Benedictine at Toombs County
When, where: 7 p.m. Thursday, Booster Stadium, Lyons
Records, rankings: Benedictine is 6-0 overall, 3-0 in Region 2-AA and No. 1; Toombs County is 6-0, 3-0 and unranked.
Last meeting: Benedictine won 42-13 in 2016.
Things to know: These are the only teams without a loss in Region 2-AA. Toombs County, seeking its first region title since 2000, has been revitalized by second-year coach Richie Marsh, formerly of Thomasville. The Bulldogs made the playoffs last season for the first time since 2008. The 6-0 start is the first since 1995. Toombs’ offense is built around bruising Keshawn Morgan (5-11, 225), who has 856 yards rushing on 116 carries and several mid-major Division I offers. QB Dalton McBride has more yards rushing (258) than passing (256). Toombs PK Rig Tinocohas has made seven field goals, the longest from 44 yards. A victory by Toombs would be its first against a Top 10 opponent in 22 games, or since 2004 (Savannah Christian). Travis Blackshear is Benedictine’s leading rusher (682 yards) and receiver (307). QB Nick Iannone, a three-year starter, has thrown for 4,382 yards and 49 touchdowns in his career. Benedictine plays exceptional team defense. Ten players have sacks, seven have forced fumbles, and five have interceptions. Benedictine has won 21 consecutive games overall, 29 straight in the regular season and 20 straight in region play.
Brunswick at Glynn Academy
When, where: 7:35 p.m. Friday, Glynn County Stadium, Brunswick
Records, rankings: Brunswick is 4-1 overall, 1-0 in Region 2-AAAAAA and unranked; Glynn Academy is 3-2, 1-0 and unranked.
Last meeting: Glynn Academy won 35-28 in 2016.
Things to know: Neither team is ranked by GHSF Daily, but both are in the top 10 of the computer Maxwell Ratings, Glynn Academy at No. 6 and Brunswick at No. 10. They are tied for first place in Region 2-AAAAAA, although Richmond Hill has yet to play a region game and is undefeated overall. Glynn Academy won the region title last year, while Brunswick was the only team from the region that failed to make the playoffs. Brunswick gets about two-thirds of its offense from a passing game led by QB Jamarius Stevens. He is 81-of-122 passing for 1,486 yards and 12 TDs, and he had a season-high 423 yards and four TDs in a 64-21 victory over previously unbeaten Bradwell Institute last week. Stevens also leads the team in rushing with 221 yards and six TDs on 38 carries. Alonzo Brown (22-509-2) is the top receiver. Glynn Academy beat Effingham County 48-27 in the region opener last week, extending its winning streak in region games to 11 dating to 2015. The Red Terrors had 501 total yards (363 rushing) against Effingham. QB Randon Jernigan ran for 103 yards, scored on a 21-yard run and threw a 30-yard TD pass. Caine Crews and Hunter Hall ran for two touchdowns each.
Callaway at Heard County
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Staples Stadium, Franklin
Records, rankings: Callaway is 6-0 overall, 1-0 in Region 5-AA and No. 5; Heard County is 5-1, 1-0 and No. 10.
Last meeting: Callaway won 24-14 in 2016.
Things to know: These are the front-runners in 5-AA, although Spencer (4-2, 1-0) is a factor. Callaway, the defending region champion, has won 25 consecutive games in the regular season, 11 straight in region play. Heard won region titles in 2012, 2013 and 2015. Few Class AA games will have this many college prospects. Heard County QB Emory Jones, an Ohio State commit, is 52-of-84 passing for 1,033 yards and seven touchdowns with one interception. He threw for 338 yards in his last game, a win over Temple. His top receivers are Alijah Huzzie (20-385-3) and Jaden Moreland (13-333-3). Aaron Beasley has rushed for 754 yards and 13 touchdowns. Beasley has several mid-major Division I offers, primarily as a safety. Callaway has four major Division I recruits – DB/RB Cartavious “Tank” Bigsby (four-star sophomore), DL Lichon Terrell (Western Kentucky), WR/DB Courtney Williams (Cincinnati) and OL Keiondre Jones (four-star junior). Callaway also has a returning 2,000-yard rusher, D.J. Atkins, though he’s less feature back and more committee chairman this season. Atkins (467 rushing yards), Bigsby (392 rushing) and Qua Hines (457 all-purpose) make Callaway harder to defend. QB Kedrick Ramsey is 33-of-61 passing for 573 yards and five touchdowns and has 150 yards rushing.
Eastside at Woodward Academy
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Colquitt Stadium, College Park
Records, rankings: Eastside is 6-1 overall, 3-0 in Region 4-AAAA and unranked; Woodward Academy is 6-1, 3-0 and No. 9.
Last meeting: Woodward Academy won 44-6 in 2016.
Things to know: Eastside and Woodward Academy are the only 4-AAAA teams that are unbeaten in region play, and the winner is likely to win the region title. They were the top two teams in the region last year, with Woodward Academy earning the No. 1 seed. It was the third consecutive region title for the War Eagles, who went on to reach at least the quarterfinals all three years. Eastside has won five consecutive games since a 40-0 loss to Class AAAAAAA Newton on Aug. 25. The Eagles average 226.9 yards rushing and 116.9 passing. The leading rushers are Taylor Carter (69-435-7) and Tyon Davis (34-301-3). QBs Brayden Harper and Noah Cook are a combined 66-of-104 passing for 820 yards and six TDs. Woodward Academy passes about 52 percent of the time. QBs Christian Wylder and Mike Wright have similar numbers and are a combined 89-of-156 for 1,231 yards and 13 TDs. RB Tahj Gary (62-652-8), whose nine reported offers include Kentucky, Illinois and Oregon State, leads the running game. The War Eagles average 165.7 yards rushing. The two leading tacklers – Aaron Washington (52 total tackles) and Hunter Sellers (45) – are sophomores.
Grayson at Archer
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Archer Community Stadium, Lawrenceville
Records, rankings: Grayson is 6-0 overall, 1-0 in Region 8-AAAAAAA and No. 1; Archer is 6-0, 1-0 and No. 3.
Last meeting: Grayson won 38-0 in 2016.
Things to know: These are the only 8-AAAAAAA teams without a loss in region play, and the winner is almost certain to be the region champion. Archer has bounced back from a 4-7 season with 15 returning starters. Four-star FS Jalyn Phillips (team-leading 26 tackles), Duke-committed CB Taiyon Palmer (three interceptions) and four-star CB Andrew Booth patrol one of the state’s best secondaries. DE Will Choloh and DE Colby Wooden are three-star recruits with 17 QB hurries between them. The leaders of a balanced offense are RB Keegan Strickland (307 yards rushing), QB Carter Peevy (910 passing, eight TDs) and Braylen Weems (276 yards receiving). Grayson has about a dozen major Division I recruits, including five-star OLB Owen Pappoe, but two of the most important players aren’t that highly recruited. On offense, QB D.J. Irons, a first-year starter, has thrown for 912 yards and 10 TDs without an interception. He’s second on the team with 300 rushing yards. RB Ronald Thompkins, a four-star recruit, has rushed for a team-leading 414 yards. On defense, undersized MLB Herbert Winborne (5-10, 190) has 31 solo tackles, 15 assists and seven sacks, all No. 1 on the team. The defense also features DT Tru Thompson and CB Kenyatta Watson, both committed to Florida State, and OL Kevin Harris, a four-star recruit.
Lowndes at Tift County
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Brodie Field, Tifton
Records, rankings: Lowndes is 7-0 overall, 0-0 in Region 1-AAAAAAA and No. 2; Tift County is 7-0, 0-0 and No. 9.
Last meeting: Lowndes won 45-24 in 2016.
Things to know: This is the first regular-season game in which Tift County has played a ranked opponent in the same classification while also ranked since defeating defending state-champion Lowndes 13-3 in 2006. That win resulted in Tift’s only region title of the past 30 years and kept Lowndes out of the playoffs. Tift QB Griffin Collier is 97-of-153 passing for 1,627 yards and 18 touchdowns. He’s 268 yards short of 6,000 and two TDs short of 60 for his career. WR Rashod Bateman (committed to Minnesota) has 38 catches for a state-leading 898 yards and 12 touchdowns. Preseason all-state OL Ches Jackson is committed to Appalachian State. LB Andrew Johnson (29 solo tackles, five for losses) is committed to Oregon. Sophomore DB Jeffrey Butler leads the team with 40 tackles. LB Deontae Overstreet (5-9, 170) has 11 tackles for losses and two forced fumbles. Lowndes averages 54.6 points per game and 8.1 yards per play with a spread offense that passes and runs equally well. Michael Barrett has thrown for 947 yards and run for 530. Travis Tisdale has 248 yards rushing, 247 receiving. Tayvonn Kyle (several mid-major offers) has 16 catches for 397 yards and scored eight touchdowns – five receiving, two on interceptions and one on a kickoff return. Lowndes has returned seven of 15 interceptions for touchdowns.
Monroe Area at Morgan County
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Bill Corry Stadium, Madison
Records, rankings: Monroe Area is 7-0 overall, 2-0 in Region 8-AAA and No. 8; Morgan County is 5-1, 1-0 and unranked.
Last meeting: Madison County won 28-0 in 2016.
Things to know: Monroe Area and Morgan County are two of three 8-AAA teams unbeaten in region play (Hart County is the other) but are by far the region’s highest-rated teams. Monroe is No. 6 and Morgan County is No. 15 in the Maxwell Ratings, and no other team from the region is in the top 25. Both teams are among the top five in scoring and the top 10 defensively in AAA. Monroe Area averages 41.1 points and gives up 10.4. Morgan County scores 39.5 and allows 16.3. Former Collins Hill coach Kevin Reach has engineered a turnaround in his first season at Monroe Area. The Purple Hurricanes’ seven wins this season match the total from the past three seasons combined. The star player is junior QB Chandler Byron, who has passed for 1,122 yards, rushed for 946 yards and had a hand in 30 TDs. Jakia Thompson averages about 11 carries and 60 yards rushing per game. Morgan County’s region title in 2016 was its first since 2003. The Bulldogs average 250.7 yards passing and 144.0 rushing. QB Trey Patterson is 81-of-147 passing for 1,492 yards and 17 TDs with no interceptions. Rambo Rambus (37-221-3) and Donovan Nelson (29-204-0) are the leading rushers.
Northside (Warner Robins) at Lee County
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Trojan Field, Leesburg
Records, rankings: Northside is 6-1 overall, 1-0 in Region 1-AAAAAA and No. 5; Lee County is 7-0, 1-0 and No. 2.
Last meeting: Northside won 26-7 in 2017.
Things to know: Northside, Lee County and No. 6 Coffee are the three ranked teams from Region 1-AAAAAA, and none has a region loss. Coffee has yet to play a region game, so the winner of this game will have sole possession of first place and a leg up in the region-title chase. Northside and Lee County are among the top defenses in AAAAAA. Northside is fourth-best, allowing 9.29 points per game. Lee County is third, giving up 8.14. Lee County is a passing team that features the region’s leading passer and five of the top 11 receivers. QB Jase Orndorff is 95-for-142 for 1,401 yards with 12 touchdowns. His top targets are Ty Terrell, the region’s leading receiver with 583 yards and four TDs on 35 receptions, Josh Asbury (19-368-5) and Artavius Warren (10-190-1). Shaun Kimbrough (74-383-6) is the leading rusher. Northside is a running team that has six of the top 13 rushers in the region, led by Daniel Neal (74-368-4), Marcus Jolly (23-202-4) and Courtney Patmon (30-151-1). The Eagles have struggled a bit offensively this season, however. They have scored more than 23 points in a game just once and did not have an offensive touchdown in a 16-7 victory against Valdosta last week.
Ridgeland at Heritage (Ringgold)
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jeff Sims Field, Ringgold
Records, rankings: Ridgeland is 6-0 overall, 2-0 in Region 6-AAAA and No. 6; Heritage is 7-0, 3-0 and unranked.
Last meeting: Ridgeland won 56-14 in 2016.
Things to know: Ridgeland, Heritage and Pickens are the three remaining unbeaten teams in Region 6-AAAA play, and the other four teams have at least two region losses each. Last year, Ridgeland won the region championship, its fifth in nine seasons. Heritage opened in 2008 and is seeking its first region title. The Generals are 7-0 for the first time and have tied the school record for victories in a season. Ridgeland has won eight of the nine meetings between the schools. Ridgeland has the state’s top defense, allowing just 4.67 points per game and not giving up more than a touchdown to any opponent. ATH Markeith Montgomery, who has committed to Kennesaw State, rushed for 154 yards and two touchdowns on three carries in a 62-0 victory over LaFayette last week. RB Jalyn Shelton has committed to Navy. Heritage averages 206.1 yards passing and 151.4 rushing. QB Blake Bryan is 80-of-118 passing for 1,294 yards and 21 touchdowns. His top targets are Luke Grant (38 receptions, 698 yards, 11 TDs) and Ryan Carter (23-370-7). Bryan also leads the team in rushing with 285 yards and three TDs on 43 carries. Jeffrey Curtis has run for 250 yards and three TDs.
South Forsyth at Milton
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Eagles’ Nest, Milton
Records, rankings: South Forsyth is 6-0 overall, 1-0 in Region 5-AAAAAAA and unranked; Milton is 5-1, 1-0 and unranked.
Last meeting: South Forsyth won 35-14 in 2016.
Things to know: Neither team is ranked by GHSF Daily, but both have at least one Top 10 ranking among the six state polls. Milton is No. 11 in the Maxwell Ratings. South Forsyth is No. 12. South Forsyth is a power-running team that averages 220 yards rushing, 134 passing per game. TB Jared Honey has rushed for 600 yards, and he has gone over 100 in South’s two biggest wins – Roswell (111 on 30 carries) and Lassiter (188 on 31). Cal Morris is 49-of-94 passing for 682 yards. He rushed for 121 yards in a win over South Gwinnett. South Forsyth is a big-play defensive team with 22 sacks and nine interceptions. The focal point of Milton’s offense is Jordan Yates, the consensus No. 21 dual-threat QB prospect among juniors. He’s 68-of-118 passing for 1,055 yards and 11 touchdowns. He has rushed for 238 yards. WR Dash Hairston (17-352-4) averages 20.7 yards per reception. Solomon Vanhorse is the leading rusher with 663 yards. DB Joe Charleston (team-leading 28 solo tackles) committed to Clemson this week. LB Allen Walker (three-star recruit) and DL Justin Blanks (region defensive player of the year in 2016) are other standouts on defense. Milton’s loss was to sixth-ranked North Gwinnett 31-28. The teams have one common opponent, Roswell. Milton beat the Hornets 40-7. South beat Roswell 17-16 in overtime.
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