Top games to watch in AAAA

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Blessed Trinity travels to Forsyth for its quarterfinals matchup. (Hyosub Shin/AJC)

It will be another busy weekend in Class AAAA as its teams play in one game on Thursday, 37 games on Friday and seven more on Saturday. Cartersville, Cross Creek and Cedartown will face teams from outside the state and 40 Class AAAA teams will be playing teams from other Georgia classifications. Only two games (Blessed Trinity vs. St. Pius and Shaw vs. Upson-Lee) are paired with two Class AAAA opponents. Here are some of the top matchups to watch for.

Spalding vs. Griffin

Spalding will face Class AAAAA Griffin at Griffin Memorial Stadium on Friday in what should be a highly-competitive game between two neighboring rivals. Griffin dominated the first seven times the programs met until Spalding scored a 28-6 victory in 2015. Last season, it took a 53-50 shootout for Griffin to take an 8-1 all-time series lead. Spalding advanced to the state quarterfinals for the first time since 2003 last season and produced a school-record 369 total points offensively so this could be another shootout.

 

West Laurens vs. Wayne County

Kagan McClain makes his head coaching debut as he leads West Laurens against Class AAAAA’s Wayne County. McClain was the defensive coordinator for the Raiders last season and was promoted to his first-ever head coaching job when Stacy Nobles left for Bleckley County to join Von Lassiter’s staff. West Laurens has a chance to reach the postseason for the fourth straight season this year, which would be the first time in school history. Last year was the first time the two schools had ever played and West Laurens was able to secure a 27-22 overtime victory.

Cartersville vs. Bartram Trail, FL.

We know how good Cartersville is, but what about Bartram Trail? This Saturday matchup will be broadcast nationally as the Purple Hurricanes put a 31-game winning streak on the line against one of Florida’s top programs. The Bartram Trail Bears play in the Sunshine State’s Class 7A and are currently ranked by Maxpreps as the No. 19 school in the state. The Bears are loaded with talent, including junior running back Devin Ellison who posted a team-high 16 touchdowns during his breakout 2016 season.

St. Pius vs. Blessed Trinity

Last season’s 22-18 loss to Blessed Trinity was at one point the highlight to St. Pius’ surprisingly disappointing 0-8 start to the season. The Golden Lions were able to close the regular season with a pair of victories over struggling North Oconee and Madison County and sneak into the playoffs, but even then the questions pointed toward the 2017 season. Was 2016 just a bad year or was St. Pius going to continue to struggle in 2017? Blessed Trinity will provide a great measuring stick as they face St. Pius as the No. 2 ranked team in the classification. This will be the 10th all-time meeting between the two schools, but there is an trend that this matchup has shown indicative to Blessed Trinity’s ascent. After losing its first five meetings with St. Pius, Blessed Trinity has taken the past four.

CLASS AAAA SCHEDULE

Friday, Aug. 25

Region 1

Americus-Sumter vs. Crisp County

Carver-Columbus at Spencer (CM)

Hardaway vs. Harris County (K) (Saturday)

*Shaw vs. Upson-Lee (K)(D) (Saturday)

Westover vs. Monroe (M)

 

Region 2

Howard at Mount de Sales (MU) (Saturday)

Mary Persons vs. Jackson

Perry at Rutland (ED)

Spalding vs. Griffin (GM)

*Upson-Lee at Shaw (K)(D) (Saturday)

West Laurens at Wayne County

 

Region 3

Baldwin vs. Wilkinson County

Burke County at Statesboro

Cross Creek at Fox Creek, SC

Hephzibah vs. Glenn Hills

Richmond Academy vs. Westside-Augusta

Thomson at Effingham County

 

Region 4

Druid Hills at Columbia (GO)(D)

Eastside at Newton (SH)

Henry County at Northside-Warner Robins (MT)

Luella at Manchester

North Clayton vs. Washington (SC) (Thursday)

Woodward Academy vs. Grady

 

Region 5

Cartersville at Bartram Trail, Fla. (Saturday)

Cedartown vs. Cherokee County, Ala.

Central-Carroll vs. Landmark Christian

Chapel Hill vs. Fayette County

LaGrange vs. Villa Rica

Troup at Kendrick (K)(D) (Saturday)

 

Region 6

Gilmer vs. Union County

Heritage-Catoosa vs. Ringgold

LaFayette at Trion

Northwest Whitfield vs. South Atlanta

Ridgeland vs. Pepperell

Southeast Whitfield vs. Gordon Central

White County vs. Lumpkin County

 

Region 7

*Blessed Trinity vs. St. Pius

Chestatee vs. East Hall

Marist at Lovett

West Hall vs. Johnson-Gainesville

White County vs. Lumpkin County

 

Region 8

Jefferson at Riverwood

Madison County vs. Jackson County

North Oconee vs. Grovetown

Oconee County at Clarke Central (Saturday)

*St. Pius at Blessed Trinity

Stephens County vs. Franklin County

 

(CM) Columbus Memorial

(K) Kinnett Stadium

(D) Day Games

(SC) Southern Cresent Stadium

(MT) McConnell Talbott Stadium

(SH) Sharp Stadium

(GO) Godfrey Stadium

(M) Mills Stadium

(MU) Mercer University

(GM) Griffin Memorial

(ED) Ed Defore Stadium


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