Unbeaten Oconee County hosts Eastside; Cartersville visits Cedartown for region opener

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

Eastside (2-1-1) at Oconee County (4-0)

After five weeks of games, some of the biggest questions remaining in Class AAAA are how good this year’s undefeated Oconee County Warriors are, will be and can be. Former Stephens County head coach Travis Noland improved the Warriors’ record from a 2-8 finish in 2013, to 8-4 his first season on the job. Last year, the Warriors improved once again to a 9-3 finish. Now that Oconee County is 4-0 and consensually ranked across the state, Friday’s home game versus Eastside has become a titillating matchup as they take the field one last time before opening region play with North Oconee, St. Pius, Stephens County, Madison County and Jefferson. Oconee County has won its first four games this season by an average of 20.5 points per game, with no margin of victory underneath 18 points. Eastside has history on its side as far as the matchup itself is concerned. The Eagles have won their last two meetings with the Warriors (2008, 2009) by a combined score of 93-7 and own the all-time series 3-1. Eastside is also coming off a 21-0 loss to Loganville on Sept. 9 and has had two straight weeks off to prepare for this matchup.

Cartersville (4-0) at Cedartown (3-1)

While Eastside’s slight historical advantage against Oconee County Friday offers little insight for the expected outcome, Cedartown may need its history and some divine intervention to get past Cartersville this Friday. Cedartown won its last meeting with Cartersville 18-10 in 2011 and has taken three of its last five and seven of its last dozen meetings with the Purple Hurricanes, but remains a heavy underdog. The Maxwell Week 6 projections has Cartersville as a 39-point road favorite, while Oconee County is favored by a mere five points at home against Eastside. Cedartown is 3-1 on the season and its loss game to out-of-state Piedmont (AL) (29-22) the first week of the season. As solid as the Bulldogs have been, no team in the state rides more momentum into Week 6 than their opponent Cartersville, which carries a state-best 19-game winning streak. Cartersville has allowed just seven points its past three games, while scoring a combined 125 points. This is the Region 5 opener for both squads.

Class AAAAAA Gainesville (2-1) at Jefferson (3-1)

Jefferson faces Class AAAAAA Gainesville in one of the final 20 non-region matchups of the season that are slated in Class AAAA this weekend. Thomson stunned the Dragons 42-20 on Sept. 2, but the Dragons came off a bye and pitched a 33-0 shutout last Friday night against Flowery Branch. This will be the first time in history that these two former state championship programs have faced one another.


Friday, Sept. 23 (*Designates region game)

Region 1

*Americus-Sumter at Northside-Columbus (Kinnett Stadium) (Thursday)

*Cairo at Shaw (Columbus Memorial) (Thursday)

*Carver-Columbus at Westover (Mills Stadium) (Thursday)

*Hardaway at Columbus (Kinnett Stadium)

Region 2

Houston County at Spalding (Griffin Memorial)

Jordan at Upson-Lee

West Laurens at Warner Robins (McConnell Talbott Stadium)

OFF: Howard, Mary Persons

Region 3

Baldwin at Evans

Effingham County at Burke County

Cross Creek at Greenbrier

Hephzibah at Hancock Central

Richmond Academy at Grovetown

OFF: Thomson

Region 4

*North Clayton at Druid Hills (Adams Stadium)

Eastside at Oconee County

*Salem at Woodward Academy

OFF: Henry County, Luella

Region 5

*Cartersville at Cedartown

*LaGrange at Central-Carroll

*Chapel Hill at Troup (Callaway Stadium)

OFF: Sandy Creek

Region 6

*Gilmer at Heritage-Catoosa

*Southeast Whitfield at LaFayette

*Northwest Whitfield at Ridgeland

OFF: Pickens

Region 7

Blessed Trinity at McCallie, TN

Habersham Central at Chestatee

Chamblee at Marist

Rabun County at West Hall

White County at Dawson County

Region 8

Gainesville at Jefferson

Madison County at Franklin County

North Oconee at Winder-Barrow

Eastside at Oconee County

Lanier at St. Pius

Stephens County at Hart County

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