For the ACE Charter-Northeast, Rockmart-Irwin County and Trion at Model games, see GHSF Daily’s top games of Week 5.
Moore Haven, Fla. Terriers at Appling County Pirates
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jimmy Swain Stadium, Baxley
Records, rankings: Moore Haven is 2-1 and No. 8 in Florida’s Class 1S (MaxPreps), Appling County is 2-1 and No. 2 in 2A.
Last meeting: Appling County won 35-17 in 2022.
Watch the game: NFHS Network
Notes: Last year’s game was also in Baxley, which is more than 400 miles north of Moore Haven. In addition to MaxPreps, the Terriers are 1S’s No. 5 team in the USA Today Florida Network High School Football poll. The Terriers lost their opener 42-0 to Leesburg, but have beaten their last two opponents, Hollins and Westminster Christian, a combined 70-20. For Appling County, they’re in the thick of a tough stretch, with five of their first six games against top 10 teams. They lost their opener to 5A’s No. 1 Ware County, 20-17, and last week they beat 4A’s No. 5 Wayne County. After next week’s bye, they open region play at No. 4 Pierce County on Sept. 15, then host No. 9 Toombs County Oct. 6.
Fannin County Rebels at Murphy, N.C. Bulldogs
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Murphy High stadium, Murphy, N.C.
Records, rankings: Fannin County is 2-1 and unranked in 2A, Murphy is 2-1 and No. 8 in North Carolina Division 1A (MaxPreps).
Last meeting: Fannin County won 56-23 in 2022.
Notes: Last year’s game was in Blue Ridge. This year, the Rebels will make the 40-minute bus ride. Murphy is coming of a 49-27 overtime win over Smoky Mountain. The week before, it hosted another Georgia school, Commerce, and lost 56-13. As a team, the Bulldogs have 886 yards and eight touchdowns on 121 carries, with senior Hunter Stalcup (43 carries, 373 yards, six touchdowns) leading the way. Sophomore quarterback Brady Grant is 19 of 36 passing for 366 yards and five touchdowns to two interceptions. Sophomore Brody Orton and junior Kadence Leatherwood lead the defense with 21 tackles each, and junior Charlie Grave has four sacks. Senior Trenton Russell has two interceptions. After losing their opener 50-12 to Union County, the Rebels beat Gilmer 38-14, then Pickens 52-28. The Rebels play a similar style to Murphy with 100 team carries for 800 yards and 12 touchdowns, while throwing just 40 times for 299 yards and two touchdowns to an interception. Rebels quarterback, junior Lawson Sullivan, leads the team with six rushing touchdowns along with Carson Calihan, who has a team-high 441 yards on 66 carries. Junior Cooper Born leads the team wit 36 tackles.
Laney Wildcats at Thomson Bulldogs
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, The Brickyard, Thomson
Records, rankings: Laney is 1-1-1, 0-0 in Region 4 and unranked; Thomson is 2-1, 0-0 in Region 4 and No. 1.
Last meeting: Thomson won 15-14 in 2022.
Watch the game: NFHS Network
Maxwell’s projection: Thomson by 21
Notes: Last year’s game ended in the most unfortunate of circumstances, with gunshots fired just outside of the stadium causing the game to be postponed, then ultimately called at 15-14 — that was the score when the game ended, at the start of the second half. The Wildcats had just recovered a Thomson turnover when shots were fired. No one was injured, and the suspects were arrested and charged. The Bulldogs went on to sweep Region 4 and the rest of 2A for the state championship, and the Wildcats went 8-3 to reach the playoffs for the second year in a row. The Wildcats lost their opener 21-12 to Strom Thurmond, S.C., ranked No. 4 in South Carolina Division AA (MaxPreps), then beat 3A’s Hepzibah 16-13 before tying First Presbyterian of the GISA, 44-44. The Bulldogs lost their opener 14-12 to Burke County, which went from unranked to No. 8 in 4A with the win, and just moved to No. 7 after a 3-0 start. The Bulldogs rebounded to beat A Division I’s Jefferson County 46-7, then 6A’s Grovetown 38-0 last week. The Bulldogs will have the game’s only AJC preseason all-state selection, senior defensive back Storm Hunt.
Sources: Georgia High School Football Historians Association, MaxPreps, GHSF Daily