• Top 10 high school football games this week

    By: Chip Saye Todd Holcomb, AJC Sports

    Updated:

    Top matchups for Week 12 of Georgia high school football season:

    Coffee at Lee County 

    When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Trojan Field, Leesburg 

    Records, rankings: Coffee is 7-2 overall, 2-1 in Region 1-AAAAAA and No. 5; Lee County is 8-1, 3-0 and No. 3. 

    Last meeting: Lee County won 38-7 in 2018. 

    Things to know: Lee County can clinch its third consecutive 1-AAAAAA title with a victory. If Coffee wins, it would create a three-way tie for first place that also would include Valdosta. In that scenario, based on the region tiebreakers, Coffee would be the champion as long as it gave up fewer than 54 points in the victory. Both teams average about 265 yards of total offense, but Lee County gets about 25 yards per game more from its passing game than does Coffee. Lee QB Kyle Toole is 112-of-168 passing for 1,516 yards and 16 touchdowns, and WRs James Hopson (36 catches, 577 yards, five touchdowns) and Chauncey Magwood (37-539-8) rank No. 2 and No. 3 in receiving yardage in Region 1-AAAAAA. Preston Simmons ranks fourth in the region in rushing with 398 yards on 83 carries. Coffee QB A.J. Wilkerson is 64-of-101 passing for 867 yards and 10 touchdowns. He also has rushed for 206 yards, fourth-best on the team behind Maurice Turner (344), Jamal Paulk (299) and Antonio Dawson (246). Coffee's defense ranks No. 5 in Class AAAAAA, allowing 11.78 points per game. 

    Darlington at Fellowship Christian 

    When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Bob Lord Field, Roswell 

    Records, rankings: Darlington is 9-0 and No. 4 in Class A private; Fellowship Christian is 9-0 and No. 5 in Class A private. 

    Last meeting: This is the teams' first meeting. 

    Things to know: Darlington is the No. 1 team in the GHSA's Class A private-school power ratings, so a victory would ensure the Tigers the No. 1 seed in the playoffs. But a loss would keep them out of the top four because region champions take seeding precedence. Fellowship is seventh in the power ratings and would be assured of a top-five seed with the Region 6-A championship, which will be claimed by the winner of this game. Darlington last won a region title in 2015. Fellowship last won in 2016. Darlington's players to watch are Colorado State-committed QB Griffin Brewster (115-of-156 passing, 1,467 yards, 13 touchdowns), RB Kolin Rogers (1,101 yards rushing) and OL/DL Tate Ratledge (committed to Georgia). They are seniors. Fellowship is a younger team as its leading passer, three leading rushers, leading receiver and five leading tacklers are underclassmen. Fellowship averages 354.9 yards rushing per game and only 80.4 passing. Murphy Reeves has rushed for 1,190 yards and 14 touchdowns while sharing carries with Jayven Hall (69-571-10) and Josh Cole (51-502-10). 

    Jenkins at Benedictine 

    When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Memorial Stadium, Savannah 

    Records, rankings: Jenkins is 8-1 overall, 7-0 in Region 3-AAA and No. 9; Benedictine is 7-2, 7-0 and unranked. 

    Last meeting: Benedictine won 21-6 in 2018. 

    Things to know: This game will decide the Region 3-AAA title. Jenkins won it in 2016 and 2017 but gave way to new region member Benedictine in 2018 after the Cadets scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns to break open a close game with the Warriors. Benedictine has won 39 consecutive region games and hasn't lost to a Savannah public school since 2011 (Beach), but is a seven-point underdog here, according to the Maxwell Ratings. Benedictine's best two players transferred out in the offseason, but the young Cadets have confidence now after early losses to Blessed Trinity and Burke County. Offensive leaders Holden Geriner (1,155 yards passing), Leshon Brooks (646 rushing) and Trent Broadnax (495 yards receiving) are underclassmen. Jenkins is noted for a pair of major Division I defensive linemen - Akelo Stone (committed to Georgia Tech) and Taurus Simmons (committed to West Virginia). But they're just two of five Warriors with 10-plus tackles for losses. On offense, Jenkins has a feature back, Damazzio Harris, who has rushed for 1,047 yards, and a steady quarterback, Patrick Blake, who has thrown for 1,123 yards and 15 touchdowns with only two interceptions. 

    Johnson County at Savannah Country Day 

    When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Saunders Stadium, Savannah 

    Records, rankings: Johnson County is 8-1 and No. 10 in Class A public; Savannah Country Day is 9-0 and No. 9 in Class A private. 

    Last meeting: Savannah Country Day won 25-22 on Sept. 20. 

    Things to know: This is the 3-A championship game, the only one of five official Class A region-title games this week that matches a public school against a private school. Savannah Country Day hasn't won a region title since 1980, while Johnson County is seeking its first since 2010. The game is also a rematch of their September contest, which Savannah Country Day won on a 25-yard field goal by Logan Ziegler as time expired. QB Barry Kleinpeter passed for 115 yards and ran for a season-high 91 yards in that victory. The sophomore two-year starter has 1,676 yards passing and 408 rushing to lead a balanced offense that averages 186.2 yards passing and 170.1 rushing. Davion Smith leads the Hornets with 829 yards rushing, and Erik Brown is the leading receiver with 571 yards on 28 catches. Johnson County is a running team that rarely passes more than five times in a game. The offensive leader is freshman RB Germivy Tucker, who has rushed for 1,114 yards, including 147 and a touchdown in the first matchup with the Hornets. The Trojans rank No. 6 in scoring offense (35.78 points per game) and defense (13.89) among Class A public schools. 

    Pelham at Mitchell County 

    When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Centennial Stadium, Camilla 

    Records, rankings: Pelham is 9-0 overall, 8-0 in Region 1-A and No. 3 in Class A public; Mitchell County is 8-1, 8-0 and No. 5 in Class A public. 

    Last meeting: Pelham won 34-13 in 2018. 

    Things to know: For the fourth consecutive season, this matchup will determine the champion of Region 1-A. Pelham won two of the previous three titles (Mitchell County won in 2017) and has won five of the past six games against the Eagles, but Mitchell County leads the series between the county rivals 73-25-5. This game features two of the top three scoring offenses in the state. Pelham ranks No. 1 at 55.6 points per game, followed by Eagle's Landing Christian (53.67) and Mitchell County (52.44). Pelham also has the state's top scoring defense. The Hornets have allowed just 18 points for the season, no more than six in any game, with six shutouts. Pelham QB Kendrick Patterson has 1,159 yards passing, 242 rushing and 159 receiving and has had a hand in 27 touchdowns. He also kicks off, punts and plays defense. Mitchell County junior QB Quentavious Hunter is 70-of-109 passing for 1,374 yards and 23 touchdowns and has rushed for 299 yards and five scores. De'shaun Sherman (48 carries, 317 yards, eight touchdowns) is the Eagles' leading rusher. Leading receiver Myron Carthen (430 yards, seven TDs) is one of five players with at least 225 yards receiving. 

    Rabun County at Union County 

    When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Mike Colwell Memorial Stadium, Blairsville 

    Records, rankings: Rabun County is 9-0 overall, 6-0 in Region 8-AA and No. 5; Union County is 9-0, 6-0 and No. 7. 

    Last meeting: Rabun County won 56-28 in 2018. 

    Things to know: Like last year, this game matches two undefeated teams playing for the Region 8-AA championship. Rabun County QB Gunner Stockton passed for 279 yards, ran for 95 yards and accounted for six touchdowns in the Wildcats' victory last season. Stockton, rated by 247Sports the No. 1 quarterback and No. 2 player overall among sophomores nationally, is the leading passer in Class AA with 2,399 yards and 35 touchdowns and has rushed for a team-high 669 yards and 11 scores. Braxton Hicks (38 catches, 780 yards, eight touchdowns), Sam Adams (29-454-12) and Sutton Jones (31-404-5) are the leading receivers. The Wildcats average 48.2 points and haven't had a game this season decided by fewer than 21 points. Union County's Pierson Allison, the second-leading passer in AA, leads an offense that averages 300.7 yards passing, 226.7 yards rushing and 44.7 points. Allison has passed for 2,361 yards and 26 touchdowns and run for 348 yards and six scores. The Panthers also have a 1,000-yard rusher (Jonah Daniel, 1,254 yards, 14 TDs) and a receiver closing in on 1,000 (Sawyer Drake, 958 yards, nine TDs). 

    Stephenson at Tucker 

    When, where: 8 p.m. Friday, James R. Hallford Stadium, Clarkston 

    Records, rankings: Stephenson is 8-1 overall, 6-1 in Region 4-AAAAAA and No. 10; Tucker is 6-3, 6-1 and unranked. 

    Last meeting: Stephenson won 30-24 in 2018. 

    Things to know: This matchup will determine the Region 4-AAAAAA champion, as it has done the past three years. Stephenson is the defending region champion; Tucker won the title the previous two years. Stephenson junior DL Tommy Smith has 70 total tackles to lead a defense that allows 7.0 points per game, best in Class AAAAAA, and just 3.3 per game during its current six-game winning streak. Stephenson gets about 75 percent of its offense from a running game led by Deondre Jackson (133 carries, 716 yards, 13 touchdowns) and Ryan Ingram (116-663-9). The Jaguars have attempted just 75 passes, good for 735 yards. Tucker also leans on the running game (186.2 yards per game) but has been a bit more balanced. QB Myles Crawley is 62-of-111 passing for 1,054 yards and 11 TDs. Quarius Smith (96-742-10) and Latavius Johnson (68-459-5) are the leading rushers. Tucker has given up 152 points (16.9 per game) this season, but more than half of those came in lopsided losses to top-10 AAAAAAA teams Archer and Grayson in non-region play to open this season. 

    Warner Robins at Veterans 

    When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Freedom Field, Warner Robins 

    Records, rankings: Warner Robins is 8-1 overall, 3-0 in Region 1-AAAAA and No. 4; Veterans is 8-1, 3-0 and No. 8. 

    Last meeting: Warner Robins won 28-0 in 2018. 

    Things to know: This game between Houston County teams is for the Region 1-AAAAA title. Warner Robins is 5-0 all-time against Veterans, but this is the first time they've played when both were ranked. Warner Robins is the two-time defending region champion. Veterans is going for its first region title since 2013 and first nine-win season in history. The school opened in 2010. Veterans is primarily a running team (247.7 yards rushing per game, 104.3 passing). Lebron Fields (878 yards rushing) and Julian Barnes (721) are the leading rushers. Defensive linemen Jalon Shine and Hyson Holiday are returning first-team all-region players. Warner Robins returned eight first-team all-region players from its state runner-up team, but there was worry over the loss of record-setting QB Dylan Fromm. Jalen Addie has answered the call. The junior has thrown for 1,583 yards and rushed for 364. Jahlen Rutherford has rushed for 743 yards in a balanced offense. The defenses are similar statistically, but Warner Robins has an edge on offense, averaging 32.9 points per game to Veterans' 23.8. 

    Wayne County at Ware County 

    When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Memorial Stadium, Waycross 

    Records, rankings: Wayne County is 7-1 overall, 3-0 in Region 2-AAAAA and No. 7; Ware County is 6-3, 3-0 and No. 9. 

    Last meeting: Wayne County won 28-21 in 2018. 

    Things to know: This game is for the Region 2-AAAAA title. Ware County last won a region title in 2016. Wayne has won the past two and defeated Ware last season after Shamar Taylor, playing quarterback, scored on a 56-yard run to break a 14-14 tie in the third quarter. Taylor now plays wide receiver (32 receptions, 519 yards). Trey Pierce (1,044 yards passing, 312 rushing) is now behind center for a team that gets two-thirds of its offense running. Kaliz Hadley is the leading rusher with 704 yards. Ware County's offense runs through sophomore two-year starter QB Thomas Castellanos, who has rushed for 724 yards and 12 touchdowns and passed for 623 yards and five touchdowns, albeit completing only 46 percent of his throws. Wayne is better statistically with an average score 38-21 to Ware's 23-20, but Ware has played the tougher schedule. Their most significant common opponent is Glynn Academy. Ware beat Glynn 35-13. Wayne lost to Glynn 47-35. 

    Westminster at Lovett 

    When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Martin E. Kilpatrick Stadium, Atlanta 

    Records, rankings: Westminster is 5-4 overall, 4-1 in Region 5-AAA and unranked; Lovett is 7-2, 4-1 and No. 6. 

    Last meeting: Lovett won 34-28 in 2018. 

    Things to know: These teams have lost six games between them, but all to opponents that are ranked in the top four of their classifications. Westminster has struggled on offense after all-state QB Parks Harber chose to focus on baseball and preseason all-state RB Paul Weathington was lost to injury. Versatile QB Will Hallmark now leads the team in rushing (537 yards) and return yards (312). Passing (288 yards) is not his big thing, though, and Westminster gets 80 percent of its yards on the ground. LB Will Benton (31 solo tackles, 7.5 tackles for losses) is the leader of an outstanding defense that is allowing 14.0 points per game, lowest in five years. Lovett is the better offensive team. (Lovett's average score is 32-26; Westminster's is 23-14.) QB Blaine McAllister, a Princeton recruit, has thrown for 1,386 yards and 17 touchdowns. Henry Beery has rushed for 769 and has another 288 receiving. Lovett has won the last two games in a series that it trails 19-12. Lovett hasn't won three straight against its Buckhead neighbor since 1994-96. 

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