Calhoun at Cartersville
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Weinman Stadium, Cartersville
Records, rankings: Calhoun is 2-0 and No. 4 in Class AAA; Cartersville is 2-0 and No. 1 in AAAA.
Last meeting: Cartersville won 56-0 in 2016.
Things to know: The 2016 game marked the worst defeat for Calhoun since 1969 and the most points surrendered by Calhoun since 1929. It also was the first time Calhoun had been shut out since 2003. Trevor Lawrence passed for 352 yards and three touchdowns. The 2017 Calhoun team is deep but lacks its usual stars. None made preseason all-state. Calhoun has had at least one first-team all-state player every year since 2001. The team’s best returning player is probably LB Bailey Lester, who had more than 100 tackles last season. Calhoun became the first team to shut out Dalton (24-0) last week since 2010. Calhoun has twice as many passing yards (452) as rushing yards (209) so far. Gavin Gray has completed 31 of 52 passes with three touchdowns. Workhorse RB Zack Fuller has rushed for 152 yards on 38 carries. For Cartersville, the work of Cartersville RB Rico Frye was inconspicuous last week in the shadows of Lawrence and his five-TD performance against Bartram Trail of Florida. Frye rushed for 125 yards on 18 carries and had three catches for 102 yards and two touchdowns. One was the game-winner in the 52-45 victory televised by ESPN.
ELCA at Knoxville Catholic (Tenn.)
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Blaine Stadium, Knoxville, Tenn.
Records, rankings: Eagle’s Landing Christian is 2-0 and No. 1 in Class A private; Knoxville Catholic is 1-1 and No. 1 in Tennessee’s Class 5A (MaxPreps).
Last meeting: This is the teams’ first meeting.
Things to know: Eagle’s Landing Christian has won 24 consecutive games, including two Class A private-school championships, since a 20-10 loss to Woodward Academy on Sept. 25, 2015. Knoxville Christian won a state title in 2015 and is 42-13 since the start of the 2013 season. ELCA is 45-11 during that stretch. Knoxville Catholic is coming off a 56-24 victory over Baylor, Tenn., which plays Marist this week. The Fighting Irish got 212 yards passing from Jack Sompayrac and 169 yards rushing from Joshua Brown. The Irish’s most-recruited player is 6-foot-5.5, 305-pound tackle Cade Mays, a Tennessee commit who is the No. 1 prospect in the state, according to the 247Sports Composite ratings. ATH DaShon Bussell is a four-star prospect, and WR Cam Blakely has committed to Miami of Ohio. ELCA RB/SS Josh Mays rushed for 651 yards last season in a backfield that included all-state RB Trevor Gear, but he has emerged as an offensive force in his senior season. Mays has run for 284 yards in two games, including 206 and a touchdown in a 35-7 victory over Class AAAAAA Jonesboro last week. FS Khaleb Hood, who had four pass breakups, eight tackles and a long punt return in the opener, has an offer from East Carolina.
Harrison at North Cobb
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Emory Sewell Stadium, Acworth
Records, rankings: Harrison is 1-1 and No. 3 in Class AAAAAA; North Cobb is 2-0 and No. 6 in AAAAAAA.
Last meeting: Harrison won 25-13 in 2016.
Things to know: Harrison’s 10-2 mark in 2016 was its first 10-win season since the 2002 team finished 12-1. The Hoyas’ 33-21 loss to Class AAAAA No. 1 Rome last week was just their second regular-season defeat since the start of last season. QB Justin Fields, the nation’s consensus No. 1 recruit, passed for 230 yards and rushed for 73 in the loss, giving him 457 yards passing and 226 rushing for the season. WR Steven Peterson, a preseason all-state selection, has nine receptions for 232 yards and four touchdowns. North Cobb has scored 82 points in its first two games despite averaging less than 300 yards in total offense. The Warriors have scored on two fumble returns, an interception return, a punt return and a safety. QB Dillon Waye is 24-of-37 passing for 245 yards and one touchdown. Deandre Ferguson is the leading rusher with 126 yards on 14 carries. Christian Singleton has 102 yards receiving and 75 rushing. Harrison’s victory last season ended North Cobb’s five-game winning streak in the series. Harrison won 16 of the first 19 matchups and leads the series 17-8.
Jefferson at Thomson
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, The Brickyard, Thomson
Records, rankings: Jefferson is 2-0 and No. 6 in Class AAAA; Thomson is 2-0 and No. 3 in AAA.
Last meeting: Thomson won 27-6 in the 2016 Class AAAA semifinals.
Things to know: Thomson beat Jefferson 42-20 in the regular season and then won the rematch in the semifinals last season. The schools had not played since 1963. Jefferson’s Ben Hall, who was 44-8 in four seasons as head coach, has since left for Flowery Branch. Jefferson promoted offensive coordinator Gene Cathcart, who won a state title at Greenwood in his native South Carolina in 2011. Jefferson’s top player for the past three seasons has been RB/DB Colby Wood, who has 4,575 career rushing yards and 66 touchdowns. He ran for 243 yards in a 50-13 victory over Riverwood last week. Thomson averages 272 yards rushing, 73.5 passing, although don’t underestimate QB Mills Riding, who was 102-of-152 passing (.671) last season for 1,521 yards. The leading rushers are Tyrek Braswell (44-250-2) and Bubba Murray (21-180-3). Thomson’s most celebrated player is CB/WR Christian Tutt, a top-250 national recruit. He has seven solo tackles and a 30-yard TD reception.
Lovejoy vs. Stockbridge
When, where: 5 p.m. Saturday, Tri-Cities High School, East Point
Records, rankings: Lovejoy is 2-0 and No. 7 in Class AAAAAA; Stockbridge is 1-0 and No. 3 in AAAAA.
Last meeting: Stockbridge won 24-21 in 2016.
Things to know: Stockbridge was held to a regular-season low of 283 yards against Lovejoy last season but won behind a touchdown run and TD pass from QB Kenderick Duncan and 125 yards rushing from Jalen Holston. Both players are in college now, Duncan at Georgia Southern and Holston at Virginia Tech. Gabriel McKenzie has taken over at QB and was 7-of-12 passing for 63 yards in a defense-dominated 9-0 victory over Mays last week. B.J. Riley was the leading rusher with 66 yards on 12 carries. The defense, led by reigning 4-AAAAA defensive player of the year Brenton Cox (committed to Ohio State), posted the first shutout of Mays by any team since 2011. Cox had a sack, two tackles for losses, three solo tackles and a forced fumble. Lovejoy’s offense has been reliant on RB Zion Custis and QB Jordan Huntington is its victories against East Coweta (41-21) and Mundy’s Mill (33-14). Custis rushed for 278 yards and six touchdowns on 31 carries against East Coweta. Last week, he was slowed by an injury and had 65 yards on five carries. Huntington filled the void against Mundy’s Mill, passing for nearly 200 yards and a touchdown and rushing for 60 yards and two scores.
McEachern at Grayson
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Grayson Community Stadium, Grayson
Records, rankings: McEachern is 0-1 and No. 9 in Class AAAAAAA; Grayson is 1-0 and No. 1 in AAAAAAA.
Last meeting: Grayson won 16-13 in 2016.
Things to know: Grayson won last year’s game on a 20-yard field goal by Will van Pamelen on the final play of the game, giving the Rams their third victory in three all-time meetings with the Indians. McEachern has played 13 games against Gwinnett County opponents since the start of the 2013 season and is 5-8 in those games, including a 23-19 loss to Mill Creek in the opener this season. McEachern used three quarterbacks extensively against Mill Creek, sometimes rotating them on every play, as it seeks a replacement for Bailey Hockman, who signed with Florida State. Senior Malik Evans had the best numbers of the three, going 8-of-14 passing for 91 yards and rushing for a team-leading 81 yards and two TDs. LB Dante Fleming had three solo tackles and seven assists. Grayson had 454 yards of total offense (183 passing, 271 rushing) in a 35-26 victory over Hoover (Ala.) last week. QB D.J. Irons, a transfer from Gainesville, passed for 185 yards and a touchdown and ran for 57 yards. Ronald Thompkins (19 carries, 105 yards, one touchdown) and Cameron Thompson (8-104-1) both went over 100 yards. Grayson is the defending champion in Class AAAAAAA.
Parkview at Lowndes
When, where: 8 p.m. Friday, Martin Stadium, Valdosta
Records, rankings: Parkview is 2-0 and No. 5 in Class AAAAAAA; Lowndes is 2-0 and No. 3 in AAAAAAA.
Last meeting: Lowndes won 35-34 in 2016.
Things to know: In the 2016 game, Lowndes led 35-14 in the fourth quarter. Parkview then scored three touchdowns but mismanaged a snap for a tying extra point and lost by one. This is Parkview’s first trip to Lowndes. Parkview, playing at home, lost to Lowndes 17-14 in the 2004 Class AAAAA championship game. Parkview has a new quarterback, Peachtree Ridge transfer Fred Payton, who is 25-of-32 passing for 343 yards. Four backs have more than 100 yards rushing. The presumptive best back, Christian Malloy, is sidelined for the first several games because of injury. Parkview’s best all-around player is probably RB/WR/DB Malik Washington, who had more than 1,000 all-purpose yards last season. Parkview, ranked in the top five for the first time in a decade, has not been tested in wins over Peachtree Ridge (50-13) and Shiloh (69-0). Lowndes also has cruised in wins over Valdosta (45-0) and International School of Broward County, Fla. (56-0). Lowndes’ best player is QB Michael Barrett, who had over 2,500 yards passing and 1,000 rushing last season. Lowndes has eight sacks and eight interceptions in its two wins.
Starr’s Mill at Northgate
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Henry Seldon Field
Records, rankings: Starr’s Mill is 1-0 and No. 9 in Class AAAAA; Northgate is 1-0 and No. 6 in AAAAAA.
Last meeting: Northgate won 34-17 in 2016.
Things to know: Northgate leads the series 6-5 and won last year’s game after scoring touchdowns on its first three drives. But Northgate graduated 1,000-yard rushers Ton Evans and Kyle Cater. This is the first time these schools have met when both were ranked. Northgate coach Kelsey Dalrymple was promoted from offensive coordinator this season to replace the retiring Tommy Walburn. In the opener against Veterans, a 21-3 victory, Nick Carter rushed for 171 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries out of Dalyrymple’s wing-T offense. Jay McKenzie rushed for 92 yards on 12 carries. Carter scored on a 99-yard run following a goal-line stand, making the score 14-3. Starr’s Mill rushed for 328 yards in its 40-13 victory over Newnan last week. Khalen Sims rushed for 111 and two touchdowns on seven carries. Cole Gilley, a 1,666-yard rusher last season, ran for 100 and three touchdowns on 13 carries. QB Joey DeLuca, who runs the jet wing-T and the triple option, rushed for 53 yards and attempted only three passes, one that resulted in a long interception return for a score.
Tucker at Colquitt County
When, where: 8 p.m. Friday, Mack Tharpe Memorial Stadium, Moultrie
Records, rankings: Tucker is 2-0 and No. 1 in Class AAAAAA; Colquitt County is 2-0 and No. 2 in AAAAAAA.
Last meeting: Tucker won 21-20 in 2016.
Things to know: In the 2016 game, Colquitt County failed to hold a 17-3 halftime lead. Tucker took the lead midway in the fourth quarter with a touchdown and two-point conversion. The loss dropped Colquitt to 0-3. Tucker WR Josh Vann, recently committed to South Carolina, is off to a hot start this season. He has 14 catches for 230 yards and five touchdowns. Junior QB Travon Ford, a new starter, is 18-of-29 passing for 343 yards. Those are historically high passing numbers for Tucker, but the Tigers remain a strong running team with RB Gerry Vaughn (Iowa State), RB Taurean Taylor (Kent State) and OL Dylan Wonnum (four-star recruit). DE Antonio Showers and LB Michael Harris (Auburn) lead the defense. Colquitt also has a new starting quarterback, senior Steven Krajewski. He is 21-of-38 passing for 257 yards and a touchdown in wins over Norcross (20-17) and Vista Murrieta, Calif. (26-7). Colquitt’s defense has looked really good under new coordinator Mo Dixon, the former Walton head coach and North Gwinnett defensive coordinator. Colquitt is allowing 123.5 yards per game, and opposing offenses have scored just one touchdown.
Warner Robins at Peach County
When, where: 8 p.m. Friday, Trojan Field at Anderson Stadium, Fort Valley
Records, rankings: Warner Robins is 2-0 and No. 6 in Class AAAAA; Peach County is 1-0 and No. 1 in AAA.
Last meeting: Peach County won 20-19 in 2016.
Things to know: Warner Robins has already avenged two of its six regular-season losses from 2016 with its victories over city rival Northside (28-17) and Locust Grove (20-3). Those two teams outscored the Demons 99-24 last season. Warner Robins started the year 0-4 in 2016, including a loss to Peach County in the third game, but went 3-3 down the stretch to earn a No. 3 seed for the playoffs. Peach County won 4-AAA, its ninth region title since 2003. Warner Robins QB Dylan Fromm, the younger brother of former Houston County standout Jake Fromm, is 40-of-67 passing for 429 yards and five touchdowns. His twin brother, Tyler Fromm, had six receptions for 79 yards against Locust Grove last week. The Fromms are transfers from Houston County. Peach County passed for 186 yards and rushed for 136 in its 44-14 victory over Houston County last week. WR Kearis Jackson, a four-star recruit committed to Georgia, had 107 yards receiving on two catches, one of which was a 53-yard touchdown. He also scored on a 62-yard punt return. Chris Gibson (11 carries, 51 yards) and Trevon Woolfolk (9-49-1) led the running game.
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