Blessed Trinity at Marist
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Hughes Spalding Stadium, Atlanta
Records, rankings: Blessed Trinity is 6-2 overall, 2-0 in Region 7-AAAA and No. 6; Marist is 5-2, 1-0 and No. 10.
Last meeting: This is the teams’ first meeting.
Three things to know: 1. Blessed Trinity has played varsity football only since 2001, but it is still remarkable that these Catholic schools have never played each other. This is almost certainly for the region championship as the region’s other three teams – White County, Chestatee and West Hall – have been blown out when playing the front-runners. 2. Blessed Trinity’s leading rusher Steele Chambers (908 yards), passer Jake Smith (781 yards) and receiver Ryan Davis (335 yards) are sophomores. Chambers and Parham are also among the leading tacklers. Sophomore DL J.R. Bivens leads the team in sacks. Sophomore LB Jake Bertrand was preseason all-state but has played only two games because of injury. He returns Friday. 3. Marist averages 259.4 yards rushing per game (and allows only 89.6). Marist has completed only 17 of 57 passing attempts. QB Jack Dinges (97 carries, 689 yards, seven touchdowns) and RB Michael Addicks (88-572-9) are the primary runners. Top defenders include LB David Sharkey (team-leading 33 tackles, three forced fumbles), DB Drew Geeslin (three interceptions, blocked kick) and DT Thomas Snipes (four sacks, 10 QB hurries).
Brooks County at Fitzgerald
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jaycee Stadium, Fitzgerald
Records, rankings: Brooks County is 6-1 overall, 2-0 in Region 1-AA and No. 6; Fitzgerald is 6-1, 2-0 and No. 2.
Last meeting: Brooks County won 21-17 in 2015.
Three things to know: 1. Brooks County or Fitzgerald has won their region eight of the past 10 seasons, each claiming four titles. In the 2015 game, Brooks County won with a goal-line stand in the final minute. 2. Fitzgerald averaged about 350 yards rushing and 60 passing last season in reaching the Class AA championship game. In an effort to become tougher to defend, Fitzgerald now runs for about 295 per game and passes for 135. The main operatives – QB James Graham and FB J.D. King – are the same. King, who is committed to Oklahoma State, has rushed for 857 yards but also has 230 yards receiving. Graham, a 1,000-yard rusher last year, has only 317 yards rushing but is 41-of-76 passing for 793 yards and 12 touchdowns in just five games. 3. Brooks County, extensively retooled from a year ago, averages 150.7 yards rushing and 138.3 passing. QB Jacolby Brown, who became the starter in the fourth game because of injury, is 35-of-62 passing for 448 yards. Jonathan White has rushed for 500 yards. Khalid Humphreys has 16 catches, seven for touchdowns, and 423 yards.
Coffee at Northside (Warner Robins)
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, McConnell-Talbert Stadium, Warner Robins
Records, rankings: Coffee is 5-2 overall, 1-0 in Region 1-AAAAAA and No. 10; Northside is 7-1, 1-1 and No. 2.
Last meeting: Northside won 35-3 in 2009.
Three things to know: 1. Coffee was seen by some as the most likely team from five-team 1-AAAAAA to miss the playoffs when it entered region play as the region’s only unranked team, but the Trojans are tied with Valdosta for first place after beating Houston County last week. Northside is a half-game behind them after rebounding from a loss to Valdosta with a 26-7 victory over then-No. 1 Lee County. 2. Coffee has the second-leading rusher, second-leading passer and third-leading receiver in Region 1. Demetrius Davis has 107 carries for 889 yards and 12 touchdowns, with season highs in all three categories (23-247-4) against Houston County. Max Hughes is 128-of-202 passing for 1,935 yards and 15 TDs, and Milton Jackson has 41 catches for 594 yards and three TDs. 3. Northside QB Tobias Oliver has rushed for a team-leading 765 yards, passed for 868 yards and had a hand in 20 touchdowns. He ran for 150 yards and two TDs last week. Daniel Neal and DeSean Dinkins have combined for 938 yards and 13 TDs rushing. The Eagles have the top defense in Class AAAAAA, allowing 7.3 points per game.
Harrison at Dalton
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Harmon Field at Bill Chappell Stadium, Dalton
Records, rankings: Harrison is 7-0 overall, 4-0 in Region 6-AAAAAA and No. 3; Dalton is 7-0, 4-0 and No. 5.
Last meeting: This is the teams’ first meeting.
Three things to know: 1. Harrison and Dalton are the only unbeaten teams in 6-AAAAAA, and the winner is likely to be the region champion, although both have games remaining against one-loss teams (Harrison vs. Sequoyah on Oct. 28, Dalton vs. Allatoona on Nov. 4). Dalton won its 23rd region title last year; Harrison is seeking its fifth region title and first since 2005. 2. Harrison QB Justin Fields is the second-leading passer in Cobb County. He is 82-for-123 for 1,448 yards and 15 touchdowns and is the Hoyas’ leading rusher with 574 yards and eight TDs. WR Steven Peterson has 41 receptions for 776 yards and 11 TDs. Harrison averages 39.9 points per game and gives up 12.4. 3. Dalton averages 185.3 yards per game rushing and 179.9 passing. Ahmaad Tanner has rushed for 638 yards and 11 touchdowns on 102 carries in six games. QB J.P. Tighe is 72-for-119 passing for 1,156 yards and 13 TDs and is the team’s second-leading rusher with 147 yards on 36 carries. Zeke Cobb and Kyric McGowan have combined for 937 yards and 12 TDs receiving.
Kell at Carrollton
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Grisham Stadium, Carrollton
Records, rankings: Kell is 6-1 overall, 5-0 in Region 7-AAAAA and No. 3; Carrollton is 6-1, 4-1 and No. 5.
Last meeting: Kell won 35-0 in 2015.
Three things to know: 1. Kell is the only unbeaten team in 7-AAAAA play and can all but wrap up the region title (which would be its fifth in seven years) with a victory this week. A win by Carrollton likely creates a three-way tie for first place that also would include Rome, which lost to Kell 33-30 in the region opener and beat Carrollton 45-28 on Sept. 30. 2. Kell averages 168.1 yards per game rushing and 160.1 passing. Josiah Futral is the leading rushing with 76 carries for 426 yards and four touchdowns. Dre Houston has run for 315 yards, 154 of which came in a 50-0 victory over Villa Rica last week. QB John Lampley is 76-for-130 passing for 1,100 yards, has rushed for 299 yards and had a hand in 14 touchdowns. 3. Carrollton is balanced, averaging 173 yards per game rushing and 165.1 passing. Mecose Todd (68-502-10) and Jaylan Thomas (64-450-5) are the leading rushers, and QB Mark Wright is 84-for-146 passing for 966 yards and 11 touchdowns. Junior LB Jeremiah Pierce has a team-leading 51 total tackles (11.5 for losses) and 2.5 sacks.
Landmark Christian at Wesleyan
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Henderson Stadium, Norcross
Records, rankings: Landmark Christian is 7-0 overall, 4-0 in Region 5-A and No. 3 in Class A private; Wesleyan is 6-1, 3-1 and No. 2 in Class A private.
Last meeting: Landmark Christian won 16-7 in 2011.
Three things to know: 1. Landmark Christian and Wesleyan are battling No. 1-ranked Eagle’s Landing Christian for first place in Region 5-A. ELCA beat Wesleyan 34-31 on Sept. 30. Landmark plays ELCA on Nov. 4. 2. Wesleyan QB Banks Ramsey, an imposing 6-foot-4, 210-pound junior, leads Class A in passing yards with 1,751. He has completed 131 of 191 attempts (68.6 percent) for 19 touchdowns and only three interceptions. WR Harrison Cook ranked fifth in all classifications in receiving yards (776) before Wesleyan’s bye last week. 3. Landmark Christian RB Lofton Tidwell led the Class A private division in rushing yards with 765 until Landmark’s bye last week. Freshman Dalton Colburn has 556 yards rushing on 61 carries (9.1 ypc). Landmark has a veteran defense that is allowing 9.3 points per game, led by seniors LB Tidwell, SS Brandon Stone, DE Dylan Gabrielson, LB Kenny Terry and FS Joey Blount.
Lovett at Westminster
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Alfred E. Thompson Stadium, Atlanta
Records, rankings: Lovett is 5-2 overall, 3-1 in Region 5-AAA and No. 5; Westminster is 5-2, 4-0 and No. 3.
Last meeting: Westminster won 26-23 in 2015.
Three things to know: 1. Westminster almost certainly will be the region champion with a victory as the Wildcats already have defeated contenders Cedar Grove and Pace Academy. It would be Westminster’s first region title since 2007. Westminster leads the series with Lovett 18-10 and has won five of the past seven games between the two schools, which are about 2 miles apart in Atlanta. 2. Lovett has been outrushed by its opponents (153.1 yards per game to 162.9) but has been deadly against the pass, allowing a .369 completion percentage with six interceptions to four touchdowns. Lovett QB Brady Tindall, efficient if unspectacular, is 87-of-146 passing for 1,027 yards and eight touchdowns. 3. Westminster RB Zay Malcome has rushed for 957 yards on 8.5 yards per carry. Second-leading rusher Ian Ude (383 yards) also averages 8.5 per carry. The two also are very formidable in returns, and each has two interceptions. DE/LB Truman Jones leads the team in solo tackles (25), tackles for losses (eight), sacks (2.5), pass breakups (four) and forced fumbles (two).
Parkview at Brookwood
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Brookwood Community Stadium, Snellville
Records, rankings: Parkview is 5-2 overall, 2-1 in Region 7-AAAAAAA and No. 8; Brookwood is 5-2, 3-0 and No. 10.
Last meeting: Parkview won 48-9 in 2015.
Three things to know: 1. The Parkview-Brookwood rivalry was metro Atlanta’s best from about 1995 to 2005, if not longer. This will be the first time they’ve met since 2005 when both were ranked. Both are contending with fifth-ranked Norcross (7-0, 3-0) in the region. Norcross beat Parkview on Sept. 30 and plays Brookwood next week. 2. Parkview averages 239.1 yards passing, 161.3 rushing, a far cry from the smash-mouth teams of Parkview’s glory days of the early 2000’s, when current head coach Eric Godfree was an assistant. Caleb Mitchell, a left-hander, has thrown for 1,609 yards and 17 touchdowns. Sophomore DB/WR Malik Washington, a two-year starter, has five interceptions. 3. Brookwood also averages more yards passing than rushing – 196.6 to 181.9. QB Angelo DiSpigna is 83-of-126 for 1,279 yards and 10 touchdowns. LB Leonard Warner, the consensus No. 8 inside-linebacker prospect nationally, is the leading tackler, and DE Blake Chavis and LB Guillermo Luna have 21 stops for losses between them. They are Brookwood’s three captains.
Rabun County at Elbert County
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Granite Bowl, Elberton
Records, rankings: Rabun County is 6-0 overall, 3-0 in Region 8-AA and No. 5; Elbert County is 6-1, 3-0 and unranked.
Last meeting: This is the teams’ first meeting.
Three things to know: 1. Rabun County and Elbert County are the remaining unbeaten teams in 8-AA, and the winner is likely to be the region champion. Rabun County can record the first undefeated regular season in school history with wins against Elbert County, 0-7 Oglethorpe County and 2-5 Monticello in its final three games. Elbert County is seeking its seventh region title and first since 2013. 2. Coach Lee Shaw is 40-13 in five seasons at Rabun County, which was 6-34 in the four seasons before his arrival. The Wildcats are led by QB Bailey Fisher, who has passed for 1,326 yards, rushed for 341 and had a hand in 23 touchdowns. Cal Drummond is the leading rusher with 799 yards and nine TDs on 97 carries. 3. Elbert County is a run-first team that averages 348.7 yards rushing and 70.3 passing. Jasquiz Rucker (82 carries, 928 yards, seven touchdowns) and La’kel Hood (115-758-8) carry most of the load. The Blue Devils attempt about 10 passes per game. Elbert County has won five consecutive games since a 17-15 loss to Madison County on Sept. 2.
Valdosta at Lee County
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Trojan Stadium, Leesburg
Records, rankings: Valdosta is 6-1 overall, 1-0 in Region 1-AAAAAA and No. 1; Lee County is 6-1, 1-1 and No. 4.
Last meeting: Valdosta won 31-25 in 2015.
Three things to know: 1. This game matches this week’s No. 1-ranked team in Class AAAAAA against the team that held that spot last week. Lee County had earned the No. 1 ranking for the first time in school history after beating previous No. 1 Houston County but fell three spots after losing to Northside-Warner Robins last week. Valdosta is No. 1 for the first time since 1999. 2. Valdosta doesn’t have a player with more than 362 yards rushing but has three of the top nine rushers in Region 1-AAAAAA. Two of them – Hunter Holt (64 carries, 362 yards, five touchdowns) and Josh Belton (56-293-6) – are quarterbacks who have combined for 1,224 yards and 13 touchdown passing. Tevin Gray has 353 yards on 54 carries. 3. The leading rusher in Region 1 is Lee County’s Mark Robinson, who has 992 yards and 13 TDs on 162 carries. But the Trojans are known for their defense, which has held six of eight opponents to 13 points or less. They are led by four-star DL Aubrey Solomon, three-star LB Akileis Leroy and four-star junior S Otis Reese (committed to Michigan).
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