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Chip SayeChip Saye

Top 10 games of Week 2

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Blessed Trinity at St. Pius

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, George B. Maloof Stadium, Atlanta

Records, rankings: Blessed Trinity is 0-0 and No. 6 in Class AAA; St. Pius is 0-0 and No. 7 in AAAA.

Last meeting: Blessed Trinity won 21-20 in 2013.

Three things to know:1. In the 2013 game, Blessed Trinity was unranked when it defeated No. 10 St. Pius. Then-sophomore RB Milton Shelton rushed for 144 yards. St. Pius missed an extra point in the fourth quarter. It was Blessed Trinity’s first victory over St. Pius in six tries. Both teams made the Class AAA quarterfinals. 2. Blessed Trinity’s Shelton finished with a team-leading 1,030 yards rushing and ran for more than 100 yards against five currently ranked teams – Lovett (161), Woodward Academy (125), St. Pius (142), Cedar Grove (132) and Washington County (142). Blessed Trinity’s top defender is preseason all-state LB Pat Jasinski, who had 112 tackles, nine for losses, last season. He’s the only returning player with more than 35 tackles in 2013. 3. St. Pius, a consistent program that has made the quarterfinals or better four of the past five seasons, returns QB Joey Connors (779 yards rushing, 491 passing) and first-team all-region FB Dalton Wilson (984 yards rushing), but the 2013 team was senior-laden. Graduated are all-state players Daniel Crochet (LB) and Nick Ruffin (DB/RB). Only four defensive players who played significantly last season are back.

Booker T. Washington (Fla.) at Tucker

When, where: 8:30 p.m. Saturday, Hallford Stadium, Clarkston

Records, rankings: Washington is 1-0 and No. 1 in Florida’s Class 4A; Tucker is 0-1 and No. 9 in Georgia’s Class AAAAAA.

Last meeting: This is the teams’ first meeting.

Three things to know: 1. This game is one of four to be played Saturday at Hallford Stadium between DeKalb County and Florida schools as part of the Battle of the Borders Showdown. The event begins at 11:45 a.m. when Marist faces Godby. Other games include M.L. King vs. Norland at 2:30 p.m. and Stephenson vs. Miami Central at 5:30 p.m. 2. Booker T. Washington, the defending national champion, has 14 players rated by Rivals as two-star recruits or better. One is junior RB Mark Walton (committed to Miami), who rushed for 163 yards and two touchdowns and caught a TD pass in the Tornadoes’ 57-21 victory against Oscar Smith (Va.) on Saturday. It was Washington’s 27th consecutive victory, a streak that includes a 55-0 win against Norcross last season. QB Maurice Alexander passed for 365 of the Tornadoes’ 536 total yards against Oscar Smith. 3. Tucker rallied from a 22-7 third-quarter deficit but lost to Norcross 32-29 in overtime in the Corky Kell Classic last weekend. Delvin Weems, a transfer from Sandy Creek, rushed for 157 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries in his Tigers debut. Elijah Sullivan rushed for two touchdowns and had 5.5 tackles, including 2.5 for losses.

Creekside at Hughes

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Langston Hughes Stadium, Fairburn

Records, rankings: Creekside is 1-0 and No. 1 in Class AAAAA; Hughes is 1-0 and No. 7 in AAAAAA.

Last meeting: Creekside won 16-14 in 2013.

Three things to know:1. Creekside returns seven starters from an offense that averaged 42.5 points per game (47.5 in the playoffs) last season. In its opener, Creekside beat South Cobb 55-41 as Bricen Terry and Julien Gibbs each rushed for more than 200 years behind a large and experienced offensive line led by major Division I recruits Marquel Harrell (committed to Auburn) and Venzell Boulware. The question mark is defense, where only five starters return, and the unexpected loss of Jayson Stanley, a Super 11 wide receiver committed to Georgia. Stanley suffered a torn ACL in the opener and will miss the rest of the reason. 2. Hughes is built for defense. DL D’Andre Walker (likely SEC signee) and LB Montavious Atkinson (committed to Auburn) had 13 of their team’s 29 solo tackles – five of the eight behind the line of scrimmage – in the 27-7 victory over Mays last week. The offense graduated 1,650-yard rusher Keion Davis (now at Marshall) and didn’t have a back with more than 50 yards last week. Sophomore QB Isaiah Green came off the bench to throw two TD passes. 3. The 2013 game took place two weeks after the death of Creekside DB DeAntre Turman, who did not survive a neck injury suffered in a scrimmage. Creekside’s Evan Berry returned the opening kickoff 72 yards and pointed his finger to the sky in memory of his former teammate. Neither team was ranked at the time, but both would finish in the Top 10, with Creekside winning its first state championship.

Heard County at Fitzgerald

When, where: 8:30 p.m. Saturday, Mercer University Stadium, Macon

Records, rankings: Heard County is 0-0 and No. 3 in Class AA; Fitzgerald is 1-0 and No. 7 in AA.

Last meeting: This is the teams’ first meeting.

Three things to know:1. This game matches an up-and-coming program against one of the more well-established ones in AA. Fitzgerald finished in the final top five in the AJC rankings each season from 2007 to 2012, but missed last season. Heard County is ranked in the top five for the first time since 1991. 2. Heard County’s high ranking comes largely from the return of RB/LB Duranta Dunson, who rushed for 2,193 yards and 39 touchdowns and had 106 tackles and four interceptions. Heard also has two all-state candidates on the defensive line, Elijah Toney and Levi Brown. Brown has several mid-major Division I offers, including one from Georgia State. 3. Fitzgerald QB Gerald Morgan is a runner first, as one might expect from a player who wears jersey No. 31. Morgan rushed for 198 yards and two touchdowns in the opening 27-20 victory over Worth County. He was 4-of-13 passing for 42 yards. Linebackers Buck Lundy (eight) and Michal Jackson (seven) were the leading tacklers.

Hoover (Ala.) at Colquitt County

When, where: 8 p.m. Friday, Mack Tharpe Memorial Stadium, Moultrie

Records, rankings: Hoover is 0-1 and No. 1 in Alabama’s Class 7A; Colquitt County is 1-0 and No. 1 in Georgia’s Class AAAAAA.

Last meeting: Hoover won 24-10 in 2013.

Three things to know:1. Hoover lost its opener to Miami Central 24-21 in a game between state champions that were ranked in the top 20 of every national preseason poll. The loss ended Hoover’s school-record 30-game winning streak. Hoover features three SEC-committed players – LB Darrell Williams (Auburn), DE Christian Bell (Alabama) and WR Justin Johnson (Mississippi State). RB Bradrick Shaw, whose leaders are Vanderbilt and Mississippi State, is expected to be the fourth. 2. Colquitt County has reached the semifinals or better in Georgia’s highest classification a record five consecutive times. That tradition, plus a 31-14 victory over preseason No. 6 Mill Creek last week, has boosted the Packers to the top of the rankings. King rushed for 124 yards last week, but the work of new starting QB Chase Parrish (20-of-29, 256 yards) and WR Kiel Pollard (10 catches, 144 yards) suggested the Packers will be a balanced offense again. 3. Hoover stuffed Colquitt’s run game in 2013, allowing 76 yards on the ground in 43 tries, and came from 10-3 down at halftime to win 24-10. The game, played in Hoover, was a homecoming for Alabama native Rush Propst, who was Hoover’s coach from 1997 to 2007, during which Hoover won five state titles.

Miami Central (Fla.) at Stephenson

When, where: 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Hallford Stadium, Clarkston

Records, rankings: Central is 1-0 and No. 1 in Florida’s Class 6A; Stephenson is 1-0 and No. 2 in Georgia’s Class AAAAA.

Last meeting: This is the teams’ first meeting.

Three things to know: 1. Miami Central kicked a 32-yard field goal with 45 seconds remaining to beat Hoover 24-21 on Saturday, snapping the Alabama team’s 30-game winning streak. Anthony Jones rushed for 145 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries for Miami Central. He is one of nine Rockets seniors rated as a two-star recruit or better by Rivals. The best of those is likely four-star WR Da’Vante Phillips, who reportedly has at least 12 Division I offers, led by Florida State. 2. Stephenson has seven players rated as two-star recruits or better by Rivals. Those include three four-star players – senior DE Chauncey Rivers (committed to Georgia), senior WR Dexter Neal (South Carolina) and junior DB Khalil Ladler. Rivers and Ladler are the only returning starters on defense. 3. Stephenson opened the season with a 41-6 victory against Arabia Mountain last week. Ivonte Patterson rushed for 127 yards and three TDs on seven carries. Rivers, an Atlanta Journal-Constitution Super 11 player, had 2.5 tackles for losses as the Jaguars held Arabia Mountain to 112 yards of total offense.

Peach County at Warner Robins

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, McConnell-Talbert Stadium, Warner Robins

Records, rankings: Peach County is 0-0 and No. 9 in Class AAA; Warner Robins is 0-0 and No. 7 in AAAAA.

Last meeting: Warner Robins won 54-21 in 2013.

Three things to know: 1. Warner Robins stopped a three-game losing streak in the series with its 33-point victory last season. The Demons took the lead for good in the first quarter on the third of Matt Monday’s four field goals and then took control with a 17-0 second quarter. The series is tied 3-3. 2. The 56 points allowed by Peach County in its season-ending loss to Washington County last season were the most in school history, according to the Georgia High School Football Historians Association. The Trojans have a new defensive coordinator this season in David Shores, who has been an assistant at LSU and Hoover and a head coach at Spain Park and Pell City in Alabama. 3. Warner Robins must replace QB Caden Johnson (1,466 yards passing) and leading rusher Danny Hite Jr. (1,227 yards) from last year’s 11-2 team. The battle for the QB job has been between junior Connor Shaw and transfers Ivan Corbin (Houston County) and Robbie Leever (Veterans), according to the Macon Telegraph. The Demons return another 1,000-yard rusher in senior Jacquan Burns, who ran for 1,116 yards on 160 carries (7.0 yards per carry) in 2013.

Plant (Fla.) at Lowndes

When, where: 9 p.m. Friday, Martin Stadium, Valdosta

Records, rankings: Plant is 1-0 and No. 6 in Florida’s Class 8A; Lowndes is 1-0 and No. 8 in Georgia’s Class AAAAAA.

Last meeting: This is the teams’ first meeting.

Three things to know:1. Plant, of Tampa, has won four state titles since 2006 and reached the Florida Class 8A semifinals last season. The Panthers visited Georgia that season and tied Sandy Creek 27-27 in a game shortened by a Georgia curfew rule. Plant’s alumni include former Georgia QB Aaron Murray and current Florida State RB James Wilder Jr. 2. Lowndes won its opener 37-14 after leading 37-0 in the third quarter. Lowndes has only one player, LB Brian Bell, with reported Division I offers, but the team has depth. Against Roswell, 10 Lowndes players had a tackle for a loss, an interception, a fumble recovery or a blocked punt. RB Dezmon Copeland rushed for 105 yards and two touchdowns. 3. Plant defeated rival Armwood 21-17 in its opener last week. Jake Fruhmorgen (Clemson) is rated among the top 10 offensive tackles in the nation. DT Kyle Henderson has committed to Georgia Tech. QB Rex Culpepper is a consensus top-20 quarterback nationally for the class of 2016.

Thomas County Central at Valdosta

When, where: 8 p.m. Friday, Cleveland Field at Bazemore-Hyder Stadium, Valdosta

Records, rankings: Thomas County Central is 0-0 and No. 6 in AAAAA; Valdosta is 1-0 and unranked in AAAAAA.

Last meeting: Valdosta won 28-24 in 2013.

Three things to know: 1. Thomas County Central must replace 10 starters on offense, including two-time all-state QB Adam Choice, who rushed for 1,521 yards and passed for 522 yards last season. His likely replacement is junior Eli Taylor, who was 3-of-7 passing with a touchdown in a recent scrimmage. Choice, a freshman at Clemson, finished as the school’s career rushing leader with 5,095 yards. 2. Valdosta rotated senior Cole Massingill and junior Seth Shuman at quarterback during its 31-0 victory against Brookwood last week. Shuman was the more effective of the two, going 7-for-13 passing for 144 yards and a touchdown. Valdosta held Brookwood to 151 yards of total offense (46 rushing) and took advantage of six Broncos turnovers. 3. Valdosta used big plays in its victory against the Yellow Jackets last season. Malcolm Joseph returned a kickoff 99 yards for a score, and Nelson Herring had touchdown runs of 80 yards in the first quarter and 91 yards that was the game-winner with 5:09 to play. Valdosta trailed 24-14 in the fourth quarter.

Washington-Wilkes at Lincoln County

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Larry Campbell Stadium, Lincolnton

Records, rankings: Washington-Wilkes is 0-0 and No. 5 in AA; Lincoln County is 1-0 and unranked in A.

Last meeting: Washington-Wilkes won 28-14 in 2013.

Three things to know: 1. Washington-Wilkes returns 21 seniors from a team that went 11-1 and reached the second round of the Class AA playoffs last season. Two of the best returnees were named to the Georgia Sports Writers Association all-state team last season – DL Tremond Freeman (first team) and QB Deandre Harris (honorable mention). 2. New Lincoln County coach Kevin Banks had a successful debut when the Red Devils beat McCormick of South Carolina 49-8 last week. Jamar Nelson rushed for 118 yards for Lincoln County, which led 42-0 at halftime. Banks had been an assistant at Lincoln County for 19 years and was chosen to replace Larry Campbell, who retired after last season with a state-record 477 career victories. 3. Lincoln County leads the all-time series against its Highway 378 rival 36-34-6 and has a 30-15 advantage since it changed from Lincolnton High in 1970. But Washington-Wilkes has won the past two meetings, giving it more than a one-game winning streak in the series for just the third time since 1967.

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