Five things to watch this weekend in Class AAAAAA.
Grayson vs. Miami Central – It’s the unofficial national game of the week with Grayson (ESPN’s No. 1 team) vs. Miami Central (USA Today’s No. 1 team). There will be 11 players in the game who are committed to FBS (formerly Division I-A) schools. For Central, they are LB Marquez Hodge (Syracuse), DB Ahmad Thomas (Oklahoma), DB Da’Wan Hunte (N.C. State), RB Dalvin Cook (Clemson), RB Josephy Yearby (Florida State) and OL Trevor Darling (Miami). Yearby rushed for 2,160 yards as a sophomore last year. For Grayson, they are DE Robert Nkemdiche, LB Wayne Gallman and DB David Kamara (all Clemson), LB Zach Barnes (Tennessee) and DE Jack Banda (Arizona). The game will air live Friday at 7:30 p.m. on ESPN3 and at 11:30 p.m. on ESPNU.
East Cobb vs. West Cobb – McEachern is having a double-header Friday featuring Cobb’s four most prominent AAAAAA teams. It’s Hillgrove vs. Lassiter at 7 p.m., with Walton vs. McEachern to follow. Both games will be televised by GPB. The four teams have won six of a possible eight region titles over the past four seasons, with each winning at least one. The East Cobbers are favored, as Walton is ranked No. 3 and Lassiter is No. 4, both state semifinals from 2011 who have AJC Super 11 players (Tyren Jones, Brandon Kublanow of Walton, Eddie Printz of Lassiter).
North Gwinnett Challenge – North Gwinnett is playing host to its annual double-header on Saturday. It was supposed to be a tripleheader, but Stephenson’s 3 p.m. opponent from the Gulf Coast canceled, so now it’s North Gwinnett vs. A.C. Flora (6 p.m.) and Valdosta vs. North Augusta (noon). The non-Georgia opponents are from South Carolina. The Georgia teams are favored, and they’ve got two of the best football minds on the sidelines in Bob Sphire at NG and Rance Gillespie at Valdosta. The games can be viewed online at iHigh.com at http://ngtc.ihigh.com.
Rivalry games – Region play has not begun. Instead, it’s time for many schools to get in a good rivalry game. I count 10 non-region games this week involving Class AAAAAA teams playing county rivals.
Using the Maxwell Ratings and projected margins of victory, here are eight that involve a AAAAAA team playing an opponent in a lower classification. The bigger school is favored only half the time. –
Glynn Academy vs. BRUNSWICK -3
NEWTON at Eastside -1
Salem vs. ROCKDALE COUNTY -16
NEWNAN vs. LaGrange -24
Chapel Hill vs. DOUGLAS COUNTY -11
Creekside at HUGHES -11
CHEROKEE vs. Creekview -1
NORTH FORSYTH at Forsyth Central -9
Here are the other two.
Roswell vs. Centennial -2
Alpharetta vs. Milton -12
They involve two AAAAAAA teams. It’s odd how north Fulton County teams are split between regions 5 and 6.
Maxwell thinks Roswell will break its 11-game losing streak. We hear that Roswell brought in alumnus and NFL player Chris Reis to get the team fired up this week. Centennial coach Jeff Carlberg, who did wonders as a coordinator at Lassiter and Alpharetta, is Centennial’s first-year coach. He’s turned Centennial’s option offense into the spread.
Meanwhile, the Milton-Alpharetta game is full of college prospects. Alpharetta QB Josh Dobbs (Arizona State) and WR Carlos Burse (Vanderbilt) could be the top passing combo in the state this season. Milton has three offensive linemen who are committed in Eason Fromayan (TCU), Josh Harris (Wake Forest) and Cory Helms (Wake Forest).
Region 7 vs. Region 8 – There are seven crossover games Friday this week between teams in regions 7 and 8. Only Habersham Central among the 18 teams in those regions is not from Gwinnett County. Grayson and North Gwinnett, the region champions from 2011, are playing other opponents, but these seven games should provide clues about the balance of power.
According to the Maxwell Ratings, Region 7 will win four of the seven:
Collins Hill vs. Central Gwinnett -18
Duluth at Berkmar -12
Norcross at South Gwinnett -9
Peachtree Ridge at Parkview -7
Region 8 will win these:
Archer vs. Mountain View -13
Dacula at Mill Creek -3
Shiloh at Meadowcreek -27
I like ‘’underdogs’’ Parkview and Mill Creek, but that’s still 4-3 for R7. And R8 has Grayson. So yeah, they’re about even.