Clash of No. 1 ELCA vs. No. 2 Wesleyan headlines weekend of big games

Article and photos courtesy of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution –> Original Article Here

Here are some of the top games this weekend:

No. 1 (Private) Eagle’s Landing Christian (5-0, 2-0 in Region 5) at No. 2 (Private) Wesleyan (5-0, 2-0).(Preview courtesy of Georgia High School Football Daily.) Wesleyan has scored more than 30 points in every game. Eagle’s Landing Christian has allowed 15 points total and shut out each of its past three opponents. A victory by Wesleyan would be its second over a No. 1-ranked team and first since upsetting Emanuel County Institute in the 2008 Class A title game. Wesleyan gets two-thirds of its yards passing. QB Banks Ramsey is 89-of-121 for 1,266 yards and 16 touchdowns with just one interception. WR Harrison Cook has 29 receptions for 534 yards and at least one touchdown in every game. WR Zach Peterson has 21 catches for 306 yards and is prominent in the return game. Wesleyan has intercepted 10 passes, four by Jason McCleskey. ELCA averages 300.6 yards rushing and 72.4 passing per game. Top rushers are Trevor Gear (54-378-5) and Josh Mays (36-361-7). Mays also is outstanding as a strong safety. Other key figures on defense are DB Khaleb Hood (offers from East Carolina and others) and DE Harrison Taylor. ELCA won the last meeting, 35-28, in the 2010 Region 5 championship game.

No. 9 (Public) Commerce (3-1, 2-1 in Region 8) at No. 4 (Private) Prince Avenue Christian (5-0, 4-0). Commerce doesn’t have any time to lick its wounds after last week’s 21-14 upset loss at Athens Christian (2-2). The Tigers will need to get their vaunted running game going again, led by the backfield trio of QB Lane Sorrow and RBs Cole Chancey and Will Thomas. Commerce went into last week’s game averaging nearly 300 yards rushing but managed less than 200 against the Eagles. Commerce will need to limit PAC’s ability to make big plays. In the Wolverine’s 39-21 win over George Walton Academy last week, PAC scored on a 99-yard touchdown pass from QB Grant Roland to WR/DB Christian Parrish, a 45-yard interception return by Parrish, an 87-yard kickoff return by RB/LB Sam Wessinger, and a blocked punt in the end zone by Noah Campbell. The teams have played every year since 2006. The first five contests were won by Commerce, the last five, including last season (35-14), by PAC.

No. 6 (Private) Darlington (4-1, 2-0 in Region 6-Div. A) at No. 5 (Public) Mount Zion-Carroll (4-0, 1-0). (Preview courtesy of Georgia High School Football Daily.) Mount Zion’s 20-17 victory over Darlington in 2012 was one of the biggest wins in program history. Darlington was three-time defending Region 6-A champion and 6-0 all-time against Mount Zion, which had finished 0-10 the previous two seasons. Mount Zion went on to have its first winning season (6-4) since 1996 and is 30-18 in coach Keith Holloway’s five seasons. Darlington junior RB Tijai Whatley has rushed for 704 yards and nine touchdowns on 93 carries. He has 1,894 career yards in just 13 games, as his sophomore season was cut short by injury. Darlington attempts only 8.6 passes per game. Another key player is RB/CB Elijah McKoy, who has 317 yards rushing and 165 receiving and has intercepted three passes. Mount Zion is averaging 45.8 points per game. RB Jace Jordan has rushed for 551 yards and seven touchdowns. He also has scored on a 75-yard reception and 83-yard kickoff return. The top defender has probably been Cole Helton, who has 38 tackles and an interception. Darlington won the last meeting, 42-6, in 2013.

No. 8 (Private) First Presbyterian Day (4-0, 0-0 in Region 7-Div. A) at No. 10 (Public) Twiggs County (3-1, 0-0).(Preview courtesy of Georgia High School Football Daily.) First Presbyterian is 4-0 for the first time since moving to the GHSA in 2010. The Vikings average 224.8 yards passing and 141.5 rushing. QB Dalton Cox is 69-for-100 passing for 889 yards and five TDs, and C.J. Harris has rushed for 250 yards on 37 carries. LB Tee Turley is the leading tackler for a defense that allows just 8.3 points per game. Second-year Twiggs County coach Ashley Harden is turning around a program that had three consecutive 10-win seasons from 2002 to 2004 but had fallen on hard times in recent years. Harden inherited a team that won just eight games in the five seasons before his arrival and has led it to its first playoff appearance and 3-1 start since 2009. Twiggs County gets about 86 percent of its offense from a running game that averages 40.8 carries and 305 yards per game. Ja’mon Height (94 carries, 655 yards, three TDs) and Javoris Smith (50-416-5) have all but 19 of the team’s 163 carries. The Cobras have completed just 12 passes, for 191 yards, but two went for touchdowns. FPD won the last meeting, 52-38, last season.

Other games of note:

No. 8 (Public) Bowdon (3-2, 1-1 in Region 6-Div. A) at Gordon Lee (4-1, 1-1)

Holy Innocents’ (1-4, 0-2 in Region 5) at Mount Vernon Presbyterian (4-1, 1-1)

Charlton County (1-3, 1-1 in Region 2) at Irwin County (2-3, 1-1)

Washington-Wilkes (0-4, 0-0 in Region 7-Div. B) at Lincoln County (2-1-1, 0-0)

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