Denmark at Blessed Trinity
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Blessed Trinity Stadium, Roswell
Records, rankings: Denmark is 5-0 overall, 2-0 in Region 7-AAAA and No. 10; Blessed Trinity is 4-1, 1-0 and No. 5.
Last meeting: Blessed Trinity won 47-6 in 2018.
Things to know: Denmark, opened in 2018, went 5-5 last season and narrowly missed the playoffs. No new school this century has won 10 games so quickly while playing a region schedule. This season, Denmark leads AAAA in scoring offense (49.8 points per game) and scoring defense (4.8), albeit against the 48th-ranked schedule in the class. Denmark averages 242.4 yards rushing and 240.0 passing. The Danes have a pair of Auburn-committed playmakers. Aaron McLaughlin has thrown for 1,200 yards. Ze'Vian Capers, the first AJC Super 11 player from any Forsyth County school, has 565 yards receiving. Jordan Brunson, who is committed to Virginia Tech, rushed for 137 yards last week in a victory over West Hall. Blessed Trinity, the two-time defending AAAA champion, is rebuilding but still formidable. Freshman Justice Haynes has rushed for 722 yards and nine touchdowns on 67 carries. Blessed Trinity passes for only 64.8 yards per game and hasn't thrown a TD pass this season.
Grayson at Shiloh
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Shiloh Community Stadium, Snellville
Records, rankings: Grayson is 4-1 overall, 0-0 in Region 8-AAAAAAA and No. 4; Shiloh is 6-0, 1-0 and unranked.
Last meeting: Grayson won 59-3 in 2018.
Things to know: Shiloh, under new coach Tino Ieurelli, is 6-0 for the first time in its history and clinched a winning season last week for the first time since 2003. Arthur Rodgers leads Class AAAAAAA in rushing with 907 yards, at least 100 in each game. Vince Goffney is 57-of-93 passing for 801 yards and 14 touchdowns with just one interception. Jasheen Davis, a defensive end committed to Wake Forest, has 16 sacks. Shiloh ranks third in AAAAAAA scoring offense (41.2 points per game) and second in scoring defense (6.8). But Shiloh has faced the 44th-ranked schedule in the class. Grayson, which ranks 22nd in scoring (26.0) and 21st in defense (18.6), has faced the eighth-best schedule. That and Grayson's history of 100 victories this decade conspire to make Shiloh a heavy underdog. Grayson is well-balanced offensively. C.J. Dixon (committed to Illinois) has thrown for 968 yards. Lafayette Gurvin has rushed for 617 yards and scored nine touchdowns, two receiving.
Greater Atlanta Christian at Dawson County
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Tiger Stadium, Dawsonville
Records, rankings: Greater Atlanta Christian is 5-1 overall, 2-0 in Region 7-AAA and No. 4; Dawson County is 5-1, 2-0 and unranked.
Last meeting: Greater Atlanta Christian won 23-20 in 2018.
Things to know: This matchup decided the region title each of the past three seasons, and this year's game is likely to do the same. GAC beat Dawson County in those three meetings to finish a game ahead of the Tigers in the final standings. GAC has won eight of the nine games in the all-time series. GAC's lineup includes four-star OT Myles Hinton (committed to Stanford) and three three-star seniors - ILB Choe Bryant-Strother (uncommitted), ATH Tyler Bride (Georgia Southern) and WR Christian Thomas (Georgia State). Bride is the leading rusher with 755 yards and 11 TDs on 76 carries. QB Jackson Hardy (committed to Richmond) is 72-of-123 passing for 1,105 yards and nine TDs. Dawson County has a balanced offense that averages 168.7 yards passing and 165.0 rushing. Zach Holtzclaw is 63-of-106 passing for 977 yards and 10 TDs. Shawn Thomas has run for 473 yards, and Dakohta Sonnichsen has 371 yards receiving. The Tigers, who suffered their only loss to AAAA No. 10 Denmark 38-24, are averaging a region-best 37.9 points per game.
Harrison at Allatoona
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Buccaneer Stadium, Acworth
Records, rankings: Harrison is 6-0 overall, 4-0 in Region 6-AAAAAA and No. 3; Allatoona is 4-1, 4-0 and No. 5.
Last meeting: Allatoona won 23-7 in 2018.
Things to know: The winner of this matchup of Cobb County teams will take sole possession of first place and become the favorite to win the region, although eighth-ranked Dalton (5-1, 3-1) remains in the mix. Harrison likes to spread the ball around to a number of dangerous weapons. Gavin Hall has passed for 1,078 yards and 12 touchdowns. David Roberts has run for 505 yards and five TDs. Marques Owens has 443 yards and six TDs receiving. Mason Baby has 181 yards rushing and 351 receiving, and Jay Ziglor has 214 yards rushing and 231 receiving. Allatoona runs the ball about 75 percent of the time, but the Buccaneers have gotten more yardage from an efficient passing game. They average 187 yards passing and 174 rushing. QB Dante Marshall is 35-of-61 for 906 yards, and he was 6-of-11 for a season-best 294 yards and five TDs in a 38-21 victory over Sprayberry last week. Asante Das had all six of his team's receptions in that game, setting a Cobb County record with his 294 yards. Alex Wilson has rushed for 357 yards on 57 carries.
Hillgrove at McEachern
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Walter H. Cantrell Stadium, Powder Springs
Records, rankings: Hillgrove is 5-0 overall, 0-0 in Region 3-AAAAAAA and No. 6; McEachern is 5-0, 0-0 and No. 2.
Last meeting: Hillgrove won 31-21 in 2018.
Things to know: Hillgrove and McEachern have combined to win nine of the past 10 titles in their region, including the past two by Hillgrove. The only other team to break through in the past decade was North Cobb in 2013. Hillgrove, 5-4 all-time vs. McEachern, is the only school in the region with a winning record against the Indians. Hillgrove has gotten eight touchdowns in five games from its defense and special teams - five interception or fumble returns, two punt returns by Trevarus Walker, and a return of a blocked field goal. Walker is averaging 34.8 yards on punt returns and leads the team in receiving with 359 yards on 27 catches. QB Matthew McCravy is 78-of-119 passing for 996 yards and 14 TDs. DE Myles Murphy, committed to Clemson, is the state's top-rated recruit and No. 4 player nationally. McEachern has nine players rated as three-star or better recruits. Among them are junior QB Carlos Del Rio-Wilson (committed to Florida, 839 yards passing), junior WR Dacari Collins (Clemson, 316 yards receiving), senior WR Javon Baker (Alabama, 275 yards receiving) and senior DT Jamil Burroughs (uncommitted). McEachern allows 9.2 points per game, fifth-best in AAAAAAA.
Jefferson at Hart County
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Pete Herndon Stadium, Hartwell
Records, rankings: Jefferson is 4-1 overall, 2-0 in Region 8-AAA and No. 10; Hart County is 5-0, 1-0 and No. 5.
Last meeting: Jefferson won 35-7 in 2018.
Things to know: These are two of three Region 8-AAA teams that haven't lost a region game. The other is Morgan County (5-1, 2-0). Jefferson has won three region titles this decade, though none since 2016. Hart's last region title came in 2001. Jefferson lost its opener to Oconee County, a AAAA school, 21-20 but has outscored its opponents 206-20 since. The Dragons average 345.0 yards rushing per game, 23.6 passing. Sophomore Malaki Starks has rushed for 354 yards on just 20 carries (17.7 per attempt), caught three passes for 136 yards and two touchdowns and intercepted three passes, returning two for touchdowns. Jefferson is young on defense with only one senior among its 10 leading tacklers. Hart County also is a run-first team. Malachi Thomas has rushed for 624 yards and returned a punt for a touchdown. TE Cane Berrong (committed to Notre Dame) and DE Kaimon Rucker (North Carolina) were preseason all-state picks. Hart County is one victory from clinching its first winning season since 2015. This would be a defining victory as the Bulldogs have lost 16 consecutive games to top-10 teams from its own classification, last winning in 2006 against Cartersville.
Jones County at Dutchtown
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Bulldogs Stadium, Hampton
Records, rankings: Jones County is 6-0 overall, 3-0 in Region 4-AAAAA and No. 3; Dutchtown is 6-0, 3-0 and No. 4.
Last meeting: Dutchtown won 18-10 in 2018.
Things to know: These are two of three ranked teams from 4-AAAAA. No. 6 Stockbridge (6-0, 3-0) is the other. Dutchtown emerged as a state contender last year with its 2018 victory over Jones County, the first top-10 opponent that the Bulldogs had beaten in six years. They held Jones County without an offensive touchdown, and DE William Anderson had four sacks. Anderson, an AJC Super 11 pick, is back and committed to Alabama. A key to this game is whether Anderson and DT Dezmond Tell (committed to Louisville) can control the trenches and pressure Jones County QB Hunter Costlow, who is super efficient (1,585 yards passing, 19 touchdowns, only one interception) but not super mobile. Jones County's biggest weapon is WR Jontavis Robertson, who has 28 receptions for 625 yard and six touchdowns. Jones County gets two-thirds of its yards passing (264.3 to 130.2). Dutchtown continues to hang its hat on defense, as the Bulldogs rank fifth in Class AAAAA scoring defense (12.3 points per game). Jones County ranks fourth in scoring offense (38.7). Dutchtown QB Arendez Fedd has thrown for 924 yard and eight touchdowns and rushed for 220 yards and seven touchdowns. Javorri Mack has rushed for 343 yards.
Marietta at North Paulding
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, The Den, Dallas
Records, rankings: Marietta is 4-1 overall, 0-0 in Region 3-AAAAAAA and No. 5; North Paulding is 5-0, 0-0 and unranked.
Last meeting: Marietta won 36-14 in 2018.
Things to know: North Paulding is undefeated heading into region play for the fourth consecutive season but has yet to finish higher than third place in that time. The Wolfpack is 0-5 all-time against both Hillgrove and McEachern but is 4-1 against Marietta. All three of those region opponents are ranked in the top six this week. Marietta's weapons are well known - QB Harrison Bailey (committed to Tennessee, 1,391 yards passing), RB Kimani Vidal (Troy, 459 yards rushing) and receivers Arik Gilbert (uncommitted, 565 yards receiving), Ricky White (Michigan State, 457 yards) and Taji Johnson (Boston College, 225 yards). However, North Paulding has put up big numbers of its own, averaging 204 yards rushing, 257.2 yards passing and 44.0 points (second-most in AAAAAAA). Junior QB Kyle Bird is 79-of-104 passing for 1,146 yards and eight touchdowns and is the leading rusher with 280 yards and seven TDs on 43 carries. Tanner Bentley (21 receptions, 393 yards, three TDs) and Jarod Ray (27-353-3) are the top receivers. K/P Brock Travelstead (committed to Louisville), an all-state selection last season, averages 44.1 yards punting and has put 33 of 36 kickoffs into the end zone.
North Gwinnett at Mill Creek
When, where: Markham Field at Mill Creek Community Stadium, Hochston
Records, rankings: North Gwinnett is 5-1 overall, 2-0 in Region 6-AAAAAAA and No. 7; Mill Creek is 5-1, 2-0 and No. 8.
Last meeting: North Gwinnett won 50-25 in 2018.
Things to know: The winner of this game has won a region title each of the past six seasons. North Gwinnett has won four, Mill Creek two. North Gwinnett coach Bill Stewart, hired in 2017, was the defensive coordinator on both of Mill Creek's region championship teams. North Gwinnett's offensive weapons are QB J.R. Martin (929 yards passing, mid-major recruit), Devin Crosby (683 rushing, 220-pound power runner) and Josh Downs (526 receiving, committed to North Carolina), all seniors. Defensive ends Chuck Smith (mid-major recruit) and Jared Ivey (6-6 with offers from Georgia Tech, Nebraska and others) have 20.5 tackles for losses between them. Mill Creek is more the running team of the two. Chancellor Lee-Parker has rushed for 752 yards on the season, 2,504 for his career. WR/RB Parker Wroble, an Air Force commit, has 728 all-purpose yards. Mill Creek's leading tackler is a freshman defensive back, Caleb Downs, projected as a major Division I recruit.
Cairo at Carver (Columbus)
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Kinnett Stadium, Columbus
Records, rankings: Cairo is 5-1 overall, 4-0 in Region 1-AAAA and No. 6; Carver is 5-1, 4-0 and unranked.
Last meeting: Cairo won 43-14 in 2018.
Things to know: The winner of this matchup of the two remaining unbeaten teams in 1-AAAA will emerge as the region title favorite, although both teams have at least two games left against the region's three one-loss teams. In a similar situation last year, Cairo overwhelmed Carver and ran the table to win its eighth region title in 12 years and 18th overall. Carver has won 11 region titles, most recently in 2015. Both teams are solid defensively. Cairo has allowed 10.5 points per game and Carver has given up 11.2. Cairo's offense is led by QB Robert Matthew Peters, who has passed for 762 yards, run for a team-best 532 yards and had a hand in 16 touchdowns. Tay Solomon has rushed for 478 yards and six TDs on 71 carries. K/P Noah Jones averages 44.4 yards per punt and is 6-for-8 on field goals. Carver is led by QB D.J. Riles (1,104 yards passing, 296 rushing), RB Khiari McCoy (693 yards, six TDs rushing) and WR Ja'Cyais Credle (357 yards, eight TDs receiving). All three were members of the school's basketball team that won a state championship in March.
© 2020 Cox Media Group