Top 10 games of Week 12

Carver (Atlanta) at Cedar Grove

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, William Buck Godfrey Stadium, Decatur

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

Last meeting: Cedar Grove won 56-26 in the 2021 Class 3A championship game.

Things to know: Cedar Grove will win the region outright with a victory. Carver can claim the title in a tiebreaker that includes Sandy Creek (7-2, 1-1) with a victory of 13 points or more. Cedar Grove and Carver are similarly constructed this season, though Cedar Grove might be considered the big brother given its history of five state titles over seven seasons. Both have good passing quarterbacks with two standout receivers. For Cedar Grove, that’s Elliott Colson (1,837 passing yards, 20 touchdowns), Barry Jackson (661 receiving yards) and Ricky Lee (436 receiving yards). For Carver, it’s Bryce Bowens (1,441 passing), Deandre Buchannon (543 receiving) and Zykeek Mender (540 receiving). Neither team has more than 1,250 yards rushing. (Carver had two 1,500 rushers last season.) Both have disruptive game-changers on defense. LB Adonijah Green (committed to Louisville) and CB Kayin Lee (Ohio State) are the best known for Cedar Grove. LB Everett Roussaw, another Division I prospect, is recently back from injury. Carver’s Aquintis Clemmons, Akiliss Smith and Jamontez Hines have more than 50 tackles for losses among themselves. Neither team is afraid to lose. Cedar Grove has played seven ranked opponents, four from class 7A, and beaten four. Carver’s losses are to No. 3 Sandy Creek in region play and to Buford.

Effingham County at Brunswick

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Glynn County Stadium, Brunswick

Records, rankings: Effingham County is 7-2 overall, 5-0 in Region 2-6A and unranked; Brunswick is 9-0, 5-0 and No. 8.

Last meeting: Brunswick won 21-18 in 2021.

Things to know: Brunswick, under promoted first-year coach Garrett Grady, is chasing back-to-back region titles and 10-0 regular-season finishes. Effingham County can win its first region title since 1995. Effingham has won seven straight games after August losses to Richmond Hill and Burke County. The program is 13-6 in two seasons under John Ford, the former Buford and Roswell coach. It was 5-11 in the two seasons prior. Jayden Evans has rushed for 876 yards. Nate Hayes has thrown for 1,433 yards and 12 touchdowns. WR Keion Wallace, who has several Division I offers, has eight TD receptions. Both teams rank in the top 10 of Class 6A in points allowed per game, but Brunswick averages 37.0 points to Effingham’s 26.0. Brunswick has several versatile and dynamic players. T.J. Mitchell has 1,080 all-purpose yards, and Jayden Drayton has 827. J’Shawn Towns is the team’s leading rusher. Jamarious Towns is the leading tackler. The Towns brothers are sophomores. Brunswick’s most highly recruited assets are linemen Ka’Shawn Thomas (committed to Wake Forest) and Jamal Meriweather (Central Florida).

Harlem at Morgan County

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Bill Corry Stadium, Madison

Records, rankings: Harlem is 8-1 overall, 4-0 in Region 4-3A and unranked; Morgan County is 7-2, 4-0 and unranked.

Last meeting: Morgan County won 39-29 in 2021.

Things to know: Harlem can win its first region championship since 1974. Morgan County can win its first since 2017. Harlem, allowing 10.4 points per game, has the best scoring defense in Class 3A. Morgan County is scoring 39.4 per game, the highest in school history and the fourth-best in 3A. Harlem, under third-year coach Mark Boiter, has its most victories since 1981. Its loss came against Elbert County 27-21. Jason Williams has rushed for 1,017 yards and 17 touchdowns. He ran for 233 and three touchdowns against Morgan County last season in defeat. Jordan Bowers has 19 tackles for losses. Jon Jon Howard leads the team in receiving yards (588) and interceptions (four). Morgan County has topped 40 points six times. Jacere Cooper has rushed for 1,299 yards – at least 97 in every game – and 15 touchdowns. Most of QB Talan Fuller’s passing yards and TD throws have gone to T.J. Thompson (31 receptions, 705 yards, 12 touchdowns).

Milton at Lambert

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Longhorn Stadium, Suwanee

Records, rankings: Milton is 6-3 overall, 4-0 in Region 6-7A and No. 9; Lambert is 9-0, 4-0 and No. 7.

Last meeting: Milton won 49-0 in 2019.

Things to know: This is for the region title. It would be Lambert’s second in history, first since 2016. The Longhorns’ nine victories are a school record. Milton, the 2021 Class 7A runner-up, has won four consecutive region titles and was given a 76.3% chance of winning this one in the preseason computer Maxwell Ratings. Lambert was given a 5.2% chance and picked to finish fifth. But Maxwell now has Lambert as a one-point favorite. Lambert, a team without a Power 5 conference prospect, has a balanced offense led by QB James Tyre, who has thrown for 1,459 yards and rushed for 350, including 100 in a victory over South Forsyth last week. Brandon Jones had 32 receptions for 744 yards and eight touchdowns. Ryan Degyansky is one of the state’s best as a kicker/punter. Milton opened with consecutive losses to out-of-state teams. Its only in-state loss was to No. 5 North Cobb. Milton’s gets 70% of its total yards passing. Luke Nickel, a sophomore with offers from Florida State and Michigan State, has thrown for 1,686 yards. Bryce Thornton (committed to Florida) and Robert Billings (committed to Clemson) are conspicuous in the Milton secondary. Milton’s Ben Reaves and Lambert’s Marc Beach are first-year coaches promoted in the offseason.

North Gwinnett at Norcross

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Blue Devil Stadium, Norcross

Records, rankings: North Gwinnett is 7-2 overall, 5-0 in Region 7-7A and unranked; Norcross is 7-2, 5-0 and unranked.

Last meeting: North Gwinnett won 51-21 in 2019.

Things to know: These teams are in the same region for the first time since 2004-15, during which one or the other was champion nine times. Norcross has won seven straight games after August losses to Brookwood and Mill Creek. North Gwinnett lost consecutive September games to Parkview and Winter Park, Fla. Norcross’ best feature is its trio of ball catchers – WR Zion Taylor (Georgia Tech), Nakai Poole (Mississippi State) and TE Lawson Luckie (Georgia). Each has more than 400 yards receiving. A.J. Watkins has thrown for 1,507 yards and rushed for 454. North Gwinnett is known for defensive stars Kaden McDonald, a 300-pound defensive lineman who committed to Ohio State on Monday, and Grant Godfrey, a linebacker committed to Kentucky. They rank 1-2 on the team in tackles. Returning to the lineup recently has been DE Tyler Walton, who is committed to Wake Forest. On offense, North Gwinnett is a two-to-one run team led by Julian Walters’ 902 rushing yards. Sophomore QB Ryan Hall has thrown for 1,055 yards.

Roswell at Alpharetta

When, where: 8 p.m. Friday, Raider Stadium, Alpharetta

Records, rankings: Roswell is 8-1 overall, 5-0 in Region 7-6A and No. 3; Alpharetta is 7-2, 5-0 and unranked.

Last meeting: Roswell won 17-13 in 2021.

Things to know: These north Fulton County schools were in Class 7A last season, with Roswell reaching the quarterfinals and Alpharetta finishing 3-8. But the game between the two was a good one. Roswell won on two Robbie Roper TD passes. Alpharetta, under third-year coach Jason Kervin, can claim its first region title since 2017 with a victory. Ben Guthrie has passed for a Class 6A-best 2,624 yards and 33 touchdowns. He has thrown for seven, five and four touchdowns the past three games. Four Alpharetta players have at least 500 yards and five touchdowns receiving. Roswell has a more balanced offense. K.J. Smith has thrown for 1,573 yards. Nykahi Davenport has rushed for 1,170 yards. Roswell CB/WR Ethan Nation is an uncommitted four-star recruit. Both teams are in the top five in Class 6A points per game. Alpharetta’s average score is 41-23 against the 24th-toughest 6A schedule, according to the Maxwell Ratings. Roswell’s average score is 40-10 against the 18th-toughest schedule.

Screven County at Metter

When, where: 7 p.m. Thursday, Tiger Stadium/The Jungle, Metter

Records, rankings: Screven County is 8-0 overall, 3-0 in Region 3-3A Division I and unranked; Metter is 6-3, 3-0 and No. 9.

Last meeting: Metter won 41-0 in 2021.

Things to know: Only 53 of the GHSA’s 412 teams have held every opponent to less than 32 points in every game. Only one of them has allowed 32 points for the entire season. That’s Screven County, unbeaten but unranked despite giving up a state-best 4.0 points per contest. Schedule strength is the issue, and the road to a top-10 ranking and region championship goes through Metter, a team that’s lost three times, but to state contenders Swainsboro, Pierce County and Irwin County. The two teams have outscored their region opponents 208-6. Ironically, it was Screven that gave up the six. Metter, led by two-time all-state LB Ethan Oglesby, has four shutouts of its own. Metter employs a run-based offense led by Trey Hall (363 yards passing, 402 rushing). R.J. Conley is the leading rusher with 442 yards. Screven’s Andre Michaud, a freshman, leads the Gamecocks in rushing yards (552) and tackles for losses (9.5). Both teams pass fewer than 10 times per game.

Swainsboro at Dublin

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Shamrock Bowl, Dublin

Records, rankings: Swainsboro is 8-0 overall, 3-0 in Region 2-A Division I and No. 2; Dublin is 6-2, 3-0 and unranked.

Last meeting: Swainsboro won 39-7 in 2021.

Things to know: These schools, about 40 miles apart, have met each season since 2004 and 71 times through history, but they’ve been region rivals only about half the time. This game is for the championship, and it will be a ground war. Swainsboro has completed just 12 passes, four for touchdowns. Dublin has completed 17 passes, four for touchdowns. Swainsboro averages 268.6 rushing yards at 8.7 per carry. Dublin averages 290.0 at 7.9 per carry. Swainsboro’s Qindarius Brown has rushed for 876 yards and nine touchdowns. Demello Jones rushed for 223 yards and four touchdowns last week against Bleckley County. QB Ty Adams has multiple 100-yard rushing games. Recruited as a cornerback, he’s committed to North Carolina. Dublin’s wing-T offense distributes the ball equitably to Demari Foster (68-799-6), Jaquarius Evans (77-648-8) and Kameron Hampton (63-493-7). QB Micah O’Neal has scored or passed for 10 touchdowns. The teams’ most significant common opponents are Metter and Bleckley. Metter beat Dublin 12-0 and lost to Swainsboro 21-7, but Swainsboro beat Bleckley only 28-21 while Dublin dominated the Royals 31-13.

Thomas Co. Central at Northside (W.R.)

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, McConnell-Talbert Stadium, Warner Robins

Records, rankings: Thomas County Central is 9-0 overall, 4-0 in Region 1-6A and No. 2; Northside is 6-3, 3-1 and unranked.

Last meeting: Northside won 45-17 in the second round of the 2012 Class 5A playoffs.

Things to know: This is for the region title. It would be Northside’s first since 2014 and 15th in history. It would be Thomas Central’s first since 2016 and 13th in history. The computer Maxwell Ratings in preseason gave Northside a 10.7% chance of winning the region and gave Thomas Central only a 2.7% chance. Maxwell now considers Thomas Central the most improved good team in the state under first-year coach Justin Rogers, formerly of Colquitt County. The Yellow Jackets were 5-6 last season in Class 4A. They’ve taken the region lead with victories over No. 10 Houston County and No. 7 Lee County and haven’t been held below 31 points this season. Sam Brown has more than doubled his passing output this season to 1,785 yards and gone from completing 47.4% of his passes to 71.4%. Northside has lost three games by seven points or less but has shown its fangs in victories over North Cobb and Lee County. Northside’s forte is defense. It held Lee County to 10-of-23 passing and all-state RB Ousmane Kromah to 81 yards and limited Houston County to a season-low 282 total yards, 156 below its average, albeit it in defeat. Northside’s top recruit, four-star safety Ricardo Jones, returned to the lineup two weeks ago after missing five games with an injury.

Ware County at Coffee

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jardine Stadium, Douglas

Records, rankings: Ware County is 8-0 overall, 4-0 in Region 1-5A and No. 1; Coffee is 8-1, 4-0 and No. 4.

Last meeting: Ware County won 35-3 in 2021.

Things to know: This is the seventh time in nine seasons that these south Georgia teams have met when both were ranked. Ware is the defending region champion and claims six titles since 2012. Coffee hasn’t won a region title since 2016 despite five quarterfinal-or-better playoff finishes in the meantime. Ware is the more balanced team offensively. Nikao Smith, replacing all-state QB Thomas Castellanos, has thrown for 1,538 yards and 17 touchdowns. DeaJeaun Dennis has rushed for 699 yards. Jarvis Hayes, who has a Minnesota offer, has 629 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns. Coffee, under first-year coach Mike Coe, averages 274.9 yards rushing and only 9.7 passing attempts per game. Antwain McDuffie has rushed for 818 yards, and two others are over 500 in Coe’s spread option offense. Ware’s average score is 36-7 against the 17th-toughest Class 5A schedule. Coffee’s average score is 44-9 against the 44th-toughest. The most significant common opponent is Bainbridge. Ware won 22-16 at home while Coffee lost 24-21 on the road.

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