The high school football season is in week six. Here are five things to watch in Class 7A this week:
*Valdosta at Lowndes: Valdosta leads the series between these crosstown rivals 37-22, but Lowndes has won 13 of the past 17, including the last four. Valdosta, being coached by Shelton Felton after the offseason firing of Rush Propst, is 1-3 for the first time since 2017, but the schedule has been rough. The Wildcats forfeited a game against Bainbridge on Sept. 3 and lost to Class 5A No. 1 Warner Robins (48-20) and Class 7A No. 5 Colquitt County (48-42). The Wildcats have been balanced on offense, led by QB Joseph Gardner (22-of-52 passing, 410 yards and four touchdowns) and RB Terrell Denson (29 carries, 195 yards, two TDs). Lowndes is led by QB Jacurri Brown, a four-star senior prospect who has committed to Miami. Brown is No. 2 in 1-7A in passing (47-of-79, 646 yards, nine touchdowns) and No. 5 in rushing (345 yards, three TDs) despite playing one fewer game than every other team in the region. Jacarre Fleming (231) and Chase Belcher (187) also are key contributors in the run game. Khris Thomas leads the region in receiving yards (307 yards).
*Camden County at Coffee: The coaches in this game have won 12 state championships and almost 700 games between them. Coffee’s Robby Pruitt is 373-90-1 with seven titles, all in Florida, while Camden County’s Jeff Herron is 316-55 with five titles. They’ve faced each other once, in 2012 when Camden beat Coffee. Coffee is balanced offensively this season. Maurice Turner, a preseason Georgia Power 100 player who’s committed to Louisville, has 128 yards and four touchdowns rushing and 263 yards and four touchdowns receiving, plus 192 returning yards. Coffee has scored 34 or more points in every game. Camden is rushing for 327.8 yards per game and passing for 22.2. That’s after Herron restored his favored offense, the wing-T. Camden got 60% of its total yards passing under the previous staff last season. Deonte Cole (419 yards, 16.1 per carry) and four-star recruit Jamie Felix (413 yards, 9.0 ypc) are the leading rushers. Camden’s loss came Sept. 10 against Marietta, 40-17. These two have a common opponent, Glynn Academy. Camden beat Glynn 46-21; Coffee won 42-0.
*East Coweta at Collins Hill: In the 2020 game, East Coweta won in overtime on Daniel Schoch’s TD pass to Tyrell Fudge after Beau Beldon kicked a 22-yard field goal as time expired in regulation. The victory boosted East Coweta into the top 10 for the first time since 2010 and moved Collins Hill out. Collins Hill would rally and reach the Class 7A championship game. The only other team to beat Collins Hill was champion Grayson, twice. Schoch is back and committed to Mercer. He’s thrown for 650 yards with six touchdowns. East Coweta, with three shutouts, is 5-0 for the first time since 2015. Collins Hill, with two shutouts, is 5-0 for the first time since 2013. Collins Hill’s Sam Horn has thrown for 1,023 yards in four games. Travis Hunter has 32 receptions for 553 yards. They’ve hooked up on 40 TD passes in their careers. DE Asani Redwood has 13 tackles for losses and nine sacks.
*Roswell at Walton: This is the final non-region tuneup for teams that could win their regions. Roswell, the Region 5 co-favorite with Milton, is 4-0. Walton, which will be battling North Cobb and Marietta, is 2-1. Walton has beaten Lowndes but lost to West Forsyth 51-35 after getting gashed in the run game. Both are good passing teams. Zak Rozsman and Jeremy Hecklinski of Walton have thrown for 633 yards in three games. Roswell’s Robbie Roper has thrown for 1,425 yards, the most in Class 7A as Roswell is getting more than 70% of its offense through the air.
*Grayson at Mill Creek: Grayson beat Mill Creek in double overtime last year in what turned out to be the Rams’ toughest game in a 14-0 season. Grayson returned about six starters total and opened with a 19-14 upset loss to Creekside but has won four straight since. Grayson is leaning heavily on the run (228.2 rushing yards per game, 71.8 passing). Joe Taylor, one of three rushers with more than 300 yards, leads the team with 464. Mill Creek is more balanced. Hayden Clark has thrown for 681 yards and five touchdowns with no interceptions. Caleb Downs, a top-40 national recruit among juniors, is Mill Creek’s best all-around player. He’s an elite safety with more than 200 all-purpose yards and four touchdowns. Grayson has a similar but younger safety, sophomore Michael Daugherty, a four-star recruit. Grayson is 3-0 all-time against Mill Creek.
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