Cedar Grove at Milton
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Eagles Nest, Milton
Records, rankings: Cedar Grove (13-2 in 2019) is 0-0 and No. 1 in Class 3A; Milton is 2-0 and No. 7 in 7A.
Last meeting: Milton won 28-22 in 1977.
Things to know: Cedar Grove, playing its opener, returns a solid core from their 2019 championship team. Quarterback Austin Smith (committed to Eastern Michigan) is a three-year starter who threw for 1,523 yards last season. Rashad Dubinion and Langston White, both Division I recruits, are top running backs. Kendell Brown and Keon Watson return as starters on the offensive line. WR Janiran Bonner, the highest-rated recruit on offense, is out with a leg injury. Cedar Grove has allowed less than 12 points per game each of the past four seasons, three of which have ended with state titles, so good defense is a given. All-state DL Demarius Jackson had 24.5 tackles for losses last season. Milton has beaten Johns Creek (29-0) and Hapeville Charter (43-18). QB Devin Ferrell is 30-of-43 passing for 402 yards and has rushed for 109 yards. Jordan McDonald has rushed for 237 yards. Both are juniors with Division I offers. DE Lebbeus Overton, the nation’s No. 1 sophomore recruit according to 247Sports, has 5.5 sacks, 7.5 tackles for losses and three forced fumbles.
ELCA at Pierce County
When, where: 7 p.m. Friday, Bearville Stadium, Blackshear
Records, rankings: Eagle’s Landing Christian is 2-2 and No. 1 in Class A Private; Pierce County is 3-0 and No. 6 in 3A.
Last meeting: This is the teams' first meeting.
Things to know: Pierce County has beaten Brunswick (31-10), Wayne County (14-0) and Claxton (42-0), allowing just one touchdown, which came in the final minute of a decided game. LB Spencer Woodcock has made 22 solo tackles, eight for losses. DE Seth Foster has 3.5 sacks. QB Jermaine Brewton, a four-year starter, is 28-of-37 passing for 429 yards and six touchdowns. D.J. Bell, an all-region wide receiver and linebacker as a freshman last season, is now in the backfield, and he has rushed for 342 yards. ELCA is playing its fourth top-10 opponent from a higher class after beating Woodward Academy (14-0) and losing to Blessed Trinity (38-14) and Crisp County (34-14). ELCA hasn’t lost three straight games since an 0-6 start in 2014, when the Chargers still made the state finals. The offense has been reliant on Josh Rogers, who has 587 rushing yards and scored 13 of its 14 touchdowns on the ground.
Fellowship Christian at North Cobb Christian
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jacob Dennis Field, Kennesaw
Records, rankings: Fellowship Christian is 3-0 and No. 5 in Class A Private; North Cobb Christian is 4-0 and No. 6 in Class A Private.
Last meeting: Fellowship Christian won 14-0 in the second round of the 2019 Class A Private playoffs.
Things to know: These two teams were in Region 6-A together from 2012 to 2019 but did not play each other in the regular season, as they were in opposite subregions, and North Cobb Christian did not begin playing a region schedule until 2016. Fellowship Christian won the only meeting in that stretch, last year’s playoff game, and leads the series 3-0. Now they’re in separate regions, and both are the highest-ranked teams in those regions. Both teams run the ball well. Fellowship RB Murphy Reeves was the Region 6-A South offensive player of the year last season after rushing for 1,554 yards and 17 touchdowns in 12 games. This year, he has run for 504 yards and six TDs in three blowout victories. The Paladins attempt 12 passes per game. North Cobb Christian runs the ball almost exclusively, averaging about 386 yards per game on the ground. Caleb Cannon in the leading rusher in Cobb County with 675 yards on 61 carries. Isaiah Williams and Trey Priester also carry a significant portion of the workload, with more than 500 yards between them.
Lambert at South Forsyth
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, War Eagle Stadium, Cumming
Records, rankings: Lambert is 4-0 overall, 0-0 in Region 6-7A; South Forsyth is 2-0, 0-0 and unranked.
Last meeting: South Forsyth won 42-17 in 2019.
Things to know: Lambert is the 12th team in history to start a season 4-0 after finishing 0-10 the previous year and can become the seventh of those to start 5-0. This comes under new coach Tommy Watson, a former Upson-Lee head coach who spent the previous five seasons on Lowndes' staff working as offensive line coach and run-game coordinator. Lambert wide receiver Kojo Antwi, a junior four-star recruit, is the team’s most widely known player. He had 140 yards receiving in a 34-19 victory over Lassiter on Sept. 11. Tight end Braden Banburowski has caught six passes in each of the past two games for 211 yards and three touchdowns. South Forsyth has put up big points in wins over Dawson County (63-49) and Central Gwinnett (52-27). Kyle Durham is 23-of-35 passing for 456 yards and six touchdowns. He also has rushed for 197 yards and two touchdowns. Tre’von Green has rushed for 166 yards. TE Devin McGlockton, a Georgia Power 100 player, has nine receptions for 165 yards and four touchdowns. South Forsyth has won the last three games in a series that is tied 5-5.
Oconee County at Thomasville
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Veterans Memorial Stadium, Thomasville
Records, rankings: Oconee County is 3-0 and No. 3 in Class 3A; Thomasville is 2-2 and No. 5 in 2A.
Last meeting: This is the teams' first meeting.
Things to know: Oconee County, playing in Class 3A after finishing as the 2019 state runner-up in 4A, has allowed 14 total points in victories over higher-class teams North Oconee (27-7), Cedar Shoals (35-0) and Clarke Central (24-7). D.J. Jones rushed for 140 yards and two touchdowns against Clarke Central two weeks ago. LB West Weeks had a team-leading six solo tackles and two tackles for losses in that game. Weeks was a preseason all-state selection on defense but also plays quarterback. WR Jake Johnson and OL Carsen Stocklinski also were preseason all-state picks. Thomasville has split its first four games against Class A Public No. 1 Brooks County and three solid 4A programs. Last week, the Bulldogs lost to 4A No. 7 Bainbridge 21-7. QB Ronnie Baker has passed for 620 yards and rushed for 106, second-best on the team behind sophomore Ricky Fulton’s 137. WR Ricardo Johnson, the leading receiver with 188 yards on 15 catches, and LB Ty Anderson were the Bulldogs' preseason all-state selections. Anderson is second on the team with 34 total tackles.
Prince Avenue Christian at Wesleyan
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Henderson Stadium, Peachtree Corners
Records, rankings: Prince Avenue Christian is 3-1 and No. 3 in Class A Private; Wesleyan is 4-0 and No. 4 in Class A Private.
Last meeting: Wesleyan won 24-14 in 2019.
Things to know: Brock Vandagriff, Prince Avenue’s five-star quarterback who is committed to Georgia, suffered a broken fibula on the third play of last year’s game but played on, passing for 321 yards in the loss. Vandagriff missed the next four games but finished the season with 2,471 passing yards in eight games. This year, he is 60-of-86 (70.9 percent) for 937 yards and 14 TDs and has rushed for 255 yards. Landon Owens has run for a team-leading 297 yards. Zac Dyer (13 catches, 290 yards) and Logan Johnson (18-260) are the leading receivers. Wesleyan RB Griffin Caldwell ran for 121 yards on 21 carries against Prince Avenue last year as the Wolves rallied from a 14-0 halftime deficit and scored 24 unanswered points in the second half. Caldwell finished the season with 1,152 yards rushing and this year has 468 yards and four touchdowns on 62 carries. Ryan Rose, who took over at quarterback this season after J.C. French transferred, has thrown for 812 yards. Cooper Blauser, a preseason all-state selection at defensive back, has 294 receiving yards.
Southwest DeKalb at Tucker
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, James R. Hallford Stadium, Clarkston
Records, rankings: Southwest DeKalb (9-2 in 2019) is 0-0 and unranked in Class 5A; Tucker (6-5 in 2019) is 0-0 and unranked in 6A.
Last meeting: Tucker won 60-14 in 2013.
Things to know: These DeKalb schools will be playing their openers after the county delayed the start of the season four weeks over COVID-19 concerns. Although they haven’t met in seven years, they have played each other 20 times, with Tucker leading the series 13-6-1. Southwest DeKalb won its second consecutive region title last year but was knocked out in the first round of the playoffs for the second straight season. Tucker reached the state playoffs last year for the 24th time in 26 seasons, but the Tigers' six victories were their fewest since the 1999 team went 6-5. Tucker’s Dawson Rivers. Rivers is a three-star defensive end and preseason all-state selection with offers from Florida Atlantic, Tulane and Louisville. Tucker must find replacements for its leading rusher (Quarius Smith, 822 yards), passer (Myles Crawley, 1,210 yards) and receiver (Isaiah Dunson), who were seniors last season. Southwest WR Robert Grady and OL Josh Parks are returning all-region players.
Tift County at Irwin County
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Buddy Nobles Stadium, Ocilla
Records, rankings: Tift County is 0-1 and unranked in Class 7A; Irwin County is 1-2 and No. 4 in Class A Public.
Last meeting: Tift County won 33-0 in 2005.
Things to know: These teams are from bordering counties, but size usually keeps them apart. This is their first meeting in Ocilla since 1964, when Irwin won 20-0. Tift has won the three games since, all in Tifton. Both teams have canceled games this season because of COVID-19 issues on their teams. In fact, both head coaches, Tift’s Ashley Anders and Irwin’s Casey Soliday, were hospitalized earlier this month with COVID-19 but have returned. Tift County lost its only game four weeks ago 7-0 to Crisp County, the No. 2 team from Class 3A. Tift expects to be stronger on defense. Defensive end Tyre West is a four-star recruit, and LB J.D. Bengston, MLB Daniel Whitehead and DB Wendell McClain made the all-region team last season. TE/DE Cade Anders, who is committed to Army, was the region’s utility player of the year. Irwin, the defending Class A Public champion, lost to Class 2A teams Fitzgerald (21-6) and Cook (21-6) before trouncing Wilkinson County 44-0 last week. Irwin was missing five starters, including all-state players Gabriel and Garland Benyard, in the Cook game because of COVID-19 quarantines. All are expected to play Friday.
Westminster at St. Pius
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, George B. Maloof Stadium, Atlanta
Records, rankings: Westminster is 1-0 and No. 8 in Class 3A; St. Pius is 2-0 and No. 7 in 5A.
Last meeting: Westminster won 42-14 in 2019.
Things to know: St. Pius had won four straight in the series, which dates to 1959, until Westminster’s decisive 2019 victory. Westminster beat the Lions at their own game, rushing for 360 yards. Westminster opened last week with a 7-3 victory over Pace Academy. Westminster held Pace to 41 yards rushing, but the offense struggled, putting up only 158 total yards, and 52 of that came on a TD pass from John Collier to Henry Chartrand, both sophomores. Lowell Jones, Holden Staes and Ejike Adele had seven tackles for losses. St. Pius doesn’t pass much – just 2-for-8 in two games – but averages 302 yards rushing. Jack Tchienchou, a sophomore, has a team-leading 125 rushing yards. He also has six pass breakups, an interception and a forced fumble. Shug Bentley, another two-way player with 72 rushing yards, has been the leading tackler in both games.
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