Lowndes at McEachern
The big boys of Class 5A come to Powder Springs this Friday night as head coach Randy McPherson’s Vikings will face off with Kyle Hockman’s Indians in the GPB Game of the Week. The two traditional powers have played just twice previously (2000 and 2001). Both games were regular season meetings won by the Vikings. McEachern (0-1) had last week off after a controversial last-second loss to Peachtree Ridge in the Kell Classic on Aug. 20.
The Vikings, on the other hand, have played two metro Atlanta teams in the friendly confines of Martin Stadium and defeated them both. Lowndes opened the season with South Gwinnett and won 34-26, then followed up that victory with a 44-7 white-washing of Pebblebrook the following week.
This clash will feature a myriad of talent on both sides of the field, including Score 44 members Tyler Hunter and Troy Braswell of Lowndes and Marcquis Roberts and Rory Anderson of McEachern. Also, Indians’ running back Zarold Wilder, who racked up 164 yards in the opener, will try to crack the stout Lowndes defense.
Roswell at Peachtree Ridge
One thing is for sure, the Hornets and Lions do not shy away from competition. After opening their seasons against two ranked squads in Collins Hill and McEachern, these two perennial powers will face each other Friday night.
Despite Peachtree Ridge starting play just a few seasons ago in 2003, the Lions have developed a bit of a rivalry with Roswell. The two teams met in the 2006 state finals and tied, which game them each a piece of the only shared state title in Class 5A history. Then, the following year, the Hornets and Lions faced off in the second round of the playoffs with Roswell winning the rematch in overtime. If Friday’s game is anything like the first two games, this one will be a classic.
The game will be broadcast on 790 the Zone and WSB-TV.
Brookwood at Collins Hill
These two Gwinnett County neighbors have not played since 2003, a 31-7 win by the Broncos. The Rams have beaten Brookwood just one time in eight games, a 9-7 affair in 2001. Collins Hill is coming off a 13-9 revenge win over Roswell, who knocked the Rams out of the playoffs last season. The win was head coach Kevin Reach’s first at Collins Hill. The Broncos, meanwhile, are 1-0 after an impressive 27-10 win over Walton in the Kell Classic two weeks ago.
Buford at Carver-Columbus
Oh, will there be some talent on the field in this one! Running back Seon Jones, Barr and Alex Ross will star for the seven-time state champions Wolves while super-recruits running back Isaiah Crowell and defensive tackle Gabe Wright star for Carver and are joined by South Carolina commitment and offensive lineman Quincy McKinney, Kentucky commit and defensive back Riyahd Jones, and wide receivers Jarvis Bentley and Artimas Samuel. The Tigers are coming off a 63-0 walloping of Spencer in the opener while Buford dominated Gainesville 40-19.
Cairo at Bainbridge
The Class AAA No. 3- ranked Syrupmakers will travel to South Georgia neighbor Bainbridge this weekend to renew a rivalry that is over 60 years old. Cairo leads the all-time series 23-15-3 despite losing last year’s tilt 16-13. Both teams enter the game 1-0, as the Syrupmakers defeated Drew 40-0 in the opener while the Bearcats edged Early Co. 14-7. A win by Bainbridge could propel Ed Pilcher’s squad into the Class AAAA top 10, while a Cairo win would further cement their credentials as a potential AAA state champion.
Carrollton at Westminster
In what has become a regular occurrence in recent years, the Class AA Wildcats and Class AAA Trojans will get together. Despite being in different classifications and different areas of the state, the two programs have met five times since 2006, including twice in 2007. Carrollton has won four out of five meetings including a 9-07 win last year. The Wildcats feature star running back Ralph David Abernathy IV, who scored two touchdowns last week against St. Pius X. The Trojans will be led by running back Telvin Brown , cousin to former Georgia star Reggie Brown.
Central (Miami) at Camden Co.
This game will truly be a “Clash of the Titans”. The No. 1 and defending Class AAAAA state champion Wildcats will host Miami’s Central High School, which is No. 2 in Florida’s highest classification. Rivals.com ranks 11 players at Central at having three stars are more. Camden Co., on the other hand, has no seniors ranked highly by rivals.com and returns only three players from last year’s squad. Central is also ranked No. 2 in the nation by rivals.com while ESPN Rise has them at No. 3. The Wildcats are the highest-ranked Georgia program in both polls (No. 19 on Rivals and No. 21 on ESPN Rise).
Colquitt at Thomas County Central
Head coach Rush Propst’s Packers have been one of the biggest disappointments in the state this season, dropping to 0-2 after a drubbing by South Panola (Miss.) last week. Colquitt also fell to Class AA Cook in the season opener two weeks ago and are unranked after being ranked preseason No. 5 in Class AAAAA. The Yellow Jackets, meanwhile, are coming off a win in their season opener against county rival Thomasville. Thomas County-Central is ranked No. 5 in Class AAAA. Colquitt features DE Ray Drew, who sports offers from a bevy of major college programs including Georgia, Alabama, Nebraska, Florida, Ohio State and Southern California.
Crenshaw (Calif) at North Gwinnett
Georgia’s No. 3 takes on one of California’s best when the Crenshaw Cougars take on the Bulldogs Friday night. Crenshaw, from South Los Angeles, is ranked No. 13 nationally while North Gwinnett is ranked No. 36 by ESPN Rise. This game marks the first time ever that a Georgia high school team has played a California team. The Bulldogs are 2-0 while the Cougars will be opening their season. The game will be televised on ESPNU.
Tucker at Marist
In a Class AAAA grudge match, rivals Marist and Tucker will tee it up once again with region and state title implications. The War Eagles are ranked No. 7 in the state and have won the last two meetings convincingly against the Tigers. However, No. 4 Tucker looked impressive last week in dominating SW DeKalb, 50-19. These two DeKalb neighbors have been in the same region since 1996 and one of the two programs has won the region every time except last season, when SWD took the title.