Don’t sleep on these guys: They may not be ranked, but the guys are going to be players before the dust settles – Jones County, Jefferson, Cambridge, Eastside, Greater Atlanta Christian.
Three most important wins from last week
Eastside defeats Flowery Branch: The Eagles are 2-0 in Region 8, the deepest in Class 5A. Kenai Grier ran for 200 yards and three touchdowns to lead the offense in the 34-14 win, a win that helped get Eastside into the state rankings at No. 10. Coach Jay Cawthon’s team still has to play contenders Clarke Central and Winder-Barrow before finishing the season at Jefferson, which could determine the region title.
Lithia Springs derails Maynard Jackson: The Lions have faced a difficult schedule, losing to mighty Lee County, Douglas County and Creekside. The 49-26 win over the Former Mayors does a couple of things: It puts the Lions ahead of Jackson in the playoff tiebreaker and elevates the importance of this week’s game against Villa Rica. Quarterback Jai’Que Hart threw for 393 yards and four touchdowns – two of them to Jeremiah Battle -- against Jackson and Christopher Parks ran for 72 yards and one touchdown.
Villa Rica’s offense has a night: The Wildcats ran for 351 of their total 419 yards in a 44-23 win over Banneker. Villa Rica quarterback Jake Herrera leads the way and the two running backs Caiden Reed and big James Hunter ran the ball effectively. The road win gives Villa Rica a 2-0 start in Region 5 and makes this week’s game against Lithia Springs quite large, if the Wildcats can expect to challenge Creekside for the regular-season title.
Three of the most impressive performances from last week
Malachi Hosley, Northside Columbus: It was another big-time performance for the senior in the 35-0 win over Westover. He ran 23 times for 204 yards and two touchdowns, caught three passes for 47 yards and threw a 21-yard touchdown pass. He did not, as some reports suggest, work the concession stand at halftime or act as drum major for the band. He did announce a visit to Western Kentucky.
Joshua “Big Bear” Barker, Kell: This guy is truly disruptive. In last week’s 26-9 win over Centennial, he beat the tackle, sacked the quarterback, forced a fumble and scooped it up and ran it for a touchdown. He moves pretty fast for a bear, too.
Skyler Zimmerman, Jefferson: The junior spearheaded an impressive defensive effort in the 17-7 win over Clarke Central. Zimmerman had five solo tackles, two assists and came up with one of the team’s two sacks. Zimmerman is second on the team in tackles behind all-state linebacker Sammy Brown.
Top 10 (plus another five)
The official AJC Top 10: 1- Cartersville, 2. Ware County, 3. Creekside, 4. Dutchtown, 5. Kell, 6. Loganville, 7. Coffee, 8. Calhoun, 9. Jefferson, 10. Eastside.
The very-unofficial next five: 11. Jones County, 12. Warner Robins, 13 Northside-Columbus, 14. Cambridge, 15. Villa Rica.