Top 10 games of Week 8

Cedar Grove defenders Demarius Jackson (50), Raul Aquirre (0) and Adonijah Green (99) will try to stop a potent Greater Atlanta Christian offense in a battle of Top 5 teams on Friday, (Photo by Mark Brock/DeKalb County Schools Athletics)
Cedar Grove defenders Demarius Jackson (50), Raul Aquirre (0) and Adonijah Green (99) will try to stop a potent Greater Atlanta Christian offense in a battle of Top 5 teams on Friday, (Photo by Mark Brock/DeKalb County Schools Athletics)

Athens Academy at Prince Avenue Christian

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Brad Akins Field, Bogart

Records, rankings: Athens Academy is 6-0 overall, 0-0 in Region 8-A Private and No. 1; Prince Avenue Christian is 5-1, 0-0 and No. 2.

Last meeting: Athens Academy won 24-0 in 2019.

Things to know: This is the sixth consecutive time these Athens-area rivals have met while both were ranked. Athens Academy has won the last four meetings and dominated the 2019 game, although Prince Avenue QB Brock Vandagriff was injured and did not play. Vandagriff, who is committed to Georgia, has completed 109 of 157 passes (69.4 percent) for 1,674 yards, or 279.0 per game. Logan Johnson has 29 receptions for 562 yards and nine touchdowns. Landon Owens has 1,165 all-purpose yards — 444 rushing, 285 receiving and 436 returning. Prince Avenue is scoring 49.3 points per game, the most in Class A Private. Athens Academy is allowing 8.3 points per game, fewest in Class A Private. The Spartans also have been prolific on offense. Palmer Bush is 53-of-71 passing for 934 yards and 10 touchdowns. AJC Super 11 WR/DB Deion Colzie has 253 receiving yards despite missing the past two games. He’s expected back. Charlie Chisolm is the leading rusher with 530 yards.

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Blessed Trinity at Calhoun

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Phil Reeve Stadium, Calhoun

Records, rankings: Blessed Trinity is 2-0 overall, 0-0 in Region 7-5A and No. 2; Calhoun is 5-1, 1-0 and No. 5.

Last meeting: Blessed Trinity won 12-7 in the 2015 Class 3A semifinals.

Things to know: This is the first heavyweight region matchup in a region that also includes No. 4 Cartersville. Blessed Trinity and Calhoun have met only once, with Blessed Trinity, ranked No. 2 at the time, beating No. 1 Calhoun in the Class 3A semifinals. Blessed Trinity, the Class 4A champion the past three seasons, hasn’t played since Sept. 25 because of COVID-19 cancellations. The Titans were nearly unstoppable on offense in beating Eagle’s Landing Christian 38-14 and Kell 54-32. Justice Haynes has rushed for 107 and 255 yards with four touchdowns. J.C. French is 14-for-16 passing for 377 yards and four touchdowns. David Coltrane has scored three touchdowns on his five receptions, averaging 37.2 yards per catch. Calhoun has lost only to McCallie of Tennessee. The Yellow Jackets' trio of QB Christian Lewis (1,226 yards passing), RB Jerrian Hames (668 rushing) and Cole Speer (659 receiving) are at the top of the Class 5A yardage leaderboard. Lewis (31 tackles, six for losses) has been a standout on defense.

Cedar Grove at GAC

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

Records, rankings: Cedar Grove is 3-0 overall, 2-0 in Region 5-3A and No. 1; Greater Atlanta Christian is 5-0, 2-0 and No. 5.

Last meeting: Cedar Grove won 28-18 in the 2019 Class 3A semifinals.

Things to know: The winner of this game will take sole possession of first place in Region 5-3A. Sandy Creek also is unbeaten in region play but has played one fewer game and had to cancel this week’s game against Westminster over COVID-19 concerns. Cedar Grove won the two previous meetings with GAC, both coming in the playoffs. Cedar Grove QB Austin Smith (committed to Eastern Michigan) was the team’s leading rusher in its first two games (16 carries, 159 yards) but passed for a season-high 219 yards and three TDs in a lopsided victory over Redan last week. Second-leading rusher Rashod Dubinion, who had touchdown runs of 62 and 26 yards against GAC last year, ran for two TDs and scored on a 55-yard punt return last week. GAC’s Deymon Fleming has passed for 967 this season but has picked up the pace in the past three games, averaging 255 yards and throwing for eight of his 10 touchdowns. He also is the team’s second-leading rusher with 153 yards, trailing junior Gannon Hearst’s 205. Brooks Miller has 407 receiving yards.

Cherokee at Roswell

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Ray Manus Stadium, Roswell

Records, rankings: Cherokee is 6-0 overall, 1-0 in Region 5-7A and No. 6; Roswell is 5-0, 1-0 and No. 7.

Last meeting: Cherokee won 21-14 in 2019.

Things to know: These teams are their regions’ only unbeaten teams, although Milton (4-1, 1-0) also will figure heavily in the race. Cherokee broke a five-game losing streak in the series last season by taking a 21-0 halftime lead and holding on. This will be the first meeting between the two teams when both were ranked. In fact, this is the first game between top-10 teams in Cherokee’s history, which dates to 1956. Cherokee, which last won a region title in 2002, has a celebrated trio of juniors – A.J. Swann (1,085 yards passing), Keith Adams (740 rushing, 102 receiving) and Adarrius Harshaw (381 receiving) – who have accounted for all but 32 of the team’s total yards. Another junior, Toby Thompson, leads the team in tackles for losses (six) and QB hurries (17). Roswell has similar balance. Robbie Roper has thrown for 1,073 yards and 11 touchdowns. Ryan Hill has rushed for 407 yards. Ryan Stephens has rushed for 394. Marquis Willis has 27 receptions for 467 yards. MLB Case Barrett and SS Evan Plunkett have 20 tackles for losses between them.

Coffee at Ware County

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Memorial Stadium, Waycross

Records, rankings: Coffee is 5-1 overall, 0-0 in Region 1-5A and No. 6; Ware County is 5-0, 0-0 and No. 1.

Last meeting: Coffee won 21-7 in 2019.

Things to know: This is the teams' opening game in Region 1-5A, which has four of its five teams ranked in the top 10 this week (Warner Robins is No. 3 and Veterans is No. 10). Coffee and Ware County have played each other every season except four (1990, 1991, 2006 and 2007) since 1970. Coffee won the past three meetings and leads the series 28-19. Both teams get a little more than half of their offense from the passing game. Coffee’s A.J. Wilkerson (41-of-69, 704 yards, 10 touchdowns) and Sultan Cooper (20-of-40, 393, two) have combined for 1,097 yards passing. A.J. Franklin is the leading rusher with 326 yards and five TDs on 58 carries, and Maurice Turner has 429 receiving yards on 20 catches. Ware QB Thomas Castellanos is making a strong case for player of the year honors. He has passed for 1,283 yards, rushed for a team-leading 551 yards, and run or passed for 22 touchdowns. Raiden Kennedy (254 yards), Jerry Wilkins (253) and James Daniels (193) are the top receivers. The Gators are ranked No. 1 for the first time since 2014.

Dublin at Wilcox County

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Donnie Clack Stadium, Rochelle

Records, rankings: Dublin is 4-1 overall, 3-0 in Region 4-A Public and No. 5; Wilcox County is 5-1, 4-0 and No. 9.

Last meeting: This is the teams' first meeting.

Things to know: Dublin and Wilcox County are the only remaining unbeaten teams in Region 4-A Public games, and the winner will emerge as the overwhelming favorite to win the region title. Dublin won a state championship last year in Class 2A. Wilcox County won a state championship in 2009 and most recently captured a region title in 2012. Dublin is the highest-scoring team in the classification, scoring 46.2 points per game with a run-dominated offense that averages 284 yards per game on the ground. J.T. Wright rushed for a combined 157 yards and two touchdowns on just five carries in two blowout victories last week and had 111 yards and three touchdowns the previous week. Wilcox County’s player to watch is linebacker Martez Thrower, a three-star linebacker who is committed to Kentucky. Thrower, a first-team all-state selection last season, rushed for 95 yards and two TDs and had four solo tackles and a sack in a 38-14 victory over Wheeler County. QB Abe Stowe passed for 204 yards the previous week in a 56-21 win over Montgomery County.

Lovejoy at Tucker

When, where: 7 p.m. today, Adams Stadium, Atlanta

Records, rankings: Lovejoy is 6-0 overall, 1-0 in Region 4-6A and No. 4; Tucker is 2-1, 1-0 and unranked.

Last meeting: Tucker won 23-16 in 2019.

Things to know: Lovejoy is 6-0 for the first time since 2011, when the Wildcats won their first 14 games before losing to Tucker 22-7 in the Class 4A championship. That was the first time the teams played each other. They’ve met six times since then, with Tucker winning all six. Lovejoy’s offense is led by junior QB Stephin Craig, who passed for 125 yards and two touchdowns in a 47-0 victory over Morrow last week to surpass 1,000 yards for the season. The Wildcats are fifth in Class 6A defense, allowing 8.67 points per game. In the Morrow game, Antonio Jones scored on an interception return, Israel Nwokocha had three sacks and forced two fumbles, and Lovejoy held the Mustangs to minus-6 yards rushing. Tucker won its region opener 11-8 against North Atlanta on a field goal by Camden Russell in the closing seconds. The Tigers went into that game with the leading passer (Amir Streeter, 339 yards), No. 1 receiver (Isaiah Raheem, 182 yards) and No. 3 rusher (Latavius Johnson, 238 yards) in DeKalb County, which didn’t start its season until October.

Peach County at Crisp County

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Cougar Den, Cordele

Records, rankings: Peach County is 4-1 overall, 3-0 in Region 2-3A and No. 4; Crisp County is 5-0, 2-0 and No. 2.

Last meeting: Peach County won 35-7 in 2009.

Things to know: Given the region implications, this is the biggest game played in Cordele since at least 1997, when Peach beat Crisp in a game that decided Region 2-3A. Both teams have won four consecutive region titles. Crisp has won 17 straight region games. Peach has won 29 straight. Neither team has allowed more than 14 points in a game. That includes Peach County’s lone defeat, a 14-7 decision to Northside of Warner Robins. Crisp’s offense is erratic but explosive. QB A.J. Lofton rushed for 154 yards against Eagle’s Landing Christian. QB A.J. Brown rushed for 154 against Upson-Lee. RB Marquise Palmer has rushed for 2,505 yards in his career. The defense has a number of Division I prospects, led by LB Chris Paul, who is committed to Arkansas. Peach County has a major D-I recruit of its own, four-year starter Terrence Ferguson, a tackle committed to Alabama. Sophomore QB Christian Martin passed for 231 yards and four touchdowns last week in a 58-0 victory over Pike County. The Trojans have averaged 52 points since their opener and leads 3A in scoring per game at 42.8.

West Laurens at Baldwin

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Braves Stadium, Milledgeville

Records, rankings: West Laurens is 3-2 overall, 2-0 in Region 4-4A and unranked; Baldwin is 2-0, 2-0 and No. 10.

Last meeting: West Laurens won 29-0 in 2015.

Things to know: West Laurens, an 11-2 region champion in 2019 and the preseason No. 4 team in 2020, started 0-2 with losses to Bleckley County and Veterans but has won three straight. They’re gone from the AJC rankings, but the computer Maxwell Ratings have them at No. 10 and peg West Laurens as the region favorite with a 47.2 percent chance of winning. West Laurens has won seven consecutive region games. Baldwin has won nine of its last 10 region games and is No. 10 in three human polls (AJC, GPB, Score Atlanta). Out of concern for COVID-19, Baldwin didn’t start the season until Oct. 9. Freshman RB Micah Welch rushed for 138 yards in a 54-12 victory over Rutland last week. Sophomore WR Shatavious Hogan had five receptions for 101 yards. Javon Bullard, who is committed to Georgia, anchors the secondary and plays wide receiver. West Laurens has settled down under QB Bradley Wilson, listed as a tight end/middle linebacker. He has been solid (22-of-40 for 315 yards) while the defense has allowed only 14 points in the three wins. Cordarrion Hickman rushed for 104 yards against Howard last week.

Callaway at Haralson County (Postponed)

When, where: Postponed; makeup to be determined.

Records, rankings: Callaway is 4-0 overall, 0-0 in Region 5-2A and No. 1; Haralson County is 5-0, 0-0 and No. 5.

Last meeting: Callaway won 40-7 in 2015.

Things to know: This game will establish the favorite to win Region 5-2A, which has all five of its teams ranked in the top 22 of Class 2A by the computer Maxwell Ratings. Callaway is the defending region champion. Haralson County has never won a region title since starting the program in 1968. Callaway won the previous six meetings in the series. Haralson County has the No. 2 defense in Class 2A, allowing 5.4 points per game. Callaway is No. 3 (6.75). Callaway survived its closest call of the season in its last game, a 16-14 victory over Thomas County Central on Oct. 9. The Cavaliers drove 58 yards in the final minute and scored the winning points on a 10-yard pass from Demetrius Coleman to Jalin Shephard. Coleman is being recruited as a defensive back and has seven offers, including Alabama. Haralson County relies almost exclusively on a running game led by Marc Harris and QB Clay Hyatt, who have combined for more than 1,200 yards. The Rebels were off last week, but Harris went into the weekend as the No. 2 rusher in 2A with 718 yards.

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