For three straight years Morgan County has started the season by winning its first three games. But last week the Bulldogs made it four straight to open a season for the first time since 2004. This week the No. 8-ranked Dogs will try to take a big step toward winning the Region 8-AAA championship.
Morgan County faces its toughest game of the season when it travels to Watkinsville to play North Oconee, which has won three straight after being embarrassed by St. Pius in the opening week. The Titans began the season ranked No. 5, but fell out after losing their first game.
The winner of this game won’t clinch anything. The loser, however, can almost forget about winning the region and earning the league’s No. 1 spot when the playoffs begin next month. Both still have games remaining against Elbert County, the preseason favorite, and Hart County.
Morgan has easily won its first three games and seems to be intent on improving on last year’s 8-3 mark. The Bulldogs have already turned the tables on Putnam County, a team that beat them a year ago. Bill Malone’s team has won its games by an average of 14 points. Morgan has scored no fewer than 26 points and allowed no more than 16.
North Oconee should provide a stiff test. The Titans have allowed only six total points in the three games since suffering its 50-14 opening night beatdown by No. 5 St. Pius.
This will be the first meeting between the two schools.
Four other games to watch on Friday night:
Appling County at Pierce County: This game could very easily decide first place in downtrodden Region 1-AAA. No. 9 Appling County (4-0-1) has only a 14-14 tie against Wayne County to mar its record. Pierce County (4-1) has won two straight since losing to Swainsboro.
Each team is capable of scoring lots of points, so no one really expects this to be a defensive struggle. Pierce County, which was ranked eighth before its loss, averages 43 points and Appling averages 32.
Appling leads the series 11-5 and has won three of the last four meetings. Pierce won 21-14 a year ago. The two schools have met every season since 2004.
Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe at Cartersville: No. 7 Cartersville has already turned aside a challenge from North Murray in Region 5-AAA and last week dismantled young Coahulla Creek. LFO (4-1) must bounce back from its setback to Gordon Central a week ago, where the Warriors suffered from a sputtering offense that failed to score at least 24 points for the first time all season. Hard to believe, but these two northwest Georgia schools have met only once. Cartersville won 14-13 in 2009.
Thomson at Greater Atlanta Christian: The No. 2-ranked Bulldogs travel to GAC, which spent some time in the Class AA rankings earlier this season. Thomson (5-0) seems to play to the level of its competition. The Bulldogs used defense last week in outlasting Westminster at the Brickyard, but won a scoring contest the previous week at LaGrange. This is the first meeting between the two schools.
Lovett at Washington County: This is another one of those odd games caused by the creation of another classification. Their only previous meeting came in the 1993 Class AA quarterfinals, which Waco won 42-7. It will be interesting to see if Washington County (5-0) can continue to produce the same offensive numbers; the Golden Hawks have scored 42 points per game.