Georgia High School Football Daily Spotlight: Week One’s 10 Best Matchups

Clinch County at Charlton County
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, at Indian Field (The Swamp), Folkston
Records, rankings: Clinch County (9-3 in 2008) is No. 3 in Class A; Charlton County (9-2 in 2008) is unranked in AA.
Last meeting: Charlton County won 28-7 last season.
Three things to know:
1. Charlton has won six straight in the series, called the Swamp War, and leads 24-22-1.
2. Charlton County returns only eight starters from a team that failed to get out of the first round for the first time since 1994.
3. Clinch County brings back an all-state candidate at quarterback in Vintavious Cooper, a 1,000-yard rusher in Anthony McNeil (1,169 yards rushing) and the team’s two leading tacklers, LB Zack Thomas and LB Trey Richardson.

Dalton at Calhoun
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Phil Reeve Stadium, Calhoun
Records, rankings: Dalton (7-3 in 2008) is unranked in Class AAAA; Calhoun (12-3) is No. 2 in Class AA.
Last meeting: Dalton won 30-7 in 2008.
Three things to know:
1. Calhoun’s new quarterback in Nash Nance, a transfer from Darlington who succeeds first team all-state QB Michael Johnson.
2. Nance’s top target is Super 11 pick Da’Rick Rogers, viewed by many as the state’s top receiver.
3. Dalton returns seven starters on an offense that finished fifth in Class AAAA last year with 30.3 points per game.

Loganville at Clarke Central
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Billy Henderson Stadium, Athens
Records, rankings: Loganville (9-2 in 2008) is No. 10 in Class AAAA; Clarke Central (9-2) is unranked in Class AAAA.
Last meeting: Loganville won 29-28 in overtime in 2008.
Three things to know:
1. Clarke Central must replace quarterback John Wilson, who led the team in rushing and passing last season. Expect to see a lot of Martay Mattox, a transfer from Cedar Shoals.
2. Loganville has its own impact transfer on offense in RB Storm Johnson, who helped Buford to the Class AA championship last season.
3. Clarke Central allowed 19.5 points per game last season, but the Gladiators have a more experienced group this year as nine starters return to the unit.

Peachtree Ridge at Harrison (gamer, photos Friday night on AJC.com)
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Bruce Cobleigh Stadium, Kennesaw
Records, rankings: Peachtree Ridge (12-3 in 2008) is No. 3 in Class AAAAA; Harrison (9-3) is unranked in Class AAAAA.
Last meeting: Harrison won 13-3 in 2008.
Three things to know:
1. Peachtree Ridge returns six starters, including four of the top five tacklers, from a defense that allowed 10 points or less in nine of the final 11 games last season.
2. Lions QB Nick Lombardo, who passed for 1,536 yards, is Gwinnett second-leading returning passer.
3. Harrison must replace the entire offensive line, leading rusher Robbie Godhigh and QB Christian Burnett.

St. Pius at Marist (gamer, photos Friday night on AJC.com)
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Hughes Spalding Stadium, Atlanta
Records, rankings: St. Pius (9-2 in 2008) is unranked in Class AAA; Marist (13-2) is No. 4 in Class AAAA.
Last meeting: St. Pius won 21-10 in 2008.
Three things to know:
1. Junior Andy Perez will be the third member of the Perez family to start at quarterback for Marist, joining his uncles Rob and Dan.
2. St. Pius’ Cole Moon rushed for 1,394 yards and 24 touchdowns last season.
3. St. Pius’ victory last season ended a stretch in which Marist won 25 of 26 meetings.

Thomasville at Thomas County Central
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, the Jackets’ Nest, Thomasville
Records, rankings: Thomasville (7-5 in 2008) is No. 3 in Class AA; Thomas County Central (8-3) is unranked in AAAA.
Last meeting: Thomas County Central won 13-7 last season.
Three things to know:
1. Thomasville leads the series 23-20, but Central, now the larger school by a wide margin, has won 11 of the last 12.
2. Thomas County Central will use a platoon at quarterback to replace Taylor Payne (1,100 yards passing), with juniors Eric Dodson and Eric McCraw offering good speed for the run-dominated offense.
3. Thomasville returns 15 starters, including GHSF Daily preseason all-state safety Fred Holton, who has committed to Georgia Tech.

East Paulding at Rome
When, where: 8 p.m. Friday, Barron Stadium, Rome
Records, rankings: East Paulding (9-3 in 2008) is unranked in Class AAAAA; Rome (11-3) is No. 3 in Class AAAA.
Last meeting: East Paulding won 10-7 last season.
Three things to know:
1. East Paulding is 33-6 in coach John Reid’s three seasons after winning just 16 games in the 10 previous years.
2. Rome RB Reggie Whatley is a GHSF Daily preseason all-state player who rushed for more than 1,200 yards with 18 touchdowns last season.
3. East Paulding lost seven players to college football and returns only three starters on defense.

M.L. King vs. Southwest DeKalb (gamer, photos Friday night on AJC.com)
When, where: 8 p.m. Friday, Hallford Stadium, Clarkston
Records, rankings: M.L. King (8-3 in 2008) is No. 8 in Class AAAAA; Southwest DeKalb (9-4) is No. 1 in Class AAAA.
Last meeting: M.L. King won 21-12 in 2008.
Three things to know:
1. M.L. King’s Mack Brown, a Super 11 selection who is viewed by many as the state’s top running back, rushed for 1,660 yards and 21 touchdowns last season.
2. T.J. Stripling, another Super 11 pick, leads a Southwest DeKalb defense that allowed just 8.8 points per game in 2008.
3. Southwest DeKalb has not been ranked No. 1 since Sept. 12, 2000, two years before M.L. King opened.

Tucker at Brunswick
When, where: 7 p.m. Saturday, Glynn Stadium, Brunswick
Records, rankings: Tucker (14-1 in 2008) is No. 2 in Class AAAA; Brunswick (9-3) is unranked in AAAA.
Last meeting: Tucker won 26-12 last season.
Three things to know:
1. Tucker graduated 32 seniors and 16 starters from its state championship team.
2. Tucker has a pair of linemen in James Vaughters and Quenton Brown who have several major Division I-A offers.
3. Brunswick returns 14 starters but lost all-state players in WR/DB Darius Slay and RB Harold Small.

Prattville (Ala.) at North Gwinnett
When, where: 8 p.m. Saturday, Tom Robinson Memorial Stadium, Suwanee
Records, rankings: Prattville (1-0) is ranked No. 1 in Class 6A in Alabama and No. 21 nationally by USA Today. North Gwinnett (0-0) is ranked No. 6 in Class AAAAA.
Last meeting: Never played.
TV/radio: Comcast Sports Southeast; 680 The Fan
Three things to know:
1. This game is the second half of a doubleheader at North Gwinnett. In the first game, South Carolina state champion Byrnes (ranked No. 2 by USA Today) faces Central Gwinnett.
2. Prattville is the three-time defending champion in Alabama’s 6A classification.
3. North Gwinnett has two tackles (Ja’Waun James and Austin Shepherd) who have committed to Alabama and will be protecting 6-foot-5 C.J. Uzomah, the converted receiver who is replacing all-state quarterback Mikey Tamburo.

Note: GHSF Daily will list TV/radio information only about games that we select for the GHSF Daily “10 Best” or feature in other ways, and only if TV/radio information is sent to us ahead of publication.

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35 comments Add your comment

Dat Dude

August 27th, 2009
12:29 pm

Prattville and North Gwinnett have played before, The Lions killed them in Prattville 2 years ago.

the ridge

August 27th, 2009
12:47 pm

In their last meeting Peachtrre Ridge beat Harrison in the 2008 playoffs

Leek

August 27th, 2009
1:09 pm

SWD WERE BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACK!

RaiderNowandForever

August 27th, 2009
1:12 pm

Harrison will get beat by at least 35.. they have the worst Team i have ever seen them have….
East Paulding is a sleeper watch out rome, they picked up several players and had so very good ones injured or playing back up roles in 2008

dw

August 27th, 2009
1:33 pm

No Newnan vs. LaGrange. You can do better then that guys.

JohnnyT

August 27th, 2009
2:22 pm

Where’s LaGrange vs. Newnan??? Two ranked teams. Both coming off final 4 appearances. Should be a GREAT game. Definitely better than some others mentioned

John

August 27th, 2009
2:24 pm

Prattville and North Gwinnett have never played in an actual game. They scrimmaged each other two yrars ago but scrimmages are meaningless and don’t count.

Murray County Indian

August 27th, 2009
2:46 pm

Calhoun is going to spank Dalton, I almost want to skip our game and go watch it.

JM

August 27th, 2009
3:02 pm

What about Byrnes (S.C) vs. South Gwinnett on Saturday? Byrnes is one of the best teams in the southeast

JR

August 27th, 2009
3:09 pm

East just might make another run like 2006

John

August 27th, 2009
3:19 pm

Murray County isn’t playing Friday night. What’s keeping you away?

Josh

August 27th, 2009
5:55 pm

West Forsyth vs. North Forsyth. Pray for Trey!

HoyaFan

August 27th, 2009
6:15 pm

“Harrison will get beat by at least 35.. they have the worst Team i have ever seen them have…”

But they can sure beat those Raiders! I guess you meant the worst team other than the Raiders.

World Be Free

August 27th, 2009
7:02 pm

Does this mean Murray County can beat Harrison this season?

Raider from the Start

August 27th, 2009
7:50 pm

HoyaFan! You are right, they did beat East last year, but those boys sure were brittle. I don’t think I would point to that game too much. Too many Hoya players were wounded. I hear Harrison is a little shy this year in the talent department. Rebuilding. Maybe your Hoya coaches should get to know your middle school coaches a little better. Then maybe, like coach Reid, they can win 33 in 3. LET THAT CANNON ROAR! GO RAIDERS!

SouthGARules

August 27th, 2009
9:14 pm

JM: Byrnes plays CENTRAL Gwinnett, not South. South plays Norcross Friday night. Central is in for a serious beating Saturday.
BTW, I don’t see Harrison losing to anybody by 35.

HoyaFan

August 28th, 2009
12:25 am

“BTW, I don’t see Harrison losing to anybody by 35.”

No, and we are not full of hot air. But we did lose some of our best talent. Too soon to tell if new talent will step up.

13jas

August 28th, 2009
2:13 am

Flower Branch vs Stephens Co. will B a good`n. 28-25 the indians last yr. Falcons beat`m N the playoffs. So this is the tie breaker.

cellus3000

August 28th, 2009
5:21 am

No LaGrange vs. Newnan!!!! That game features a major recruit for the state of GA (Newnan safety: Alec Ogletree). LaGrange also have more than a few big time recruits.

steve

August 28th, 2009
8:54 am

tucker gonna show how state champs play

MGC

August 28th, 2009
11:45 am

Hiram vs Booker T Washington tonight…

SportsFan31313

August 28th, 2009
12:30 pm

With the amount of players that Tucker lost last year, Brunswick more than likely will win. In addition to the Home field advantage that Brunswick have.

cimiyun

August 28th, 2009
12:37 pm

Hope SWD beat the breaks off of M.L.K

Yo

August 28th, 2009
1:01 pm

Under Tucker’s new coach of a few years now, I believe Tucker
will simply reload every year. The new Camden/Lowndes of AAAA.

South GA Rules

August 28th, 2009
1:27 pm

Hoya Fan: I was not taking a shot at Harrison. I don’t think anybody would beat them by 35, even with a lot of talent gone. I was responding to Raider Now & Forever. I think tonight against the Ridge, it should be a low scoring game.

John Wells

August 28th, 2009
3:03 pm

It amuses me (not much) how you continue to ignore some of the excellent football played southwest of the holy city of Atlanta. The Newnan-LaGrange game matched the #10 team in AAAAA against the #4 team in AAA. Both of these teams are consistently playoff bound, but the AJC fails to recognize them. I guess we’ll have to look to Columbus for good football coverage since your mighty rag cares little about us.

slalom1

August 28th, 2009
5:08 pm

John Wells, Good point. But remember this is the “Atlanta Journal and Constitution” not the “Georgia Journal and Constitution”. The AJC has already down-sized so I would not look for much more coverage for West Central Georgia.
As for the Newnan vs. LaGrange game, I hope you were there. It was a great one.

newnancougarfanCHD

August 28th, 2009
5:48 pm

Newnan stepped up to the plate and proved that we will again be big time contenders. Expect an undefeated regular season for the Cougars and a deep playoff run. We dont rebuild we RELOAD!

John Wells

August 28th, 2009
6:35 pm

slalom1, I agree with you, but the AJC seems confused on this point. They keep sending sales people to my door asking me to subscribe to their “metro” newspaper. Before I subscribe they’re going to have to get their act together. Judging from past history, I don’t see that happening!

Ron

August 28th, 2009
8:13 pm

Yes Calhoun will win and it may not be very close.

HoyaFan

August 29th, 2009
1:11 pm

“Hoya Fan: I was not taking a shot at Harrison. I don’t think anybody would beat them by 35, even with a lot of talent gone. I was responding to Raider Now & Forever. I think tonight against the Ridge, it should be a low scoring game.”

It would have been, for us, but apparently the coaching staff kept it under wraps that we had a passing game. We had almost no running game, except when Turnipseed managed to break away. In fact he had an almost 80 yard touchdown called back because of a penalty. Our offense did worse after that. They need to keep their spirits up. We also lost a lot of defense talent, and did not do as well against thier running game as they might. We have an excellent football program and I am sure the coach’s will improve the team, and our boys will work hard to improve their skills.

At least it was not a 35 point blow out, and the passing game looked good, possibly better than last year.

north

August 29th, 2009
1:20 pm

no idiot, North has never played Prattville before, unless if your talking about Pelham

Suwanee 0wnz

August 30th, 2009
10:44 am

North Gwinnett – 14
Pratville – 11

North led the entire game, and the stingy defense held the 3 time defending 6A Alabama Champion to just 3 yards in the first half.

North is the second highest ranked team in Suwanee, GA behind Peachtree Ridge. And the 3rd ranked team, Collins Hill, manhandled Parkview. I wonder if that says more about Suwanee, or Parkview?

SportsFan31313

August 31st, 2009
11:58 am

Well Tucker may have losat a lot of players last year but it seems as if they are a team of much dominance. Great Job Tucker on your win last week in overtime against Brunswick.

ClassA

September 3rd, 2009
10:03 pm

It irritates me that AJC does not even talk about class A-AA!