Dacula at Buford
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Tom Riden Stadium, Buford
Records, rankings: Dacula is 6-2 overall, 5-0 in Region 8-6A and No. 5; Buford is 7-1, 5-0 and No. 2.
Last meeting: Buford won 26-0 in 1995.
Things to know: The winner of this game will be the 8-6A champion and the loser will be the runner-up. Dacula is the four-time defending region champion and has won 25 consecutive region games. Buford was the Class 5A champion last season but had its streak of six consecutive region titles broken when the Wolves finished second to Clarke Central in 8-5A. Dacula RB/LB Kyle Efford rushed for 244 yards and two touchdowns in a 20-16 victory over Central Gwinnett last week, giving him 1,010 yards and 17 TDs for the season. The Falcons’ highest-rated recruit is safety Kaleb Edwards, a three-star prospect committed to Georgia Tech. Buford QB Dylan Wittke passed for 173 yards in a 45-7 win over Winder-Barrow last week, but the Wolves typically get about two-thirds of their offense from a running game led by Victor Venn (606 yards) and Gabe Ervin (522 yards, committed to Nebraska). Buford has four three-star seniors on defense – S Amari Wansley (Florida Atlantic), CB Malik Williams (Nebraska), DT Matthew Alexander (Central Florida) and ATH Brandon Castro (Army).
Decatur at St. Pius
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, George B. Maloof Stadium, Atlanta
Records, rankings: Decatur is 6-0 overall, 5-0 in Region 5-5A and unranked; St. Pius is 7-1, 5-0 and No. 8.
Last meeting: St. Pius won 21-0 in 2019.
Things to know: This game is for the Region 5-5A championship, something no one could have imagined in September, when Decatur’s school system suspended sports, even practices, through Sept. 25. Decatur didn’t play its first game until Oct. 2. Now, the Bulldogs are one victory from their first region title since 2004 and unbeaten regular season since 2003. This comes under first-year head coach William Felton, who had been Decatur’s defensive coordinator. Decatur is a young team with a sophomore quarterback, Harrison Hannah, who has thrown for 675 yards and nine touchdowns in six games. The best all-around player is probably Marquis Hood, another sophomore, who leads the team in rushing (455 yards) and sacks (six). He’s 6-3, 230 pounds. St. Pius is an option team that averages 310.1 yards rushing (allowing only 98.8). Mason Benefield is the leading rusher with 525 yards. Eight backs have scored multiple touchdowns. LB Shug Bentley leads the team with 37 first hits, eight tackles for losses and three interceptions. St. Pius can win its eighth region title in 12 seasons.
Denmark at West Forsyth
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Wolverine Stadium, Cumming
Records, rankings: Denmark is 5-3 overall, 5-0 in Region 6-7A and unranked; West Forsyth is 6-3, 4-1 and unranked.
Last meeting: This is the teams’ first meeting.
Things to know: This game is for the Region 6-7A championship. It would be the first region title for Denmark, which opened in 2018. West Forsyth won its only region title in 2012. Both teams have a marque Division I recruit. Denmark QB Aaron McLaughlin, an N.C. State commit, is rated the No. 15 pro-style QB prospect nationally, but he’s playing more like a dual-threat with 624 yards rushing and 1,112 passing in only six games. Azari Brown has eight TD receptions and averages 25.4 yard per catch. For West Forsyth, lineman Dylan Fairchild is the first consensus top-100 national recruit in Forsyth County history. West has another national recruit, junior TE Oscar Delp, who has 38 receptions for 669 yards and eight touchdowns. West Forsyth’s leading rusher, Daba Fofana, has been injured, but sophomore William Orris rushed for 120 yards on 33 carries in a 14-7 victory over Gainesville, West’s most important win to date.
Douglas County at Carrollton
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Grisham Stadium, Carrollton
Records, rankings: Douglas County is 7-2 overall, 4-2 in Region 5-6A and unranked; Carrollton is 5-2, 5-1 and No. 10.
Last meeting: Carrollton won 31-7 in 2009.
Things to know: Carrollton is tied for first place with Rome but beat the Wolves 34-12 on Oct. 9, so a victory would give Carrollton its second consecutive region title. A victory by Douglas County, one game back of the leaders, likely would hand the region title to Rome, which is playing Paulding County (3-6) this week. This game will feature six players ranked among the top 76 senior prospects in Georgia. Douglas County’s big names include DE Jonathan Jefferson (No. 15, committed to Georgia), DE Joshua Robinson (No. 54, Georgia Tech), CB Kani Walker (No. 71, Louisville) and ATH Justin Franklin (No. 76, undecided). Carrollton has LB Chaz Chambliss (No. 24, Georgia) and DE Khristian Zachary (No. 31, Liberty). Douglas County averages 322.3 yards per game and is led by Jimmy Inman (714 yards passing), Kobe Harris (909 yards rushing) and Justin Franklin (507 yards receiving). Carrollton averages 302.5 yards per game, and its leaders are James McCauley (925 yards passing), Christian Lett (375 rushing) and Grant Briscoe (276 receiving).
Milton at Cherokee
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Tommy Baker Field, Canton
Records, rankings: Milton is 8-0 overall, 4-0 in Region 5-7A and No. 10; Cherokee is 8-1, 3-1 and unranked.
Last meeting: Milton won 28-21 in 2015.
Things to know: The winner of this game will be the 5-7A champion. Milton can finish no lower than No. 2 in the region. Cherokee can still finish second with a loss but might fall further, depending on the outcome of Roswell’s game with Woodstock. A victory would give Milton its third consecutive region title but its first undefeated regular season since 1952. Cherokee’s only region title came in 2002. Milton QB Devin Farrell directs an offense that averages 389.7 yards per game (214.4 rushing, 175.3 passing). Farrell has passed for 1,418 yards, run for 448 yards and had a hand in 15 touchdowns. Junior Jordan McDonald leads the team in rushing with 785 yards, including a season-high 204 in a 52-21 victory over Woodstock last week. Cherokee averages 344.2 yards per game (195.2 passing, 149 rushing) and has plenty of firepower at the skill positions. A.J. Swann has passed for 1,757 yards and 18 touchdowns. Keith Adams Jr. has rushed for 1,246 yards and 14 touchdowns on 189 carries. Adarrius Harshaw has 658 yards and six TDs on 36 catches. All are juniors.
Newnan at East Coweta
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Garland Shoemake Memorial Stadium, Sharpsburg
Records, rankings: Newnan is 9-0 overall, 3-0 in Region 2-7A and No. 7; East Coweta is 7-1, 2-0 and No. 5.
Last meeting: East Coweta won 28-21 in 2019.
Things to know: This is for the region title in 2-7A. Newnan can claim its first region title and 10-0 regular season since 2009, and East Coweta is going for its first region title since 2001. This is the first time that these schools have played when both were ranked since 1993. Both are in the top 10 in Class 7A in points per game, Newnan fifth at 38.0 and East Coweta eighth at 34.5. Newnan coach Chip Walker says Michael Maginnis (committed to Samford) is the best quarterback he has ever coached. Maginnis is 121-of-193 passing for 1,895 yards and 18 touchdowns with only one interception. He’s thrown for at least 165 yards and one touchdown in every game. OL Gage Pitchford (Vanderbilt) and DE Dylan Spelios (Navy) also are committed seniors. East Coweta is more run-oriented. Jayden Bolton has rushed for 1,110 yards. East Coweta leads 15-13 in this county rivalry, which awards to its winner the Brantley-Knott Jug.
North Cobb Christian at Christian Heritage
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, The Lions’ Den, Dalton
Records, rankings: North Cobb Christian is 7-1 overall, 2-0 in Region 7-A Private and No. 7; Christian Heritage is 6-1, 2-0 and No. 6.
Last meeting: Christian Heritage won 21-20 in 2019.
Things to know: The winner of this game will be the 7-A Private champion and the loser will be the runner-up. Both are relatively young programs – North Cobb Christian began its varsity program in 2008 and Christian Heritage followed in 2012 – and neither has won a region title. Each team suffered its only loss this season against third-ranked Fellowship Christian, which beat Christian Heritage 43-21 on Sept. 4 and North Cobb Christian 27-0 on Oct. 2. North Cobb Christian is a run-first team led by Caleb Cannon, who is the leading rusher in Cobb County with 1,023 yards and 10 touchdowns on 102 carries. Isaiah Williams has added 440 yards and seven TDs on 40 carries. QBs Walker Orsmby and Luke Brock attempt less than five passes per game and are a combined 23-of-37 for 508 yards. Christian Heritage QB Christian Thomas has passed for more than 1,300 yards, including 201 against Darlington on Oct. 30 in the Lions’ first victory in the series. Thomas also has run for 284 yards. Leading rusher Solomon Locke averages more than 100 yards per game.
Pierce County at Appling County
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jimmy Swain Stadium, Baxley
Records, rankings: Pierce County is 7-1 overall, 3-0 in Region 1-3A and No. 8; Appling County is 7-0, 2-0 and No. 5.
Last meeting: Pierce County won 23-14 in 2019.
Things to know: Pierce County is aiming for its third consecutive region title and 14th straight region victory. Appling County can win its first region title since 2013. These teams have split their past 14 meetings, with half of them decided by seven points or less. The 2019 game turned when Pierce County’s Quevien Bell returned a punt 60 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter. Bell is graduated, but another Bell, sophomore D.J., has rushed for 850 yards in only seven games. QB Jermaine Brewton is a four-year starter who has thrown for 5,305 yards and rushed for 1,190 in his career. Pierce has been even better on defense, though. The Bears are allowing only 7.9 points per game, fourth-fewest in Class 3A. They’ll be tested by Appling’s offense. The Pirates average a class-best 44.4 points. They are a heavy-run team, averaging 293 yards per game rushing. Sharode Roberts has a team-leading 521 yards in a shared-load backfield. Appling has completed only 25 passes, but eight went for touchdowns.
Woodward Academy at Creekside
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Arrowhead Stadium, Fairburn
Records, rankings: Woodward Academy is 6-3 overall, 6-0 in Region 3-5A and unranked; Creekside is 5-2, 5-0 and unranked.
Last meeting: Creekside won 19-0 in 2007.
Things to know: Woodward Academy started the season 0-3 and Creekside was 0-2, but they are undefeated in region play, and this game will settle the top two seeds for the playoffs. Neither team played in 5A last season, as Creekside dropped from 6A and Woodward Academy moved up from 4A. Woodward gets about two-thirds of its offense from a running game led by RB Damari Alston, a four-star junior with 44 offers who has rushed for 1,223 yards and 19 TDs on 178 carries. Four three-star prospects lead the defense. They are S Khari Gee (LSU), DE Ozzie Hoffler (Kansas State), CB Alan Wright (Vanderbilt) and LB Errington Truesdell (Vanderbilt). Creekside also relies on its running game, which produces 83 percent of its total yards. Kamauri Davis leads the effort with 128 carries for 887 yards and four TDs, but Nyqua Lett (59-391-4), Jamond Lee (69-381-6) and Cameron Burch (60-350-2) are significant contributors. Offensive linemen Jalil Muhammad (Florida International) and Jordan Davis (South Carolina) are three-star seniors.
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