By S. Thomas Coleman
For the AJC
There’s only one truly huge Class A game in Week 4 (of course they are all big to the teams involved), but there are several intriguing match-ups.
The Big One
Wilcox County at Dooly County. Wilcox will try to make a statement about its supremacy in Class A when the Patriots travel to “The Grove” in Vienna to face the Bobcats in their home opener. Wilcox is 1-1, No. 2 overall and the top public school in our divided Top 5 list. Dooly is 2-0, No. 8 overall and the No. 4 public school in the divided Top 5. Dooly is coming off of close wins over teams from larger classifications – 21-20 over AA Macon County on Aug. 31 and 21-12 over AAAA Americus-Sumter last week. The Bobcats are led by the state’s top defensive tackle recruit, Montravius Adams, as well as quarterback AJ Smith. Wilcox’s all-state quarterback/safety Mikail Grace will return to action after sitting out last week’s loss to AAAA Monroe (28-14). He was injured in the Patriots’ dramatic 43-39 Week 1 win over Wilkinson County.
Others worth checking out
George Walton Academy at Holy Innocents. This is the next best game on the Class A board, with both teams looking to come back from losses last week. Holy Innocents (2-1) will try to rebound after getting thumped (24-14) by the team whose stadium they share, Riverwood (2-0), a AAAAA school on the rise. The Golden Bears had picked up at least 33 points in their first two games, with wins over AAAAA Lakeside-DeKalb (20-14) and AA Wesleyan (10-9). George Walton (1-1) fell at home in overtime to Aquinas (2-0), No. 5 overall and the No. 3 private school in our divided Top 5. The Bulldogs are led by speedy junior running back/defensive back Stanley Williams, who is committed to Georgia but still being pursued by several schools.
Warren County at Washington-Wilkes. Warren County (1-0), the team with one of the best nicknames in the state, the Screaming Devils, will try to make its claim as one of the best teams in a tough Region 7, which includes Aquinas, First Presbyterian, Lincoln County and Wilkinson County. They travel to Washington to take on the No. 9 team in AA. The Tigers are coming off of a big win over rival Lincoln County (21-6) last week in the Highway 378 War. It was the first time they had beaten Lincoln in the last 10 games between the two schools.
Greenville at Decatur. Region 4 appears to be a toss-up with four teams – Brookstone, Dooly, Greenville and Marion County – in the mix for the title and a coveted guaranteed spot in the divided playoffs (only region champions are guaranteed a spot, regardless of the points they have accumulated). Greenville, which already has picked up at least 16 points with a win over AAAA Albany (20-18), will go after another larger foe, AAA Decatur (1-1). A win by the Patriots brings in at least 15 points.
Pace Academy at King’s Ridge Christian. This one features two teams trying to find out just how good they really are. Pace (1-1) whipped Whitefield Academy (24-8) in Week 1, but were whipped by Athens Academy (42-7) last week. The Knights are led by junior running back/defensive back Denzel Franklin and sophomore quarterback Kevin Johnson. King’s Ridge (2-0) has exploded out of the gate, averaging 47 points in their two wins while yielding just seven. However, the teams they beat – Pinecrest Academy and St. Francis – are a combined 0-4 this season. King’s Ridge is led by quarterback Bailey Miller, running backs Tarez Miller and Connor Henderson, linebacker Josh Carter and defensive back Jordan Harris.