Top 10 games of Week 12
Cherokee at Roswell
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Ray Manus Stadium, Roswell
Records, rankings: Cherokee is 6-3 overall, 4-0 in Region 4-AAAAAAA and unranked; Roswell is 9-0, 4-0 and No. 1.
Last meeting: Roswell won 42-21 in 2015.
Three things to know: 1. The winner is the Region 4-AAAAAAA champion. Roswell has won 10 region titles, most recently in 2015, but only once in consecutive seasons (1970-71). Cherokee’s only region title came in 2002. This will be Cherokee’s first game against a No. 1-ranked team since 2004 Camden County (lost 37-7). 2. Roswell averages 232.6 yards rushing and 175.0 passing per game. Sheldon Evans has rushed for 1,189 yards on the season and nearly 5,000 for his career. Malik Willis is a dual-threat quarterback with 1,484 yards passing and 632 rushing. DB Xavier McKinney, a four-star recruit, is the leading tackler on a team that has allowed no more than 14 points in any game. 3. Cherokee was picked to finish fifth in this six-team region in preseason by the Maxwell Ratings and started 2-3 before region play. Cherokee WR Montrell Washington is a region player-of-the-year contender. He has 846 receiving yards on 72 catches, 500 rushing yards on 46 attempts (10.9 ypc) and 13 touchdowns. He has another 258 yards in returns. QB Nolan Donley is 174-of-282 passing for 2,158 yards.
ELCA at Landmark Christian
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Bill Thorn Stadium, Fairburn
Records, rankings: Eagle’s Landing Christian is 9-0 overall, 6-0 in Region 5-A and No. 1 in Class A private; Landmark Christian is 9-0, 6-0 and No. 2.
Last meeting: Eagle’s Landing Christian won 48-28 in 2015.
Three things to know: 1. The winner is the Region 5-A champion. ELCA has beaten Landmark eight consecutive times in regular-season games, but did lose to Landmark 14-7 in a state semifinal in 2011. ELCA has won six straight region titles and can become the 15th school in GHSA history to win seven straight. ELCA has won 45 consecutive region games, tied for the 10th-longest streak of its kind in history. Landmark Christian won its six region titles consecutively from 2002 to 2007. This is the first regular-season game between No. 1 and No. 2 teams in Class A since 1997 (Macon County vs. Miller County). 2. ELCA RB Trevor Gear has rushed for a team-leading 868 yards and 12 touchdowns. ELCA averages 7.4 yards per rush and passes less than 10 times per game. The Chargers have allowed 60 points in nine games, and most of that came in a 34-31 victory over Wesleyan, an excellent passing team. 3. Landmark Christian RB/LB Lofton Tidwell has rushed for 1,090 yards on 111 carries (9.8 ypc) and scored 18 touchdowns. Joey Blount has passed for 980 yards and rushed for 490. Landmark’s defense, which allows 10 points per game, is led by seniors LB Tidwell, FS Blount, LB Kenny Terry, DE Dylan Gabrielson and SS Brandon Stone.
Fellowship Christian at Mount Zion (Carroll)
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Eagle Stadium, Carrollton
Records, rankings: Fellowship Christian is 9-0 and No. 6 in Class A private; Mount Zion is 9-0 and No. 5 in Class A public.
Last meeting: Mount Zion won 31-24 in 2015.
Three things to know: 1. This is the Region 6-A championship game between the winners of subregion A (Mount Zion) and subregion B (Fellowship Christian). Mount Zion is seeking its first region title since 1996 and fourth overall. Fellowship Christian won its only region title in 2007, when it won a school-record 11 games and reached the Class A quarterfinals. 2. Fellowship Christian averages 119.3 yards per game passing, but the Paladins rely on a running game that averages 275.6 yards. Senior RBs Andrew Johnson (124 carries, 908 yards, 12 TDs) and Andrew Minkert (101-649-7) get about 60 percent of the carries. Junior DL Billy McCurry leads the team in tackles (66), tackles for losses (18) and sacks (eight). 3. Mount Zion essentially won its subregion when it beat Darlington 25-17 on Sept. 30 in three overtimes in a game that was tied 3-3 at the end of regulation. Jace Jordan is the team’s leading rusher with 1,040 yards and 13 TDs on 92 carries. Richard Farley has run for 490 yards on 84 carries. QB Jordan Akin has passed for 701 yards and seven TDs.
Grayson at South Gwinnett
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Richard Snell Community Stadium, Snellville
Records, rankings: Grayson is 8-1 overall, 4-0 in Region 8-AAAAAAA and No. 2; South Gwinnet is 7-2, 3-1 and unranked.
Last meeting: Grayson won 34-0 in 2015.
Three things to know: 1. The winner is the R 8-AAAAAAA champion. Grayson is after its third consecutive region title and seventh in eight seasons. South Gwinnett has won region titles in 2003 and 1993. This is the 15th straight year in which South Gwinnett and Grayson have played. Grayson has won by shutout four of the past five meetings but lost to South 28-21 in 2013. 2. South Gwinnett, coming off a 2-8 season, put itself in position to win the region with a 15-14 victory over Archer last week. South trailed 14-2 with 7:48 left, then scored on consecutive drives to win. DL Robert Cooper had 16 tackles, including seven for losses. Another key player on defense is DE Justin Mascoll, rated the No. 13 prospect nationally among juniors. South averages 217.8 yards rushing per game (leader Seth Johnston at 620 total) and 100.0 passing. 3. Grayson’s offensive leaders are RB Kurt Taylor (553 yards rushing), Chase Brice (94-of-149 passing, 1,469 yards) and DeAngelo Gibbs (369 yards receiving). RB Jamyest Williams has 491 yards from scrimmage. Grayson is allowing just 8.8 points per game. Gibbs and Williams, both defensive backs, and LB Breon Dixon and LB Owen Pappoe are four-star recruits or higher.
Liberty County at Pierce County
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Bearville Stadium, Blackshear
Records, rankings: Liberty County is 8-1 overall, 4-0 in Region 2-AAA and No. 7; Pierce County is 7-2, 4-0 and No. 9.
Last meeting: Pierce County won 35-24 in 2001.
Three things to know: 1. The winner is the Region 2-AAA champion. For Liberty County, it would be a first. Liberty, which started varsity football in 1993, also is seeking its first nine-win season. Pierce County has won four region titles, most recently in 2012. 2. Pierce County QB Stetson Bennett leads Class AAA in passing with 2,749 yards. He has thrown 29 TD passes to 10 different receivers. Shyhiem Clark has rushed for 759 yards and scored 21 touchdowns, three by air. Pierce County is accustomed to shootouts and is 4-1 when the opponent scores 28 points or more. 3. WR/DB Richard LeCounte is the region’s best-known player, the No. 2 overall prospect in the state, but Liberty County starts with QB Jaalon Frazier, who has thrown for 2,000 yards and 26 touchdowns and rushed for 855 yards. He has five 100-yard rushing games. Liberty is the better team defensively, allowing just 12.3 points in region games to Pierce’s 24.7.
Macon County at Manchester
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Memorial Stadium, Manchester
Records, rankings: Macon County is 7-2 and No. 2 in Class A public; Manchester is 9-0 and No. 4.
Last meeting: Manchester won 61-26 in 2009.
Three things to know: 1. The winner is the Region 4-A champion. Both teams played in Class AA last season. Macon County is seeking its third consecutive region title and 13th overall. Manchester has won 11 region titles but none since 2001. These teams have not played since 2009, but they met in the state semifinals in 1994 and 1995, each winning once. 2. Manchester has attempted only 47 passes and completed 14 for 402 yards. The Blue Devils employ a stable of four primary running backs – Tre Gamble (86 carries, 795 yards, 17 touchdowns), Deenizio Gamble (51-612-6), Ashton Bell (52-657-8) and Kelvin Turner (85-458-6). 3. Macon County is known for passing, but the team has a 1,000-yard rusher, Jared Daniels (84-1,059-8). K’hari Lane has thrown 40 TD passes, almost one per five attempts. He’s 131-of-207 for 2,552 yards. The main target is Trey Brown (29-636-14).
Screven County at Jefferson County
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Warrior Field, Louisville
Records, rankings: Screven County is 8-1 overall, 6-0 in Region 4-AA and No. 7; Jefferson County is 9-0, 6-0 and No. 3.
Last meeting: Jefferson County won 44-20 in 2015.
Three things to know: 1. Screven County and Jefferson County are the remaining unbeaten teams in 4-AA play, and this game will settle the top two seeds from the region. Screven County is seeking its third region title in five years and its 11th overall. Jefferson County is looking to clinch its second consecutive region title and sixth overall. 2. Screven County averages 226.8 yards per game rushing and spreads the carries primarily among four players – C.J. Wright (77 carries, 642 yards, 13 TDs), Kim Hunter (64-567-5), QB Armani Bunbury (78-361-7) and Kashawn Robinson (46-226-3). All four are juniors. Bunbury is 60-of-110 passing for 979 yards with 13 touchdowns. 3. Jefferson County averages 42.7 points and 443.8 yards per game. The Warriors rotate two players at quarterback – Jaden Jenkins (68-for-114, 1,206 yards, 15 TDs) and C.J. Hales (63-for-104, 1,104 yards, nine TDs) – and both have passed for more than 1,000 yards. Jenkins also is the team’s leading rusher with 466 yards on 62 carries. The Warriors’ closest game was a 24-8 victory over Laney.
Troup at Cartersville
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Weinman Stadium, Cartersville
Records, rankings: Troup is 8-1 overall, 5-0 in Region 5-AAAA and No. 10; Cartersville is 9-0, 5-0 and No. 1.
Last meeting: Cartersville won 21-20 in 1989.
Three things to know: 1. Cartersville and Troup are the only remaining unbeaten teams in Region 5-AAAA play. The winner will be the region champion, and the loser will be the No. 2 seed. Troup is seeking its first region title since 1987. Cartersville has won four consecutive region titles and 18 overall. 2. Troup has averaged 35.5 points per game since a 21-14 loss to Hardaway in the opener. QB Montez Crowe passes for about 180 yards per game. Crowe, Camren Russell and Jackson Davis get most of the rushing attempts. Freshman Kobe Hudson leads the Tigers in TD receptions (seven) and returned a kickoff for a touchdown last week. 3. Cartersville averages 61.3 yards rushing and 270.2 yards passing behind QB Trevor Lawrence, the nation’s top-rated recruit among juniors. He is 154-of-250 passing for 2,432 yards and 31 touchdowns. Antoine Jefferson (38 catches, 560 yards, three TDs) is the leading receiver. The Purple Hurricanes are giving up just 7.9 points per game and have held seven of nine opponents to nine points or less.
Tucker at Stephenson
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, James R. Hallford Stadium, Clarkston
Records, rankings: Tucker is 8-1 overall, 6-0 in Region 4-AAAAAA and No. 4; Stephenson is 6-3, 5-1 and unranked.
Last meeting: Tucker won 31-28 in 2013.
Three things to know: 1. These bitter DeKalb County rivals have met only twice (in 2012 and 2013), with each team winning once. Tucker can capture its 10th region title in 16 years (and 17th overall) with a victory. If Stephenson wins, the Jaguars will finish in a three-way tie for first place with Tucker and Lovejoy that would be broken by point differential among the three teams. 2. Tucker averages 250.1 yards per game rushing and 124.7 passing. Taurean Taylor is the leading rusher with 69 carries for 913 yards (13.2 yards per carry), including a season-high 190 yards on 11 carries in a 45-0 victory over Mt. Zion-Jonesboro last week. Xavier Shephard has passed for 891 yards, and his primary target is Josh Vann (31 catches, 648 yards). 3. Stephenson also gets about two-thirds of its offense from the running game. Jaylen-Marson Knight is the leading rusher with 1,150 yards and 11 TDs on 140 carries. He had a 314-yard night in a 55-22 win over Drew three weeks ago. QB D’Vonn Gibbons is 59-for-109 passing for 956 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Valdosta at Houston County
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Freedom Field, Warner Robins
Records, rankings: Valdosta is 8-1 overall, 3-0 in Region 1-AAAAAA and No. 1; Houston County is 7-2, 1-2 and No. 9.
Last meeting: Valdosta won 45-6 in 2009.
Three things to know: 1. Valdosta clinched its 36th GHSA region championship last week. Houston County, which spent seven weeks ranked No. 1 earlier this season, must win to make the playoffs. That was also the case last week, when it upset second-ranked Northside-Warner Robins 45-35. 2. Valdosta QBs Hunter Holt (749 yards passing, 422 rushing) and Josh Belton (693 passing, 293 rushing) have similar numbers, but Holt had the big game in a 15-10, region-clinching victory against Coffee last week. He was 14-of-21 passing for 118 yards and rushed for 52, accounting for all but 50 yards of the Wildcats’ total offense. Joseph Ingram (35 catches, 608 yards) is fourth in the region in receiving yardage. 3. Houston County QB Jake Fromm, the state’s leading passer, had career highs in passing yards (534) and rushing yards (119) against Northside. For the season, he is 225-of-353 passing for 3,740 yards and 39 TDs. Receivers Eli Watson (47 catches, 1,057 yards, 10 TDs) and Amari Colbert (55-1,049-17) both surpassed the 1,000-yard mark last week.
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