Last meeting: Appling County won 28-17 in 2022.
Things to know: The computer Maxwell Ratings rank these teams No. 1 and No. 2 in Class 2A and project they’ll meet in the title game with Appling winning. The 2022 game between these two decided the region title, ending Pierce County’s four-year reign as a champion and giving Appling County its first championship since 2013. Appling’s Dayson Griffis passed for 184 yards and three touchdowns and scored on a 58-yard run for a 28-17 lead in the third quarter. He’s thrown for 455 yards and five touchdowns this season despite sitting out two second halves. Trent Griner has rushed for 368 yards. Jamarion Williams has 251 receiving yards despite missing time with an injury. Pierce was only 4-of-15 passing against Appling last season. New QB Caden McGatha has thrown for 745 yards and nine touchdowns and rushed for a team-leading 428 yards. Pierce is averaging 149 yards passing this season compared to 45.3 the previous two.
Cartersville at Calhoun
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Phil Reeve Stadium, Calhoun
Records, rankings: Cartersville is 5-0 overall, 0-0 in Region 7-5A and No. 4; Calhoun is 4-1, 0-0 and No. 7.
Last meeting: Calhoun won 50-48 in 2022.
Things to know: The 2022 game, which ended Cartersville’s 62-game winning streak in region play, was one of the season’s best in any class. Calhoun led 27-7 in the first quarter and didn’t trail until the second overtime but pulled out the victory in the third extra session with a stop on a two-point conversion attempt. Caden Williams rushed for 169 yards and three touchdowns on 36 carries. Trey Townsend was 10-of-18 passing for 171 yards and two touchdowns and scored on two QB sneaks. Those two are back. Townsend has thrown for 1,024 yards and 11 touchdowns, and Caden Williams has rushed for 505 yards and five touchdowns. Emaree Winston has 459 yards receiving and eight touchdowns. Calhoun has won four straight games after an opening loss to Blessed Trinity 17-7. Cartersville underwent more offseason personnel change and is more unknown. Sophomore QB Nate Russell has passed for 620 yards. Three backs, led by Khristian Lando, have rushed for more than 200 yards. Cartersville leads 5A in fewest points allowed per game (6.6). Cartersville leads the series 31-7-1. Five of Region 7-5A’s six teams have been ranked this season, though only these two plus No. 5 Hiram remain in the top 10.
Fellowship Christian at Rabun Co.
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Frank Snyder Memorial Stadium, Tiger
Records, rankings: Fellowship Christian is 3-1 and No. 6 in Class 2A; Rabun County is 4-1 and No. 4 in A Division I.
Last meeting: Rabun County won 21-16 in 2022.
Things to know: This game could be called a sophomore showcase. Rabun County sophomore Ty Trulove, projected as a Power 5 college quarterback, has passed for 1,004 yards. Fellowship Christian sophomore C.J. Givers, a 1,150-yard rusher last season, has run for 588 and nine touchdowns in four games. He has an offer from Georgia Tech. Rabun County’s leading rushers (Reid Giles with 353 yards and Noah English with 244) are sophomores. English is also the team’s leading tackler while Giles leads in tackles for losses. Leading receiver Willie Goodwyn (557 yards, eight touchdowns) is a senior committed to Cincinnati. Fellowship’s quarterback is a sophomore, Jonathan Grandy. He’s thrown for 532 yards. Fellowship sophomore WR Evan Haynes, who has seven receptions for 203 yards, has offers from Georgia Tech and North Carolina. Leading receiver Josh Milhollin (258 receiving yards) is a senior committed to Army. In the 2022 game between these two, Fellowship got within 21-16 with 6:02 left and drove to the Rabun County 42 with 2:14 remaining but was intercepted. Rabun County has won 15 consecutive home games.
Lee County at Houston County
When, where: 8 p.m. Friday, Freedom Field, Warner Robins
Records, rankings: Lee County is 4-1 overall, 0-0 in Region 1-6A and No. 6; Houston County is 5-0, 0-0 and No. 3.
Last meeting: Lee County won 50-21 in 2022.
Things to know: These are two of the three top-10 teams from Region 1-6A. The other is No. 2 Thomas County Central. Lee County is 9-0 all-time against Houston County with one notable upset, the 2016 game when the Bears were ranked No. 1. Lee County led 36-0 midway through the second quarter of the 2022 game despite being only a one-point Maxwell Ratings favorite. Ousmane Kromah rushed for 275 yards and five touchdowns in that game. A consensus top-50 national recruit among juniors, Kromah has rushed for 586 yards this season. He’s the team’s leading receiver with 233 yards. Houston County has a top-50 junior, too. That’s Antwann Hill, who has thrown for 1,254 yards and 18 touchdowns. Ricky Johnson has 29 receptions for 629 yards and nine touchdowns. Lee County’s loss is to Class 7A Colquitt County 37-20.
Newton at Grayson
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Grayson Community Stadium, Loganville
Records, rankings: Newton is 5-0 overall, 0-0 in Region 4-7A and No. 6; Grayson is 4-1, 0-0 and No. 7.
Last meeting: Grayson won 26-0 in 2022.
Things to know: These are two of the three top-10 teams in Region 4-7A. No. 8 Parkview is the other. All three have first-year coaches. In this game, it’s Newton’s Josh Skelton and Grayson’s Santavious Bryant. Newton has its highest ranking since 1964, and this is Newton’s first game between top-10 teams since 2016 vs. Lowndes. Newton got here on the strength of a 27-12 victory over then-No. 8 Westlake and its defense, which is giving up a Class 7A-best 5.2 points per game. Newton’s Zion Johnson has rushed for 771 yards, second-most in Class 7A. Grayson has won four consecutive games after a season-opening loss to Walton 49-27. Grayson beat Lowndes 40-0 last week. Jeff Davis passed for 251 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for 70 yards. He has thrown for 1,198 yards on the season, third-most in 7A. In the 2022 game between these two, Grayson led only 3-0 at halftime and put the game away with two fourth-quarter touchdowns. Grayson is 7-0 all-time against Newton. Newton and Grayson are two of four GHSA teams named Rams. Arabia Mountain and Worth County are the others.
North Oconee at North Hall
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, The Brickyard, Gainesville
Records, rankings: North Oconee is 4-0 overall, 2-0 in Region 8-4A and No. 2; North Hall is 5-0, 3-0 and No. 10.
Last meeting: North Oconee won 70-7 in 2022.
Things to know: These teams play in a nine-team region, but only these two plus East Forsyth (4-0, 2-0) remain unbeaten in region play. North Hall is 5-0 for the first time since 2018 and ranked for the first time since 2016. The Trojans have avenged three 2022 lopsided losses, winning each decisively. North Hall’s offense, averaging 38.6 points, is balanced. Tanner Marsh has passed for 992 yards and 13 touchdowns (both top five in Class 4A) and rushed for 305 yards and six touchdowns. Tate Ruth has rushed for 454 yards. Ryals Puryear has 405 receiving yards. North Oconee has won 18 straight region games. The Titans ran through this region 8-0 with an average score of 56-4 last season. This season, Max Wilson has passed for 409 yards and rushed for 273. Backup Harrison Faulkner (230 yards passing) also plays quite a bit. Landon Roland has 271 receiving yards.
Ola at Warner Robins
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, McConnell-Talbert Stadium, Warner Robins
Records, rankings: Ola is 4-0 overall, 0-0 in Region 2-5A and No. 9; Warner Robins is 2-3, 1-0 and No. 10.
Last meeting: Warner Robins won 38-0 in 2022.
Things to know: Ola has avenged 2022 losses to Jackson and Eastside to become 4-0 for the first time 2020, when the team started 6-0 and finished 9-2. The Mustangs are under second-year coach Tom Causey, who won 146 games and one state title in Alabama. This is the first game in Ola history between top-10 teams. These are the only ranked teams in Region 2-5A. Warner Robins leads Ola in region titles 28-0. Ola’s offense runs through senior QB Jake Holmes (499 yards passing, 254 rushing). The top running backs are freshmen Caden Wayne (302 yards rushing) and Nigel Newkirk (241). Warner Robins is 2-3 under first-year coach Shane Sams, but that’s an improvement over the 1-4 that ultimately became 10-5 and a Class 5A runner-up finish in 2022. The Demons’ losses are to Lee County, Valdosta and Houston County. Judd Anderson (committed to Miami) is 65-of-114 passing for 667 yards and seven touchdowns in three games. WR Isiah Canion (Georgia Tech) has 34 receptions for 496 yards and eight touchdowns, at least one in each game.
Prince Avenue at Mary Persons
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dan Pitts Stadium at Mitchell Field, Forsyth
Records, rankings: Prince Avenue Christian is 6-0 and No. 1 in Class A Division I; Mary Persons is 4-1 and No. 5 in 3A.
Last meeting: Prince Avenue Christian won 47-14 in 2022.
Things to know: Mary Persons represents the sixth top-10 opponent that Prince Avenue Christian has faced, three of them from out of state. The Wolverines’ average score is 49-15 and their closest game 45-17 vs. Monroe Area. Mary Persons is 4-1 this season, same as last year, but its victories (including one vs. No. 5 Northeast of Class 2A) and its loss (to No. 7 Spalding of 4A) have aged well. Duke Watson has rushed for 638 yards and 10 touchdowns. He’s rushed for 4,314 yards in his career and is committed to Louisville. Prince Avenue’s Aaron Philo (Georgia Tech) leads the state in passing yards with 1,926. The leading receivers are freshman Hudson Hill (27-428-6) and sophomore C.J. Dockery (22-4-1-8). In the 2022 game, Philo passed for 227 yards and four touchdowns. Watson rushed for 75 yards.
Roswell at Blessed Trinity
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Blessed Trinity Stadium, Roswell
Records, rankings: Roswell is 4-1 overall, 1-0 in Region 7-6A and No. 9; Blessed Trinity is 4-1, 1-0 and unranked.
Last meeting: Roswell won 41-10 in 2022.
Things to know: These schools are less than a mile across Highway 92 from each other. Previously in different classifications, they played each other for the first time in 2022. Roswell led 26-0 at halftime. Nykahi Davenport rushed for 117 yards and two touchdowns, and K.J. Smith was 9-of-11 passing for 179 yards and four touchdowns. They are back. Davenport has rushed for 482 yards this season and 3,077 for his career. Smith has thrown for 921 this season. Blessed Trinity has a new coach, Ed Dudley, a 30-year Georgia head coach. Junior QB Brooks Goodman has thrown for 778 yards. The leading tackler is a freshman, D.J. Jacobs. According to the Maxwell Ratings, Roswell has a 50.6% chance of winning Region 6-6A. Blessed Trinity has a 48.4% chance. Other region teams have a combined 1% chance.
Wayne County at Burke County
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Bear Den, Waynesboro
Records, rankings: Wayne County is 4-1 overall, 0-0 in Region 3-4A and No. 9; Burke County is 5-0, 0-0 and No. 6.
Last meeting: Wayne County won 17-16 in 2022.
Things to know: Their 2022 game was played on a Monday after Hurricane Ian postponed it. Wayne County let a 10-0 lead get away in the fourth quarter but won in overtime by stopping Burke County’s two-point attempt. Matthew Fuller rushed for 141 yards and a touchdown on 25 carries. Fuller, who is committed to South Carolina, is back. He’s rushed for 887 yards. Wayne County averages only 68 yards passing per game. Burke County is under a new coach, Franklin Stephens, an alumnus who has won region titles at all four previous coaching stops. He replaced Eric Parker, who suffered a heart attack during the Wayne County game last year. Parker recovered but later retired after 16 seasons at the school. Burke’s best win this season is probably its season-opening victory over 2022 Class 2A champion Thomson 14-12. RB A’Merre Williams (435), WR/DB/RET Ronderius Gray (433) and RB/WR Jeremy Richardson (433) each have more than 400 all-purpose yards. The winner of this game would emerge as the top contender to deal with Region 3-4A favorite and defending 4A champion Benedictine.
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