Top 10 games of Week 6
Allatoona at Harrison
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Bruce Cobleigh Stadium, Kennesaw
Records, rankings: Allatoona is 1-3 overall, 1-0 in Region 6-AAAAAA and unranked; Harrison is 4-0, 1-0 and No. 7.
Last meeting: This is the teams’ first meeting.
Three things to know: 1. Allatoona opened in 2008 to relieve overcrowding at Kennesaw Mountain, North Cobb and Harrison, which is about 10 miles away. Allatoona is 2-0 all-time against Kennesaw Mountain but has never played the other two. Harrison was in a higher classification until this season, and Allatoona has been in large regions that limited opportunities for non-region games. 2. Allatoona opened the season with three losses to ranked teams (Cartersville, Alexander and Sandy Creek) by an average of 9.3 points. The Buccaneers rush for 206.5 yards per game, led by Charles Anderson’s 422 yards on 83 carries. QB Tate Tatum is 24-for-46 passing for 403 yards and three TDs. 3. Harrison, which is 4-0 for the first time since 2008, is averaging 36.8 points and 416 yards per game (210 rushing, 206 passing). Junior QB Justin Fields is 41-for-66 passing for 801 yards, leads the Hoyas in rushing with 346 yards on 45 carries, and had a hand in 12 touchdowns. Senior LB C.J. Turner has 72 tackles for a team allowing 15.3 points per game.
Bowdon at Darlington
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Chris Hunter Stadium, Rome
Records, rankings: Bowdon is 3-1 overall, 1-0 in Region 6-A Div. A and No. 8 in Class A public; Darlington is 3-1, 1-0 and No. 6 in Class A private.
Last meeting: Darlington won 18-7 in 2015.
Three things to know: 1. This game will be a measure of the relative strengths of public and private schools in Class A. Both are ranked No. 6 in the computer Maxwell Ratings. Maxwell rates the private school as being stronger at each corresponding spot in the top 10 by an average of about 4.5 points. This is the first time these two have played when both were ranked by the AJC. Darlington has won five straight in a series that it leads 11-7. 2. Darlington passes only about eight times per game. The offense is built around RB Tijai Whatley, who has rushed for 592 yards and eight touchdowns on 72 carries. Another key player is RB/CB Elijah McCoy, who has 403 all-purpose yards and three interceptions. 3. Bowdon’s lone loss was against Class AAAA Troup 28-27. Bowdon averages 189.5 yards rushing and 91.0 passing per game. Aaron Beasley has rushed for a team-leading 475 yards. Tay Sheppard, who ran for 1,400 yards last season, has 208 yards rushing and 175 receiving on just 30 touches. Cason Parmer and Dylan Raymond split time at quarterback.
Cedar Grove at Westminster
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Alfred E. Thompson Stadium, Atlanta
Records, rankings: Cedar Grove is 3-1 overall, 1-0 in Region 5-AAA and No. 3; Westminster is 2-2, 1-0 and No. 7.
Last meeting: Westminster won 24-8 in the 2015 Class AAA semifinals.
Three things to know: 1. The Class AAA semifinal last season was a huge upset. Westminster was 9-4 and unranked. Cedar Grove was 11-1-1 and ranked No. 3. Westminster won partly on field position (five touchbacks, two punts inside the 20-yard line) and turnovers (none to Cedar Grove’s two). Westminster RB Zay Malcome rushed for 126 yards. 2. Malcome, Westminster’s career rushing leader, is back. He has rushed for 569 yards and seven touchdowns, leads the team in receptions with 12 for 102 yards and has chipped in 13 tackles on defense. RB/DB Ian Ude has rushed for 216 yards and has 22 tackles. Starting QB J.D. Falconer (28-of-45 for 347 yards) went down to injury early in last week’s game but hopes to return. 3. Cedar Grove RB Grant Walker, a transfer from Decatur, has rushed for 497 yards on 70 carries. QB Jaleni Woods, who is committed to Oklahoma State, is 34-of-56 passing for 438 yards and five touchdowns. DL/OLB DeAngelo Malone has 33 tackles, 11 for losses, and 4.5 sacks.
Colquitt County at Valdosta
When, where: 8 p.m. Friday, Cleveland Field at Bazemore-Hyder Stadium, Valdosta
Records, rankings: Colquitt County is 1-4 and No. 10 in Class AAAAAAA; Valdosta is 5-0 and No. 3 in AAAAAA.
Last meeting: Colquitt County won 49-14 in 2015.
Three things to know: 1. Valdosta and Colquitt County are 4-4 against each other since Rush Propst became Colquitt’s head coach in 2008. Colquitt has won the last three. Valdosta coach Alan Rodemaker is new to the series. He is the fifth coach in Valdosta history to start 5-0. The others were Rance Gillespie (2010), Mike O’Brien (1996), Charlie Greene (1972) and Bobby Hooks (1932). 2. After an erratic start, Colquitt County QB Jay Saunders came into his own last week, when he threw for 376 yards in a 52-14 victory over Brookwood. The senior has 1,092 yards passing on the season. Xavier Powell (26-287-2) and Tory Ponder (21-270-2) are the top receivers. RB Daijun Edwards has rushed for a team-leading 271 yards. 3. Valdosta QB Hunter Holt came off the bench to start the season but has emerged as the starter and one of the classification’s top dual-threat players. He’s 31-of-40 passing for 521 yards and eight touchdowns and no interceptions. Holt also leads the team in rushing with 334 yards on 46 carries (7.3 ypc).
Gainesville at Jefferson
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Memorial Stadium, Jefferson
Records, rankings: Gainesville is 2-1 and unranked in Class AAAAAA; Jefferson is 3-1 and No. 9 in AAAA.
Last meeting: This is the teams’ first meeting.
Three things to know: 1. These are two of the premier programs in northeast Georgia. Both won state titles in 2012. Although Jefferson has never played Gainesville, which is about 22 miles away, it has had success against teams from Hall County, compiling an all-time 23-13-1 record. The Dragons won their first meeting with Flowery Branch 33-0 last week. 2. Gainesville hasn’t played since Sept. 2, when it beat Clarke Central 21-14 to avenge a stunning 44-7 loss to the Gladiators last season. Quarterback DJ Irons was 25-of-35 passing for 209 yards and two touchdowns, including the game-winning 1-yard pass to Brendon Goss with six minutes remaining. Jim Barnett had seven catches for 97 yards and a TD. 3. Jefferson gets 218.8 yards per game from a rushing attack led by junior RB Colby Wood, who last week went over the 3,000-yard mark for his career. Wood has 442 yards and seven touchdowns on 72 carries this season, with three games of at least 120 yards. The Dragons attempt about 11 passes per game and average 93.3 yards.
Lincoln County at Stratford Academy
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Eagle Field, Macon
Records, rankings: Lincoln County is 2-0-1 and No. 6 in Class A public; Stratford Academy is 2-1 and No. 7 in Class A private.
Last meeting: Lincoln County won 21-20 in 2014.
Three things to know: 1. Lincoln County (No. 6) is the highest-rated public school in 7-A, and Stratford Academy (No. 7) is the highest-rated private school, so this could be a preview of the region championship game. Lincoln County has won 33 region titles in its history, most recently in 2012. Stratford Academy has not won a region title since moving from the GISA in 2014. 2. Lincoln County’s defense has been outstanding, allowing just 132.7 yards and 4.7 points per game. The Red Devils’ offense is led by QB Javon Reid, who has rushed for 182 yards and three TDs on 39 carries and is 14-for-29 passing for 179 yards. Quay Hartfield is the leading rusher with 186 yards and three TDs on 20 carries. Both went over 100 yards against McCormick, S.C., in the opener. 3. Stratford Academy runs the ball about 90 percent of the time, sharing the workload among a number of backs. Kasey Sanders (28), Ames Jamison (19) and Carter Griffin (19) have the most carries, but nobody has a 100-yard game. QB Noah Hill attempts less than five passes per game.
South Forsyth at Lassiter
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Frank Fillmann Stadium, Lassiter
Records, rankings: South Forsyth is 3-1 and No. 8 in Class AAAAAAA; Lassiter is 4-0 and No. 6 in AAAAAAA.
Last meeting: This is the teams’ first meeting.
Three things to know: 1. This game matches the No. 3 scoring offense in Class AAAAAAA against the No. 9 scoring defense. South Forsyth is averaging 40.3 point per game (49 per game since a 27-14 loss to Hillgrove in the opener). Lassiter allows 14.3 points per game, no more than 21 in any game this season. 2. South Forsyth QB Davis Shanley, the offensive player of the year in 6-AAAAAA last season, has passed for 721 yards, rushed for 226 and had a hand in 10 TDs. The War Eagles run more than they pass, averaging 229.5 yards rushing and 185.8 passing. Tyler Bowman (37 carries, 250 yards), Jared Honey (35-168) and Jake Nicholas (31-156) share the workload. 3. Lassiter’s defense features a secondary that has three players rated three-star recruits or better – senior Tyriq Hardimon (committed to California) and juniors Derrik Allen (34 offers) and Christian Jackson (West Virginia among four offers). QB Bradley Riopelle directs the offense. He passed for 156 yards in the second half as the Trojans rallied to beat Marietta 21-14 last week.
Thomas County Central at Lee County
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Trojan Field, Leesburg
Records, rankings: Thomas County Central is 4-1 and No. 5 in Class AAAAA; Lee County is 4-0 and No. 4 in AAAAAA.
Last meeting: Thomas County Central won 45-14 in 2013.
Three things to know: 1. Thomas County Central leads this series 21-1. Lee County won 42-21 in 2005. The closest game since then has been 24-7. Thomas Central has averaged 52.7 points in the last four meetings. Lee County coach Dean Fabrizio is 48-31 overall but 0-5 against Central. 2. Lee County RB Mark Robinson leads Region 1-AAAAAA in rushing by a wide margin. He has 631 yards and seven touchdowns on 96 carries. QB Jase Orndorff is 60-of-98 passing for 712 yards and six touchdowns. DB Otis Reese is committed to Michigan. DL Aubrey Solomon, who recently de-committed from Michigan, is an AJC Super 11 pick. 3. Thomas County Central QB Kelias Williams has more yards rushing (775) than passing (492). The Yellow Jackets average 290.0 yards rushing as a team. PK Lauren Pearson is the first female to score points in a game in team history. She’s 16-of-18 on extra points and 3-for-3 on field goals.
Union County at Greater Atlanta Christian
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Spartan Stadium, Norcross
Records, rankings: Union County is 4-0 overall, 0-0 in Region 7-AAA and unranked; Greater Atlanta Christian is 3-1, 0-0 and No. 1.
Last meeting: Greater Atlanta Christian won 38-0 in 2005.
Three things to know: 1. This is the Region 7-AAA opener for both teams and the first meeting between them since they were members of Region 8-AA in 2005. Union County and GAC played each other every year from 1998 to 2005, with GAC winning all eight games. 2. Union County QB Cole Wright has passed for 449 yards, rushed for a team-leading 505 yards and had a hand in 12 TDs. RB Bo Lynch ran for 189 yards and two scores in a 42-28 victory over Banks County last week. The Panthers rush for 255 yards per game. 3. GAC QB Davis Mills (committed to Stanford), the state’s consensus No. 1 senior recruit, returned much earlier than expected from a preseason knee injury. He was just 5-for-17 for 44 yards in his first game back, a 21-17 loss to Valor Christian of Colorado two weeks ago. But he shook off the rust in a 37-7 victory over St. Pius last week, completing 13 of 16 for 211 yards and three scores. The Spartans average 200 yards per game rushing, and about two-thirds of that comes from RB Kyler McMichael (84 carries, 563 yards, six TDs).
Vidalia at Benedictine
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, T.A. Wright Stadium/Savannah State, Savannah
Records, rankings: Vidalia is 3-1 overall, 1-0 in Region 2-AA and No. 9; Benedictine is 4-0, 1-0 and No. 2.
Last meeting: Benedictine won 27-3 in 2015.
Three things to know: 1. The winner of this game has won Region 2-AA the past four seasons. Benedictine won in 2013 and 2015. Vidalia won in 2012 and 2014. Benedictine overcame the 2014 loss to win a state championship. 2. Benedictine gets two-thirds of its yards rushing. John Wesley Kennedy is Benedictine’s leading rusher (275 yards) and receiver (223). He has seven touchdowns. QB Nick Iannone is 28-of-45 passing for 429 yards. DE Adam King has nine tackles for losses. 3. Vidalia is even more tilted toward the run, getting 195.9 per game rushing, 35.0 passing (6-for-25). LB/RB Nate McBride, an AJC Super 11 player, is the leading rusher with 226 yards and four touchdowns on just 20 carries. He has 39 tackles. DE/RB Lakia Henry has 32 tackles, four for losses, and 194 yards rushing.
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