Class 7A blog: 5 storylines for Week 1

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

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

Parkview was the first Class 7A football team on the field this season Wednesday when the Panthers beat Johns Creek 52-7. Mike Matthews had six receptions for 111 yards and two touchdowns in the first half, both thrown by Colin Houck, who committed this week to play baseball at Mississippi State.

Here are five storylines to follow this weekend in the high class.

First, here’s one that doesn’t involve the outcome of a game.. Jim Rhodes, South Gwinnett football’s public address announcer since 1976, will work his final game Friday in the Comets’ opener against Pebblebrook. Rhodes didn’t miss a South Gwinnett home game for 45 years, even though a 1988 accident that paralyzed him from the waist down. Here’s an inspiring Four Questions interview with Rhodes to help kick off the season and remind us what high school sports are really about.

OK, keep an eye on these games:

1. Colquitt County and Lowndes are playing a double-header at Lowndes’ Martin Stadium on Saturday with Colquitt playing Deerfield Beach and Lowndes facing American Heritage in the Georgia-Florida Challenge. Colquitt and Lowndes are the top two contenders in Region 1. Most favor Colquitt to win the region as it returns more top players, especially on offense.

2. Two of the state’s best quarterbacks and teams will do battle when North Cobb travels to Westlake. North Cobb’s Malachi Singleton is an AJC Super 11 player committed to Arkansas. Westlake’s R.J. Johnson has thrown for more than 7,000 yards in his career, the most of any active Georgia player.

3. Walton and Mill Creek is the only Class 7A game between ranked teams. Mill Creek, which features, AJC Super 11 safety Caleb Downs, is ranked No. 5. Walton, a 2021 semifinal team, is No. 9. Both have outstanding quarterbacks. Walton’s is Jeremy Hecklinski. Mill Creek’s is Hayden Clark. These teams play Saturday at 4 p.m. in the Corky Kell Classic.

4. The Brookwood-Norcross game at 1 p.m. should also be one of the state’s best. Brookwood has Alabama-committed quarterback Dylan Loneragan, who is an AJC Super 11 pick.

5. And while we’re at it, might as well mention the two other 7A games in the Corky Kell. McEachern plays North Gwinnett at 10 a.m., and Marietta plays Grayson in the nightcap. Grayson is ranked No. 2. All four teams advanced at least one playoff round in 2021.

Here are the computer Maxwell Ratings’ projected margins of victory for this week’s games involving 7A teams. It includes only intra-state play.

Thursday’s games

Archer at West Forsyth -4

Newton vs. Hapeville Charter -9

North Forsyth vs. North Atlanta -14

Friday’s games

Camden Co. vs. Columbia -34

Cartersville at Cherokee -20

Central Gwinnett vs. Discovery -10

Dacula at St. Pius -5

Duluth at M.L. King -1

Forsyth Central vs. Chattahoochee -14

Harrison vs. South Paulding -14

Hillgrove at River Ridge -4

Kennesaw Mountain at Cass -4

Lakeside, Atlanta at Berkmar -3

Lambert at Sequoyah 0

Mountain View vs. Shiloh -4

North Cobb at Westlake -5

Peachtree Ridge at Seckinger -41

Roswell vs. Denmark -12

South Forsyth vs. Lanier -13

South Gwinnett vs. Pebblebrook -3

Sprayberry at Campbell -5

Woodstock at Osborne -26

Other games

Friday

Buford vs. Thompson, Ala. (at Milton)

Carrollton at Gadsden City, Ala.

Lipscomb Academy, Tenn. at Milton

North Miami, Fla. at Valdosta

Saturday

American Heritage, Fla. at Lowndes

Collins Hill vs. Life Christian, Va. (at Milton)

Colquitt County vs. Deer. Beach, Fla. (at Lowndes)