Blessed Trinity at Alpharetta
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Raider Stadium, Alpharetta
Records, rankings: Blessed Trinity is 6-2 overall, 3-1 in Region 7-6A and unranked; Alpharetta is 6-2, 4-0 and unranked.
Last meeting: This is the teams’ first meeting.
Things to know: Unranked and under-the-radar Alpharetta ranks second in Class 6A scoring and first in passing yards and is two victories from its first region title in five years. Alpharetta has lost to top-10 opponents Cambridge 43-38 and Milton 36-21 and beaten a Class 5A top-10 team, Jefferson, 47-46. Ben Guthrie, a three-year starter, has thrown for 2,314 yards and 29 touchdowns, seven in a game against Lassiter two weeks ago. Offensive linemen Elias Cloy (committed to Georgia Tech), Obadiah Obasuyi (N.C. State) and Parker Peterson (Memphis) average out to be 6 feet, 5 inches and 281 pounds. Alpharetta plays region leader Roswell (8-1, 5-0) next week. Blessed Trinity lost to Roswell 41-10 last month, so the Titans’ goal now is securing the No. 2 seed and a home playoff game. The Titans try to establish the run with Kieran Davis (828 yards rushing), an East Carolina commit. All-state LB Mavrick Torrico is the leading tackler.
Clinch County at Charlton County
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Champ Bailey Field/The Swamp, Folkston
Records, rankings: Clinch County is 8-1 overall, 3-0 in Region 2-A Division II and No. 2; Charlton County is 5-2, 2-0 and No. 6.
Last meeting: Charlton County won 35-34 in 2021.
Things to know: The Swamp War rivalry is tied 30-30-1, and the 62nd meeting likely is for a region championship. Clinch County can win it with a victory. Charlton County still would need to deal with potential spoiler Lanier County (4-4, 1-1) next week. Clinch County’s average score is 37-17 against the 16th-toughest Class A Division II schedule, according to the computer Maxwell Ratings. Charlton County’s average score is 28-18 against the 10th-toughest schedule. While the teams are similar defensively, Clinch County’s edge offensively comes from better passing numbers. QB Keegan Clayton is 52-of-93 passing for 984 yards and 14 touchdowns while rushing for a team-leading 620 yards on 144 carries. Charlton County has completed only 20 passes, so its goal is to hog the clock and move the chains with Jaylen Lilley, who has rushed for 901 yards and 12 touchdowns. Lilley ran for 1,331 yards as a junior.
Colquitt County at Valdosta
When, where: 8 p.m. Friday, Cleveland Field at Bazemore-Hyder Stadium, Valdosta
Records, rankings: Colquitt County is 8-0 overall, 2-0 in Region 1-7A and No. 2; Valdosta is 8-1, 2-1 and No. 8.
Last meeting: Colquitt County won 48-42 in 2021.
Things to know: This is likely for the region championship. Colquitt County is guaranteed the title with a victory. Valdosta might need to emerge from a three-way tie with Colquitt and Camden County but currently holds a big edge in the tiebreaker, which is points allowed in games against the top four region finishers. Valdosta allows a class-best 5.8 points per game, never allowing more than 17 in a game. Colquitt is fourth in Class 7A scoring at 39.4 per game and has scored at least 29 points in every game. Colquitt is almost evenly balanced offensively. Neko Fann has thrown for 1,440 yards and 16 touchdowns. His top receivers are Georgia-committed juniors Ny Carr (461 yards) and Landen Thomas (465). Charlie Pace, a Georgia State commit, has rushed for 877 yards. Valdosta is more of a running team. Ahmad Denson rushed for 142 yards in an upset loss to Camden County last week. Sophomore QB Todd Robinson has thrown for 793 and run for 485. Defensive linemen Eric Brantley Jr. and Omar White have 50 tackles for losses between them. Colquitt has won eight of the past nine in the series. The Packers are aiming for their sixth region title and fifth unbeaten regular season in nine years.
Dawson County at Lumpkin County
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, The Burial Grounds, Dahlonega
Records, rankings: Dawson County is 7-2 overall, 5-0 in Region 7-3A and unranked; Lumpkin County is 7-1, 3-1 and unranked.
Last meeting: Dawson County won 42-8 in 2021.
Things to know: These mountain schools have met 43 times but never with so much on the line. The winner is almost certainly the region champion, though Lumpkin County would need to hold serve next week against West Hall (1-7, 0-4). For Lumpkin, it would be the first region title in its 62-season history. First-year coach Heath Webb’s team has won more games than in the previous five combined (7-43). Mason Sullens has rushed for 892 yards and 15 touchdowns. Cooper Scott is a dual-threat quarterback with 1,223 passing yards and 527 rushing yards. For Dawson County, it’s a chance for a first region title since 2015. The Tigers are principally a running team. Big back Kade Moledor (6-1, 225) has rushed for a team-leading 527 yards while small back Elijah Smith (5-8, 140) has a pair of 100-yard rushing games. WR Dominic Leblanc has three 100-yard receiving games. Lumpkin’s average score is 39-16 against Class 3A’s 44th-toughest schedule. Dawson’s average score is 26-17 against the 15th-toughest. Dawson has won the past seven games in the series, none closely contested.
Decatur at Chamblee
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, North DeKalb Stadium, Chamblee
Records, rankings: Decatur is 4-4 overall, 3-0 in Region 4-5A and unranked; Chamblee is 6-1, 3-0 and unranked.
Last meeting: Decatur won 40-7 in 2017.
Things to know: This game’s winner will be the region champion, and it’s been a while for these old DeKalb County schools that carry the nickname Bulldogs. Decatur last won a region in 2004, when it was a Class 2A school. Chamblee hasn’t won one since 1982. It endured a 7-52 spell from 2014 to 2019 but is 20-3 since, albeit the past two seasons against non-region schedules. Both teams like to pass. Decatur’s Harrison Hannah has thrown for 2,044 yards and been among Class 5A’s leaders all season. Kedric Lanier (44-705-7) and Kedric Lackey (28-664-5) are his leading receivers. Lanier is committed to Vanderbilt. Malachi Miller has 1,097 all-purpose yards with at least 250 rushing, receiving and returning. Chamblee’s Fabian Walker Jr., following up a 2,000-yard passing season from 2021, has thrown for 1,131 yards and 16 touchdown and rushed for 322 yards this season. Chamblee’s average score is 39-12. Decatur’s average score is 29-28. Neither has played a top-40 Class 5A schedule, according to the Maxwell Ratings.
Hughes at South Paulding
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Timothy D. Glanton Stadium, Douglasville
Records, rankings: Hughes is 8-0 overall, 5-0 in Region 5-6A and No. 1; South Paulding is 6-2, 5-0 and unranked.
Last meeting: South Paulding won 43-28 in 2019.
Things to know: Hughes would win its second consecutive region title with a victory. South Paulding would need to take care of Douglas County (6-2, 4-1) next week to win what would be its first region title since the school opened in 2006. Hughes has played no game closer than a 47-21 victory over Class 7A McEachern on Aug. 26. South Paulding has lost to 7A schools Carrollton and North Paulding. Hughes QB Prentiss “Air” Noland is having the year expected of a talented thrower with so many weapons. He’s 119-of-166 passing (71.7%) for 2,048 yards and 28 touchdowns. TE Jelani Thurman, who is committed to Ohio State, had seven catches for 100 yards in last week’s victory over Newnan, and he’s merely the third-leading receiver. South Paulding’s best-known player is Jamarion Wilcox, who has rushed for 1,705 yards and 24 touchdowns. Kentucky appears to be his favorite, though Clemson, Georgia and others have been kicking the tires on him. Kasen Weisman, who is committed to Kansas, has thrown for 1,329 yards.
North Forsyth at Gainesville
When, where: 8 p.m. Friday, Bobby Gruhn Field at City Park, Gainesville
Records, rankings: North Forsyth is 6-2 overall, 4-0 in Region 8-6A and unranked; Gainesville is 8-0, 4-0 and No. 5.
Last meeting: North Forsyth won 38-13 in 2021.
Things to know: Under first-year coach Josh Niblett, Gainesville can win its first region title since 2013. Its first 10-0 regular season since 2009 is also within sight. North Forsyth can win its first region title since 2001 with a victory but is the underdog despite beating Gainesville handily last season, when both were Class 7A teams, and leading the series 7-1. Gainesville has beaten its four region opponents by 27 points or more while North Forsyth has won its four by 14 or less. North Forsyth has been an outstanding passing team as West Roberts (1,668 passing yards) and Logan Curry (658 receiving yards) are top-10 Class 6A performers in their categories, but sophomore Karson McBrayer has come on lately, rushing for 123 and 136 yards the past two games. Gainesville’s player to watch on offense is versatile RB Naim Cheeks, who has 953 yards rushing and 367 receiving. Baxter Wright has thrown for 1,684 yards and is completing 73.2% of his passes. Leading tackler Jeremiah Telander is committed to Tennessee.
Stockbridge at Pace Academy
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Walsh Field, Mableton
Records, rankings: Stockbridge is 6-2 overall, 5-0 in Region 5-4A and unranked; Pace Academy is 7-1, 4-1 and unranked.
Last meeting: This is the teams’ first meeting.
Things to know: Though unranked by GHSF Daily, both teams have top-10 standing in two other polls in the composite rankings. With a victory, Stockbridge under second-year coach Thomas Clark can win its first region title since its run of four straight ended in 2017. Stockbridge has lost to Colquitt County 29-0 and Dougherty 33-30 but shut out or routed everyone else, with an average score of 44-3 in region play. That includes a 34-0 victory over Lovett, which beat Pace Academy 30-20. Stockbridge CB/WR Shelton Lewis, the team’s leading receiver, is committed to Clemson. Stockbridge gets 71% of its total yards rushing. Jordyn Mack (5-7, 170) has rushed for 530 yards. Freshman RB Edward Minor rushed for 106 yards against Lovett. Pace Academy under new coach Nick Bach has its highest victory total since its 2015 Class 2A championship team. Pace gets 68% of its total yards passing. Conner Phelan has thrown for 1,564 yards and 16 touchdowns. Navy commit Kendall Evans (501 yards) is the leading receiver. OL Trovon Baugh is committed to South Carolina, and DL Hevin Brown-Shuler is a four-star junior recruit.
Thomas Co. Central at Lee County
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Trojan Field, Leesburg
Records, rankings: Thomas County Central is 8-0 overall, 3-0 in Region 1-6A and No. 3; Lee County is 6-2, 2-1 and No. 7.
Last meeting: Lee County won 49-0 in 2017.
Things to know: Thomas Central under new coach Justin Rogers is 8-0 for the first time since 2007 and the only Region 1 team without a region loss. The Yellow Jackets face their top contenders the next two weeks. A trip to Northside of Warner Robins (5-3, 2-1) follows on Nov. 4. Thomas Central has been an offensive juggernaut, averaging 42.3 points. If Central can make it 12 games, Ricky Fulton and Trey Benton are on pace for 1,000 yards rushing while Tyler Floyd is on pace for 1,000 receiving. Sam Brown has thrown 21 TD passes. Lee County was the clear region favorite until about 12 minutes left in last week’s Northside game. A 20-0 lead and a five-year winning streak in region games vanished in a game that ended in a stunning strip sack and fumble return for a touchdown. Despite that, Lee County likely will finish no worse than second with a victory this week and still can finish first. Lee County’s offensive playmakers are RB Ousmane Kromah (1,133 rushing yards) and WR J.D. Fugerson (725 receiving yards).
Trinity Christian at Troup
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Callaway Stadium, LaGrange
Records, rankings: Trinity Christian is 5-3 overall, 4-1 in Region 4-4A and unranked; Troup is 8-0, 5-0 and No. 4.
Last meeting: This is the teams’ first meeting.
Things to know: Troup is chasing its first region title since 1987 and can get it with a victory. Trinity Christian, last season’s Class A Private champion, will win the region title with a victory against Troup and one against Fayette County (1-7) next week. Troup averages 44.5 points per game, the most in Class 4A, and the engine behind it is junior QB Taeo Todd, who has passed for 1,232 yards and rushed for 1,104 with a hand in 30 touchdowns. LB Qua Birdsong, a four-star junior recruit, is Troup’s leading tackler. Trinity gets two-thirds of its yards in the passing game. QB Henry Broadnax has thrown for 1,708 yards and 11 touchdowns. Trinity’s top recruit, WR/DB Aaron Gates, hasn’t played since the third game. He’s committed to Florida. These teams’ most significant common opponents are Whitewater and Starr’s Mill, both now ranked. Troup beat them 43-33 and 44-17 while Trinity beat them 27-23 and 3-0.
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