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Thursday, September 23, 2010 - 7:57pm

The Rundown on Key Friday Night Matchups

Kell at Hiram
The No. 5 Longhorns have had many storylines written about them in the first five weeks of the season, while No. 6 Hiram has compiled the same 4-0 overall record. The two Region 5-AAAA programs will meet Friday in Hornets Stadium for one of the better games in the classification thus far in 2010. Austin Petrik and Brian Randolph have been sensational thus far for Kell on offense, but the defense has been a big part of the ‘Horns’ success. Kell has allowed 13 points or fewer in each game. The Hornets’ defense has been solid as well, allowing just 13 points in four games. The two metro Atlanta programs have never met.
Lowndes at Ware County
Class 5A No. 5 Lowndes has rebounded nicely from a 23-22 loss at McEachern three weeks ago to dominate Leon (Fla) and Burke County in the Vikings’ last two games. The Gators, meanwhile, are 3-0 but not ranked in Class AAAA despite an impressive season-opening win against Class 5A Coffee and two subsequent blowout victories over Agape Christian and Pierce County. The Vikings lead the series 14-5-1 and the two South Georgia programs have met every year since 1994.
Buford at Lovett
The No. 2 Wolves travel to Buckhead for an important region tilt with the team that gave them their only loss last season and their first since 2006. However, Buford controls the all-time series 5-3 and had won five in a row since moving to Lovett’s region in 2005. The No. 7 Lions lost their opener to Thomasville, but rebounded nicely with dominant wins over Towers and Callaway before their off week. Quarterback Hunter Budd has accounted for nine total touchdowns the past two games.
Northside (Warner Robins) at Bainbridge
These two Region 1-AAAA programs will square on Friday night in what could be a very interesting matchup. Despite a loss to Cairo in week two, the Bearcats present a challenge to No. 1 Northside as the Eagles will have to travel a state-longest 158 miles to play the Region 1-AAAA game. Northside has given up just seven points for the season and has held opponents to minus-one rushing yards. Bainbridge is coming off an idle week.
Starr’s Mill at Whitewater
The Panthers and Wildcats will get together at Wildcat Stadium in Fayetteville for a neighborhood rivalry. Both schools sport 1-0 records in Region 3-AAAA Division B, but are unranked. The two schools also have in common the fact that they are relatively new, with Starr’s Mill opening its doors in 1998 and Whitewater in 2004. However, the newer school, Whitewater holds the series edge at 3-1 despite losing last year’s contest.
Peach County at Westside (Macon)
The No. 1 Trojans will travel across middle Georgia to Macon for this Region 2-AAA showdown. The Seminoles dropped a 35-0 decision to Baldwin two weeks ago for their only loss while Peach County has dominated its four opponents by at least 20 points per contest. Westside has won both meetings between these two, which took place in 2006 and 2007.
ECI at Johnson County
Herschel Walker’s alma mater is back in the rankings this week at No. 10, but will face a tough test against the Bulldogs Friday night. ECI has won the last four in the series including last year’s 32-31 shootout on Herschel Walker Field. Bulldog tailback Wezley Ealey, brother of the UGA running back Washaun, has rushed for 370 yards this season. These two programs finished 1-2 in Region 3B-A last season with the Bulldogs taking the region title.
Heritage (Conyers) at Apalachee
The Wildcats’ 24-23 victory last year helped propel them to an undefeated regular season and the Region 8-AAAA title. Neither team is ranked, but the winner of this game will take third place in the region behind Flowery Branch and Clarke Central. The top three teams in the region earn playoffs berths. Heritage kicker Tyler Peoples in one of the better kickers in the state and drilled three of them in last week’s win over Rockdale County.
Jefferson County at Swainsboro
Since a tie at Washington County in the opening game, Class AA No. 9 Jefferson County has won three straight. Chester Stone, who caught the game-winning pass in last year’s game, is now quarterback for the Warriors. Both squads are undefeated overall, and, like last year, the winner will be in the driver’s seat to win the Region 3. The series is tied 4-4 with Jefferson County taking three of the last four meetings.
Aquinas at Wilkinson County
The Fighting Irish come into the game 4-0 for the first time since 2004. However, the Augusta Catholic academy is winless against Wilkinson Co. in six prior meetings. None of the four games since 2006 have been close, with the Warriors winning each by a minimum of 22 points. Head coach Matt Lezotte is in his second year at Aquinas and is attempting to make the postseason for the first time since 2005. The Irish got off to a good start last week in the region opener with a 40-14 win over Hancock Co.