By S. Thomas Coleman
For the AJC
There are some tremendous games on the slate in Week 3, with no classification having more contests of impact than Class A. Here’s a look at a few.
No. 9 Landmark Christian (1-1) at No. 4 Wilkinson County (0-1). One of the best games in the state, bar none. After a disappointing home loss to Calvary Day (28-21) in its opener, Landmark bounced back last week against Athens Christian (31-7). But the War Eagles will get another stern test down in Irwinton against a Warrior team that is looking to bounce back as well, after losing in the final seconds last week to No. 2 Wilcox County. Landmark is led by senior WR/DB Josh Nobles, who already has four touchdowns on the year, and all-region DB Cole Higbie, who is also playing quarterback. Wilkinson is paced by senior quarterback David Whipple, who threw for over 200 yards and a touchdown and ran for 57 yards and another score against Wilcox. This is the first meeting between the two schools.
Clinch County (1-1) at No. 3 Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy (1-1). This is the final contest of a tough, three game stretch to open the season for ELCA. The Chargers lost to Washington County (ranked No. 8 in AAA) to start the season and rebounded against Briarwood Christian of Birmingham (AAAAA semi-finalists in Alabama in 2011) last week. But ELCA may have to take on the Panthers without three key starters as, reportedly, seniors Keyonte Green (Purdue commit), Isaac Rochelle (Notre Dame commit) and DJ Curl (all-region) will not play due to injury. Clinch is rebuilding this season and suffered one of its worst losses in school history (43-3) to AA Brooks County in its opener two weeks ago. This is the second meeting between the two schools. Clinch defeated ELCA, 34-27, at Clinch in the 2010 state quarterfinals. Two weeks later, the Panthers won their fifth state championship.
No. 6 Aquinas (1-0) at George Walton Academy (1-0). The game features two of the classification’s best running backs going head to head. Aquinas senior Brendan Douglas had 145 yards rushing on 32 carries and three touchdowns in the Irish’s 33-13 win last week over AA East Laurens. GWA junior Stanley Williams (UGA committ), who transferred from Apalachee last winter, finished with 16 carries for 158 yards and three touchdowns as the Bulldogs opened with a win over First Presbyterian. This is the first meeting between the two schools.
Washington-Wilkes (1-0) at No. 1 Lincoln County (1-0). It’s the Highway 378 War, as both schools are located just minutes from each other off of the state highway. Both enter the game coming off of blowout wins over teams from South Carolina. The schools have been meeting off and on since 1922. Lincoln County has won the last five games in a row and nine of the last 10 in the series. The Red Devils won last season, 28-12.
No. 10 Savannah Christian (0-1) at Prince Avenue Christian (2-0). This is a rematch of one of last season’s state semi-finals, won by Savannah Christian (27-0). But the defending state champions lost 14 seniors and dropped a 21-20 decision to AAAAA Jenkins two weeks ago to open the season. Seniors Jalen Myrick (Minnesota commit) and Ivan Reese will look to get things turned around against a PAC team that is looking to prove that last season’s 12-1 record was no fluke. The Wolverines have opened the season beating two lesser opponents by a combined score of 95-26. Last year’s semi-final was the first and only meeting between the two schools.
Other games of note include: Monroe at No. 2 Wilcox County … Ware County at No. 5 Charlton County … No. 8 Emanuel County Institute at No. 8 in Class AAA Washington County.