There are more than 100 scrimmages scheduled this week, starting with tonight’s game between Walton and Hillgrove, a pair of Class AAAAA region champions from 2011.
Here are 10 of the more intriguing matchups:
*Walton at Hillgrove: Expect Walton, the 2011 runner-up in Class AAAAA, to start with a top-five state ranking. The Raiders return the state’s leading rusher (Tyren Jones) and quarterback Parker McLeod. Both are committed to Alabama. Also back is all-state lineman Brandon Kublanow, who has committed to Georgia. Hillgrove is coming off an 11-1 finish and region title but lost star RB Kenyan Drake to Alabama.
*Cook at Coffee: Coffee from Region 1-AAAAAA begins the coaching era of Robby Pruitt, a 293-game winner who spent the past decade at Fitzgerald. Cook should be a top-10 team in Class AA with preseason all-state players Zack Williams (56 receptions in 2011) and DE/TE Matthew Foster (10 sacks). The south Georgia schools have not met in a real game since 1979.
*Lovejoy at Peachtree Ridge: Lovejoy is moving up to AAAAAA after reaching the Class AAAA in 2011 and brings back many key starters, including Georgia Tech-committed RB Travis Custis (1,839 yards rushing in 2011). Peachtree Ridge has no superstar but might be a sleeper with its front seven on defense returning.
*Marietta at Kell: Marietta QB Anthony Jennings, who is committed to LSU, will test one of the state’s best secondaries. Safety Quincy Mauger has committed to Georgia, and cornerback Brendan Langley is bound for South Carolina.
*Norcross at Colquitt County: Norcross (8-3 in 2011) has all-state RB Alvin Kamara and a cornerback, Shon Akins, who is committed to Cal. Colquitt County has attention from the national rankings. The Packers (11-3 in 2011) are led by QB Cole Segraves (160-for-268 passing for 2,115 yards).
*Peach County at Northside (Warner Robins): Don’t be surprised if either is ranked No. 1 in preseason – Peach in AAA, Northside in AAAAA. The best player on each team might be a wide receiver. Demarcus Robinson (52 receptions, 1,027 yards in 2011) has committed to Clemson, but Northside’s Keshun Hill (47 receptions, 730 yards receiving, 292 rushing) is no slouch, either.
*St. Pius at Stephens County: Chaz Thornton, who rushed for 2,179 yards in 2011, leads Stephens County, probably the team to beat in 8-AAAA. St. Pius has a couple of juniors being recruited in the secondary who are blue-chippers in Nick Glass (committed to Georgia) and Nick Ruffin (offers from seven ACC or SEC schools).
*Vidalia at Lincoln County: Vidalia (6-4 in 2011) was 5-0 last season, but the wheels fell off when star RB Juan Foster was lost to an injury. He ran for 1,480 yards as a sophomore. He’s back. Lincoln County (12-1) is perhaps the favorite to win the new public school title in Class A. The only times these schools have met in a real game was a 1983 quarterfinal. Lincoln won.
*Cedar Grove vs. M.L. King: All-state QB Johnathon McCrary has more than 6,000 yards passing in his career. M.L. King has one of its most talented teams ever, but finding a quarterback to replace Jonquel Dawson (8,798 career passing yards) is a priority. The candidates are senior Dean Bickley and juniors Monqavious Johnson and Roland Rivers. The teams will play at Panthersville Stadium.
*Southwest DeKalb at Newton: Newton coach Cortez Allen is facing his former coach, Buck Godfrey. Allen was a member of Southwest DeKalb’s state championship team in 1995. Allen says he has the state’s best defensive line. NT Treyvon Richardson and DE Kingsley Ejike have the most college offers.
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