Week 7 will answer these lingering question
Week 7 could be a turning point or another week of sustainable dominance as the second half of the season gets underway. Spalding and Mary Persons are battling for key ground in the race for the Region 2 crown, while Cartersville shoots for its 21st straight win against a Central-Carroll team still searching for its first win of the season. Marist takes its turn to try and top Class AAAAAA Gainesville, and Madison County looks to remain perfect on the year against a Jefferson team that handed Gainesville a 31-28 loss last week. Here are four questions that this weekend will put an end to.
Can Spalding spoil Mary Person’s region run?
Spalding used its speed to frustrate Class AAAAAA No. 1 Houston County last Friday night and nearly pulled off the upset. The Jaguars led 17-0 before eventually falling 28-24 in their final non-region matchup. Now Spalding will travel to Mary Persons to take on the defending Region 2 champs. Mary Persons is also coming off a narrow loss after dropping a 20-19 clash with Peach County on Friday. The Bulldogs’ other loss came in their season opener against Jake Fromm and Houston County where they fell 26-14. Now that both defenses have already faced one of the best quarterbacks to come through the state of Georgia, these defenses are equally battle-tested. Spalding will look to control the game on the ground with seniors Naricuss Driver, AJ Moses and Brandon Hughley. Mary Persons quarterback Caleb Speir tossed three touchdowns in the loss to Peach County and will balance out the offense with running back Zach Harvey.
Will Cartersville’s defense continue this complete dominance?
Cartersville’s offense has been a familiar force in Georgia high school football, but the defense this season is on a pace that deserves equal recognition. In five games, the Purple Hurricanes have allowed just 5.4 points per game. What impresses me most about this year’s defense is the focus they have shown. While the offense quickly scores and puts up its 39.8 points per game, the defense remains consistent each time they step on the field. Even when the starters are sitting, or the lead has grown past two scores, the intensity hasn’t stopped. In their 56-0 win at Calhoun, Cartersville didn’t allow a single first down in the second half. This spells trouble for this week’s opponent Central-Carroll, which limps into the matchup 0-5. The Lions’ uncharacteristically slow start to the year follows a three-year run that produced 30 wins. Cartersville has held its last four opponents to single digits and it will likely be five as Central-Carroll is scoring just 9.8 points per game this year as it is.
Is Marist in Class AAAA’s top tier?
This game will be a good measuring stick for not only Marist, but also Jefferson, which defeated Gainesville last week 31-28. Marist has seen its share of turbulence to start the season, but comes off a promising 42-14 win over Chamblee. The War Eagles opened the year with a 29-28 double-overtime loss to Lovett and pitched back-to-back shutouts over Belen Jesuit (FL) and St. Pius. Then, Woodward Academy pounded Marist 32-0 and raised the question again to whether or not Marist can contend for a deep playoff run this year. This six-game non-region roller coaster ends with the Gainesville matchup, and then its West Hall, Blessed Trinity, Chestatee and White County competing for Region 7 seeding.
Who will be on the outside looking in when it comes to Region 8?
Marist’s 13-0 win over St. Pius looked impressive at the time, but now St. Pius is still winless at 0-5. The 0-2 start St. Pius saw last year that turned into a 10-game winning streak and quarterfinal run, is far out of reach as the Golden Lions continue their offensive struggles. They’ve put up just 14 points in the past four weeks. St. Pius is off this week, along with North Oconee, Oconee County and Stephens County and only one matchup takes place in Region 8 as a result. North Oconee joins St. Pius as 0-5 at the midpoint of the season. Jefferson, Oconee County and Stephens County are all 4-1 while Madison County wears a 5-0 start. All the teams are even in the region standings and that is why asking if one of the 0-5 teams can earn a playoff berth is a fair-minded question. Undefeated Madison County will take on Jefferson in one of the state’s most interesting week 7 matchups. A loss to open up region play would be a difficult result for Madision County, which has Stephens County, North Oconee, Oconee County and St. Pius left on the schedule.
WEEK 7 SCHEDULE
Americus-Sumter at Cairo
Shaw at Carver-Columbus (CM)
Columbus at Northside-Columbus (K)
Westover at Hardaway (K) (Thursday)
West Laurens at Howard
Spalding at Mary Persons
Dougherty at Perry
Cross Creek at Hephzibah
Clarkston at Thomson
OFF-Burke County, Richmond Academy, Baldwin County
Woodward Academy at Henry County
Luella at Salem
OFF- Druid Hills, Eastside, North Clayton
Central-Carroll at Cartersville
Cedartown at LaGrange
Troup at Sandy Creek
Pickens at Gilmer
Heritage-Catoosa at Southeast Whitfield
LaFayette at Northwest Whitfield
Marist at Gainesville
White County at Lumpkin County
OFF-Blessed Trinity, Chestatee, West Hall
Jefferson at Madison County
OFF- North Oconee, Oconee County, St. Pius, Stephens County