Brookwood vs. Walton
When, where: 8:30 p.m. Saturday, Georgia Dome, Atlanta
Rankings: Brookwood (8-4 in 2011) is unranked in AAAAAA; Walton (14-1 in 2011) is No. 4 in AAAAAA.
Last meeting: Brookwood won 27-10 in 2010.
Three things to know: 1. Brookwood’s Shaun McGee, a 6-foot-3, 230-pound linebacker, has committed to Georgia. He also spent time at fullback, nose guard and defensive end last season. 2. Walton running back Tyren Jones, who has committed to Alabama, led the state in rushing last season with 2,375 yards. He and teammate Brandon Kublanow, a 6-foot-3, 290-pound center, were named to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Super 11. 3. Brookwood and Walton each made an appearance in the Class AAAAA championship game in the past two seasons. Brookwood beat Colquitt County 52-38 to win the title in 2010, and Walton lost to Grayson 24-0 last season. Brookwood leads the series with the Raiders 3-1.
Cedar Grove at Tucker
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Hallford Stadium, Clarkston
Rankings: Cedar Grove (7-4 in 2011) is No. 7 in AAA; Tucker (15-0 and the AAAA champion in 2011) is No. 2 in AAAAA.
Last meeting: Tucker won 38-8 in 2007.
Three things to know: 1. Cedar Grove quarterback Johnathon McCrary needs 2,965 passing yards this season to break the state record of 9,062 career yards held by former Metter QB Zach Stanford. McCrary finished with 2,643 yards and 27 touchdowns passing last season. 2. Tucker returns leading rusher Yusuf Minor (945 yards, 8.9 ypc) and quarterback Juwaan Williams (617 yards rushing, 557) from its Class AAAA championship team, but the Tigers’ top seven tacklers were seniors. 3. The game will be the head coaching debut of Tucker’s Bryan Lamar, a 1999 graduate of the school who was hired to replace Franklin Stephens, who took the head job at Lamar County after winning state titles in 2008 and 2011.
Chattahoochee vs. Kell
When, where: 9 a.m. Saturday, Georgia Dome, Atlanta
Rankings: Chattahoochee (10-2 in 2011) is unranked in AAAAAA; Kell (9-3 in 2011) is No. 4 in AAAAA.
Last meeting: This is the teams’ first meeting.
Three things to know: 1. Chattahoochee has played in the Corky Kell Classic twice, losing to Brookwood 35-7 in 2004 and to Parkview 28-0 in 2005. Kell has played twice, beating Grayson 13-10 in 2010 and losing to Grayson 7-0 in 2011. 2. Chattahoochee QB Travis Marshall committed this week to Navy. The successor at quarterback to state player of the year Tim Byerly last year, Marshall was 83-of-139 passing for 1,589 yards and 17 touchdowns. He rushed for 644 yards. 3. Kell can make an argument that it has the state’s best secondary with FS Quincy Mauger (committed to Georgia), CB Brendan Langley (South Carolina), CB Jay Moxey (two-year starter) and SS Taylor Henkle (starter since ninth grade). Moxey and Henkle are juniors.
Grayson vs. McEachern
When, where: 11:45 a.m. Saturday, Georgia Dome, Atlanta
Rankings: Grayson (15-0 and the AAAAA champion in 2011) is No. 1 in AAAAAA; McEachern (10-2 in 2011) is unranked in AAAAAA.
Last meeting: Grayson won 31-21 in 2008.
Three things to know: 1. Grayson defensive end Robert Nkemdiche, the nation’s top-rated senior, is one of three Rams headed to Clemson next season, along with LB/WB Wayne Gallman and DB David Kamara. TE/DE Jack Banda has committed to Arizona, and DL Zach Barnes is headed to Tennessee. Safeties Ryan Carter (Ole Miss and others) and Kasey Gaines (Penn State) also have offers. 2. McEachern is seeking a replacement for quarterback Trent Thompson, who passed for more than 5,000 yards in his career. One of the top candidates to replace him is Ty Griffin, a transfer from North Cobb. 3. McEachern, one of the founding members of the Corky Kell Classic, has won two of its last three games in the event after losing three straight from 2006-08. Grayson is making its fifth appearance in the Corky Kell after going 3-1 in its previous four trips.
North Gwinnett vs. Colquitt County
When, where: 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Georgia Dome, Atlanta
Rankings: North Gwinnett (10-2 in 2011) is No. 9 in AAAAAA; Colquitt County (11-3 in 2011) is No. 2 in AAAAAA.
Last meeting: Colquitt County won 17-7 in the second round of the 2011 Class AAAAA playoffs.
Three things to know: 1. North Gwinnett has won at least 10 games for six consecutive seasons and three region titles in a row but faces a lot of rebuilding. That includes seven assistants who moved on and starting QB Scott Hosch (2,371 yards passing in 2011). 2. Colquitt County, led by QB Cole Segraves (2,115 yards passing, 17 touchdowns in 2011), is ranked nationally in some polls. The Packers have three players committed to FBS schools in DB Johnny Ward (South Florida), OL Octavius Jackson (Florida) and DB Bobby Hill (Ole Miss). 3. Colquitt County coach Rush Propst won five state titles while in Alabama. North Gwinnett coach Bob Sphire won one while in Kentucky.
Peachtree Ridge vs. Camden County
When, where: 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Georgia Dome, Atlanta
Rankings: Peachtree Ridge (8-3 in 2011) is unranked in AAAAAA; Camden County (12-1 in 2011) is No. 3 in AAAAAA.
Last meeting: Camden County won 21-14 in the 2008 Class AAAAA championship game.
Three things to know: 1. Peachtree Ridge got a big boost in the offseason with the addition of transfer Orlando Brown, a 6-foot-7, 340-pound tackle who came to Georgia from DeMatha Catholic in Maryland. The junior has more than 15 major offers, including Alabama and Florida. 2. Camden County is led by HB/DB J.J. Green and QB Brice Ramsey, who have committed to Georgia. Green is a two-way starter who scored 21 touchdowns last season. Ramsey passed for 1,308 yards and 17 touchdowns in a run-based offense in 2011. 3. Camden County returns to the Corky Kell Classic after a two-year absence. The Wildcats are 5-1 in the event. Peachtree Ridge split its two previous appearances in 2010 and ‘11.
Thomas County Central at Thomasville
When, where: 8 p.m. Saturday, Veterans Memorial Stadium, Thomasville
Rankings: Thomas County Central (7-5 in 2011) is No. 9 in AAAAA; Thomasville (6-5 in 2011) is unranked in AA.
Last meeting: Thomas County won 35-20 in 2011.
Three things to know: 1. Thomasville leads the series 24-22, but Thomas Central has won 14 of 16 since 1993, when Central beat Thomasville in a state championship game. Central is about twice the size of Thomasville in enrollment now. 2. Adam Choice of Thomas County Central rushed for more than 1,600 yards last season as a sophomore, the most of any quarterback in the state. Central had 489 yards rushing in a scrimmage against Jonesboro last week, according to the Thomasville Times-Enterprise. 3. Thomasville returns six starters on defense but will be without LB Mario Mathis, who had ACL surgery. He has been recruited by SEC and other schools.
Thomson at Burke County
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Bear Den, Waynesboro
Rankings: Thomson (9-2 in 2011) is No. 6 in AAA; Burke County (14-1 and the AAA champion in 2011) is No. 2 in AAAA.
Last meeting: Burke County won 31-8 in 2011.
Three things to know: 1. Thomson lost 15 starters from a 9-2 team but has two preseason all-state players on defense in DB William Bussey and LB Cam Garnett. The best all-around player might be Torrie Battle (1,800 all-purpose yards, 21 touchdowns), a weapon on offense, defense and special teams. 2. Burke County graduated five seniors who got all-state recognition from the 2011 Class AAA championship season but returned junior QB Donquell Green, who rushed for 117 yards and two touchdowns in Burke’s 28-14 victory over Peach County in the championship game. 3. Burke County has won four straight in the series, with no game closer than 14 points. Thomson entered last year’s Game 10 matchup 9-0 and averaging 55.7 points but was held scoreless until late in a 31-8 loss.
Washington County at ELCA
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Commitment Field, McDonough
Rankings: Washington County (7-4 in 2011) is No. 9 in AAA; Eagle’s Landing Christian (12-2 in 2011) is No. 2 in A.
Last meeting: This is the teams’ first meeting.
Three things to know: 1. Washington County senior quarterback William Walker, a first-team preseason all-state player in Class AAA, passed for 1,517 yards and 16 touchdowns and ran for 932 yards and eight TDs last season. 2. Eagle’s Landing Christian features four Class A preseason all-state team members in OL Isaac Rochell, LB Keyante Green, LB Josh Shockley and DB D.J. Curl. Green had 970 yards rushing and 104 tackles in an injury-shortened 2011 season. 3. Eagle’s Landing Christian had the best season in school history last year, tying the school record with 12 victories and reaching the semifinals for the first time. Washington County made the playoffs for the 20th time in 21 seasons but was knocked out in the first round for the second consecutive year.
Westminster at Blessed Trinity
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Blessed Trinity Stadium, Roswell
Rankings: Westminster (7-5 in 2011) is No. 9 in AA; Blessed Trinity (7-5 in 2011) is No. 10 in AAA.
Last meeting: Blessed Trinity won 21-14 in 2011.
Three things to know: 1. These private schools were in Region 6-AA last season, but Blessed Trinity has moved to 6-AAA, where it must contend with No. 4 St. Pius, No. 7 Cedar Grove and Woodward Academy. Westminster plays in a five-team region, the smallest in the state, and loaded its non-region schedule with six opponents that made the playoffs last year. 2. Blessed Trinity’s top player is probably QB Spencer McManes, a three-year starter. For Westminster, watch for Sam Schmal, a 6-foot-7 tackle on offense and end on defense but will slide to linebacker in the 3-4. 3. The game will feature some of the state’s best specialists. Westminster PK Harrison Butker has committed to Georgia Tech. He made 16 of 17 field-goal attempts in 2011, missing only from 59 yards. Blessed Trinity punter Nathan Etheridge and snapper Tucker Etheridge, who are twins, also are top college prospects.
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