The 10th-ranked Milton Eagles (7-2, 4-0 Region 6-7A) go for their sixth straight region championship tonight when the Eagles host the Lambert Longhorns (8-1, 3-1) in our GPB Sports Football Friday in Georgia regular season finale. Coverage starts 7:30 p.m. on Georgia Public Broadcasting GPB-TV.

The Longhorns also have a shot at what would be their second all-time region crown. To win it outright, Lambert needs a win and West Forsyth loss vs South Forsyth. A Longhorns and Wolverines win would throw the championship race into a three-way tie with point differential tiebreakers.


The Milton story continues to be an amazing one. For years the Eagles were not even an afterthought in GHSA Football. That was until then-head coach Adam Clack arrived with his offensive coordinator, now-head coach Ben Reaves in 2017. Seven years ago, Milton’s championship future was just a twinkle in Clack’s eyes and a dream in his heart.

At that point the Eagles had won just two region championships and had just two state playoff wins on their resume in their 67-year history. In fact, the Milton program had once endured a 37-game losing streak that spanned five seasons.

But the Eagles went 9-3 in Clack’s first season and then in season two shocked everybody by winning the school’s first football state championship. That was also the start of the Eagles current streak of five consecutive region titles, a streak that also includes a state runner-up, semifinal and quarterfinal finish. Milton has gone 71-18 during the Clack/Reaves Era over the last seven seasons.

Quite simply the Eagles have become a perennial state championship contender and might be poised to make another run at it this season too. Milton boasts four 4-Stars, five 3-Stars and 16 total players who are either committed or have college offers. And there’s no end in sight. The Eagles freshman class is stacked.

Reaves says he’s still amazed at the transformation the Milton program has undergone and doesn’t let his current Eagles forget all the hard work of those that came before them to lay the groundwork for what they all now experience. He says today’s Eagles have a responsibility to not let down the Eagles of the past.

Meantime Lambert is building. The Longhorns are just four years removed from an 0-10 season in 2019. That opened the door for the hiring of Lowndes offensive coordinator Tommy Watson. He brought Tift County OC Mark Beach with him.The two had become good friends in South Georgia’s Region 1, also working as their respective school’s golf coaches during the spring.

When Watson left for Harris County after the 2021 season, Beach threw his hat in the ring to become a head coach again. He had been a successful head coach at Seabreeze High School in Daytona Beach, Fla., for 14 seasons (all totaled 20 years at the school) before heading to Georgia for a change of scenery and greener pastures.

The change has done him and Lambert good. The Longhorns are 18-3 over the last two seasons (the best two-year run in the program’s 15-year history) and last year he guided Lambert to just their second state playoff victory. The Longhorns have never beaten the Eagles in five all-time meetings, but last year’s game was close for most of the game before Milton pulled out a 31-21 win and yes… its fifth straight region championship.

So that’s the game preview. Let’s take a look at the top prospects to watch this evening.

Milton Eagles

Ryan Ghea, Milton

Ryan Ghea, Milton Credit: 247 Sports

Ryan Ghea – 6-5, 240, Junior – 42 Offers including Georgia Tech, Auburn and Vanderbilt – Highest Rating: Rivals 2025 4-Star and No. 10 TE in the country. Stats: 19-135 yards receiving, 2 TD. Reaves: “His stats would be double or triple right now except for the fact we have so many other weapons and played in so many blowouts.”

C.J. Wiley – 6-4, 195, Junior – 22 Offers including Georgia, Michigan and Florida State – Highest Rating: On3 2025 4-Star and No. 32 WR in the country. Son of former LSU star DE and six-year NFL veteran Chuck Wiley who played two seasons with the Falcons. Stats: 35-885 yards receiving, 8 TD. Recently scored on 99-yard TD and still had the energy to dunk the ball over the crossbar of the goalpost at the end of the run. Reaves says the sideline went nuts but C.J. immediately apologized for “letting the moment get to him.”

Debron Gatling – 6-2, 185, Senior – Committed to Texas A&M December 11, 2022, over 42 other offers including Alabama and Georgia – Highest Rating: Rivals 2024 4-Star WR. Stats: 50-598 yards receiving, 8 TD. Reaves: “He can take over a game at any moment.”

Luke Nickel – 6-2, 200, Junior – Committed to Miami August 11th over 21 other offers including Georgia Tech and Florida State – Highest Rating: Rivals 2025 4-Star and No. 20 QB in the country. Recently set the Eagles single-game passing record with 457 yards in 45-14-win vs West Forsyth. Stats: 147-226 passing for 65% completion rate. 2,169 yards, 22 TD and just 1 INT. Reaves: “So humble. Hates when we call him Luke “Dimes” instead of Nickel.”

Dylan Lewis – 6-0, 180, Junior – Committed to Tennessee October 12th over 20 other offers including Clemson and Auburn – Highest Rating: On3 2025 3-Star CB. Stats: 2 INT including 32-yard pick-six and 8 PBU. Reaves: “Like his CB partner Ty Redmond, so long they can really lock-up a WR at the line of scrimmage and disrupt the timing of an opponent’s passing game.”

Ty Redmond – 6-2, 175, Junior – 11 Offers including NC State, Tennessee and Ohio State – Highest Rating: 247 Sports 2025 3-Star CB. Stats: 1 INT, 17 TT.

Jacorey Stewart – 6-1, 210, Senior – Committed to Kansas June 11th over 12 other offers including Georgia Tech and Texas A&M – Consensus 2024 3-Star and ESPN No. 37 LB in the country. Part of outstanding and versatile linebacking corps. Stats: 62 TT, 10.5 TFL, 3.5 QB Sacks, 11 QBH.

Ma’khi Jones – 5-11, 180, Junior – 11 Offers including Penn State, Boston College and Syracuse – Highest Rating: Rivals 2025 3-Star Safety. Stats: 40 TT. Eagles have legacy of producing power conference safeties. Reaves calls him “heat-seeking missile.”

Amauri Anderson – 5-9, 188, Junior – Seven offers including Miami, Arkansas and Ole Miss – Highest Rating: Rivals 2025 3-Star RB. Stats: 273 yards rushing, 2 TD. They call him “Juice.” Reaves: “Transferred in knowing we already had a No. 1 RB but said, ‘I don’t care. I’m going to compete.”

Caleb Bell – 6-3, 244, Junior DL – Offered by NC State, Missouri and Indiana. Son of former Georgia Bulldogs star LB Kendrell Bell who played seven seasons in the NFL and was the 2001 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year with the Steelers. Stats: 49 TT, 10 TFL and team-leading 8 QB Sacks. Part of strong Eagles DL that can wholesale change like a hockey line.

Marc Essley – 5-9, 160, Senior WR – Four offers including Tulane, Indiana and Toledo. Stats: 25-360 yards, 3 TD. Reaves: “Plays with a chip and that chip is his lack of size. Human joystick. Energizer Bunny. When we need somebody to get the team going, he’s the guy to do it.”

Caleb Ellis – 6-2, 265, Junior DL – Offered by Georgia Southern and Indiana. Stats: 24 TT, 4 TFL.

T.J. Lester – 5-9, 190, Junior RB – Offered by Eastern Kentucky and Indiana. Son of former Steelers great Tim Lester who was nicknamed the “Bus Driver,” as the fullback who blocked for Pro Football Hall of Famer Jerome Bettis. Beloved community leader and very active working with underprivileged kids in youth football. Passed away two years ago at the age of 52. Reaves: “T.J. and Triston (younger brother and starting safety) play hard to honor their father’s memory. Could be one of the best RB to come through the program which is big thing to say considering Peyton Barber and Jordan McDonald.” Stats: Leading rusher 631 yards and 7 TD.

Jack Lawson – 6-1, 190, Senior LB/WR – Offered by Stetson, Carnegie Mellon and Johns Hopkins. Phenomenal student and athlete. Score of 34 ACT and 4.0 GPA. Stats: 59 TT, 10 TFL, 5 QB Sacks.

Faisal Sokoya – 5-10, 170, Senior DB – Offered by VMI. Plays corner, nickel, and safety in the Eagles secondary. Stats: 2 INT, 6 PBU.

Riley Rushing – 6-3, 292, Senior OL – Offered by Lenoir-Rhyne. Second-year starter. Moved from RG to LT this season.

Lambert Longhorns

Dylan Biehl – 6-3, 235, Sophomore OL – Offered by Indiana and receiving interest from Notre Dame and UCLA. Started out as 170-lbs offensive lineman. Son of a football coach. Still just 14 years old. Huge upside.

Cam Bland, Lambert

Cam Bland, Lambert

Credit: Lambert Longhorns Athletics Website

Cam Bland – 5-11, 180, Junior RB/CB – Receiving interest from Wake Forest, Duke, Georgia Tech and Auburn. Moved from WR to RB after Lambert was shutout by West Forsyth three weeks ago. One of two, two-way starters along with top WR Christian Smith who line-up at No. 1 CB as well. Stats: 340 yards rushing, 6 TD and 22 catches. All-Region Athlete of the Year in 2022. Recruiting hurt a little bit after missing summer workouts because of knee injury suffered playing AAU basketball.

Tommy Lafayette – 5-11, 190, Junior WR/LB – Receiving interest from Duke and Nebraska. Swapped with Bland going from RB to WR after that West Forsyth loss. Stats: 421 yards rushing and 16 pass receptions. Beach: “Does everything 100 mph. Have to get him to dial-it-back sometimes at practice.”

Baker Kimbrel – 5-9, 150, Junior Kicker/Punter – Receiving interest from Georgia Tech, Mercer and Elon. Huge weapon. Stats: 6-8 FG with a long of 49. Following in the footsteps of Longhorns 2022 All-State Kicker Ryan Degyansky now at Duke.

Finn Braeuer – 6-3, 245, Senior DE – Receiving interest from Furman and Richmond. Stats: 21 TT, 3 QB Sacks, 8 QBP. While most players are thrilled to have a driver’s license, Finn already has his pilot’s license.

Jackson DeLoach – 6-2, 255, Junior OL – Receiving interest from Richmond and Furman. Starting LG. Three-year starter.

Longhorns also have many other intriguing players who don’t have offers or interest yet that I would call “Make That Kid an Offer” nominees. Like the aforementioned Christian Smith who had a team-leading 35 catches for 595 yards and 9 TD and 4 INT starting at CB including a pick-six.

Also, junior linebacker Branson Brooks leads the state with 129 TT and also has 8 TFL and 5 QB Sacks.

So, join Wayne Gandy, Jon Nelson, Hannah Goodin and me for our Emmy Award-winning Football Fridays in Georgia Game of the Week as the Milton Eagles host the Lambert Longhorns starting at 7:30 p.m. Remember at halftime Hannah will highlight this week’s Make That Kid an Offer nominees.

You can watch Football Fridays in Georgia in so many ways. You have traditional TV (GPB), online at, GPB Sports app, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Twitch.

Now if somehow, you miss it live or just want to watch it again, don’t worry, we replay the entire Football Fridays in Georgia Game of the Week at 11:30 p.m. or you can watch it on demand anytime at 

Enjoy your Football Friday in Georgia!