Class 5A blog: Kell, Cambridge could decide Region 6 title

First-place battle highlights this week’s Six-Pack of Games
081722 Johns Creek, Ga.: Kell running back Ryan Barrett (3) scores a touchdown as quarterback Bryce Clavon (1) reactions during the fourth quarter of their game against Cherokee Bluff at Johns Creek high school Wednesday, August 17, 2022, in Johns Creek, Ga. Kell won 38-23. (Jason Getz /

Credit: Jason Getz /

Credit: Jason Getz /

081722 Johns Creek, Ga.: Kell running back Ryan Barrett (3) scores a touchdown as quarterback Bryce Clavon (1) reactions during the fourth quarter of their game against Cherokee Bluff at Johns Creek high school Wednesday, August 17, 2022, in Johns Creek, Ga. Kell won 38-23. (Jason Getz /

Bobby May left a successful program behind at Westlake to take the job at Kell High School. He was attracted by the community and the administration’s embracement of athletics. He admitted the Longhorns are a little bit ahead of schedule as they host Friday’s game against Cambridge, a contest that could swing the Region 6 championship for either team.

Kell is 6-0, 2-0 in Region 6 and ranked No. 5 in Class 5A. Cambridge (5-2, 3-0) and is ranked No. 8.

“We’ll take it, but it’s still a process as far as building the right type of program to maintain and sustain,” May said. “We’re probably a little bit ahead of schedule.”

May spent a lot of time trying to increase the number of participants by encouraging players to come out for the team, even if they weren’t involved in youth programs. More numbers means greater depth, which comes into play as injuries occur throughout the season.

Kell leans on a talented quarterback and group of skill position players while the young and relatively inexperienced offensive line gets its legs.

Quarterback Bryce Clavon has thrown for 1,422 yards and 14 touchdowns and run for 493 and nine touchdowns through six games.

“He’s the leader of our offense and he gets us out of bad situations because not only is he a great quarterback, but he’s a really, really great athlete,” May said. “He makes big plays in big moments for us and it’s the kind of thing an average quarterback or lesser quarterback would not be able to do.”

Elijah Washington has run for 318 yards and two touchdowns and Justin Mitchell has rushed for 199 yards and one touchdown. Freshman receiver Peyton Zachary had 27 catches and four touchdowns and Davion Hampton has 21 catches and three touchdowns.

Hampton was the quarterback last year, but has played receiver, returns kicks, catches passes and starts at safety, where he will likely play in college.

The defense is led by Joshua “Big Bear” Barker, a 5-foot-9, 250-pound mayhem-making defensive lineman. Barker has 59 tackles, 17 tackles for loss and 10 ½ sacks. He’s caused two fumbles and recovered a fumble.

“He’s just hard to block and if you don’t spend a lot of time preparing for him – and even when you do -- it’s hard,” May said. “And we do a good job moving him around. But he is a freak athlete. He’s a hard worker and he makes plays – and we need him to.”

The defense also features middle linebacker Sawain Simmons, who had never played defense until this season.

“He’s been getting guys lined up and has done a good job being more physical and being more of a leader, as he gets more comfortable,” May said.

Nelson Woghiren had not played since he was a freshman, but returned for his senior season and become a play maker. May said Woghiren was a Div. I talent, but is only getting discovered now because of his inactivity.

Cambridge is led by junior quarterback Preston Clemmer, who has thrown for 976 yards and 17 touchdowns and run for 401 yards and five touchdowns. Christian Isibor has rushed for 834 yards and 10 touchdowns behind the Bears’ veteran offensive line. Will Taylor leads the team with 23 receptions and six touchdowns and Jack Marlow has 19 catches and two touchdowns.

“They’re definitely the best offense we’ve played and they do some things that are going to mess you up,” May said. “Overall they’re the best team we’ve played for sure.”

Five other top games to watch this week:

Jones County at Dutchtown: No. 3 Dutchtown (6-0, 2-0) would become the favorite to win Region 2 with a victory over Jones County (4-3, 2-1). Dutchtown has already beaten two-time defending state champion and No. 10 Warner Robins. Jones County still has a game remaining with Warner Robins. Dutchtown’s offense is led by running back Jamal Bing, who has picked up 621 yards and topped the 100-yard barrier five times. Jones County has had injury problems and last week had a 16-game region winning streak broken with a loss to Ola. Zion Ragins (27 catches, 368 yard) and Geo Wade (26 catches, 315 yards) are the best of a deep corps of receivers. Quarterback Judd Anderson has thrown for 912 yards and eight touchdowns.

Cartersville at Hiram: Hiram (4-3, 1-1) is trying to knock off a giant for the second straight week after taking down Calhoun a week ago. The Hornets have a steady hand at quarterback in senior Samir Wylie (890 yards passing, 13 TDs) and a prolific running game sparked by Jemarion Whatley (830 yards, 11 TDs) and Kaden Hamilton (614 yards, eight TDs). Cartersville is trying to prevent suffering back-to-back losses for the first time since 2011.

Dalton at Cass: Current Region 7 leader Dalton (4-3, 2-0) is coming off a win over Woodland while Cass (3-4, 1-1) is trying to bounce back after having its two-game winning streak broken last week with a loss to No. 7 Cartersville. Dalton’s Tyson Greenwade leads Class 5A with 1,338 yards rushing and has been over 100 yards in each game.

Statesboro at Coffee: Statesboro’s record – 2-4 overall, 1-0 Region 1 – may be deceiving since the Blue Devils have lost to some good teams. Coach Jeff Kaiser’s team broke a three-game losing streak by beating Greenbrier in the region opener, but will get a real gauge against No. 8 Coffee (5-1, 1-0). Coffee’s running attack has been tough to slow behind Antwain McDuffie (605 yards, 10 TDs), Fred Brown (326 yards, nine TDs) and Tyrese Woodgett (292 yards, two TDs). Quarterback Maurice Hansley adds balance and has thrown for 589 yards and five touchdowns, with only one interception. Statesboro’s run-heavy attack features Jordan Lovett (732 yards.

Maynard Jackson at Creekside (Thursday): The winner of this one will be virtually assured of a spot in the playoffs. No. 2 Creekside (4-2, 3-0 Region 5) has won four straight games. Jackson (5-2, 3-1) has won two straight since it lost to Lithia Springs. Jackson quarterback Karleon Bell leads the team in passing and rushing and sophomore receiver R Dorn has been scary to defend. Creekside is best-known for its hard-nosed defense, but the offense is potent and well-balanced. Quarterback Vinson Berry has thrown for 720 yards and Rod McCrary (704 yards) and Tavarre Terrell (377 yards) are the two top backs. Krishon “The Jet” Lett has a team-high 16 receptions.