Previews to 10 top games in Week One

Here are previews of the top 10 games this weekend, as high school football gets underway officially.

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Brookwood vs. Walton
When, where: 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Georgia Dome, Atlanta
Rankings, records: Brookwood was 6-6 in 2009 and lost in the Class AAAAA second round to Peachtree Ridge; Walton was 6-4 and missed the Class AAAAA playoffs. Neither team is ranked.
Last meeting: Walton won 14-9 in 2008.
Three things to know: 1. Brookwood is no longer the big-lineman, smash-mouth program of yesterday. Its marquee players are WR Andre “A.J.” Sims (57 catches, nine TDs in 2009), QB Ben McLane (1,780 yards passing) and WR/DB Nick Moore. 2. Walton returns only four of 22 starters and will rely on more youngsters, such as junior twins RB/DB Daron and DB Zack Blaylock, the sons of former Atlanta Hawks guard Mookie Blaylock. 3. Brookwood and Walton historically are two of the top Georgia schools in athletics. Brookwood was second and Walton third in the Class AAAAA Director’s Cup (all-sports) standings in 2009-10.

Coffee at Brunswick
When, where: 7:30 p.m. today, Glynn Stadium, Brunswick
Rankings, records: Coffee was 3-7 in 2009 and missed the Class AAAAA playoffs; Brunswick was 8-4 and lost in the AAAA second round to North Clayton. Neither team is ranked.
Last meeting: Brunswick won 62-16 in 1999.
Three things to know: 1. Brunswick runs the spread offense with balanced rushing and passing led by senior QB Chris Anderson and junior RB Jarvis Small, while the defense is led by senior DB Justin Coleman (recent Tennessee commit) and senior NG Tyrie Hippard. 2. Coffee had a young team in 2009, starting eight sophomores on defense in one region game, and had its worst finish since 2000. 3. Coffee coach Ken Eldridge has suggested in preseason that he likes his stable of running backs, led by C.J. Crocket, but frets about an inexperienced secondary that’s about to face the spread.

Cook at Colquitt County
When, where: 7:30 p.m. today, Tom White Field at Mack Tharpe Memorial Stadium, Moultrie
Rankings, records: Cook, No. 9 in Class AA, was 7-6 in 2009 and lost to Buford in the AA quarterfinals; Colquitt County, No. 5 in Class AAAAA, was 11-3 and lost to Camden County in the AAAAA semifinals.
Last meeting: Cook won 14-0 in 2007.
Three things to know: 1. D’Amonte Ridley scored three touchdowns in Colquitt County’s 34-24 victory against Lassiter in a scrimmage last week. 2. Colquitt County’s Xzavier Ward, a 6-foot-7, 260-pound offensive lineman, and Cook’s Shannon Brown, a 6-2 wide receiver and linebacker, are two of the state’s hottest college prospects. Ward has about 25 offers, while Brown is committed to Alabama. 3. Ken Cofer will be making his debut as the head coach at Cook. Cofer was promoted during the off-season to replace Mac Thompson, who died in February following a heart attack at the age of 39.

Grayson vs. Kell
When, where: 11:45 a.m. Saturday, Georgia Dome, Atlanta
Rankings, records: Grayson, No. 10 in Class AAAAA, was 12-1 in 2009 and lost to Newnan in the AAAAA quarterfinals. Kell, unranked in Class AAAA, was 6-5 and lost to Peachtree Ridge in the AAAAA first round.
Last meeting: This is the teams’ first meeting.
Three things to know: 1. Grayson, which is 25-2 over the past two seasons, graduated four defensive starters who signed with Division I-A schools, plus all-state RB Ean Pemberton. 2. Instead of an offense built around Pemberton, Grayson this year is expected to use several running backs and a couple of quarterbacks in junior Nick Schuessler and senior Camen Marshall. 3. Led by AJC Super 11 RB/DB Brian Randolph, who has committed to Tennessee, Kell is a popular choice to win Region 5-AAAA. Kell made the playoffs in a higher classification last year.

Lassiter vs. North Gwinnett
When, where: 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Georgia Dome, Atlanta
Rankings, records: Lassiter is unranked and North Gwinnett is No. 3 in Class AAAAA. Both teams were 12-1 and lost in the AAAAA quarterfinals in 2009.
Last meeting: North Gwinnett won 43-21 in 2008.
Three things to know: 1. Lassiter will be breaking in a new coach (Jep Irwin, who replaced Chip Lindsey) and a new quarterback (sophomore Eddie Printz, who is replacing the record-setting Hutson Mason). 2. North Gwinnett has perhaps the most challenging non-region schedule in the state. After Saturday’s game in the Corky Kell Classic, the Bulldogs host Bob Jones of Huntsville, Ala. (Aug. 28) and Crenshaw of Los Angeles (Sept. 3). 3. C.J. Uzomah, who led North Gwinnett to the quarterfinals as a quarterback in 2009, could spend about half of his time at wide receiver this season.

McEachern vs. Peachtree Ridge
When, where: 8:30 p.m. Saturday, Georgia Dome, Atlanta
Rankings, records: McEachern, No. 8 in Class AAAAA, was 10-1 in 2009 and lost in the AAAAA first round to Brookwood; Peachtree Ridge, No. 4 in Class AAAAA, was 10-3 and lost in the AAAAA quarterfinals to Northside of Warner Robins.
Last meeting: This is the teams’ first meeting.
Three things to know: 1. Kyle Hockman, entering his third season at McEachern, appears to have the program turned around. The Indians’ 10 victories last season were the most since 1999. 2. The Peachtree Ridge defense is anchored by lineman Angelo Watley and linebacker Tanner Botts, who were selected for the GHSF Daily preseason all-state team. 3. This is the first time Peachtree Ridge has played McEachern, but it is familiar with the Cobb County school. The Lions played there twice during the 2006 playoffs, beating Campbell in a second-round game and tying Roswell for a share of the Class AAAAA championship.

Norcross at Dacula
When, where: 7:30 p.m. today, Barron Field, Dacula
Rankings, records: Norcross was 5-5 in 2009 and missed the Class AAAAA playoffs; Dacula was 7-4 and lost in the AAAAA first round to Woodstock. Neither team is ranked.
Last meeting: Norcross won 42-13 in 2005.
Three things to know: 1. The team’s head coaches are brothers – Keith Maloof at Norcross and Kevin Maloof at Dacula. Keith is 5-1 against Kevin. This is the first time they’ve played each other voluntarily, as this is a non-region game. Norcross is in Region 7-AAAAA, while Dacula is in 8-AAAAA. 2. Norcross has a pair of defensive linemen who have SEC offers in DE Demetrius Alston (GHSF Daily preseason all-state) and DT Ben Bradley. 3. Dacula’s top players are probably RB/DB Dexter Walker, a second-team All-Gwinnett player last season, and DL/OL Baiyembi Abange.

South Gwinnett at Lowndes
When, where: 8 p.m. today, Martin Stadium, Valdosta
Rankings, records: South Gwinnett is unranked and Lowndes is No. 2 in Class AAAAA. Both teams were 10-2 in 2009 and lost in the AAAAA second round.
Last meeting: This is the teams’ first meeting.
Three things to know: 1. Both teams will be trying to rebound from disappointing ends to their 2009 seasons. South Gwinnett was overwhelmed by Lassiter 70-49 in a second-round game, and Lowndes lost 10-7 to eventual state champion Camden County the same night. 2. A key matchup will be South Gwinnett quarterback Kent Rollins, a preseason all-state selection, throwing against a Lowndes secondary that includes all-state picks Tyler Hunter and Geraldo Orta. 3. Lowndes is 9-4 all-time against schools from Gwinnett County.

Thomasville at Lovett
When, where: 7 p.m. Saturday, Conley-Oakley Field, Atlanta
Rankings, records: Thomasville, No. 10 in Class AA, was 8-4 in 2009 and lost in the AA second round to Jefferson County. Lovett, No. 6 in AA, was 12-2 and lost in the AA semifinals to Calhoun.
Last meeting: Lovett won 20-16 in the 2007 Class AA quarterfinals.
Three things to know: 1. Lovett beat Thomasville in 2007 when Andre Hicks returned a kickoff for a touchdown after Thomasville kicked a field goal for a 17-14 lead with less than a minute to play. 2. Lovett RB Zach Boden rushed for 1,263 yards and 15 touchdowns on only 118 carries (10.7 yards per carry) last season. 3. Thomasville’s Jeffery Dyson is a speedy quarterback who made GHSF Daily’s preseason all-state team in AA as a defensive back.

Tift County at Fitzgerald
When, where: 8 p.m. today, Jaycee Stadium, Fitzgerald
Rankings, records: Tift County, unranked in Class AAAAA, was 3-7 in 2009 and missed the AAAAA playoffs; Fitzgerald, No. 5 in Class AA, was 13-1 and lost to Buford in the AA semifinals.
Last meeting: Tift County won 26-13 in 2005.
Three things to know: 1. Tift County will be attempting to find a quarterback to replace two-year starter Malcolm Dixon. The candidates are junior Zach Mangelsdorf, sophomore T.J. Cromer and freshman Tadric Jackson. 2. The Fitzgerald offense is led by junior quarterback Kaleb Nobles, a preseason all-state selection who passed for 24 touchdowns and more than 2,100 yards last season. 3. Fitzgerald reached the Class AA semifinals each of the past two seasons, losing to eventual state champion Buford both times.

Note: All four games of the Corky Kell Classic at the Georgia Dome on Saturday will be broadcast by 790 AM in Atlanta. The pregame show begins at 10 a.m.

29 comments Add your comment


August 20th, 2010
11:27 am

cane fan

August 20th, 2010
12:25 pm

fitz will dismantle and dominate the blue devils defense, tift will not know what hit them. *****************HURRICANE WARNING************************

Monster Tech

August 20th, 2010
1:06 pm

Creekside @ Westlake

cane fan

August 20th, 2010
1:58 pm

go purple hurricanes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1


August 20th, 2010
2:11 pm

Brookwood vs. Walton Take Walton

Coffee at Brunswick Take Coffee County

Cook at Colquitt County Take Colquitt County

Grayson vs. Kell Take Grayson

Lassiter vs. North Gwinnett Take North Gwinette

McEachern vs. Peachtree Ridge Always bet On The “RIDGE” Peachtree Ridge

Norcross at Dacula Take Dacula

South Gwinnett at Lowndes Of Course Take Lowndes

Thomasville at Lovett Take Lovette

Tift County at Fitzgerald Take Fitzgerald


August 20th, 2010
3:21 pm


Maybe Brunswick over Coffee ?? That’s only one I see different.


August 20th, 2010
3:28 pm


Maybe. But I doubt it seriously. Coffee County will more than likely prevail…..


August 20th, 2010
3:49 pm

Watch your spelling Walt Ray’s* watching you…Did Bradwell get through camp w/o any major injuries??


August 20th, 2010
4:14 pm

Hey Friends!! Brookwood Mom is stopping by to say hey ya’ll and to wish my BRONCOS good luck in the DOME tomorrow. It feels wierd not having a player this year! I am headed to Georgia Southern to see my litle man:)


August 20th, 2010
4:41 pm

The biggest game 2 watch this season will be the Tucker vs Southwest Dekalb season opener or the ML KING vs Stephenson season finale


August 20th, 2010
6:54 pm

cchswildcat86,,,, Hello classmate, I graduated in 86 as well and Im a former player.


August 20th, 2010
11:52 pm


Me to… on the o line


August 21st, 2010
2:47 pm

cchswildcat86 \

:-) ;-)


August 21st, 2010
3:00 pm


Yes Bradwell Institute did. However; Region 2-AAAA handed them a good old fashion Butt Kicking Thursday Night in the scrimmage game. 15-3. Liberty County has really evolved as a contender in that region. They were a great team last year losing in the semi finals of the post season of the playoffs last year. They have a Monster of a defense, and a powerful great junior running back.
(Division 1 Prospect Shadrach Thornton) Bradwell is going to have to have to make a lot of adjustments if they are going to be successful. Bradwell Institute has a huge offensive line. But they looked sluggish during the scrimmage. As far as the County School, (Liberty County) they are ready, and mental prepared. But it was a great defensive game. Liberty County was the better team, and now has the bragging rights for the entire year.


August 21st, 2010
3:16 pm


What a shocker. Region 1-AAAAA went 1-3 last night. Lowndes was the only team that won. Tift County got beat, Coffee County got beat, and the most shocking was Colquitt County got beat. I need to sit back and start rethinking things.

broncos fan 1988

August 21st, 2010
8:02 pm

Hey Sportsfan31313, don’t pick against the Broncos! Go Brookwood!


August 21st, 2010
10:15 pm

Who will win between Tucker at Southwest Dekalb? It will be a great game.


August 22nd, 2010
8:37 am

bradwell will do fine. don’t read too much into a scrimmage game.
colquitt was looking ahead.
had heard bwk was going to be strong that’s why I thought they would beat coffee.
went to corky kell yesterday – n gwinett, mcearchern & peachtree ridge were the only teams who looked competitve

Dome Watchin

August 22nd, 2010
1:48 pm

cchswildcat86b –
Must not have watched the first game. Austin P from Kell really stepped up when the entire Grayson defense keyed in on B. Randolph. Although the result was only a 3 pt difference it was a very dominant performance from Kell. Kell looked like they had stage fright during the 1st quarter then relaxed. They should be tough this year.


August 22nd, 2010
3:45 pm

Dome Watchin

You are right Kell will do well in Region 5N-AAAA. Sorry I was focused on 5a teams


August 23rd, 2010
10:40 am

Greetings broncos fan 1988,

You Stated:

“Hey Sportsfan31313, don’t pick against the Broncos! Go Brookwood!”

Okay you’re ranked Number 10 this week. But tell me why should I not bet against them?


August 23rd, 2010
10:44 am

Greetings cchswildcat86,

“bradwell will do fine. don’t read too much into a scrimmage game.”

Gosh, I sure hope you ‘re right. Maybe Liberty County gave them a wakeup call. A lot of fans are just sitting back waiting to see how Bradwell Institute does this season. Bradwell Institute Offensive is Big. Tackles are HUGE. They should be plowing a hole big enough to drive a Mack Dump Truck through with it being touched. But we will see this week. Thanks for your vote of confidence.

Region 8-AAA

August 23rd, 2010
11:34 pm

Gainesville versus Buford would have been in my Top 10!!!!


August 24th, 2010
1:09 am

Johnson County at Wilkinson County. A-Ball but two communities close to each other in Middle Ga with a lot of bragging rights on the line. Both teams have high expectations this year so this should be a good one.

hs fan

August 24th, 2010
10:16 am

no tucker vs swd you guys at the ajc are slippn

Coffee Trojan Fan

August 24th, 2010
11:32 pm

Brunswick was not better than Coffee, we just turned over the ball 3 times when we were about to score, so Coffee really should have beat Brunswick, and also had some bad calls from the GHSA good ole Refs that helped out Brunswick also


August 25th, 2010
9:39 am


SWD 03

August 25th, 2010
10:15 am

How is SWD vs Tucker not on the list???


August 25th, 2010
11:26 pm

SWD not on there because no one think they will have a good team after losing so many seniors. If they win Friday against Tucker the respect will come.