by: Chip Saye\/ajc.com Updated:
Brookwood at Parkview
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Big Orange Jungle, Lilburn
Records, rankings: Brookwood is 2-1 overall, 1-0 in Region 8-AAAAAA and unranked; Parkview is 3-1, 2-0 and No. 10.
Last meeting: Brookwood won 23-19 in 2011.
Three things to know: 1. Both teams escaped with narrow victories against Archer in their most recent games. Brookwood scored 10 points in the final 2:41 to win 20-19 on Sept. 14, and Parkview won 20-18 when Archer missed a 51-yard field goal in the final seconds last weekend. 2. Parkview and Brookwood ran the ball successfully against Archer. Parkview’s Chris Carson rushed for 143 yards, two touchdowns and a two-point conversion, while Brookwood’s Jamaal Cole ran for 108 yards and a touchdown (and had five receptions for 72 yards). 3. A victory would put Parkview in the driver’s seat in 8-AAAAAA at 3-0 in region play, with all of the victories coming against the region’s playoff teams from last season. Parkview has not won a region title since 2004 and has gone 1-6 against Brookwood since then. Brookwood leads the all-time series 19-11.
Camden County at Valdosta
When, where: 8 p.m. Friday, Cleveland Field at Bazemore-Hyder Stadium, Valdosta
Records, rankings: Camden County is 4-0 overall, 0-0 in Region 1-AAAAAA and No. 1; Valdosta is 3-1, 0-0 and unranked.
Last meeting: Camden County won 16-7 in the second round of the 2005 Class AAAAA playoffs.
Three things to know: 1. This is the first game for Camden County in its new region. A state power in a notoriously weak region for more than a decade, Camden won 86 consecutive games that counted in region standings in old 3-AAAAA, including all 82 with Jeff Herron as head coach. Camden did lose to a region opponent from the opposite subregion in 2000. That was Benedictine. The last time a loss counted in region standings was 1999, when Camden was beaten by Brunswick. 2. Valdosta running backs Nelson Herring and Malcolm Joseph each have had games in which they rushed for more than 130 yards and three touchdowns. 3. Camden County played at Bazemore-Hyder Stadium in the 2003 Class AAAAA final but might not recognize the place now. That Dec. 20, 2003, game was the last one played on grass at Valdosta as artificial turf was installed and the stadium rebuilt for the 2004 season.
Commerce at George Walton Academy
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Keith Henderson Stadium, Monroe
Records, rankings: Commerce is 4-0 overall, 0-0 in Region 8-A and No. 9; George Walton Academy is 3-1, 0-0 and No. 8.
Last meeting: George Walton Academy won 24-14 in 2011.
Three things to know: 1. Commerce scored twice in the final three minutes in its 18-17 victory over Rabun County last week. Drew Whitfield recovered an onside kick to set up Commerce’s final possession, then scored the game-winning TD on a 4-yard run with 19 seconds to play. 2. George Walton’s only loss was a 28-21 overtime loss to third-ranked Aquinas on Sept. 7. George Walton QB Hunter Rice missed the game with a hand injury, but Stanley Williams rushed for 216 yards and a touchdown. Williams, a junior who has committed to Georgia, left last week’s game against Warren County with an ankle injury. 3. Commerce is No. 1 among public schools and George Walton is the No. 9 private school in this week’s Class A power rankings, which will determine playoff teams and seedings. Both teams are expected to challenge undefeated Prince Avenue Christian and Athens Academy for the Region 8-A championship.
Early County at Brooks County
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Veterans Stadium, Quitman
Records, rankings: Early County is 3-1 overall, 0-0 in Region 1-AA and No. 8; Brooks County is 4-0, 0-0 and No. 2.
Last meeting: Brooks County won 25-8 in 2011.
Three things to know: 1. Brooks County QB Malcolm Parrish is having a state player-of-the-year type season. He threw for 350 yards and rushed for 129 and had a hand in five touchdowns in a 44-8 victory over Mitchell County last week. For the season, he has 1,023 yards passing for eight touchdowns and 360 yards rushing for seven touchdowns. 2. Early County RB Ladonis Bryant rushed for 135 yards on 14 carries and scored all 20 of Early’s points on three touchdowns and a conversion in the 20-6 victory over Calhoun County last week. In an earlier win over Seminole County, he had three touchdowns of 60 yards of more, two on receptions. 3. This is the first showdown between any of 1-AA’s four Top 10 teams. The others are Cook and Fitzgerald. According to the computer Maxwell Ratings, this region has five of the top 11 teams in AA and is the best region in AA, and the second-best below Class AAAAA.
Heritage (Conyers) at Gainesville
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, City Park Stadium/Bobby Gruhn Field, Gainesville
Records, rankings: Heritage is 4-0 overall, 2-0 in Region 8-AAAAA and No. 10; Gainesville is 3-1, 2-0 and No. 7.
Last meeting: This is the teams’ first meeting.
Three things to know: 1. Heritage has the No. 3-ranked defense in Class AAAAA, allowing 5.3 points per game and holding all four of its opponents to seven points or less. The Patriots are led by LB Chase Alford, who had 147 tackles last season and had a 19-tackle game against Salem in the region opener. 2. Gainesville has the No. 4-ranked offense in Class AAAAA, led by junior QB Deshaun Watson, who has committed to Clemson. Watson has passed for 1,155 yards and 13 TDs and rushed for 290 yards and five scores in four games for the Red Elephants, who are averaging 45 points per game overall and 65.5 in region play. 3. This game matches the top two contenders for the 8-AAAAA title, although Flowery Branch and Clarke Central also are undefeated in region play. Heritage finished tied for first place in the region last season, and Gainesville won the past four titles in its Class AAA region before moving up this season.
Lowndes at Colquitt County
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Tom White Field at Mack Tharpe Memorial Stadium, Moultrie
Records, rankings: Lowndes is 4-0 overall, 0-0 in Region 1-AAAAAA and No. 4; Colquitt County is 3-1, 0-0 and No. 8.
Last meeting: Colquitt County won 34-7 in 2011.
Three things to know: 1. Lowndes is a run-heavy team that shares the ball, averaging 270 yards rushing and 64 passing. Nick Burgmam (34 carries, 334 yards, eight touchdowns) is the leading rusher, followed by Ahman Brown (22-248-5), Tevin Brown (29-161-1) and Jordan Williams (16-146-5). 2. Colquitt County’s 34-7 victory last season, also played in Moultrie, ended an 11-game losing streak in the rivalry. Colquitt held Lowndes to 118 yards of total offense, and QB Cole Segraves was 18-of-23 passing for 162 yards. Segraves is back, though he splits time now with sophomore Daniel Mobley. 3. Colquitt County has played the toughest schedule in Class AAAAAA, according to the Maxwell Ratings. Lowndes has played the fifth-weakest.
Norcross at Mill Creek
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Mill Creek Community Stadium, Hochston
Records, rankings: Norcross is 4-0 overall, 2-0 in Region 7-AAAAAA and No. 3; Mill Creek is 3-1, 2-0 and unranked.
Last meeting: Norcross won 41-34 in 2011.
Three things to know: 1. Both teams have blue-chip defensive line prospects. For Mill Creek, it is Kelsey Griffin, rated one of the top 12 defensive tackles nationally. He is uncommitted. For Norcross, it is Lorenzo Carter, who has six sacks, at least one in each game. He has offers from seven ACC or SEC schools. 2. Alvin Kamara of Norcross is rated by some as the No. 1 running back prospect in Georgia. He has rushed for 427 yards and five touchdowns on 71 carries. But Myles Autry, a junior, has hurt opponents in more ways. He has 126 yards rushing, 136 yards receiving and 130 yards returning punts. 3. Norcross is 6-0 all-time against Mill Creek. In the 2011 game, Norcross blew a 20-0 lead but won on Kamara’s 49-yard run that broke a 34-34 tie. Kamara rushed for 222 yards in that game. The winner of this game will lead Region 7, although Collins Hill (2-1, 1-0) also is unbeaten in region play.
Stephenson at Southwest DeKalb
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Hallford Stadium, Clarkston
Records, rankings: Stephenson is 3-0 overall, 3-0 in Region 6-AAAAA and No. 4; Southwest DeKalb is 3-1, 2-1 and unranked.
Last meeting: Stephenson won 6-0 in 2005.
Three things to know: 1. Stephenson and Southwest DeKalb are run-oriented teams. Stephenson averages 295.3 yards per game rushing, led by Evans Jones with 216 yards in three games. Southwest DeKalb has averaged 231.3 yards rushing in four games and is led by Robert Brice with 244 yards and Malik Wright with 211. 2. The two DeKalb County schools played every year from 1998 to 2005 but have not met since, primarily because Southwest DeKalb was in a region that played a full region schedule most years. Stephenson won the 2005 game at the Georgia Dome, but Southwest DeKalb leads the series 5-3. 3. Stephenson is one of three teams, along with Tucker and M.L. King, tied at 3-0 for first place in region 6-AAAAA. The Jaguars face Tucker and M.L. King in the next four weeks. Southwest DeKalb is tied with Miller Grove at 2-1 for fourth place.
Washington-Wilkes at Union County
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Mike Colwell Memorial Stadium, Blairsville
Records, rankings: Washington-Wilkes is 4-0 overall, 1-0 in Region 8-AA and No. 6; Union County is 3-0, 0-0 and unranked.
Last meeting: Washington-Wilkes won 54-14 in the 1966 Region 4-B final.
Three things to know: 1. Washington-Wilkes is averaging 43.8 points per game, but the Tigers have been even better defensively, allowing a Class AA-best 3.0 points per game (only Richmond Hill in Class AAAAA has allowed less). In a recent victory against Warren County, the Tigers got a safety, two interception returns for touchdowns (Deotre Milton, Tovoris Grant) and a fumble return for a score (Brian Hardigree). 2. Brian Allison became the winningest coach in Union County history when the Panthers beat Andrews (N.C.) 40-14 on Sept. 14. He has won 57 games in two stints at the school (1996-2001 and 2008-2012). Allison surpassed his former coach, Terry Rogers, who won 56 games at Union County from 1980 to 1993. 3. Washington-Wilkes is 4-0 for the first time since 2000, when it lost in the Class AA final against Americus. Union County is 3-0 for just the second time since 2001, when it made its last playoff appearance.
Wilcox County at Charlton County
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, The Swamp, Folkston
Records, rankings: Wilcox County is 2-1 overall, 0-0 in Region 2-A and No. 4; Charlton County is 2-2, 0-0 and unranked.
Last meeting: Wilcox County won 28-18 in 2011.
Three things to know: 1. Wilcox County QB Makail Grace (38-of-59 passing for 697 yards) was the Associated Press Class A offensive player of the year in 2011, but WR Johnathan Howard, who committed to North Carolina this week, is just as dangerous. Howard has 28 catches for 470 yards and four touchdowns in three games. He took his only punt return of the season 57 yards for a touchdown. 2. Charlton County has not started a season 2-3 since 1988, two seasons before Rich McWhorter became head coach. A tough schedule – ranked fifth in Class A by the Maxwell Ratings – is one reason, as Charlton has lost 31-0 to AAAAA Ware County and 37-0 to AA Fitzgerald. Charlton is averaging only 177.5 yards of total offense per game. 3. McWhorter, 239-52-2 in 23 seasons at Charlton County, has a losing record against only one Class A school that he has faced more than once. That is Macon County (0-5). He is 2-2 vs. Wilcox County.
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