Brookwood at Meadowcreek
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Meadowcreek Community Stadium, Norcross
Records, rankings: Brookwood is 3-2 overall, 1-0 in Region 7-AAAAAAA and No. 7; Meadowcreek is 6-0, 2-0 and unranked.
Last meeting: Brookwood won 54-0 in 2016.
Things to know: Meadowcreek, 1-9 last season, has clinched its first winning season since a 6-4 finish in 1990. The next victory probably would ensure the program of its first state-playoff berth, or postseason berth of any kind since 1988. Brookwood, Meadowcreek and Parkview (3-2, 1-0) are the only unbeaten teams in region play. But Meadowcreek is 0-45 all-time against Top 10 teams and 0-13 against Brookwood. This season’s remarkable turnaround is fueled by a running game led by Chauncey Williams, who has rushed for 1,410 yards and 21 touchdowns on 129 carries (10.9 ypc). Meadowcreek’s offensive line has four starters who weigh more than 300 pounds. Meadowcreek is fifth in Class AAAAAAA scoring (40.0). Brookwood is seventh (38.4). Brookwood also prefers to control the ball with the run game. OL Casey Holman (Duke commit), RB Dante Black (601 yards rushing) and WR/RB Matthew Hill (AJC Super 11 committed to Auburn) are all-state candidates. QB Angelo DiSpigna (47-of-73 passing, 680 yards) is very efficient. Brookwood has played three Top 10 teams. It has beaten No. 6 Colquitt County (42-25) and lost to No. 3 Archer (25-17) and No. 4 Walton (42-35).
Douglas County at Mays
When, where: 8 p.m. Friday, Lakewood Stadium, Atlanta
Records, rankings: Douglas County is 6-0 overall, 4-0 in Region 5-AAAAAA and No. 7; Mays is 5-1, 3-0 and No. 3.
Last meeting: Mays won 55-0 in 2016.
Things to know: Three 5-AAAAAA teams are unbeaten in region play. Alexander (4-1, 3-0) is the other. The rest have at least two region losses. Mays is the defending region champion while Douglas County is the surprise. Douglas County beat two ranked teams last month (Hughes, Northgate) after having beaten only one in the past 25 years (2005 Warner Robins). Uriah West has rushed for 1,074 yards for a team that averages 292.8 yards rushing, 115.8 passing. The team’s best all-around player is LB Braelen Oliver, a Minnesota commit who has a team-leading 52 solo tackles, seven for losses. Mataio Soli has 10 sacks. Douglas County last won a region title in 2002. While Douglas County is fifth in Class AAAAAA scoring (38.8 points per game, Mays is second in scoring defense (7.2). LB Antonio Grier Jr. is Mays’ leading tackler and the reigning region defensive player of the year. Mays is more of a passing team offensively. QB Jahquez Evans is 50-of-81 passing for 808 yards. His top receiver is Amir Abdur-Rahman. Mays’ highest-rated recruit, he has several mid-major offers.
Dublin at Dodge County
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Memorial Stadium, Eastman
Records, rankings: Dublin is 4-2 overall, 2-0 in Region 3-AA and unranked; Dodge County is 5-0, 2-0 and No. 9.
Last meeting: Dodge County won 28-21 in 2016.
Things to know: These are the only unbeaten Region 3-AA teams with winning records overall. Dublin leads the series 33-19-1, but Dodge County has won the past three. In the 2016 game, Dodge RB R.J. Carr rushed for 163 yards and scored the tie-breaking touchdown with 1:05 left. Dodge didn’t complete a pass in the game. A shotgun option team, Dodge is probably the most run-heavy team in the state this season. The Indians average 347.8 yards rushing. They’ve attempted only 31 passes. The leading rusher is Carr (70-602-4). QB Nick Cummings and RB Erin Pitts both have 100-yard rushing games and four touchdowns. Dublin is a run-oriented team, also. It’s a balanced backfield of QB Rodriguez Martin (269 yards rushing), FB Jermaine Cooley (211), LHB Corteveyas (332) and RHB Greg Jones (353). Dublin’s best all-around players are probably DE/OG Bruce Guyton (32 tackles, 3 TFL). Dublin hasn’t won a region title since 2011. Dodge won a region title in 2015.
East Hall at Greater Atlanta Christian
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Spartan Stadium, Norcross
Records, rankings: East Hall is 5-1 overall, 2-0 in Region 7-AAA and unranked; Greater Atlanta Christian is 5-1, 2-0 and No. 3.
Last meeting: Greater Atlanta Christian won 69-12 in 2016.
Things to know: This game matches the top two scoring offenses in Class AAA. East Hall averages 53.8 points per game. GAC averages 42.2. But GAC is sixth in scoring defense (12.8) while East Hall is 46th (33.0). East Hall QB Austin Parker, a three-year starter, has thrown for 2,140 yards with 25 touchdowns and only one interception this season. Sedrion Morse has 31 receptions for 709 yards and 11 touchdowns. Cambren Harrison has rushed for 750 yards and 13 touchdowns on 90 carries. East Hall has lost 21 consecutive games against Top 10 opponents dating to a 2000 win over Dawson County. GAC’s last loss as a Top 10 team against an unranked opponent came in 2012 (Chamblee). GAC has a balanced offense that features QB Josh Rose (48-of-83 passing, 672 yards, nine TDs), Kyler McMichael (548 rushing) and Max Burke (272 receiving, five TDs). McMichael, a Clemson commit, is an AJC Super 11 pick who is recruited as a cornerback. Junior OL/DL Chris Hinton and sophomore OL Myles Hinton are the sons of former Falcons lineman Chris Hinton Sr. and are major-college recruits.
McEachern at North Cobb
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Emory Sewell Stadium, Acworth
Records, rankings: McEachern is 3-2 overall, 0-0 in Region 3-AAAAAAA and No. 10; North Cobb is 4-1, 0-0 and unranked.
Last meeting: McEachern won 17-10 in 2016.
Things to know: The winner of this annual rivalry has gone on to win the region championship four of the past five seasons. Last year, McEachern trailed 10-0 in the third quarter but won on a 64-yard run by Paris Brown with 4:31 remaining. North Cobb, the region runner-up in 2016, was the only team to lose to McEachern by less than 24 points in region play. Both teams lost in the state quarterfinals. McEachern has won three consecutive games since opening the season with losses to No. 1 Grayson and No. 8 Mill Creek. The Indians have used three quarterbacks extensively, but senior Malik Evans has the biggest numbers. He is 37-of-78 passing for 541 yards and five touchdowns and has 159 yards and four TDs rushing. Jalen Thornton (57-376-1) is the leading rusher. North Cobb is off to a 4-1 start despite losing three defensive starters to season-ending knee injuries and giving up 28 points per game. The Warriors are averaging 37.2 points. RB Christian Singleton is the team’s leading rusher (16-490-3) and receiver (13-133-0). QB Dillon Waye has passed for 496 yards and rushed for 146. The Warriors have gotten five touchdowns and a safety from the defense and special teams.
North Paulding at Hillgrove
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Cobb Energy Hillgrove Stadium, Powder Springs
Records, rankings: North Paulding is 5-0 overall, 0-0 in Region 3-AAAAAAA and unranked; Hillgrove is 3-2, 0-0 and unranked.
Last meeting: Hillgrove won 31-28 in 2016.
Things to know: North Paulding comes into this game 5-0 for the second consecutive season. Last year, Hillgrove ended the Wolfpack’s winning streak when Jason Pierce kicked a 31-yard field goal as time expired. Both teams advanced to the playoffs – Hillgrove as the No. 3 seed and North Paulding as the No. 4 – and lost in the first round. The story this season for North Paulding has been the defense, which has recorded four shutouts and allowed just 13 points, all of which came in a 21-13 victory over East Paulding. The leaders are DE Jaylen Parks (36 tackles, 11 for losses) and Appalachian State commit LB Tyler Bird (35 tackles, seven TFLs). QB Ross Malmgren is 68-of-103 passing for 958 yards and 10 TDs, and RB Lucas Mays has rushed for a team-best 288 yards. Hillgrove has been battling injuries but has won three consecutive games since starting 0-2. QB Hunter Arters is third in Cobb County with 852 yards and 10 TDs passing. He was 21-of-30 for 276 yards and four TDs in a 37-32 victory over South Gwinnett two weeks ago. The leading rushers have been Trevor Smith (35-192-2), Jaylen McCollough (15-175-3) and Drew Radford (39-156-1), all of whom have had limited playing time.
Valdosta at Northside (Warner Robins)
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, McConnell-Talbert Stadium, Warner Robins
Records, rankings: Valdosta is 2-4 overall, 0-0 in Region 1-AAAAAA and unranked; Northside is 5-1, 0-0 and No. 5.
Last meeting: Valdosta won 14-6 in 2016.
Things to know: This is the opening game of 1-AAAAAA play for both teams. Valdosta is the defending region and state champion, and Northside was the region runner-up and a state semifinalist in 2016. Valdosta leads the series 8-2, but Northside had won the previous two meetings (in 2008 and 2009) before Valdosta won last year. Valdosta’s 2-4 record is its worst at this point in the season since the 2006 team went 1-9. QB Hunter Holt, the returning starter, has been out with a broken collarbone since the second game of the season. Jude Ard has gotten most of the work since then and is 35-of-74 passing for 442 yards and one TD. Rajaez Mosely has rushed for 305 yards and five TDs on 86 carries. Northside has six of the top 13 rushers in Region 1-AAAAAA. The leaders are Daniel Neal (67-363-4) and Marcus Jolly (23-202-4). QBs DeShawn Cumby and Jadin Daniels are a combined 38-of-78 for 415 yards with three TDs. The Eagles’ defense is playing at its usual high level, giving up just 9.7 points per game, holding four of six opponents to a touchdown or less and recording its first shutout in a 23-0 victory last week against Macon County, which managed just 128 total yards.
Wesleyan at Mount Vernon Presbyterian
When, where: 4 p.m. Friday, Mustang Stadium, Atlanta
Records, rankings: Wesleyan is 5-2 overall, 2-1 in Region 5-A and No. 7 in Class A private; Mount Vernon Presbyterian is 6-0, 2-0 and No. 9.
Last meeting: Wesleyan won 34-0 in 2016.
Things to know: Mount Vernon and No. 1-ranked Eagle’s Landing Christian are the only remaining unbeaten teams in Region 5-A. Wesleyan was undefeated in region play until a 45-6 loss to ELCA last week. All three teams are among the top seven in the Class A private-school power rankings. Wesleyan averages 151.4 yards per game rushing despite being held to a season-low 29 yards against ELCA. QB Banks Ramsey is the leading rusher with 365 yards and six TDs on 54 carries. He also is 107-of-157 passing for 1,276 yards (182.3 per game) and 16 touchdowns. His top target has been WR Zach Peterson, who has 452 yards and six touchdowns on 44 receptions. Mount Vernon is 6-0 and ranked for the first time in program history. The Mustangs average 233.3 yards rushing and 202.5 passing. QB Reggie Burnette is 80-of-138 passing for 1,215 yards and 12 TDs and has rushed for 352 yards and six scores. The other top rushers are Austin Douglas (70-621-4) and Justin Douglas (31-306-4). They also are the team’s leading receivers with a combined 50 catches for 789 yards and 10 TDs. Both had TD receptions in the final 35 seconds of a dramatic 35-31 victory over Holy Innocents’ last week.
Westlake at East Coweta
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Garland Shoemake Memorial Stadium, Sharpsburg
Records, rankings: Westlake is 2-3 overall, 0-0 in Region 2-AAAAAAA and unranked; East Coweta is 4-1, 0-0 and unranked.
Last meeting: Westlake won 37-34 in 2016.
Things to know: East Coweta has the best overall record in Region 2-AAAAAAA, and Westlake is the defending champion. East Coweta has finished second, third or fourth in region play every season since 2001, the year of its last region title. These teams’ records were the same last year when Westlake escaped with a three-point win, erasing East Coweta leads of 20-6 and 27-20. East Coweta is under a new coach, John Small, who had been at South Gwinnett. The focus of the offense has been RB Gerald Green, who has rushed for 547 yards and seven touchdowns. Christian Reid is 46-of-76 passing for 554 yards and six touchdowns. East Coweta has returned six kickoffs for touchdowns. Westlake has struggled offensively in losses to Hughes, Cartersville and McEachern. Westlake’s strength is defense, particularly the secondary with Division I recruits Myles Sims (Michigan commit), Tyrese Ross (Michigan State) and Amir Spivey. Westlake is a better running team than passing. Gino Appleberry (Western Kentucky) rushed for 191 yards and two touchdowns in Westlake’s most recent game, a victory over Lithonia.
Winder-Barrow at Lanier
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Longhorns Stadium, Sugar Hill
Records, rankings: Winder-Barrow is 6-0 overall, 1-0 in Region 8-AAAAAA and No. 8; Lanier is 3-2, 0-0 and unranked.
Last meeting: Lanier won 34-21 in 2016.
Things to know: Winder-Barrow and Lanier are the only 8-AAAAAA teams with winning records. Defending champ Dacula is 1-4, as it was last year at this point before going 5-0 in region play. Lanier was the runner-up last season, and Winder-Barrow finished as the No. 4 seed. Winder-Barrow, the only ranked team in the region, has been playing football since 1955 and is still seeking its first region title. Lanier, in its eighth season, already has won two. Lanier averages 154.8 yards passing and 121.8 rushing. QB Zach Calzada is 52-of-111 passing for 774 yards and six TDs. Larry Harper Jr. (48-257-1) is the leading rusher. LB/DE Kameron Brown, the younger brother of 2015 AJC all-classification player of the year Derrick Brown, leads the Longhorns with 68 tackles, including 11 for losses. Winder-Barrow is 6-0 for the first time since 1989. The Bulldoggs are averaging 387.5 yards (206.5 rushing, 181.2 passing) and 35 points per game. QB Brock Landis has passed for 1,038 yards, rushed for 340 yards and had a hand in 15 touchdowns. Jamar Mack is the leading rusher with 540 yards and five touchdowns on 103 carries. Junior DE Logan Cash has 13 tackles for losses and 47 total tackles.
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