Class A Blog: Top games of Week 2

Here’s a look at some of the top games of Week 2.

Public No. 1 Public Irwin County (0-0) at Class 2A No. 3 Fitzgerald (1-0): (Preview courtesy of Georgia High School Football Daily.) This will be the first season opener for Irwin County since 2013 without Buddy Nobles on the sideline. Nobles brought the program to prominence and last season won its first state title since 1975. He passed away from cancer, not long after the win. Defensive coordinator Casey Soliday, who served as interim head coach during last season’s title run, has taken over as the permanent head coach.

Irwin was supposed to open up last week against five-time Class A Private champion Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy, but the game was canceled over COVID-19 concerns. Irwin has won two consecutive games against Fitzgerald, and its 27-point victory last year was its largest ever against the Purple Hurricane. However, Fitzgerald was 17-0-1 in the previous 18 games and holds a 44-19-3 advantage in a series that dates to 1954. Irwin features three returning players who earned all-state recognition last season – RB/LB Garland Benyard, CB/RB Gabe Benyard and LB/FB Kam Ward. Fitzgerald opened the season with a 21-17 victory over Cairo. Chance Gamble scored on a 56-yard run and 34-yard reception from Rashad David, and Fitzgerald scored two touchdowns in the final two minutes of the first half for a 21-14 lead. Gamble was the region offensive player of the year and a first-team all-state selection at defensive back in 2019. Mario Clark, a returning first-team all-region player, scored Fitzgerald’s other touchdown against Cairo on a 2-yard run.

Private No. 3 Private Prince Avenue Christian (1-0) at Class 2A No. 1 Rabun County (1-0): (Preview courtesy of Georgia High School Football Daily.) This game attracted ESPNU’s attention because of the teams' quarterbacks, senior Brock Vandagriff of Prince Avenue Christian and junior Gunner Stockton of Rabun County. Both are consensus five-star recruits, Vandagriff committed to Georgia, Stockton to South Carolina. Except for Justin Fields, they would be Georgia’s two highest-rated dual-threat QB prospects this century. Vandagriff has thrown for 6,174 yards and rushed for 1,486 in his career with 99 rushing or passing touchdowns. Stockton has thrown for 6,543 and rushed for 1,916 with 117 combined touchdowns.

But both teams were good before either quarterback showed up, so neither is a one-man show. Prince Avenue senior Landon Owens plays running back and receiver and had 165 yards from scrimmage in a 42-7 win over Calvary Day last week. Rabun sophomore Lang Windham rushed for 148 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries in a 35-0 victory over Ridgeland.

Private No. 4 Wesleyan (1-0) vs. Mount de Sales (1-0): Lost in all the talk about ELCA, Athens Academy and Prince Avenue, is Wesleyan, last season’s state runners-up. The Wolves opened their season with a 45-14 win over Mount Pisgah Christian. Junior WR/DB Cooper Blauser led the way with nine receptions for a school-record 229 yards and three touchdowns. Blauser also scored a touchdown and intercepted a pass. Ryan Rose was 18-for-22 passing for 312 yards and four touchdowns. Griffin Caldwell rushed for 121 yards and a touchdown on six carries.

Mount de Sales opened with a win for the fifth consecutive season with a 28-14 victory over Class 2A Monticello. It was the Cavaliers' third straight win over Monticello in a season opener, as they jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter after returning the opening kickoff for a touchdown and getting an interception return for another touchdown by Kobe Butts. Monticello’s defense stiffened and the Hurricanes tied the game at 14 heading into the fourth quarter. But junior QB A’Khori Jones played a role in two scores in the final period to put the game away. He threw a touchdown to Drew Senn and added a 31-yard scoring run in the game’s final two minutes.

Other Games of Note

Public No. 4 Pelham (1-0) at Class 2A Early County (1-0): The Hornets defeated rival Public No. 6 Mitchell County last week, 24-18. The game is usually played much later in the season and had been the season finale for both teams since 2016.

Private No. 8 Hebron Christian (0-0) at North Cobb Christian (1-0): It’s the season opener for the Lions, while NCC is coming off of an impressive 38-7 win over St. Francis last week.

Commerce (1-0) vs. Class 2A Union County (0-1): The Tigers knocked off Class 2A rival Banks County last week, 41-18.

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