-classed opponents this week -- No. 2 Oconee County, No. 6 Appling County and No. 8 Monroe Area. Oconee hosts Class 5A Veterans; Appling hosts Class 5A Wayne County, and Monroe Area hosts Class 6A Lakeside-Evans.

-- Four of the top 10 have region games -- No. 1 Cedar Grove (vs. Carver-Atlanta, Region 5), No. 4 Sandy Creek (vs. Douglass, Region 5), No. 5 Peach County (at Sumter County, Region 2) and No. 8 Thomson (at Morgan County, Region 4).

Follow the link to the PREP SCOREBOARD to keep up with all of the action Thursday-Saturday.

Week 6 Top-10 schedule

1. (1) Cedar Grove (2-1) Friday vs. Carver-Atlanta, 7:30 p.m. (5-3A Game)

2. (2) Oconee County (4-0) Friday vs. 5A Veterans, 7:30 p.m.

3. (3) Pierce County (3-1) Friday vs. Class 2A No. 3 Fitzgerald, 7:30 p.m.

4. (5) Sandy Creek (4-0) Friday vs. Douglass, 7:30 p.m. (5-3A Game)

5. (4) Peach County (1-2) Friday at Sumter County, 7:30 p.m. (2-3A Game)

6. (6) Appling County (5-0) Friday vs. 5A Wayne County, 7:30 p.m.

7. (8) Thomson (3-0) Friday at Morgan County, 7:30 p.m. (4-3A Game)

8. (9) Monroe Area (4-0) Friday vs. 6A Lakeside-Evans, 7:30 p.m.

9. (10) Hart County (4-0) Off.

10. (NR) Burke County (2-0) Friday at Cross Creek, 7:30 p.m. (4-3A Game)

Here are the region standings vs. outside opponents.

Region  Vs Out  Pct          Tot         Pct

1-3A       14-7       0.667     14-7       0.667

2-3A       5-16       0.238     5-16       0.238

3-3A       8-11       0.421     8-11       0.421

4-3A       11-15     0.423     11-15     0.423

5-3A       11-11     0.500     11-11     0.500

6-3A       12-4       0.750     12-4       0.750

7-3A       12-13     0.480     12-13     0.480

8-3A       23-4       0.852     23-4       0.852