Top Stories and Arms Race: Week 9
By Brooks Burns
In 2016, GHSA added another classification… 7A. The results have been very entertaining. Fans have arguably witnessed some of the most exciting high school football games not only in Georgia but in the nation. This week Grayson and Archer will face off in Loganville. Both teams are undefeated and are #2 and #3 in the GPB 7A rankings. Last week, Archer pulled out a close game against Newton 20-19 when QB Carter Peevy threw a late go ahead touchdown to Daylon Robinson. Archer hasn’t had a cake walk of a season. They’ve had to play some very talented teams like Norcross, Roswell, and Brookwood. As for Grayson, last week the Rams dominated Shiloh 52-6. Coach Christian Hunnicutt’s team also has had its share of early season tough matchups – battling out of state opponents like Hoover from Alabama and the International School of Broward from Florida. These two squads are definitely among the best in the state, and likely will have a huge impact on the 7A playoffs.
Another key game to watch in 7A pits two more undefeated teams against each other - Lowndes and Tift County. Lowndes – ranked #1 in the GPB poll put up 68 points on Mt. Zion Jonesboro last week with the Bulldogs defense only allowing one TD in that game. Lowndes has been explosive on the offensive side of the ball all season averaging nearly 55 points a game. Tift County has had its own early season success – ranked 6th in the GPB poll. But look for Lowndes to test that Blue Devil defense this week. Coach Ashley Anders Tift squad has been resilient coming back against Fitzgerald after being down 14-3 in their last outing. Tift Blue Devils won that game 35-14 primarily on the legs of RB Mike jones who had a strong performance gaining 132 yards on 16 carries.
Cartersville’s Trevor Lawrence is within striking distance of the state career passing record and he could very well get it during the GPB Game of the Week. Top ranked Cartersville will take on 3-3 Sandy Creek. Everyone knows how dominant the Canes have been all season, and we don’t expect them to slow down until they raise another State Championship trophy in Mercedes Benz Stadium. Sandy Creek on the other hand will struggle to make the playoffs. The Fighting Patriots started the season 3-0 beating 3 out of region opponents. But they haven’t won a game since. The last time Sandy Creek took the field, Troup County scored 71 points against their defense. We will watch this week against Cartersville to see if the Fighting Patriots can bounce back from that devastating loss. Make sure to get your triple box fix on “Football Fridays in Georgia: Inside Edition “at 7 PM. We will have highlights of this game plus many more.
All eyes were squarely focused last week on the news that Harrison’s top-rated QB Justin Fields would be playing at UGA next season. Fields will join an already crowded QB core in Athens which includes Jacob Eason and Jake Fromm. Many have asked why Fields would join a Bulldogs team that is already loaded at the QB position. Time will tell. In the meantime, it will be interesting to watch how the competition under center will play out in the coming years. Stay tuned.
We have a new member to the Arms Race. Michael Barrett the dual-threat QB from Lowndes has been quietly leading the Vikings to a 7-0 record, and putting up some impressive stats in the process. Barrett is a 5’11 senior who has more than a dozen D-1 schools interested in his talents. It’s worth noting that 2 of the next 3 Vikings games are against opponents who are ranked in the GPB poll. It should be exciting to watch how Michael Barrett performs in these big games. Also, Northwest Whitfield QB Luke Shiflett re-injured his wrist last Friday night and while he won’t need surgery, this season is apparently over. Both of his parents expressed their disappointment on Twitter, but they also expressed their excitement about his future at Middle Tennessee State.
1. Justin Fields. Harrison. DUAL. Last Game: 263 Yards Passing for 5 TDs, 138 Rushing Yards 2 TDs. Next Game: South Cobb
2. Trevor Lawrence. Cartersville. PRO. Last Game: 227 Yards Passing 6 TDs. Next Game: Sandy Creek.
3. Jarren Williams. Central Gwinnett. DUAL. Last Game: 334 Total Yards 5 Total TDs. Next Game:
4. Emory Jones. Heard County. DUAL. Last Game: Did not play. Next Game: Callaway.
5. Knox Kadum. Rome. PRO. Last Game: 10-12 for 127 passing yards 1 TD. Next Game: Cass.
6. Steven Krajewski. Colquitt County. PRO. Last Game: Did not play. Next Game: Camden County.
7. Mark Wright. Carrollton. DUAL. Last Game: 14-20 for 173 passing yards 2 TDs. Next Game: Hiram.
8. Gunnar Watson. Taylor County. PRO. Last Game: 16-24 for 226 Passing Yards and 4 TDs.
9. Michael Barrett. Lowndes. DUAL. Last Game: 10-14 for 204 yards passing. Next Game: Tift County.
10. Luke Shiflett. Northwest Whitfield. DUAL. Last Game: injured Out for season.
Others to Watch:
1. Harrison Bailey. Marietta. PRO. Next Game: Hillgrove
2. Cordell Littlejohn. Roswell. DUAL. Next Game: Walton