Top 10 games of Week 9
Archer at Grayson
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Grayson Community Stadium, Grayson
Records, rankings: Archer is 2-4 overall, 1-0 in Region 8-AAAAAAA and unranked; Grayson is 5-1, 2-0 and No. 3.
Last meeting: Grayson won 26-24 in 2015.
Three things to know: 1. Archer’s four losses are to No. 1 Roswell, No. 2 Mill Creek, No. 4 McEachern and No. 5 Norcross. Grayson is No. 3. Archer emerged as the top contender in the region to Grayson with a 42-0 victory over Newton, which entered that game 4-1-1. 2. The return of QB Dillon Waye, injured the first four games, is great news for Archer’s struggling offense. He was 15-of-26 passing for 146 yards and three touchdowns against Newton. Keegan Strickland has rushed for 445 yards. On defense, LB Quinn Miller has 43 solo tackles (only player with more than 25), including 10 for losses. 3. Grayson averages 197.7 yards passing and 126.0 rushing per game. QB Chase Brice, a Clemson commit, is 71-of-103 passing for 1,128 yards and 13 touchdowns. Kurt Taylor has rushed for 357 yards. Jamyest Williams, who transferred from Archer after a 1,000-yard rushing season, has 361 yards from scrimmage on 25 rushes and 10 receptions.
Benedictine at Toombs County
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Booster Stadium, Lyons
Records, rankings: Benedictine is 6-0 overall, 3-0 in Region 2-AA and No. 1; Toombs County is 5-1, 3-0 and unranked.
Last meeting: Benedictine won 51-13 in 2013.
Three things to know: 1. These are the only unbeaten teams in region play. But only Benedictine has beaten seventh-ranked Vidalia, Toombs’ arch-rival. Toombs will be looking for its first victory over a ranked team since 2004 (Savannah Christian). 2. Toombs County is 5-1 for the first time since 2007 and bearing down on its first playoff berth since 2008. This comes under first-year coach Richie Marsh, who had been defensive coordinator at Southeastern University until returning to high school ball. He was Thomasville’s head coach from 2005 to 2012. In Lyons, he has found a star running back, Keshawn Morgan. His 1,188 yards rushing were second in the state until Toombs had a bye last week. 3. Benedictine averages 233.7 yards rushing per game, and four backs have more than 200 yards. John Wesley Kennedy has 470 yards rushing and 298 receiving and has scored 11 touchdowns. Nick Iannone is 38-of-59 passing for 627 yards and six touchdowns without an interception.
Cartersville at Sandy Creek
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, The Battlefield, Tyrone
Records, rankings: Cartersville is 7-0 overall, 3-0 in Region 5-AAAA and No. 1; Sandy Creek is 4-2, 1-1 and unranked.
Last meeting: Cartersville won 35-31 in the 2014 Class AAAA quarterfinals.
Three things to know: 1. This game was expected to settle the region championship in 5-AAAA, but Sandy Creek’s 28-20 loss to Troup two weeks ago complicated the race. Troup and Cartersville are the region’s only unbeaten teams, and Cedartown has one loss. Sandy Creek must beat Cartersville to have any shot at winning its first region title since 2013. 2. Cartersville QB Trevor Lawrence, the consensus No. 1 junior recruit in the nation, is 121-of-192 passing for 1,900 yards and 24 touchdowns. RB Trey Creamer is the team’s leading rusher (47 carries, 274 yards, eight TDs) and second-leading receiver (17 catches, 281 yards, two TDs). The Purple Hurricanes are allowing just 6.1 points per game. 3. Sandy Creek QB Bryant Walker is 56-of-98 passing for 918 yards and 10 touchdowns. He had season highs in attempts (24) and yards (249) in the loss to Troup. But the Patriots get more of their offense from the running game, which averages 233 yards. RB Jaelen Greene has rushed for 662 yards and eight TDs on 88 carries and has four 100-yard games this season.
Clinch County at Turner County
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Alan Hobby Field, Ashburn
Records, rankings: Clinch County is 5-1 overall, 3-0 in Region 2-A and No. 1 in Class A public; Turner County is 4-2, 3-0 and unranked.
Last meeting: Clinch County won 30-16 in 2015.
Three things to know: 1. Clinch County and Turner County are the only unbeaten teams in 2-A play, and every other team in the region besides third-place Irwin County (2-1) has at least two losses. Clinch County already has beaten Irwin County and would have a clear path to the region title with a win this week. Turner County plays Irwin on Nov. 4. 2. Clinch County is a running team that averages 216.7 yards rushing and 37 carries per game. The main runners are QB Charles McClelland (73 carries, 591 yards, nine TDs), RB Shannon Young (50-221-5) and QB Trezman Marshall (29-189-4). The Panthers have attempted just 42 passes, completing 15, but eight went for touchdowns. Marshall, a sophomore, also leads the team in tackles with 32. 3. Turner County is averaging 34.3 points and giving up 29.8. The Rebels get about 62 percent of their offense from a passing game led by QB Tyler Moore, who has completed 47 of 87 attempts for 1,032 yards and 11 touchdowns. Jaden Green is the leading rusher with 290 yards and five TDs on 50 carries.
Heard County at Callaway
When, where: 7 p.m. today, Callaway Stadium, LaGrange
Records, rankings: Heard County is 5-1 overall, 1-0 in Region 5-AA and No. 9; Callaway is 6-0, 1-0 and No. 5.
Last meeting: Callaway won 20-17 in 2015.
Three things to know: 1. In the 2015 game, Heard County led 17-0 and then lost a fumble at the Callaway 7-yard line. Callaway drove 93 yards for a touchdown to spark the comeback victory. Callaway leads the series 11-7. This is the first time they’ve played when both were ranked. 2. Heard County QB Emory Jones, who is committed to Ohio State, is 56-of-99 passing for 982 yards and nine touchdowns. His chief receivers are Jaden Moreland (20-367-6) and Austin Miller (13-359-2). Miller has returned two kickoffs for touchdowns. Dayvin Troy is the leading rusher with 367 yards. 3. Callaway RB D.J. Atkins leads Class AAA in rushing with 958 yards despite limited second-half action in blowouts. Braylon Sanders, a four-star recruit, has moved to wide receiver from quarterback to make room for Dylan Johnson (29-of-55, 648 yards, 10 TDs). LB Michael Freeman, brother of Georgia Tech starting DE KeShun Freeman, is a top defender and has mid-major offers.
Lee County at Northside (Warner Robins)
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, McConnell-Talbert Stadium, Warner Robins
Records, rankings: Lee County is 6-0 overall, 1-0 in Region 1-AAAAAA and No. 1; Northside is 6-1, 0-1 and No. 3.
Last meeting: Northside won 45-7 in 2011.
Three things to know: 1. This is just the fourth all-time game between Lee County and Northside. They first met in the first round of the 2006 AAAA playoffs, then played two more times in 2010 and 2011 when they were members of Region 1-AAAA. Northside won all three game by a combined score of 128-14. Lee County is ranked No. 1 for the first time in its history. 2. Lee County has held five of six opponents to 13 points or less and limited Houston County to 29 points (16 below its average) in a 55-29 win last week. DL Aubrey Solomon has 50 tackles and eight sacks, and he forced and returned a fumble for a touchdown against Houston County. Mark Robinson (150-972-13) leads the region in rushing. 3. Northside went into last week’s game against Valdosta as the second-highest scoring team in AAAAAA (averaging 43.8 points) but was held to two field goals in a 14-6 loss, despite outgaining the Wildcats 349-123. QB Tobias Oliver has passed for 834 yards and eight TDs and is the leading rusher with 615 yards and nine touchdowns on 90 carries.
Lovejoy at Tucker
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Adams Stadium, Atlanta
Records, rankings: Lovejoy is 4-3 overall, 4-0 in Region 4-AAAAAA and unranked; Tucker is 5-1, 3-0 and No. 6.
Last meeting: Tucker won 31-21 in 2015.
Three things to know: 1. Lovejoy and Tucker are the only remaining unbeaten teams in 4-AAAAAA play, and the winner is likely to win the region championship. The teams had never met until the 2011 Class AAAA championship game, which Tucker won 22-7. They spent the past two seasons together in Region 2 of the highest class, with Tucker winning both years. 2. Lovejoy has won three consecutive games since a 1-3 start, and five of its seven games have been decided by eight points or less. The Wildcats have a balanced offense that focuses on QB John Seter and RB Zion Custis. Seter, a transfer from Connecticut, averages about 208 yards per game passing and had a 301-yard game in a 28-27 victory over Stephenson. Custis has rushed for 804 yards and six TDs on 117 carries. 3. Tucker has won five straight, including a victory at Colquitt County, since losing to Kell in the opener. The Tigers average 225 yards rushing and 157 passing. Chris Broadwater has rushed for 504 yards and eight touchdowns on 65 carries, and QB Xavier Shephard is 43-of-69 passing for 928 yards and 10 TDs.
Pace Academy at Cedar Grove
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Buck Godfrey Stadium, Decatur
Records, rankings: Pace Academy is 4-2 overall, 2-1 in Region 5-AAA and No. 4; Cedar Grove is 4-2, 2-1 and No. 9.
Last meeting: This is the teams’ first meeting.
Three things to know: 1. These are two of four ranked teams in Region 5. Both have lost to third-ranked Westminster. Cedar Grove has beaten No. 6 Lovett, and beating Pace would practically lock up the No. 2 seed. Pace must win for any real chance to finish in the top two and play at home in the first round. 2. Pace Academy RB Deon Jackson rushed for 276 yards in a 49-36 loss to Westminster last week. Jackson has rushed for 660 yards on the season but averages 191 when playing all four quarters. Pace surrendered 457 yards of total offense against Westminster and was only 9-for-23 passing for 173 yards despite an 80-yard TD to Georgia commit Trey Blount. 3. Cedar Grove’s players to watch on offense are QB Jaleni Woods (878 yards passing), Grant Walker (647 rushing) and Jadon Haselwood (370 receiving). Linemen Justin Shaffer and Netori Johnson, both committed to Georgia, play on both sides of the ball.
Tift County at Lowndes
When, where: 8 p.m. Friday, Martin Stadium, Valdosta
Records, rankings: Tift County is 5-2 overall, 0-0 in Region 1-AAAAAAA and unranked; Lowndes is 6-1, 0-0 and No. 6.
Last meeting: Lowndes won 42-16 in 2015.
Three things to know: 1. Region 1 is the last to enter region play. It has only four teams, and only three are guaranteed playoff berths. The 32nd playoff spot class-wide will be chosen using the GHSA’s power ratings. Tift County, 0-5 in the region last year, is 3-18 against Lowndes since 1995 but has won two of the past three times at Lowndes. 2. Tift County QB Griffin Collier led Class AAAAAAA in passing yards (1,840) through last week. He has completed 118 of 194 attempts for 19 touchdowns with only three interceptions. Rashod Bateman (39 catches, 596 yards), Fred Lloyd (20-373), Cam Cobb (24-318) and Brant Watson (12-236) have at least four TD receptions each. 3. Lowndes QB Michael Barrett was second in the highest classification in passing yards last week (1,495) but with far fewer attempts. Barrett is 72-of-111 with 14 touchdowns. Barrett is the region’s leading rusher with 430 yards and seven touchdowns on 67 carries.
Woodward Academy at Eastside
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Homer Sharp Stadium, Covington
Records, rankings: Woodward Academy is 6-1 overall, 3-0 in Region 4-AAAA and No. 3; Eastside is 5-1-1, 3-0 and unranked.
Last meeting: This is the teams’ first meeting.
Three things to know: 1. Woodward Academy and Eastside are the only remaining unbeaten teams in 4-AAAA play, and the winner is likely to be the region champion. Eastside has upset top-10 teams while unranked four times in the past five years, most recently against No. 8 Oconee County on Sept. 23, but has only one victory in history over a top-five team (No. 4 Monroe Area in 2012). 2. Woodward has been successful passing (208.3 yards per game) and rushing (169.7). QB Ryan Glover is 72-of-133 passing for 1,428 yards and 17 touchdowns, and he has 38 carries for 235 yards and three TDs rushing. Tahj Gary (63-445-8) and Jalen Polk (30-281-6) are the top rushers. Josh Johnson has 487 yards receiving and leads the team in all-purpose yards (627). 3. Eastside’s offensive numbers are similar to Woodward’s, with 201.7 yards per game passing and 174.7 rushing. QB Austin Holloway is 87-of-142 passing for 1,224 yards and 15 TDs. Anthony Brown (60-391-4) and Taylor Carter (69-382-5) are the leading rushers. LB Garrett Stevens averages 12.3 tackles.
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