Top 10 games of Week 10

Grayson running back Phil Mafah (26) runs against Collins Hill linebacker Logan Birdsong (42) in the first half at Grayson High School Friday, September 18, 2020 in Loganville, Ga..(Jason Getz/Special to the AJC)

Combined ShapeCaption
Grayson running back Phil Mafah (26) runs against Collins Hill linebacker Logan Birdsong (42) in the first half at Grayson High School Friday, September 18, 2020 in Loganville, Ga..(Jason Getz/Special to the AJC)

Clinch County at Brooks County

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Veterans Stadium, Quitman

Records, rankings: Clinch County is 4-2 overall, 2-1 in Region 2-A Public and unranked; Brooks County is 6-1, 2-1 and No. 3.

Last meeting: Clinch County won 38-14 in 2019.

Things to know: Brooks County was ranked No. 2 in preseason, and Clinch No. 3, but Clinch has struggled by its lofty standards, falling out of the rankings for the first time since 2015 after losing to unranked Charlton County 18-14 on Oct. 9. The Panthers' best player, Tyler Morehead, is back from a knee injury. He made his season debut last week, playing only defense. A major Division I prospect, Morehead rushed for 252 yards in the Brooks County game last season. COVID-19 also kept Clinch out of games for a month in September. But Clinch appears to be rounding into form. Marquavious Grady leads the team in rushing yards (543) and tackles (38). Brooks County’s season has gone about as expected. The Trojans beat then-No. 3 Thomasville of Class 2A in the opener and lost only to Class A Public’s No. 1 team, Irwin County, 21-13 a month ago. Preseason all-state RB Omari Arnold has rushed for 840 yards, on pace for another season over 1,500. QB Nitavion Burrus has thrown for 949 yards and rushed for 302.

Fitzgerald at Thomasville

When, where: 8 p.m. Friday, Veterans Memorial Stadium, Thomasville

Records, rankings: Fitzgerald is 8-0 overall, 3-0 in Region 1-2A and No. 2; Thomasville is 5-3, 3-0 and No. 5.

Last meeting: Thomasville won 20-14 in 2019.

Things to know: These are the only 1-2A teams that are unbeaten in region play. They’ve alternated beating each other the past four seasons. Thomasville won a close one in 2019 with two 100-yard rushers, including freshman Ricky Fulton, who has returned as a sophomore to run for a team-leading 497 yards. QB Ronnie Baker has thrown for 1,243 yards and rushed for 463 in Thomasville’s balanced offense. Fitzgerald’s best all-around player is Chance Gamble, who has 422 yards rushing, 166 passing and 339 receiving while starting in the secondary. But he’s missed two games, including last week’s, and his status is uncertain. RB Mario Clark has rushed for 595 yards and would be the main offensive threat in Gamble’s absence. At least one team from this region has made the semifinals or better each season since 2013, and they traditionally play tough schedules that make them better than their records. Fitzgerald has beaten four top-10 teams. Thomasville has beaten two, and all three of the Bulldogs' losses are against top-five teams from other classifications.

Grayson at Brookwood

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Brookwood Community Stadium, Snellville

Records, rankings: Grayson is 7-0 overall, 2-0 in Region 4-7A and No. 1; Brookwood is 6-1, 0-1 and unranked.

Last meeting: Grayson won 50-10 in 2015.

Things to know: Brookwood was ranked No. 4, its highest since 2011, until losing last week to unranked Newton. “We’ve been humbled,” Brookwood coach Philip Jones told the Gwinnett Daily Post afterward. That bounced the Broncos out of the rankings, but most observes still view them as a top team. Dylan Lonergan, the state’s top QB prospect among sophomores, injured an ankle after throwing only one pass against Newton and did not return. He has thrown for 1,791 yards. Brookwood might have the best pair of wide receivers (Sam Mbake, Denylon Morrissette) in Class 7A. Grayson reassumed the No. 1 ranking last week after a 47-7 victory over Parkview. Clemson-committed RB Phil Mafah has rushed for 983 yards. Jake Garcia, committed to Southern Cal, played his first game for Grayson last week and was 4-of-11 passing for 179 yards and a touchdown. Deyon Cannon, who has thrown for 810 yards and eight touchdowns, likely will start.

Islands at New Hampstead

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Pooler Stadium, Pooler

Records, rankings: Islands is 4-0 overall, 1-0 in Region 3-4A and No. 8; New Hampstead is 4-0, 0-0 and unranked.

Last meeting: New Hampstead won 44-14 in 2017.

Things to know: Islands and New Hampshire are the only remaining unbeaten teams among the eight Savannah-Chatham public schools, which opted to play only intra-district games this season. The winner is likely to earn the No. 2 seed in the playoffs behind region champion Benedictine. Both teams have high-powered offenses – New Hampstead averages 42.25 points, and Islands averages 36.5 – but are perhaps better known for their defenses. New Hampstead gives up just five points per game, third-best in Class 4A, and has allowed no more than eight in any game. The unit is led by LB Rodney Wade (103 tackles in 2019, 21 total tackles this season), DE D’Andre Robertson (21 tackles) and DB Noddy Thomas (nine solo tackles). For Islands, DL/LB Bubba Chisholm has a team-high 25 tackles for a defense allowing six points per game. DE Damonte Smith, who sat out last year after transferring from Beach, has 16 tackles in three games. The Sharks are led on offense by QB Jadon Adams, who has passed for 518 yards, rushed for a team-leading 310 yards and had a hand in 13 touchdowns in four games.

Jefferson County at Putnam County

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Al Reaves Stadium, Eatonton

Records, rankings: Jefferson County is 4-2 overall, 4-0 in Region 4-2A and unranked; Putnam County is 7-0, 4-0 and No. 7.

Last meeting: Jefferson County won 49-26 in the first round of the 2011 Class 2A playoffs.

Things to know: The winner of this game will be the lone remaining unbeaten team in 4-2A play and can clinch the region title with a victory next week. Jefferson County is the two-time defending champ. Putnam County last won a region title in 2010. Jefferson County runs the ball about 70 percent of the time, led by Kobe Heggs (270 yards), Aquavious Hunter (258) and Izaiah Gaines (224). Hunter, a two-star prospect committed to Navy, also has a team-leading three interceptions. Mike Murray has 303 receiving yards. Putnam County has the No. 3 offense (37.57 points per game) in 2A and is led by Gerald Kilgore (767 yards passing, 404 rushing), Cedrion Brundage (502 rushing), Tamarion Peters (448 rushing) and Jalon Kilgore (240 receiving). The War Eagles have been even better on defense, giving up just 28 points, creating 21 turnovers, and allowing 97.9 rushing yards and 56.2 passing yards per game. LB Kaden Corbitt (48 tackles), DL Michael Crumbley (40 tackles, two blocked punts) and Jalon Kilgore (39 tackles, two interceptions) lead that unit.

Kell at Allatoona

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Buccaneer Stadium, Acworth

Records, rankings: Kell is 4-2 overall, 4-0 in Region 6-6A and unranked; Allatoona is 6-0, 5-0 and No. 7.

Last meeting: Kell won 31-17 in the first round of the 2013 Class 5A playoffs.

Things to know: Kell (opened in 2003) and Allatoona (2008) are located 17 miles apart in northern Cobb County but have never met in the regular. They are the only remaining unbeaten teams in 6-6A games, and the winner is likely to win the region championship, although a Kell victory would keep one-loss Sprayberry in the mix. Kell gave up 44.5 points per game in non-region losses to Walton and Blessed Trinity but is allowing 15.75 in region play. The Longhorns are led by QB Corbin LaFrance, who was 21-of-26 passing for 234 yards and touchdowns in a 31-27 victory over Kennesaw Mountain last week. That put him over 1,000 yards for the season. Sophomore RB David Mbadinga has rushed for 343 yards on 64 carries. Allatoona, as is tradition, prides itself on running the ball and playing good defense. They are No. 1 in Class 6A in points allowed (5.5 per game) with three shutouts, and average 174.2 yards rushing. Jayden Ponder leads the Buccaneers with 575 yards on 90 carries. Elan Hall averages about 10 passes per game and has thrown for 495 yards.

Lowndes at Colquitt County

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Tom White Field at Mack Tharpe Stadium, Moultrie

Records, rankings: Lowndes is 6-0 overall, 1-0 in Region1-7A and No. 2; Colquitt County is 5-0, 1-0 and No. 3.

Last meeting: Lowndes won 28-17 in 2019.

Things to know: The winner of this game will be the only remaining unbeaten team in 1-7A play and likely will win the region championship. In fact, the winner could clinch the title this week, depending on the outcome of the Camden County-Tift County game. Either Colquitt County or Lowndes (the 2019 region champion and state runner-up) has won this region every year since 2014. Lowndes junior QB Jacurri Brown, a four-star prospect, is the leading rusher in the region with 606 yards and 10 touchdowns on 84 carries. Brown also has passed for 769 yards and seven TDs. Justin Lee is the region’s second-leading rusher with 380 yards on 71 carries. Chase Belcher (12 catches, 333 yards) and Dominique Marshall (19-329) are the team’s leading receivers. Colquitt County is the highest-scoring team in Class 7A, averaging 47 points per game. QB Xavier Williams is the region’s leading passer. He is 62-of-100 for 984 yards and 12 touchdowns. His primary targets are Lemeke Brockington (15 catches, 353 yards, five touchdowns) and Dijmon Wheeler (14-193-4).

Rockmart at Adairsville

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Tiger Stadium, Adairsville

Records, rankings: Rockmart is 6-1 overall, 5-0 in Region 6-3A and No. 7; Adairsville is 5-2, 4-1 and unranked.

Last meeting: Adairsville won 9-0 in 2011.

Things to know: Rockmart is the only remaining 6-3A team that is unbeaten in region play, and a victory this week would put it one step closer to its fourth consecutive region title. Adairsville is one of three one-loss teams (North Murray and LaFayette are the others) tied for second place. A victory would keep alive the Tigers' hopes for a first region title since 2001. Rockmart relies on a running game that averages 267.3 yards per game. QB Javin Whatley leads the team in rushing by a wide margin, with 792 yards and eight touchdowns on 93 carries. No other player has more than 273 yards or 37 carries. Whatley also has passed for 600 yards and six touchdowns. Dennis Sims has 12 receptions for 283 yards. Adairsville QB Conner Crunkleton directs a more balanced offense that runs for 186.6 yards per game and passes for 169.3. Crunkleton is 57-of-87 passing for 1,060 yards and nine touchdowns. Eli Agnew (67 carries, 430 yards, three touchdowns) and Jamaury Johnson (75-386-4) are the leading rushers, and Courtney Slocum has 304 receiving yards.

Roswell at Milton

When, where: 7 p.m. Saturday, Eagles Nest, Milton

Records, rankings: Roswell is 6-0 overall, 2-0 in Region 5-7A and No. 5; Milton is 5-1, 2-0 and unranked.

Last meeting: Milton won 16-12 in 2019.

Things to know: These are north Fulton County’s oldest rivals. They first played in 1950. Each has won region titles the past two seasons. Now, they’re region rivals again, the only teams in 5-7A without a loss in region play. Roswell is 6-0 for the first time since the 2016 run to the state final. Milton’s loss is to No. 1 Cedar Grove of Class 3A. Both teams are nearly equally balanced on offense – Roswell at 209.8 rushing, 215.8 passing and Milton at 188.0 rushing, 180 passing. And while Roswell has been more explosive on offense, Milton leads Class 7A in fewest points allowed per game at 9.2. Milton’s Devin Farrell has thrown for 1,080 yards, completing 67.2 percent of his passes with only one interception. He’s run for 318 yards. Jordan McDonald has rushed for a team-leading 461 yards. Roswell’s Robbie Roper has thrown for 1,264 yards. Marquis Willis has 30 receptions for 549 yards and five touchdowns.

Stephenson at Marist

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Hughes Spalding Stadium, Atlanta

Records, rankings: Stephenson is 4-0 overall, 3-0 in Region 6-4A and No. 4; Marist is 5-0, 2-0 and No. 1.

Last meeting: This is the teams' first meeting.

Things to know: These are the only 6-4A teams unbeaten in region play. Marist hasn’t won a region title since 2017. Stephenson won one last year. The teams are similar in their focus on defense and the run game. Stephenson has allowed two touchdowns and 14 points in four games. Marist has allowed two field goals and six points in five games. Stephenson is more of a power-running team. Terrance Guffie has rushed for 361 yards, twice hitting 100 or better in a game. Marist runs the option and has five backs over 100 yards rushing, none more than QB Hayden Richardson’s 203. Marist is just 22-of-38 passing on the season. Stephenson is 18-of-43. This game marks a surprisingly rare meeting between two of the longest-tenured coaches in the state. Alan Chadwick has been Marist’s head coach since 1985. Gartrell started Stephenson’s program in 1996. But despite sharing a common county, DeKalb, the two have faced each other only twice, in 1988-89, when Gartrell was at Shamrock. Marist won both.

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