Top 10 games of Week 8

Powder Springs, Ga. -- McEachern senior running back Sam Jackson (1) gains yardage against North Cobb’s defense in the second half of play Friday, October 9, 2015. Special/Daniel Varnado

Powder Springs, Ga. — McEachern senior running back Sam Jackson (1) ran for three second-quarter touchdowns in McEachern’s 35-0 victory over North Cobb last season. Special/Daniel Varnado

East Coweta at Westlake

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Westlake Stadium, College Park

Records, rankings: East Coweta is 4-1 overall, 0-0 in Region 2-AAAAAAA and unranked; Westlake is 2-3, 0-0 and unranked.

Last meeting: East Coweta won 7-0 in 2015.

Three things to know: 1. The winner of this game would be the team to beat in the region, but that was the case last year, when East Coweta beat Westlake 7-0 on the first Friday in October but failed to close on its first region title since 2001 after tight losses to Hughes and Newnan. Westlake won region titles the past two seasons. East Coweta is the highest-rated team in the region by the Maxwell Ratings, although Maxwell rates Westlake as a 1-point favorite because of home-field advantage. 2. Westlake has failed to score offensive points in losses to Cartersville 31-0 and McEachern 6-2 but showed progress in a 24-14 victory over Lithonia in  its most recent game. QB Ravaughn Burch was 16-of-17 passing for 200 yards and four touchdowns. A.J. Terrell had five catches for 115 yards and two touchdowns. Terrell is committed to Clemson as a cornerback. LB Jaden Hunter is committed to Georgia. 3. East Coweta averages 215.6 yards rushing per game, 120.4 passing. Devonte Brown has rushed for 475 yards on just 53 carries. Chris Reid is 39-of-62 passing for 592 yards. LB Jeremiah Gemmel (committed to North Carolina) is the leading tackler. His 74-yard TD reception, his only catch of the season, was the difference in a 20-14 victory over Arabia Mountain last week.

Effingham County at Glynn Academy

When, where: To be determined*, Glynn County Stadium, Brunswick

Records, rankings: Effingham County is 4-2 overall, 0-0 in Region 2-AAAAAA and unranked; Glynn Academy is 5-1, 0-0 and No. 9.

Last meeting: Glynn Academy won 28-19 in 2015.

Three things to know: 1. Glynn Academy’s victory over Effingham County last year effectively kept Effingham out of the playoffs. Glynn QB Deejay Dallas rushed for 221 yards and had a 57-yard run called back. The winner of this game will be the favorite in this five-team region, although Brunswick (3-2) and Richmond Hill (5-0) are forces with which to be reckoned. 2. Dallas, an AJC Super 11 pick who is committed to Miami, has more yards rushing (357) and passing (344), although he’s efficient when the throws (21 of 35 attempts, four touchdowns, 0 interceptions). Kendall Cross has rushed for 650 yards and eight touchdowns. 3. Effingham has beaten ranked, undefeated teams in back-to-back games, first Burke County, then Liberty County. Against Liberty, Effingham came from 28-14 down, forced overtime and won when CB Rashaud Roper stopped Liberty’s two-point conversion at the 1-yard line. HB Zebrandon Grant had 78 yards rushing, 54 receiving and 57 passing and had a touchdown in each specialty.

*Game has been postponed because of Hurricane Matthew. The replay date has not been announced.

Emanuel County Institute at Wheeler County

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Bulldog Stadium, Alamo

Records, rankings: Emanuel County Institute is 6-0 overall, 2-0 in Region 3-A Div. B and No. 3 in Class A public; Wheeler County is 5-1, 2-0 and unranked.

Last meeting: ECI won 69-13 in 2015.

Three things to know: 1. These teams have been in the same subregion together since 2008, and in that time no team other than ECI or Johnson County has won the title. Wheeler County altered the race this year with a 28-14 victory last week over Johnson County, the Trojans’ first subregion loss to a team other than ECI since 2004. The winner of this game is almost certain to win Region 3-A Div. B. Wheeler County has lost 62 consecutive games against ranked opponents since 1977. 2. ECI averages 228 yards passing and 209 rushing. QB Rhett Gay is 59-of-79 passing for 1,340 yards and 21 TDs. His top targets are Dazhun Steele (16 catches, 425 yards, six TDs) and David Durden (16-304-8). Rejar Rock is the leading rusher with 373 yards, including 127 on 13 carries in a 42-7 victory over Montgomery County last week. 3. Wheeler County gets about 82 percent of its offense from a running game that features two backs averaging more than 100 yards per game – QB Torrence “Yunk” Parker (66 carries, 714 yards, 10 TDs) and RB Jadie Worthing (87-693-6).

Houston County at Lee County

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

Records, rankings: Houston County is 6-0, 0-0 in Region 1-AAAAAA and No. 1; Lee County is 5-0, 0-0 and No. 3.

Last meeting: Lee County won 34-31 in 2011.

Three things to know: 1. This is just the third all-time meeting between Houston County and Lee County. They played each other in 2010 and 2011 when they were in Region 1-AAAA together. Lee County won by three points both times. This game matches the highest-scoring team in Class AAAAAA (Houston County, 45.7) and against the No. 2 defense (Lee County, 8.4). 2. Houston County has the state’s most prolific passing game. The Bears have the state leaders in passing yardage (Jake Fromm, 147-of-216 for 2,545 yards and 28 TDs) and receiving yardage (Eli Watson, 30 catches, 767 yards, nine TDs). Amari Colbert (37-658-12), Tyler Fromm (21-386-3) and Jaeven West (22-344-2) all rank in the top six among 1-AAAAAA receivers. 3. Lee County’s defense is led by DL Aubrey Solomon, an AJC Super 11 pick who has 47 tackles, nine for losses, seven sacks and 10 QB hurries. Offensively, RB Mark Robinson is the region’s leading rusher with 769 yards and 10 TDs on 115 carries. QB Jase Orndorff is 72-of-120 passing for 879 yards and seven touchdowns.

Lassiter at Roswell

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Ray Manus Stadium, Roswell

Records, rankings: Lassiter is 5-0 overall, 0-0 in Region 4-AAAAAAA and No. 6; Roswell is 5-0, 0-0 and No. 1.

Last meeting: Roswell won 52-10 in 2015.

Three things to know: 1. Roswell leads the series 16-10. This is the first time they’ve met when both were ranked. (Amazingly, both were unranked in their 2009 meeting when both teams entered 9-0.) Lassiter is 1-1 all-time against No. 1-ranked teams. The Trojans lost to No. 1 Roswell 38-7 in 2007 and beat No. 1 Brookwood 14-6 in 2011. Roswell is 21-5 as a No. 1 team. 2. Roswell RB Sheldon Evans (652 yards rushing) and QB Malik Willis (739 yards passing, 320 rushing) are offensive player-of-the-year candidates in the highest classification. DB Xavier McKinney, the team’s leading tackler, could be up for similar defensive awards on a team that has allowed 16 points total in five games. He is the No. 12 safety prospect in the nation. 3. Lassiter averages 158.2 yards rushing, 146.0 passing. Mason Waters (76-445-8) is the leading rusher. QB Bradley Riopelle is 60-of-105 passing for 730 yards. Lassiter’s defense is led by safeties Tyriq Hardimon (committed to California) and Derrik Allen (the consensus No. 19 prospect overall among juniors).

North Cobb at McEachern

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Walter H. Cantrell Stadium, Powder Springs

Records, rankings: North Cobb is 4-1 overall, 0-0 in Region 3-AAAAAAA and No. 9; McEachern is 4-1, 0-0 and No. 4.

Last meeting: McEachern won 35-0 in 2015.

Three things to know: 1. North Cobb’s balanced offense is led by QB Will Lovett, who is 68-of-114 passing for 979 yards and five TDs. RB C.J. Cole has rushed for 432 yards on 77 carries. Look for WR/DB Drew Tejchman, possibly the team’s best all-around player, to be back at full strength after suffering an injury in early September. 2. McEachern’s offense has been erratic. The Indians averaged 43.3 points in three games but were held without an offensive touchdown in the other two. QB Bailey Hockman, a Florida State commit, averages about 152 yards per game passing but has one game of 328 yards and two games with less than 65. The Indians have been outstanding on defense, however, allowing just seven points per game. 3. McEachern dominated North Cobb last year in a game that essentially determined the region championship. Senior RB Sam Jackson ran for 183 yards and three second-quarter touchdowns, and Hockman passed for 157 yards and two TDs. McEachern’s defense held North Cobb to minus-5 yards rushing and 121 total yards.

Northside (Warner Robins) at Valdosta

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

Records, rankings: Northside is 6-0 overall, 0-0 in Region 1-AAAAAA and No. 2; Valdosta is 5-1, 0-0 and No. 5.

Last meeting: Northside won 16-13 in 2009.

Three things to know: 1. Northside and Valdosta haven’t played each other since 2008 and 2009, when both were members of Region 1-AAAAA. Northside dropped out of the highest class in 2010, and Valdosta made the move this year. Northside won the past two meetings, including 28-14 in 2008, but trails in the series 7-2. 2. Northside has the No. 2 offense (43.8 points per game) and the No. 1 defense (6.2) in Class AAAAAA. The offense centers on QB Tobias Oliver, who leads the team in rushing with 506 yards, is 57-for-93 passing for 692 yards and has had a hand in 17 touchdowns. Daniel Neal (463 yards rushing) and DeSean Dinkins (351) contribute to a running game that averages 278.5 yards. 3. Valdosta is fourth in Class AAAAAA with 39.8 points per game behind quarterbacks Josh Belton and Hunter Holt. They have combined for 1,164 yards and 13 touchdowns passing as well as 619 yards and 10 TDs rushing. Tevin Gray has added 333 rushing yards on 45 carries. Joseph Ingram has 452 receiving yards and four TDs on 19 catches.

Pace Academy at Westminster

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Alfred E. Thompson Stadium, Atlanta

Records, rankings: Pace Academy is 4-1 overall, 2-0 in Region 5-AAA and No. 2; Westminster is 3-2, 2-0 and No. 4.

Last meeting: This is the teams’ first meeting.

Three things to know: 1. These Buckhead schools are less than two miles apart, but this is their first meeting, as Pace began football in 2008 and played in lower classifications until now. This is the 23rd meeting in history between reigning state champions. Westminster won AAA, and Pace won AA. The champion from the higher class is 10-9-3 in those games. 2. OL Jamaree Salyer and OL/DL Andrew Thomas are committed to Georgia, and those are two big reasons that Pace is a run-first team and that Deon Jackson has rushed for 400 yards on 80 carries. But WR/FS Trey Blount (16 receptions, 281 yards) also is a Georgia commit. Blount and Thomas play prominent roles on defense.3. Westminster runs at a similar two-to-one pace. Zay Malcome has rushed for 684 yards and has 1,001 all-purpose yards. Original starting QB J.D. Falconer is lost for the season with a non-football injury, but Ward Croft (19-of-33 passing for 359 yards) was solid in a victory over then-No. 4 Cedar Grove two weeks ago.

Stratford Academy at Twiggs County

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, The Pit, Jeffersonville

Records, rankings: Stratford Academy is 4-1 overall, 1-0 in Region 7-A Div. A and No. 6 in Class A private; Twiggs County is 4-1, 1-0 and No. 9 in Class A public.

Last meeting: Stratford Academy won 50-0 in 2015.

Three things to know: 1. Stratford Academy is primarily a running team that uses a running back-by-committee approach, but senior Russell Mole has emerged as a threat. Mole had 210 yards and four TDs (runs of 43, 21, 50 and 39 yards) in a 41-14 victory over Mount de Sales last week, and he had 95 yards in a 36-19 win over Atkinson County on Sept. 9. 2. Twiggs County runs the ball most of the time, too, and the Cobras are led by senior Ja’mon Height, who has rushed for 878 yards on 117 carries. Height ran for 223 yards on 23 carries in a 29-17 victory over First Presbyterian last week and had 283 yards in a win over Northeast of Macon on Sept. 9. Twiggs County has its highest ranking since 2010. 3. This is Twiggs County’s fifth game out of six in which the opponent was undefeated, ranked or both coming into the game, and the Cobras play 5-0 Tattnall Square next week. Stratford Academy’s only loss came against third-ranked Landmark Christian on Sept. 2. Twiggs County lost to Cambridge Christian, the No. 1-ranked team in Florida’s Class 2A.

Woodland (Stockbridge) at Stockbridge

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Tiger Stadium, Stockbridge

Records, rankings: Woodland is 5-1 overall, 4-0 in Region 4-AAAAA and No. 10; Stockbridge is 5-0, 3-0 and No. 2.

Last meeting: Stockbridge won 42-28 in 2015.

Three things to know: 1. This is the first time that two Henry County Schools teams have played each other when both were ranked. These are the only unbeaten teams in region play. The region has five of the top 17 teams in Class AAAAA, according to the Maxwell Ratings. Stockbridge is 4-0 all-time against Woodland, which opened in 2007, with no game closer than the 42-28 outcome in 2015. 2. Woodland’s offense is evenly balanced. Kareem Rogers (44-424-4) and Chris Charles (66-403-7) are the leading rushers. Reid Larson has thrown for 1,197 yards and run for 247. WR/CB Shakur Corker is rated the No. 24 senior prospect in Georgia. 3. Stockbridge averages 248.6 yards rushing and 139.2 passing. RB Jalen Holston, a three-star recruit, has rushed for 497 yards. QB Kenderick Duncan (committed to Georgia Southern as a cornerback) has passed for 696 yards and rushed for 373. WR Marquez Ezzard has 20 receptions for 416 yards.

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