Arabia Mountain at Stockbridge
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Tiger Stadium/The Jungle, Stockbridge
Records, rankings: Arabia Mountain is 1-0 and unranked in Class AAAAA; Stockbridge is 0-0 and No. 5 in AAAAA.
Last meeting: This is the teams' first meeting.
Things to know: Arabia Mountain opened its season with a 28-14 victory over Carver of Atlanta in a battle of defending region champions in Class AAAAA. Carver had been projected as a 10-point favorite by the computer Maxwell Ratings. Quarterback Bryson Williams, who led DeKalb County in passing last year with 1,990 yards, threw two touchdown passes in the first half, which ended in a 14-14 tie. Junior Amir Muhammad, who had just three carries in 2017, put the Rams ahead for go with a 2-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. Stockbridge sent 20 players on to college football from last year's team, most notably linebacker Brenton Cox (Georgia) and wide receiver Marquez Ezzard (Miami). The Tigers have reached at least the quarterfinals and won 11 games or more for six consecutive seasons, and they have won 35 straight regular-season games. They had never won more than nine games in a season before their current run. Stockbridge, which has three returning starters on offense and six on defense, is favored by Maxwell to win its fifth consecutive region title in 4-AAAAA. Desmond Barkley, a 6-foot-2, 330-pound defensive tackle, has committed to South Alabama.
Cedar Grove vs. Hewitt-Trussville (Ala.)
When, where: 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Hoover Metropolitan Complex, Hoover, Ala.
Records, rankings: Cedar Grove is 1-0 and No. 2 in Class AAA; Hewitt-Trussville is 0-0 and No. 4 in Alabama's Class 7A by MaxPreps and No. 28 nationally by High School Football America.
Last meeting: This is the teams' first meeting.
Watch the game: On television on ESPN.
Things to know: This is part of the Geico ESPN High School Kickoff, a series of seven games around the country televised this weekend by ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU. Hewitt-Trussville, a Birmingham-area school, lost to eventual champion Hoover in the Alabama Class 7A quarterfinals last season. The Huskies have four players committed to Alabama - QB Paul Tyson and OL Pierce Quick, both seniors, and WR Dazalin Worsham and CB Malachi Moore, who are juniors. Tyson is a great grandson of Bear Bryant. Senior WR Ja'Varrius Johnson is committed to Auburn. Cedar Grove, a semifinalist in Georgia's Class AAA last season, is most outstanding on defense, especially its front seven. DT Rashad Cheney (committed to Alabama), DE Dante Walker (four-star prospect), DE Alvin Williams and LB Isaiah Ratcliff are major Division I recruits. The team's best all-around player is AJC Super 11 Jadon Haselwood, the top-rated WR prospect in the country, but also an outstanding strong safety and return man. The Saints held Summerville, S.C., to six first downs (three in a meaningless final drive) in a 21-7 victory last week. They are less experienced on offense and start a sophomore quarterback, Austin Smith.
Dr. Phillips (Fla.) at Lee County
When, where: 11 a.m. Saturday, Trojan Field, Leesburg
Records, rankings: Lee County is 1-0 and No. 1 in Class AAAAAA; Dr. Phillips is 0-0 and No. 1 in Florida's Class 8A by FloridaHSFootball.com.
Last meeting: This is the teams' first meeting.
Things to know: This is a game between Georgia's Class AAAAAA champion and Florida's Class 8A champion. Dr. Phillips coach Rodney Wells played under Lee County coach Dean Fabrizio when Fabrizio was an assistant at Dr. Phillips in the mid-1990s. Wells played at Syracuse and came back to Dr. Phillips, an Orlando school, in 2005 and became head coach in 2011. The Panthers are 80-14 in his seven seasons and won their first state title last year with a 17-7 victory over Delray Beach Atlantic. Dr. Phillips didn't score an offensive touchdown in that game but ran back an interception and blocked punt for touchdowns. The 2018 team has eight starters back, only two on offense, both wide receivers. Lee County, also a first-time football state champion, returned nine starters overall and has a new quarterback. The Trojans are strongest on the front seven and held Dougherty to minus-70 yards in total offense last week. DB Tay Mayo, OL Griffin Carder and RB/DB Jammie Robinson are preseason all-state picks. DT DeAngelo Griffin is committed to Minnesota.
Irwin County at Fitzgerald
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jaycee Stadium, Fitzgerald
Records, rankings: Irwin County is 1-0 and No. 2 in Class A public; Fitzgerald is 1-0 and No. 9 in AA.
Last meeting: Fitzgerald won 31-6 in 2017.
Things to know: Fitzgerald is coming off its first losing season (4-6 record) since 1999. The Purple Hurricane lost to five ranked teams and one larger school (Camden County) but managed to rout Irwin County, which went on to reach the Class A public-school championship game. Fitzgerald won its opener 45-7 over Bacon County last week. Martez Hannah scored on a 55-yard run on the final play of the first half for a 45-0 lead. Justin Reliford, a 5-foot-9 dual-threat athlete who is replacing graduated QB James Graham (Georgia Tech), passed for two touchdowns and ran for another. The team doesn't have a major college prospect. Coach Tucker Pruitt calls his team "a bunch of undersized, try-to-play-hard overachievers." Irwin County won 11 straight after losing to Fitzgerald last year, beating five ranked teams. Most of the Indians' best players are back. D.J. Lundy, a 230-pound bruiser, rushed for 152 yards in the opening win over Berrien last week. RB/DB Javon Stanley, a four-year starter, is another versatile preseason all-state player.
Lovett at Marist
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Hughes Spalding Stadium, Atlanta
Records, rankings: Lovett is 0-1 and No. 7 in Class AAA; Marist is 0-0 and No. 2 in AAAA.
Last meeting: Marist won 31-14 in 2017.
Things to know: Lovett and Marist played each other for the first time in 2012 and have played each season since, with Marist leading the series 4-2. Both teams have been ranked in every meeting. Lovett QB Blaine McAllister was 15-of-24 passing for 151 yards and a touchdown last week in a 24-21 loss to third-ranked Greater Atlanta Christian, but Lovett took three sacks and had only 38 yards rushing. Lovett led until GAC went on a 10-play, 91-yard drive in the fourth quarter. TE/LB Nick Jackson and WR/DB K.J. Wallace, both preseason all-state players and major Division I prospects, had 135 of Lovett's 206 all-purpose yards and 14 of the team's 38 solo tackles last week. Marist graduated 37 seniors and most of its playmakers from the Class AAAA runner-up team, but the lines of scrimmage are better and more experienced. Dean Colton and Ryan Mannelly started on both lines and are preseason all-state players. DB/WR Kyle Hamilton (committed to Notre Dame) is an AJC Super 11 player who had more than 1,000 all-purpose yards and six interceptions last season.
Milton at Alpharetta
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Raider Stadium, Alpharetta
Records, rankings: Milton is 1-0 and No. 6 in Class AAAAAAA; Alpharetta is 0-0 and No. 9 in AAAAAA.
Last meeting: Milton won 31-9 in 2017.
Things to know: This game marks only the second time in history that two ranked teams from north Fulton County have played each other, the first since Riverwood-North Springs in 1984. Milton moved into the top 10 after last week's 21-19 victory over Archer, which was No. 3 in the preseason. Quarterback Jordan Yates (2,011 yards passing, 893 yards rushing in 2017) ran for 92 yards and two touchdowns and was 7-of-14 passing for 72 yards and a score against Archer. Milton's defense, led by safety Joseph Charleston (committed to Clemson), held the Tigers' running game to 79 yards on 25 carries. Alpharetta graduated 28 seniors from a team that earned its fourth region title in seven years, won a school-record 11 games and reached the state quarterfinals for the first time in the program's 14-year history. The Raiders will be looking to replace three-year starting QB Matthew Downing (2,569 yards passing in 2017), leading rusher Nolan Edmonds (970 yards, 14 TDs) and its five leading receivers. Linemen Jack Stanton and Jackson Michaels and linebacker Dane Motley return from a defense that allowed 15.9 points per game, tops in 7-AAAAAA and second-best in school history.
Peach County vs. Northside (Warner Robins)
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Mercer's Five Star Stadium, Macon
Records, rankings: Peach County is 0-0 and No. 4 in Class AAA; Northside is 1-0 and No. 3 in AAAAAA.
Last meeting: Northside won 30-12 in 2005.
Things to know: This is the second game of a doubleheader at the Middle Georgia Kickoff Classic and will follow the 5 p.m. matchup between Dublin and Tattnall Square. Peach County will be playing its first game since a controversial loss to Calhoun in last year's Class AAA championship game. The Trojans' offense averaged almost 400 yards per game last year but lost several key pieces, including QB Antonio Gilbert (3,193 yards passing), leading rushers Trevon Woolfolk (1,209 yards) and Chris Gibson (747), and leading receiver Kearis Jackson (852). A player to watch on defense is junior linebacker Sergio Allen, a four-star recruit who has committed to Clemson. Northside's 235 points scored (19.6 per game) in 2017 were its fewest since 1996, but the Eagles got off to a better start in 2018 with a 38-14 victory over Centennial last week. Northside had 350 total yards, including 274 yards rushing, led by Eric Smith's 185 and two touchdowns on 20 carries. QB Jadin Daniels passed for 76 yards and rushed for 51 on 16 carries. Preseason all-state kicker Cory Munson had a 42-yard field goal, made five extra points and punted three times for a 45-yard average.
Thomas County Central at Thomasville
When, where: 8 p.m. Friday, Veterans Memorial Stadium, Thomasville
Records, rankings: Thomas County Central is 1-0 and unranked in Class AAAAA; Thomasville is 1-0 and No. 4 in AA.
Last meeting: Thomasville won 41-7 in 2017.
Things to know: Thomasville's victory in last season's matchup was just its second in the past 14 games against its crosstown rival, but it evened the all-time series 25-25. Both teams opened the 2018 season with victories - Thomas County Central 33-7 over Early County, and Thomasville 15-14 over Cairo. New Thomas County Central coach Ashley Henderson has brought a wide-open offense to the traditional veer team, but it was the defense setting the tone last week. The Yellow Jackets scored on an interception return (45 yards by Jatonee Thomas) and a fumble recovery in the end zone and set up another score with an early turnover. The Yellow Jackets had 170 yards of total offense. Thomasville scored a school-record 522 points last season but lost its star quarterback to graduation. JT Rice broke Mike Bobo's school single-season passing records in yardage (2,665) and touchdowns (23) in 2017. Freshman Chad Mascoe got the start against Cairo and was 16-of-32 passing for 131 yards and the game-winning two-point conversion with 1:37 remaining. Tan Gelin, the second-leading rusher in 2017 with 771 yards, ran for 187 yards and two TDs in the opener.
Tucker at Grayson
When, where: 6 p.m. Saturday, Grayson Community Stadium, Grayson
Records, rankings: Tucker is 0-1 and No. 8 in Class AAAAAA; Grayson is 0-0 and No. 1 in AAAAAAA.
Last meeting: Tucker won 26-23 in the second round of the 2014 Class AAAAAA playoffs.
Watch the game: On television on ESPNU.
Things to know: This will be just the second all-time meeting between the two schools that are located about 22 miles apart in the northeast Atlanta suburbs. Tucker, a state semifinalist last season, lost its season-opener for the fourth time in five seasons when it fell to Buford 40-14 last week at the Corky Kell Classic. Tucker trailed just 14-7 at halftime but was outscored 21-7 in the third quarter. The Tigers, who ran for 281.8 yards per game last season, were held to 86 yards on 27 carries by Buford. QB Travon Ford was 12-of-19 passing for 171 yards and a touchdown. Grayson's best-known player likely is Owen Pappoe (committed to Auburn), the nation's top-rated senior outside linebacker prospect, but the Rams' lineup is loaded with talent. Grayson has 10 of the state's top 82 senior prospects and 13 players who have committed to FBS schools. Among the players with at least four-star ratings are Wanya Morris (nation's No. 1 OT, committed to Tennessee), Kevin Harris (No. 5 WDE, Alabama), Kenyatta Watson (No. 16 CB, Texas) and Trente Jones (No. 30 OT, Michigan). Grayson finished 10-2 last year, losing to eventual state champion North Gwinnett 35-28 in the second round.
Westminster at Greater Atlanta Christian
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Spartan Stadium, Norcross
Records, rankings: Westminster is 1-0 and No. 6 in Class AAA; Greater Atlanta Christian is 1-0 and No. 3 in AAA.
Last meeting: Greater Atlanta Christian won 41-7 in 2017.
Things to know: Westminster found its offense last week in a 56-31 victory over Woodward Academy. Those were the most points that Westminster has scored against a ranked teams in 179 meetings against the top 10, according to the Georgia High School Football Historians Association. Westminster averaged only 12.7 points against seven ranked teams last season. Parks Harber, a slugging baseball player who is committed to Georgia, was 14-of-20 for 196 yards and touchdowns to five receivers in his first start at quarterback. Paul Weatherington rushed for 173 yards and Will Hallmark rushed for 156. GAC allowed only 38 yards rushing in a 24-21 victory over Lovett last week. Jeffery Blake (committed to Vanderbilt) had two sacks, and DE Chris Hinton (committed to Michigan) had two tackles for losses. Josh Rose, a returning starter, passed for a career-high 201 yards. GAC has won five straight in the series.
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