These 10 games feature some of the best matchups in the state this weekend. Georgia commitment Nick Marshall leads Class A No. 2 Wilcox County in a huge game at No. 4 Clinch County. Buford will look to rebound after a rare loss, while Lovett hosts No. 9 Callaway in Class AA. Woodstock and Kell meet in an interesting inter-classification matchup between two ranked teams and Peachtree Ridge travels to Newnan in a top 5 matchup in the state's highest classification.
GPB Game of the Week:
Peachtree Ridge at Newnan
The Class 5A rankings will have to be shaken up a bit after this week when the third-ranked Lions of Peachtree Ridge travel to fourth-ranked Newnan. Peachtree Ridge will be lead by Score 44 defensive end Angelo Watley. The Lions are coming in off of narrow victories over McEachern and Roswell, both victories by a combined 10 points, while Newnan’s players come into the game rested and confident with a win in week one against traditional powerhouse LaGrange and a bye in the second week of the season. Lions quarterback Billy Best will try to hold on to some of the magic that helped him toss the game-winning touchdown pass last week against Roswell. Trying to stop him will be a Newnan defense that held LaGrange to only 13 points and have had two weeks to prepare for Peachtree Ridge’s offense. Who will prevail? Go to GPB.org this Friday at 7:30 to find out.
790 the Zone Game of the Week:
Woodstock at Kell
The Kell Longhorns are not scared one bit to play a school bigger than themselves. The No. 6-ranked team in Class 4A has played two games this season, both against Class 5A schools, and left with two victories. The Longhorns will attempt this feat a third time when they welcome Woodstock, the No. 10 team in Class 5A. If Kell is going to be able to beat a 5A school for the third consecutive week they will need Score 44 safety Brian Randolph to come up big on Friday night. The Wolverines come into the game sporting a defense that is walking with a little swagger as of late. Woodstock has given up a total of six points thus far this season against two decent opponents in North Forsyth and Harrison respectively. If Woodstock is going to keep pace in a very tough Region 5, a win this week could serve notice to the rest of the region that the Wolverines are for real.
Other games of interest:
Lincoln (Fla.) at Valdosta
Lincoln leads the series 5-3-1 and is one of a handful of programs to hold a series edge over Valdosta after more than one meeting. The Wildcats, one of the most successful high school programs in America, are ranked No. 7 in Class 5A while Lincoln comes in ranked No. 8 in Florida’s Class 4A. These two programs last played in 2007, a 21-17 Valdosta win. First-year Wildcat head coach Rance Gillespie is 2-0 and his team has not given up a point all season. Valdosta tight end Jay Rome is a member of the Score 44 and has been offered by several major college programs, including Georgia, Alabama, Florida State and Florida.
G.A.C. at Holy Innocents’
The Spartans lead the series 2-0 with wins in 2006 and 2007. The Golden Bears, however, are ranked No. 10 in Class A while G.A.C. is unranked. Tim Cokely is 2-0 in his first season coaching the Spartans, who went 1-9 last season. Head coach Ryan Livezey has taken the Golden Bears to the playoffs in the past three seasons. Livezey has been the only head coach in Holy Innocents’ history, taking over for their inaugural season in 2006. Holy Innocents’ is led by quarterback John McKay, the son of Falcons president Rich McKay.
Callaway at Lovett
Lovett won last year’s meeting 56-28 to even the all-time series at one win each. Head coach Michael Wiggins has taken the Cavaliers to the playoffs four consecutive times while Mike Muschamp has guided the Lions to the postseason all five seasons he been at the Atlanta private school. Both programs are currently ranked in the AA top 10- Callaway is at No. 9 while Lovett is No. 10. Lion quarterback Hunter Budd accounted for six touchdowns (four through the air) last week against Towers. Lovett is 1-1, the loss being to No. 6 Thomasville in the season opener. Callaway is 1-0 after a 29-0 thrashing of former Cavalier Quan Bray and Troup County.
Apalachee at Flowery Branch
These two programs are now both in Region 8-AAAA after Flowery Branch moved up to the classification after competing in AAA last year. It will be the schools’ first ever meeting. In 2009, the Wildcats won the region and were undefeated in the regular season before losing to Griffin in the quarterfinals. Apalachee is ranked No. 9. The Falcons made the Class AAA semifinals last season after a year in which they lost three regular season outings. Flowery branch did end current Class AA No. 1 Carver-Columbus’s season in the quarterfinals. Bioth teams are undefeated this season, as the Falcons have blanked both Madison County and Winder-Barrow while Apalachee defeated Habersham Central 35-7.
Baldwin at Westside (Macon)
This Region 2-AAA matchup features two ranked opponents. The No. 6 Braves are currently 2-0 as is No. 5 Westside. The last time these two teams got together, Baldwin outlasted the Seminoles 29-21 in double overtime. However, Westside leads the all-time series 4-2, despite losing the last two games. Sheddrick Risper is in this second year at Westside after leading the team to a 11-2 record and quarterfinal appearance in the playoffs last year. Dexter Copeland is in his first season at Baldwin after taking Twiggs Co. to the playoffs three consecutive seasons.
St. Pius X at North Hall
The No. 9 Golden Lions won last year’s meeting in the state playoffs 17-3 in the only game to have been played between the two programs. Last week, St. Pius X destroyed Benedictine in Savannah 42-19 to even their record at one after a season-opening upset loss to Westminster. No. 7 North Hall is coached by Bob Christmas, who has resurrected this once-dormant program and guided them to eight consecutive winning seasons. The Trojans are led by Atlanta Falcons defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder’s son, fullback/linebacker Mack.
Westminster at Buford
The Wolves lead the series 2-0 after winning games the last two seasons. No. 2 Buford is coming off their first regular season loss since losing to Lovett last year in the third week of the season and the second since 2004. Head coach Jess Simpson’s team was shutout last week at Carver-Columbus in a 14-0 loss. Wildcat star running back Ralph David Abernathy IV was held to just 18 yards on five carries by Carrollton last weekend in a 35-7 loss. Abernathy has scored two touchdowns the previous week in a win over St. Pius X.
Wilcox County at Clinch County
Wilcox Co. quarterback Nick Marshall, a Georgia commitment, led the Patriots to a comeback win over the Panthers in the playoffs last season. Wilcox Co. went on to win the Class A state title. These two programs have played just twice since 1996 and split those two meetings. Clinch County leads the series 11-9 and have won four of the last five. Both teams are 2-0, as Clinch Co. is ranked No. 4 and Wilcox Co. is ranked No. 2 in Class A.
Contributors: Thomas Watson